I grew up playing team sports as a kid, and still enjoy watching and taking part in them as an adult. Even though I grew up loving sports, when my daughter was born, I felt a bit ambivalent about whether or not she was on a sports team, as long as she was active and had fun.

Fast forward 12 years and now I'm helping to coach her hockey team. She has numerous other interests, which helps her to maintain a healthy attitude about the game, and a large part of her enjoyment comes from the social aspect of being with her friends. With this in mind, there are a lot of good things about her participation. While I do believe that sports today have become larger than life in many kids' lives, often to an unhealthy degree, I don't think it's all bad. Like many things in life, if you can maintain a healthy perspective, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Sports, after all, are a wonderful opportunity to have fun and be active while learning the importance of winning with dignity and losing with pride. Kids also learn about the value of diligence, sacrifice, and team work while confronting and overcoming new challenges. Finally, sports are a great way for parents, especially dads, to bond with their kids in a fun and active environment.

So with National Girls and Women in Sports Day approaching this month (February 5th), here are 11 things parents can do to help celebrate sports in their daughter's lives and make it as fun and enjoyable as possible.

1. Talk and listen.

Finding out what your daughter's interests are is an important first step in discovering what, if any, sports will be the most rewarding for her.

2. Pay attention to her strengths and weaknesses.

Girls should play whatever sport they want, but choosing games based on their abilities will help you find a better fit and will increase their enjoyment.

3. Show them you're interested.

Girls want our support and approval (who doesn't?), so show up and cheer them on. This may require that you put away your smartphone.

4. Focus on fun.

Sports should always be about fun. Girls enjoy the social aspect of being with their friends, so don't stress them out with pressure to perform or win.

5. Embrace balance.

Remember there's more to life than sports. Embracing other interests will result in a healthier approach to the game, thus making it more enjoyable and fun.

6. Don't live out your dreams.

A lot of parents, especially dads, seem to fall prey to this. Let your kids follow their interests and don't force the issue based on your own dreams.

7. Become involved.

It doesn't have to be much. Just a little bit of your time will tell your daughter that you support her and want to be involved.

8. Join the fun.

As a player, coach, or volunteer, taking part is an incredible bonding experience and transforms you from being a taxi service into an active participant.

9. Give unconditional support.

Winning isn't everything, and some girls take disappointment to heart. Always let them know that you love and support them and never criticize.

10. Diversify.

Don't focus on one sport, even if she loves it. Multiple sports are good for her development and, believe it or not, will help her perform in the one she loves.

11. Leave the coaching to the coaches.

Kids loathe hearing their parents lecture them about their game, so let the coaches do their job while you can do yours, i.e., love and support them.

Girls' sports have come a long way. It's been 40 years since Title IX gave girls' and women's sports the attention they deserve, and parents can honor this fact by giving their daughters the chance to find a sport they love and let them have fun with it.

For more information, visit the websites for the Women's Sports Foundation and Title IX.info.