(BPT) - Did you know millions of girls are stepping off the field and leaving sports during puberty? Participating in sports helps girls develop the confidence and skills they need to do whatever they are passionate about.

Supporting female athletes at the age of puberty is essential because this is when more than half of them experience a drop in confidence — and even more so now, as more than 1 in 3 young people feel less confident because they’ve missed after-school activities, like sports, since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether she has bigger dreams or simply sees sports as a fun hobby, showing her your support and keeping her motivated will ensure she gains skills that will help her succeed beyond the court, field or anywhere she chooses to play. Check out Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez’s tips to stay motivated in sports below, to share with a girl in your life.

Hernandez shares her 4 top tips to help keep her motivated, even when the going gets tough!

1. Positive Mindset: As you become more involved in sports, you may face some tough challenges along the way. It’s important to remind yourself to stay positive and never give up after a bad day.

Example: If you are feeling down after a game, make a list of the top three things that you feel went well, and three things you can learn from the parts that were challenging.

2. Stay Open to New Adventures: Keeping an open mind to learn new skills, positions and strategies to the sport can make you even better, and help you find new things to love about the way you play.

Example: Branching out can help you grow. Work on setting both small and large goals when trying new skills! This can help make trying something different less intimidating.

3. Keep Yourself Inspired: Sometimes it helps to take a step back from your own practice, so that you can really appreciate the best parts of your sport. Connecting with others in the community can remind you why you fell in love with the sport in the first place and keep you playing.

Example: Watching female sporting events to see other players in action, or volunteering to show someone else the ropes, not only can be fun but can also provide you with inspiration and motivation!

4. Be A Good Teammate: Being a good teammate can make you feel part of something greater and can remind you of the reasons you play sports beyond the competition — sisterhood and friendship!

Example: Remember that the mission of your team is bigger than one person. Being loyal and supportive to your teammates can help accomplish great things on and off the field. When one of your teammates is feeling down after a game, be the first to encourage them and remind them that everyone has been there.

To help girls all over the country stay in sports, Always and Walmart have donated $250,000 to Women’s Sports Foundation, and you and everyone you know can help them do more. For every view of the brand-new Always #KeepHerPlaying video on www.walmart.com/always between 12/28/2020 and 1/31/2021, they’ll donate a further $1 to Women's Sports Foundation, up to a total of an additional $250,000 — that’s a grand total of half a million dollars!

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