Encourage the natural strengths and develop the weaknesses of each gender
Girls are experiential and process-oriented. You'll see that girls work just as hard as -- or even harder than -- the boys, but the girls care more about the overall effort than simply counting the numbers in the win and loss columns. With girls, if you spend time talking about their improvements, they'll work even harder and you'll quickly see a direct correlation to the overall win/loss record.
On the other hand, boys are much more results-oriented. It's not that they can't be focused on the journey, it's just that their DNA is geared toward winning and losing. With boys, you need to guide them to put effort into improving skills and getting something out of the experience -- encouraging them to understand that the journey, not just the number of Ws, is the reward.
Resolve problems collaboratively for girls, one-on-one for boys
Girls and boys approach problem-solving differently. Because of this, when you have an issue with a specific player -- or there's a problem with the team dynamic -- you should take gender into account.
With girls, yelling simply doesn't work. Coaches who approach girls as they would boys find this out the hard way. When you are upset with the attitude or effort of your female players, the best way to handle it is with a team meeting. Start by asking them what they think the problem is. Nine times out of 10, the girls will have already pinpointed the problem and have several solutions to propose. Girls work things out collaboratively -- as a team. It might be painful, but the results you see in the end will be worth it.
In contrast, boys need to be listened to and heard. If a boy on your team is acting out or needs help focusing, you should address it with the player, one-on-one, clear the air, and move on. You might have to get the boy's attention by raising your voice and making an example of him in front of his peers, but once you do, and you clearly explain your expectations, you should be on your way to a better team dynamic.
(Emily Cohen is a freelance writer living in Berkeley, Calif. She is the mother of a son, 12, and a daughter, 9, who both play multiple sports. She has been a team manager for her children's soccer, baseball and softball teams.)