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WOMEN FAIL TO TAKE CALCULATED RISKS, SAYS AUSSIE COACH

Our AUSTRALIAN CROQUET GAZETTE recently had some articles by our leading women players about the way they are "discriminated against", and I must say that they made far less sense than your contributors [
"International Editors' Forum on Women in Competitive Croquet"].

None of them, and only one of your writers in passing if I remember correctly, mentioned the real reason why there are so few women among the top players, which is that women are generally not prepared to take as many risks as men do, preferring instead a "safety-first" tactical approach which obviously does not work often enough at the top level. As a coach, I find it much harder with women than with men to get them (in pressure situations) to take the risks that really have to be taken. Some men also want to play safe, of course, and a few women do take the risks, but on the whole there is a very noticeable difference due probably to a difference in psychological makeup which may well be culturally based.

A further factor (I say as a teacher of mathematics) is that males are on the average better than females in some of the areas of mathematics which pervade the game of croquet, e.g. estimation of percentages, judgement of angles and ratios, and understanding the physics and bio-mechanics involved in hitting a ball with a mallet. Rather than calculation or careful estimation, the women tend to rely on feelings , which again at the top level prove to be insufficiently reliable.

The women do not recognise, and will not admit, that their tactics are inferior to those of the men, so they do not know why they are losing games, or else they explain their losses using other incorrect reasons.

--John Riches

Enfield, South Australia


"GO FOR IT, WOMEN!" NEW ZEALAND PLAYER URGES

In New Zealand, I have high hopes of seeing women compete and succeed at the top level of croquet. It may take time, but movement towards this goal has commenced.

Whatever caused the creation of a Women's Invitation event in New Zealand in 1975 - be it for women to play women, because of women's dislike of the triple peel, for women to have a more comfortable environment to play in, or whatever - I think the result has been to set women apart and outside the top development of the sport. Unfortunately, this event also came to be used to select New Zealand's top women and consequently the most important event for women to aspire to or play in. Thus, women were their own worst enemy.

Some people (both men and women - but fewer women these days) still want the New Zealand Women's Invitation to continue. However, over recent years more women have been entering the New Zealand Open Championship event and more are gaining places at the President's Senior Invitation. Yes, women are still behind the top men, but year by year they are doing better and better. This movement is exciting to see.

My message to women is DESPITE A POOR START AT TOP OPEN EVENTS, GET IN THERE, KEEP IN THERE AND DON'T LET MEN PUT YOU DOWN. Some men have to have a good go. Let's face it, men are not keen to lose men's places at the top, similarly, women won't be keen to lose women's places at the top when they get there, either.

I have been fascinated with the correspondence [in the Editors' Forum] but am not interested in looking at the differences between women and men to find the gender factors that may affect interest in or aptitude for the game of croquet. What interests me is that THERE ARE GOOD WOMEN CROQUET PLAYERS WHO COULD BE BETTER AND SOME WHO COULD REACH THE TOP. LET EVERYONE IN OUR SPORT ALLOW THEM TO UTILISE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THERE. WOMEN - PLEASE GO FOR IT. IT WILL TAKE TIME, BUT HANG IN THERE.

--Judith Edmonds

Wellington, New Zealand



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