One year on…
A blogger, who would have thought? Not me. Truth be told, the reality of the environment I experienced manifested into having a passion and courage for sharing, highlighting, educating and hopefully instigating change surrounding parental involvement in sport.
The experiences in the United States (US) highlighted the magnitude of influence (positively and negatively) parental involvement played within the sport and in day-to-day life. For that reason, I felt something needed to change, I wanted to be heard, not egotistically but a voice that represented the millions of youth players that participated around the world. I don’t write for financial gain, fame or glory, I sincerely hope that the content of my work, positively effects change regardless of how small or big it may be. My success is defined by changing mentalities, culture and approach to the sport.
Therefore, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on my first year as a blogger, whilst trying to instigate change. With every practice and game in the US, I become increasingly frustrated with what I observed and heard. Each passing week fueled the motivation to be heard, and foster the courage to take action. It came to my attention that; parental involvement wasn’t given the consideration it required within youth sports. Parents have been highlighted as one of the major influences on a child’s level of enjoyment and participation, considering such statement we such embrace the education of parents in sport. By no means, I’m I generalizing every sports parent, overall I’ve witness many positive examples of parental involvement. However, it only takes a few examples, behaviors, and approaches to ruin it for everyone. This is where I become incensed by our lack of courage and a need for change.
When speaking to organizations, clubs, and coaches about the need to educate parents, I continually received the same responses “We have no time to educate them” or “Parent’s aren’t important in sport, it’s about the kids”. It quickly became apparent that organizations were fearful or failed to capture the true influence parents play in youth sports.
It’s entirely right to believe that your actions as a parent have no relationship between the level of enjoyment and participation.
Nonetheless, I have tremendous faith in the scientific and practical research/experiences that if we embrace and educate parents, it will have a positive and lasting effect on those participating. We should make a conscious effort into appreciating our surroundings as a sports parent, too often it’s taken for granted and suddenly taken away. Statistics highlight, that 70% of those participating in sports drop out by the age of 13. It’s important that we foster and embrace participation and parents play a vital role in doing that.
- What have we achieved in during the first year?
The Sporting Influencer has managed to accumulate a greater understanding of parental involvement both positively and negativity through scientific research and practical experiences shared by coaches from around the world. With the consensus, of the need to educate and change.
Through “The Sporting Influencer” we’ve been very fortunate to have met, interacted and gained friendships with numerous fantastic coaches, parents, and those involved in sport from diverse backgrounds, sports from around the plant. I’ve really enjoyed interviewing, discussing and collaborating with numerous websites and organizations such as Coaching Family, TouchTight, Fortius Training and The Sideline Review.
My personal highlight is receiving an amazing response from High School Football Coach from the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated” Bill Courtney. Been a huge admirer of his work and approach to sports, to have such an amazing coach and individual to give up his time for me and the website is truly breathtaking. We shared some wonderful and humorous e-mails back and forth, in addition, Bill kindly gave us an interview. To which, I’m forever grateful for.
The continuous exposure of The Sporting Influencer” has most certainly contributed towards increasing the masses to notice and appreciate our content as an educational resource for everyone in sports to use, manipulate and hopefully change for those who participate in the sport we all love.
What’s the aim moving forward?
• I’d like to begin the process of conducting seminars for local grassroots clubs and academies.
• Increased the exposure of “The Sporting Influencer”
• Conduct my own little research into parental involvement
• Continue to be the voice of change
• Continue to write and collaborate with clubs, coaches and organizations
A like to give a special mention and thank you to the following Facebook groups that continually allow my content to be posted.
North Wales Junior Football
Football Coach 2 Inspire
Connect 4 Sport
Football Coaching Lessons Plans
Youth Soccer Coach
Football Coaching 2016
All fantastic and resourceful pages.
The Sporting Influencer