When we contemplate our coaching role and responsibilities, we may have been greatly encouraged to focus primarily on physical, technical, tactical, and social components. While these elements are important in the settings in which we work to support the development of our next generation of participants. That being said, we must also respect and acknowledge many other variables in such a frequently complex environment, such as the role of parents, coach-player relationships, coach-player-parent relationships, individual player needs and development progresses, also levels of enjoyment. These are just a few examples of variables to consider in a modern youth sports environment.
The importance of parents in sports has lately been highlighted, and we must recognise their influence throughout a child’s sporting journey. Given this, parents frequently support their children across varied styles; the question is, do these styles matter? Hopefully, the blog will unpack how different styles might affect a child’s level of enjoyment and participation in sports.
As sports evolve and the rewards become increasingly significant, these influences, both good and negative, can play a vital role. Parents have been identified as having one of the most significant influences on a child’s life; hence, certain parenting styles, even in a sports context, ultimately have a good and/or bad effect on children. As a result, it is critical that clubs and coaches continue to understand the immense value in sustaining the role of parents in sport and utilising such relationships to fully support each child. Parents must also be aware of, how their conscious or unconscious styles impact their child and other participants. Authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, or uninterested are examples of such styles.
According to research, the authoritative parent (rather than the authoritarian or permissive parent) is the most effective in developing a child’s self-esteem, achievement, drive, and sense of competence.
It is imperative that we have a deeper understanding of these various styles and their impacts. Authoritarian parents are those who use power to influence their children; this approach adds to a restricted space for the child to question or debate anything, and thus potentially negatively impacts a child’s expressiveness and independence. Permissive parenting can revolve around children’s natural tendency to learn what they need to know on their own and to act on this knowledge when they are ready. Permissive parents are warm, kind, and child-centred. Disinterested parents may be disengaged in the experiences as a whole, failing to attend, causing a child to feel anxious or stressed due to a lack of family support and engagement. Many studies demonstrate that such a style might contribute to and impact a child’s overall behaviour.
“There is no way in which parents can evade having a determining effect on their children’s personality, character, and competence”(Baumrind, 1978).
As we conclude the blog, we must not neglect the role and styles of parents in youth sports and their impact on participation and enjoyment. As can be seen, coaches and clubs should make an effort to grasp the overall benefits of continuously interacting with parents in order to enhance and improve the possibilities that children receive via youth sports. Harnessing and growing these connections and approaches need continuous energy, engagement, and reflection in order to provide the greatest sports journey and experiences for each child. Parents may be supported in a variety of ways with sustained engagement throughout the season (Please see appendix).
Note: Personally, I wish that coaching education programmes and national governing bodies would devote the time, effort, and money necessary to integrate components of parental engagement in sports as well as the social skills required to effectively work with parents and players.
The Sporting Influencer