by Adam G.
Playing sports can create a positive environment for youth to develop not just sport skills, but skills they can use in life also. When youth grow up playing in organized sports, parent and volunteer coaches play a valuable role in the child’s development. Parents and coaches are facilitators for children’s sport experience and basically help choose the path in which their child goes. They provide transportation, money, time, and organization. But the key question is: are parent coaches qualified and have the right training for the children’s needs? And is it appropriate for a parent to coach their son/daughter?
Many parent coaches have not received the recommended coaching programs they need to be qualified (Ewing et al., 2002; Petitpas et al., 2005). This is a big concern, because the coach’s knowledge and behavior plays a big role in the quality of the youth’s participation. For a parent coach, another big concern is favoritism. The roles of coach and parent are often synonymous, suggesting a dual rather than independent relationship with the child participant (Brown, 1998; Rathbun, 1998; Weiss & Sisley, 1984).
The benefits that come from a parent coaching their child are things such as bringing the parent and child closer by going to practices and games together, sharing a common interest, and also sharing a lifetime involvement in that particular sport. Another benefit is at home, the parent-coach can give advice, more training, and can even talk about post practice and game evaluations (Weiss & Fretwell, 2005).
The negatives that come from a parent coaching their child include that child getting more attention focused on him/her. This can be a bad thing because the parent-coach will watch their child more, which leads to criticism, higher expectations, and can even have a distant relationship with their teammates. Another way it can be negative is it can ruin the relationship between the child and the parent. During practices or games when he/she is yelling at his son/daughter and giving advice, that child could take it the wrong way which can lead to issues off the field/court (Weiss & Fretwell, 2005).
In my experience growing up playing sports, my parents were never my coach, but simply just spectators. In my point of view, I believe this is the best place for them as through experience playing soccer competitively, one of my coaches that I had for three years was one of the kid’s older brother (father figure). During that time, teammates and I felt as if he got special attention due to the fact he was the coaches brother. He had important roles on the team as he was the captain and would start every game. Now, in his defence, he was a great player, but there were others on the team that played a more leadership role. He was a great coach and knew what he was talking about and had the coaching course certification as well. But talking to the coach’s brother, he said that he did in fact enjoy his older brother coaching him and it allowed them to build a great relationship. He also mentioned that it was tough off the field because he would be pressured to work on particular things off the field in his free time.
For further reading:
Bhandari, D. S., & Kang, H. S. (2012). The role of attitude in promoting sports participation. International Journal of Physical Education, 5(2), 159-162.
Chan, D. K., Lonsdale, C., & Fung, H. H. (2012). Influences of coaches, parents, and peers on the motivational patterns of child and adolescent athletes. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 22(4), 558-568.
Keathley, K., Himelein, M. J., & Srigley, G. (2013). Youth soccer participation and withdrawal: Gender similarities and differences. Journal of Sport Behavior, 36(2), 171-188.
Smoll, F. L., Cumming, S. P., & Smith, R. E. (2011). Enhancing coach-parent relationships in youth sports: Increasing harmony and minimizing hassle. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 6(1), 13-26.
Weiss, M. R. (2005). The parent-coach/child-athlete relationship in youth sport: Cordial, contentious, or conundrum? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 76, 286-305.