Youth sport – The importance of a connected support network
The emphasis in youth sport is on the parents and coaches working effectively together to best support the child.
However, one reminder before we jump in to this topic is that we need to help young people to build the skills they need to work with coaches and parents and communicate effectively.
Of course this is difficult and until they reach this point parents and coaches may need to lead on conversations but this needs to be done with the child's goals and interests at the forefront.
Coaches: Take a moment to reflect
What comes to mind when you think of parents or parental involvement in youth sport?
How you answer this question will shape:
How you frame information you are given on parents in sport.
How you view interactions with parents of the young people you work with.
What assumptions you bring to situations that you are faced with.
Parents: Take a moment to reflect
From years of conversations in this area it is clear that coaches and sports clubs often want the parents to focus on the following 3 areas:
Parents: What comes to mind when you think of your involvement in your child’s sport?
Child has the equipment the child needs
Enable children to participate (participation first allows for a progression to competition further down the line).
As a parent are you involved in sport yourself?
How do you respond to winning / losing?
How do you support teammates? (think colleagues if you aren’t involved in sport)
If parents participate in sport the child is likely to pick up on how they respond to certain situations.
How parents communicate and respond in different situations helps a child make sense of sporting experiences
Focus on growth and development
Providing comfort on the sideline
Encourage teamwork and leadership
Coaches: We need to remember that for each parent, child (and coach) relationship
It is an intricate social experience.
We cannot just transfer assumptions.
What is going on for that child - what is going on for that parent - how can we best support them?
Parents experiences - parenting children comes with huge ups and downs
Parents: You have lots to juggle…
Managing child’s emotions
Coping with sport demands
Balancing other aspects of life
Managing society expectations
Adapting and changing involvement
Take a moment: is it your child's sport that is the main or only challenge right now or is it a build up of lots of others things and this is the tip of the ice berg.
Information adapted from Professor Camilla Knight and the CPSU keeping your child safe in sport week resources.