ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

Parents display various positive and negative behaviors at youth sport competitions. This study examined early adolescent female athletes’ preferred parental behaviors at team sport competitions. Individual interviews were conducted with 36 female athletes (M age = 13.5 years) who frequently competed in team sports. Data analysis led to the identification of three categories of parental behavior across different phases of competition (before, during, after). Athletes indicated preferences related to preparation for competition, parental support and, encouragement during competition, and the provision of feedback after competition. The results suggest that parents should engage in different types of behaviors as the temporal context of competitions change.
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 1
Running Head: PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Parental Behaviors in Team Sports: How do Female Athletes Want Parents to Behave?
8
Camilla J. Knight, Kacey C. Neely & Nicholas L. Holt
9
University of Alberta
10
11
12
13
14
This is the final accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor and Francis in the Journal
15
of Applied Sport Psychology in 2010.
16
The final online version is available from: 10.1080/10413200.2010.525589
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 2
Abstract
1
Parents display various positive and negative behaviors at youth sport competitions. This study
2
examined early adolescent female athletes’ preferred parental behaviors at team sport
3
competitions. Individual interviews were conducted with 36 female athletes (M age = 13.5 years)
4
who frequently competed in team sports. Data analysis led to three categories of parental
5
behavior across different phases of competition (before, during, after). Athletes indicated
6
preferences related to preparation for competition, parental support and encouragement during
7
competitions, and the provision of feedback after competition. The results suggest that parents
8
should engage in different types of behaviors as the temporal context of competitions change.
9
10
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 3
Parental Behaviors in Team Sports: How do Female Athletes Want Parents to Behave?
1
Parents play a critical role in facilitating their children’s involvement in youth sport.
2
Parents are primarily responsible for initiating children’s engagement in sport (Wuerth, Lee, &
3
Alfermann, 2004). Parents help children to understand and interpret their sporting experiences
4
and act as role models of appropriate behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs regarding sport and
5
competition (Fredricks & Eccles, 2004). Consequently, parents have many opportunities to
6
positively and negatively influence children’s sporting experiences (Partridge, Brustad, &
7
Babkes Stellino. 2008).
8
Competitions are one context in which parents may greatly influence young athletes. At
9
competitions athletes perform in a public arena in which parents can provide relatively
10
immediate verbal and non-verbal feedback through the behaviors they display (Fredricks &
11
Eccles, 2004). Through their behaviors parents may communicate their goals for their children,
12
the importance they place upon winning versus effort and attitude, and perceptions of their
13
children’s competence (e.g., Eccles & Harold, 1991). ‘Appropriate’ parental behaviors, such as
14
providing emotional support, praise, and showing understanding, have been associated with high
15
intrinsic motivation and sport enjoyment, enhanced feelings of sporting competence, and
16
longevity of sporting engagement (Power & Woolger, 1994; Ullrich-French & Smith, 2006;
17
Woolger & Power, 2000). On the other hand, parental behaviors considered as inappropriate,
18
such as overemphasizing winning and excessively criticizing performances, can result in athletes
19
perceiving undue pressure to perform, developing fear of failure and competitive anxiety, and
20
reducing perceived sporting competence (Bois, Lalanne & Delforge, 2009; Leff & Hoyle, 1995;
21
Sagar & Lavallee, 2010).
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 4
Although it has been fairly well established by researchers that some parental behaviors,
1
are associated with positive psychosocial outcomes for athletes and others are associated with
2
more negative psychosocial outcomes, surprisingly little is known about athletes’ preferences for
3
parental behaviors (for an exception see Knight, Boden, & Holt, in press). Much of the
4
information regarding parental behaviors in youth sport has been gained from coaches (e.g.,
5
Gould et al., 2008) or from researchers proposing behaviors and asking athletes how they
6
perceive them or how frequently parents display these behaviors (e.g., Bois et al., 2009; Power &
7
Woolger, 1994; Leff & Hoyle, 1995). However, understanding athletes’ preferences for
8
behaviors is important because athletes’ perceptions of parents’ behaviors influence athletes’
9
long-term psychosocial outcomes (Anderson, Funk, Elliott, & Smith, 2003).
10
Furthermore, little is known about when parents should engage in different types of
11
behaviors. It is plausible that children prefer different types of parental behaviors in the periods
12
before, during, and after competition, but research has yet to clearly articulate these issues.
13
Although there is a well-developed body of parenting literature in sport psychology, several
14
researchers agree that more work is needed to identify the specific behaviors that athletes find
15
supportive (Fraser-Thomas, Côté, & Deakin, 2008; Gould, Lauer, Rolo, Jannes, & Pennisi,
16
2008). By identifying sport-specific parenting principles more practical knowledge and guidance
17
can be provided to parents (Lauer, Gould, Roman, & Pierce, 2010).
18
Parents may be unsure of how to behave, or what types of behaviors their children want
19
them to display (Harwood & Knight, 2009a). One result is that parents may unintentionally
20
behave in inappropriate ways at competitions (Wiersma & Fifer, 2008). Although negative
21
parental behaviors do not outweigh positive behaviors, negative behaviors clearly do occur. For
22
example, a self-report survey of 189 sports parents identified that 13% of parents had criticized
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 5
their child’s performance (Shields, Bredemeier, LaVoi, & Power, 2005). Similarly, over 20% of
1
101 tennis parents reported displaying negative behaviors towards their child after a match
2
(DeFrancesco & Johnson, 1997).
3
Observational studies recording the comments parents made during competitions have
4
further indicated the behaviors parents display. For example, Kidman, McKenzie, and McKenzie
5
(1999) recorded the comments made by approximately 250 parents of 6-12 year olds at 147 team
6
sport competitions. Overall, 47.2% of parents’ comments were coded as positive, 34.5% were
7
negative, and the remainder were neutral. Extending this research, Holt, Tamminen, Black, Sehn,
8
and Wall (2008) observed 120 hours of youth soccer competitions for youth aged 10-14 years.
9
Holt et al. found parents provided praise and encouragement (35% of comments), performance
10
contingent feedback (5%), instructions (35%), a balance between positive and negative remarks
11
(10%), negative comments (10%), and derogatory comments (5%). Most recently, Bowker et al.
12
(2009) observed parents of 11-14 year olds at 69 youth hockey games and coded the comments
13
heard. Generally consistent with previous research, the majority of comments (66%) were
14
classified as positive and 33% were classified as negative.
15
The aforementioned observational studies provide useful insights into the types of
16
comments parents made and the behaviors they displayed during competition. However, they
17
provide few insights into the types of parental behaviors athletes would prefer. A recent study of
18
42 male and female 12-15 year old tennis players sought to identify what types of parental
19
behaviors they preferred during competitions (Knight et al., in press). Findings showed that, as
20
an overarching principle, players liked their parents to be supportive without placing undue
21
pressure upon them. Specific preferences were that parents should not provide technical and
22
tactical advice, but they should comment on effort and attitude, provide practical advice, respect
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 6
tennis etiquette, and match nonverbal behaviors with supportive comments. Clearly, athletes
1
preferred certain behaviors at tennis competitions.
2
The Knight et al. (in press) study was conducted in an individual sport (tennis), which is
3
played in a relatively confined area with a small number of competitors and spectators. It
4
remains unknown whether the findings would apply to team sport settings. In fact, the majority
5
of our information regarding parental behaviors in youth sport has been gained from individual
6
sports (e.g., Bois et al., 2009; Gould et al., 1996, 2006, 2008; Leff & Hoyle, 1995; Woolger &
7
Power, 2000). Parent-child interactions in team sports are different to individual sports (Lauer et
8
al., 2010). In team sports parental behaviors are witnessed by teammates and may influence
9
teammates as well as a parent’s own child’s performance and feelings (Omli & LaVoi, 2009).
10
Athletes are also likely to have developed friendships and relationships with their team mates
11
and desire their acceptance (Partridge, Brustad, & Babkes Stelliano, 2008). Thus, the importance
12
of parents behaving in an acceptable manner at team events may be even more important than in
13
individual sports because it is a more social environment and behaviors can be witnessed by and
14
influence other athletes. Although the observational studies reported above (i.e., Bowker et al.,
15
2009; Holt et al., 2008) were conducted in team settings, they recorded parents’ comments and
16
did not specifically examine athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors.
17
It is particularly important to examine early adolescent (approximately 12 to 15 years
18
old) athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors at team sport competitions. During this period
19
athletes are frequently engaged in competition and parents take an active interest in their
20
children’s competitive sporting involvement (Côté, 1999). Athletes are highly attuned to their
21
parents’ feedback and behaviors, especially before and after competitions when the atmosphere
22
can be emotionally charged (Lauer et al., 2010). Adolescent athletes may be particularly
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 7
sensitive to feedback and criticism as they are acutely self-conscious (Vernon, 2002).
1
Additionally, athletes want to develop mature relationships with their peers and develop
2
independence from their parents. However, athletes remain dependent upon their parents for
3
practical and emotional support (Wylleman & Lavallee, 2004), As such, early adolescence can
4
be a complicated time for athletes as they attempt to conform to what is required from parents
5
and peers.
6
During this early adolescent period it may be particularly important to study female
7
athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors because girls continue to be less likely to participate
8
in sport than boys and a decrease in girls' sports participation during early adolescence is
9
common (Statistics Canada, 2008). The main source of enjoyment for girls in sport is positive
10
parental involvement (McCarthy, Jones, & Clark-Carter, 2008). Understanding how female
11
athletes would like their parents to behave at sports events may help to increase parents' positive
12
involvement, and in turn female athletes' enjoyment and continuing involvement in sport. To this
13
end, the purpose of this study was to examine early adolescent female athletes’ preferences for
14
parental behaviors at team sport competitions. Adopting an exploratory approach, we also
15
attempted to establish if and how athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors changed before,
16
during, and after competition. If we can establish how athletes prefer their parents to behave then
17
we may be able to create more sophisticated and precise guidelines for parental behavior in
18
youth sport.
19
Method
20
Given the purpose of the study, and the fact that little previous research has specifically
21
inquired about how early adolescent female athletes prefer parents to behave at competitions, we
22
selected a qualitative interview-based approach. Such research can be particularly useful in
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 8
obtaining in-depth accounts of participants’ subjective perceptions of social settings and is
1
appropriate for understanding relatively unexamined issues (Patton, 2002).
2
Participants
3
In accordance with one of the primary principles of qualitative research, participants were
4
purposefully sampled (Patton, 2002). Purposeful sampling criteria were based on (a) age (12-15
5
years old), (b) gender (female athletes), (c) type of sport involvement (i.e., team sport), and (d)
6
frequency of sport involvement. The age range was selected because it reflects the specializing
7
stage of youth sport participation, which is when athletes become committed to a sport and
8
parents are highly involved in competition (Côtè, 1999). In terms of their frequency of sport
9
involvement, players were required to be competing at least once a month in team competitions,
10
as an indicator of their commitment to the sport. These criteria were applied to ensure
11
‘information-rich’ participants were sampled; individuals who could provide detailed
12
information to address the research purpose.
13
The sample comprised 36 female athletes (M age = 13.5 years, SD = 1.0) recruited from
14
summer camps hosted by a large university in Western Canada. Although all participants were
15
recruited from volleyball and basketball camps, they in fact reported their ‘main’ sport as soccer
16
(n=12), volleyball (n=10), basketball (n=9), ringette (n=2), softball (n=2), and ice hockey (n=1).
17
Participants had been engaged in their main sport for between 2 and 11 years (M duration of
18
sport involvement = 5.69 years, SD = 2.73). Participants trained on average three times per week
19
and competed on a bi-weekly (n= 2), weekly (n= 9), or twice weekly schedule (n=15) (hence
20
meeting or exceeding the sampling criterion). Participants competed at high school (n=3),
21
community (n=13), club (n=18) or provincial level (n=2). Participants were also asked to specify
22
which parent was most involved in their competitions and the subsequent questions referred to
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 9
this parent. Sixteen participants discussed their mothers’ behaviors, 11 participants discussed
1
their fathers’ behaviors and 9 participants discussed both their parents’ behaviors (because they
2
reported that both parents were equally involved).
3
Procedure
4
Institutional Research Ethics Board (REB) approval was obtained and approval to
5
approach participants was obtained from summer camp directors and coaches. On the first day of
6
camp a researcher convened a meeting with all campers. Campers were given an explanation of
7
the study and the sampling criteria and given an information letter and consent form for their
8
parents. Interested participants returned signed consent forms the following day and interviews
9
were scheduled during the lunch breaks over the course of the camp.
10
Data Collection
11
Each participant took part in one semi-structured interview. An interview guide was
12
created with questions based on previous studies of parental behaviors in youth sport (Gould et
13
al., 2008; Knight et al., in press) and through discussions among the research team. It was piloted
14
with a 13 year-old athlete. Prior to each interview participants were provided with a verbal
15
explanation of the study, given further opportunities to ask questions, and verbally assented to be
16
involved in this study. It was re-emphasized that participation was voluntary, all information was
17
confidential, and that there were no right or wrong answers to the questions. It was also
18
reinforced that the interviews were not about participants’ perceptions of the summer camps but
19
rather their views about parental behaviors in their main sport.
20
The interview guide was divided into four sections: ice-breakers, transition questions,
21
main questions, and concluding questions (Rubin & Rubin, 2005) (See Appendix A). An
22
activity-based exercise was also included at the end of each interview. Such activities have been
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 10
recommended when working with children because they provide a different way for them to
1
express their opinions (Colucci, 2007). Participants were asked to compile a list of parental ‘do’s
2
and don’t’s.’ This activity helped summarize responses and was incorporated as a verification
3
technique into the analysis. Excluding the time taken to explain the procedure, collect
4
demographic information and answer study-related questions, interviews lasted for, on average,
5
35 minutes.
6
Due to ethical requirements, interviews were scheduled during camp lunch breaks to
7
ensure children did not miss out on any instructional time. In order to accommodate the logistics
8
and ensure all willing participants could be interviewed a team of four interviewers were
9
available. Twenty nine interviews were conducted by the two lead researchers. Seven interviews
10
were conducted by research assistants. The interviewing team were thoroughly prepared to
11
ensure a consistent understanding and execution of the interview guide. All interviewers had
12
received prior training and experience conducting qualitative research interviews in the past. In
13
order to prepare for this specific study the four researchers met to discuss the purpose of the
14
study, review the interview guide, and ask any questions about the study. Each interviewer then
15
reviewed the interview guide and independently met with a lead researcher (the first author) to
16
practice questions and receive specific advice regarding probes or additional interview questions.
17
Data Analysis
18
Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed verbatim by a professional transcribing
19
service. Transcripts were checked for accuracy and any personal identifying information was
20
removed. Pseudonyms were assigned to transcripts to help ensure participant anonymity. The
21
transcripts were then read and reread by the lead researcher to ensure her immersion in the data.
22
Data analysis was conducted by two researchers (the lead researcher and first co-author) working
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 11
together. The two researchers independently coded the first two transcripts and met to compare
1
their coding. Each researcher then independently coded five more transcripts before meeting to
2
discuss the dimensions and themes they had identified and agree upon a coding scheme.
3
Initially then the analysis followed the steps of descriptive content analysis (as outlined by
4
Miles & Huberman, 1994). The transcripts were coded to identify meaningful segments of
5
information (i.e., raw data themes). These raw data themes were then assigned meaning units and
6
grouped by content into themes and then more abstract general dimensions. Rules of inclusion
7
were created and constant comparison techniques were used to help ensure that data included in
8
each theme were similar but distinct from other themes. Thus, the first stage of analysis was
9
more inductive.
10
As noted above, after the coding of the first five transcripts a coding schema had been
11
created and agreed upon. For the remaining transcripts a mixture of inductive and deductive
12
analysis was used (Patton, 2002). That is, the remaining transcripts were analyzed using the
13
coding schema that had been developed from the initial interviews (i.e., more deductive coding).
14
However, as the data were compared to the previously developed coding schema additional
15
themes were identified and added to the coding structure (more inductive analysis). This mixture
16
of more inductive and more deductive elements of analysis, often termed abductive analysis, is a
17
common technique in qualitative research (Mayan, 2009).
18
Methodological Rigor
19
Techniques were conducted during and following analysis to enhance the rigor of data
20
analysis. First, the results were produced by researchers working as a team. This was necessary
21
because the first author had previously conducted a similar study with a different population of
22
athletes, and she was concerned that some preconceived ideas may be forced upon the data.
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 12
Hence, the two researchers compared their coding of the first 12 transcripts. There was 100%
1
agreement between the researchers regarding the coding of raw data into the general dimensions
2
and a 95% agreement in the coding of data in the themes. The two researchers questioned each
3
others’ analysis and asked for explanations and justifications for the codes they produced. The
4
minor disagreements were overcome through establishing one additional theme to account for
5
issues that had been labelled differently between the researchers. The next analytic step involved
6
the third author. He scrutinized the raw data themes and questioned the other researchers to
7
demonstrate the themes were discrete and self-contained. This resulted in some reorganization of
8
the grouping of the themes but not of the coding itself. The final phase of analysis was the
9
writing of the results section because writing is viewed as part of the analysis in qualitative
10
research (Richardson, 1994). The final results, which are presented below, were evaluated,
11
discussed, and agreed upon by all three members of the research team. Although the basic
12
themes remained the same, the written presentation of these themes went through several
13
iterations before the final representation of the results was agreed upon.
1
14
Results
15
We present three general categories of athletes’ preferences for parental behavior
16
organized temporally. Athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors before competition, during
17
competition, and after competition are reported. Before competition parental behaviors related to
18
preparation for the upcoming game. During competition behaviors related to the need for parents
19
to carefully monitor their involvement. In monitoring their involvement there were clear
20
examples of behaviors parents should and should not engage in. Thus, the preferred behaviors
21
during competitions are presented as parental do’s and don’t’s. Finally, preferred behaviors after
22
competitions were related to the provision of feedback by parents. In addition to presenting the
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 13
behaviors that athletes prefer from parents we have included quotes to illustrate the
1
consequences of parents either displaying or not displaying certain behaviors. These
2
consequences are in relation to individual athletes and the overall team and provided some
3
insight into the reasons why athletes preferred certain behaviors.
4
The number of participants reporting each theme is presented after the theme heading.
5
The large number of participants that reported each theme indicates the consistency in
6
participants’ responses. When analyzing the interviews each theme was considered in relation to
7
the competitive standard of the participant, the gender of the parent the participant discussed, and
8
the participant’s years of sporting experience. There were no consistent differences in the
9
reporting of any theme based on these participant demographics.
10
Before The Competition
11
Athletes specified two themes in relation to parents’ behaviors before competitions that
12
concerned assisting in their preparation. Specifically, athletes indicated wanting parents to help
13
them to physically and mentally prepare for competitions.
14
Help Athletes Physically Prepare for Competitions. (n = 30 athletes). Parents could help
15
athletes prepare physically for competitions by completing some fairly simple and basic
16
functions. For example, as Hailey said, it could simply be a case of her mom helping her to “Get
17
ready and make sure I’m on time and get me prepared and all that stuff.” Samantha described
18
another specific function when she said a positive behavior from her father was that he “Tapes
19
my ankles for every game, and he always makes me drink a lotta water.” Athletes reported that
20
appropriate parental assistance in physically preparing for games could have an influence on
21
performance. Heather highlighted this when she suggested that, in the absence of proper
22
preparation from parents, her teammates would “Be really tired and miserable...they wouldn’t
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 14
play as well.” Similarly, Crystal explained that parents help the whole team when they make sure
1
“They’re [athletes] all ready, so they’re not worrying about anything and like help them to eat
2
well so that they’re feeling good before their game… just make sure they’re prepared.”
3
Understand How Athletes Need Help to Mentally Prepare for Competitions. (n = 33
4
athletes). Whereas parents’ roles in assisting with physical preparation were relatively
5
straightforward, athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors in relation to mental preparation
6
were more subtle and nuanced. The most frequently reported issue was that athletes wanted
7
parents to understand their needs in terms of mental preparation. For example, some athletes did
8
not want their parents discussing performance pre-competition. Nicole said, “I don’t want to get
9
nervous and stuff before the game, like if she [mum] starts telling me what to do and stuff, like I
10
might just get a little bit nervous... so we don’t really talk about the game before.Tyler had
11
developed a similar routine with her father, “Most of the time it’s like we don’t really talk about
12
it because, well sometimes dad likes to talk about it, but cause I’m usually really nervous we just
13
like turn up the radio and we don’t talk about it.”
14
The above examples suggest that parents could (presumably unintentionally) create
15
anxiety by discussing performance before the competition. In fact, athletes expressed a
16
preference for parents helping them to relax. Alex said, “Like before a game, if I’m just like
17
nervous, just like cheer for me and say something positive so I relax.” Kim wanted her parents to
18
enhance her confidence before games, “Just make me feel good and confident, that helps me play
19
better… just say ‘It’ll be fine, you’ll do well.’” Thus, parents could clearly play a role in helping
20
their children with mental preparation, and as Lindsay explained, “Sometimes I’ve gone to
21
games without my parents and I’m always way worse, ‘cause I’m so nervous and jumpy I drop
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 15
the ball.” It seems that the key issue was that athletes wanted their parents to understand how to
1
help them prepare mentally, which primarily involved helping them to relax.
2
During the Competition
3
Athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors during competitions were complex. Although,
4
in general, athletes wanted parents to take a ‘step back’ as competitions began. They identified
5
several specific preferences for behaviors parents should and should not display. In order to
6
organize these findings in a logical manner we separated the themes in terms of ‘dos’ and
7
‘don’t’s.’ We identified four behaviors that athletes would like parents to display during
8
competition (i.e., the ‘dos’) and three behaviors that athletes would prefer parents not display
9
(i.e., the ‘don’ts’
10
Do: Encourage The Entire Team. (n = 36 athletes). It appeared to be important that
11
parents value team rather than individual performances. As Jocelyn stated, “She’s [mom] not just
12
clapping for me, she’s clapping for the whole team. That’s what I like.” Similarly, Paige said that
13
when parents support the entire team, “It tells me that they’re not just here to watch me, that
14
they're comfortable with my whole team too.” Jenna made an interesting point when she said,
15
“When the parents know everybody…then like they’re cheering for everybody and like they’re
16
not just cheering for one person ‘cause then if their mom couldn’t make it that week then they
17
have somebody to cheer for them.”
18
Supporting the entire team was perceived to have a positive influence on the team. For
19
example, Erin explained, “I think it [support] brings the whole team up. I think everyone is able
20
to play better because you’re kind of excited that, that, people are supporting you.” Natasha
21
compared the level of support she perceived from all the parents on two teams she had played
22
for. She said, “Like I didn’t have that [team support from parents] for my volleyball team really
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 16
but for my basketball team we had that and I think it makes you a closer team and you work
1
harder together.” Ainsley shared the same perspective and said, “All the parents on our team
2
were there and every time we’d get a basket they would cheer and we’d, it’d just make us feel
3
happy and feel so good and made us go harder.”
4
Do: Focus on Effort Rather Than Outcome. (n = 36 athletes). Athletes indicated a
5
preference for parents to focus upon the effort the team displayed rather than being concerned
6
with the outcome of the game. For example, Jordan liked the parents on her team because,
7
“They’re always supportive they don’t really care if we win or lose just that we try our best.”
8
Tracy explained how parents on her team stopped her worrying about the outcome, “They’ll be
9
like ‘Oh I hope you have a good game, try as hard as you can.’ But they don’t really care, they’ll
10
just be like ‘OK so I hope, I hope you have a good game today and however it goes it goes.’”
11
The apparent consequence here was that by emphasizing effort rather than outcome,
12
athletes perceived little pressure to perform and had few concerns regarding their performance.
13
However, if parents were focused upon the outcome rather than effort it made competition less
14
enjoyable for athletes. For example, Claire felt that she always had to win to prevent her father
15
from being critical, “Sometimes like, my dad isn’t very supportive and stuff, it makes me not
16
wanna go to my sport… my dad always says, well you could’ve done this, you should have done
17
better, that kinda thing.”
18
Do: Interact Positively With Athletes Throughout The Game. (n = 34 athletes).
19
Encouragement for the team is displayed through positive interactions with athletes throughout
20
competitions. As Annie explained, “[Parents should] keep on being positive, like don’t say
21
anything negative like ‘cause you’re already under like a whole lot of pressure and just more
22
negative, or negativity would just like crack them.” Athletes appraised instances of parents
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 17
criticizing during competitions in a very negative light. As Sarah stated, “Sometimes parents,
1
they get a little like rowdy and they’re like, yell at you and they’ll say ‘No don’t do that, don’t do
2
this or something.’ Just be more encouraging and positive about it.”
3
Rather than criticizing players or displaying negativity during games players would like
4
their parents to clap and praise good plays. As Ainsley explained, they should “Just cheer… it’s
5
all about the cheering.” Similarly Maddie said, “Probably cheering you on, that’s the thing I like
6
the most... like I like them to say good job, keep going, that’s awesome and stuff.” Such support
7
was deemed to be particularly important during a close match or when the team is losing. As
8
Casey explained, “Just be like even more encouraging ‘cause I think that’s when you need your
9
parents there the most…so when you’re down just to be like ‘Come on guys, you can make it,
10
just a little harder.’”
11
Do: Maintain control of emotions (n = 36 athletes). Athletes wanted their parents to
12
attend their games and show an interest in the team’s performance (e.g., clapping and cheering).
13
However, athletes were clear that parents must maintain control of any extreme positive or
14
negative emotions that may arise when they are watching games. Maddie explained:
15
When they stand up and start like yelling that kind of makes me mad…like it’s kind of
16
annoying but like they’re really competitive, like, that always kind of bugs me it’s like
17
you’re not even on the court so why are you being so competitive about it?
18
Claire expanded on this point, saying, “Sometimes they just get outta control and stuff and I’ve
19
seen, some of the hockey games, I’ve seen parents from other sides physically fight over games,
20
that’s not cool.” Jaime had a similar story, “Parents get really into it and like yell at each other
21
and then there was like a fight between a couple of people… I’m just like, ew, you know, that
22
was a bit weird, I don’t think that’s really mature.”
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 18
Do Not: Draw Attention to Yourself or Your Child. (n = 28 athletes). These athletes
1
were young adolescents and as such, appeared to be highly sensitive to parental behaviors that
2
might draw attention either to their parent or themselves. For example, Hailey talked about her
3
father’s reactions in games, “Sometimes when my dad gets overexcited it makes me kind of feel
4
embarrassed ‘cause my dad’s like ‘Yes that’s my daughter right there!’” Alicia also explained,
5
“Like if I did really good I don’t want them to like gloat in front of everyone else.” In addition to
6
embarrassing behaviors, parents acting differently from other parents can also be distracting. As
7
Lindsey explained, “It’s weird when everyone else is quiet and like no one else is cheering at
8
anything, but if everyone’s cheering I don’t really care, because if everyone’s cheering it’s easy
9
to block it out.” Thus, athletes wanted parents to ensure that the behaviors they displayed did not
10
embarrass, distract, or annoy them or the team.
11
Do Not: Coach. (n = 29 athletes). During games parents should not try to coach the team.
12
Paige explained the problems this could create when she said, “They [some parents] think
13
they’re the coach, making all these calls about what you should do, when really that’s
14
contradicting to what your coach told you to do. It’s a little confusing… they act like the
15
coach…which isn’t their role.” Heather explained the confusion that may arise, when she said
16
“That [coaching] can be bad ‘cause if it’s your dad you try to do what he tells you to do but your
17
coach tells you something different and you don’t know what to do.” Tessa agreed, stating “It
18
annoys me because well, obviously they’re not the coach and it can get people distracted and
19
then they’ll do the wrong thing.” Thus, while it was plausible parents would try to provide
20
‘coaching like’ comments with the intention of helping the athletes, in fact the athletes found
21
such comments to be confusing and distracting at both an individual and team level.
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 19
However, there is one caveat to this preference. That is, if athletes perceive a parent to
1
have a high level of knowledge or experience in the sport or a good understanding of the team
2
goals or tactics they may provide specific instruction to their child before or after the game. For
3
example, Sarah liked her dad to provide her with a goal for the upcoming game. She said “My
4
dad gives me one thing to work on during the game, like one thing I didn’t do before that I
5
should really concentrate on this game.” Parents should only provide this information to their
6
own child, it must reinforce the coaches’ ideas, and be provided as a suggestion for the child
7
rather than a requirement or an expectation.
8
Do Not: Argue With Officials. (n = 31 athletes). We found that athletes viewed parents
9
arguing with referees as a distraction and a source of embarrassment. For example, Josie referred
10
to a situation when her dad had some issues with a referee and as she explained, “He [dad] did
11
get in a fight with the ref. I was like ‘You’re being an idiot.’ It was kind of embarrassing.” Later
12
in her interview Josie returned to this idea and said “I think like cheering and stuff’s OK and if
13
you’re into it like you can like say, ‘That was a foul,’ but you have to like drop it there. You
14
can’t, you shouldn’t be arguing with the ref.” And Paige explained that parents arguing with the
15
referee “Is pretty disrespectful. It makes me feel ashamed that they’re doing that for the, my
16
team.” Hailey agreed with these perspectives when she said, “What’s even worse is when the
17
parents start arguing with the ref. ‘Cause one, that’s kind of embarrassing for the kids ‘cause
18
pushy parents, but it’s also the ref’s job and what the ref says goes.”
19
After the Competition
20
Finally, athletes also reported preferences for parental behaviors post-competition.
21
Specifically they described how and when parents should provide feedback after games.
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 20
Provide Positive and Realistic Post-Game Feedback. (n = 33 athletes). After the game
1
athletes wanted to receive positively phrased feedback from their parents. Emily said, “They
2
usually say to me at the end of the game like ‘Oh, you made some really good saves or you did
3
some really good kicks’ or stuff like that yeah and so I like how they congratulate me.” Athletes
4
also wanted to receive positive post-game feedback from their teammates’ parents. Natasha said
5
“It’s really nice if you’ve come out after a game and somebody that like somebody else’s parent
6
comes up to you and said ‘Oh you had a really good game,’ like that always is really, really
7
nice.” Players indicating liking such positive feedback immediately after the game before the
8
team dispersed, but any constructive criticism should be provided away from others.
9
A subtle issue when receiving feedback from their own parents was that athletes
10
appreciated honesty. As Sarah stated, “They [my parents] are not like telling you you did great
11
when you really were horrible…like they’re being supportive but not to the extent of lying to
12
you.” Further, athletes would like a balance of feedback from their own parents. Specifically,
13
athletes indicated that they would like positive feedback first, followed by areas for
14
improvement, and then more positive feedback. For example, Natasha explained, “My parents
15
say like everything good that I did and then like just a couple of pointers maybe and then good
16
stuff again.” However, parents must not focus too much on negative aspects of the performance.
17
This idea was clearly illustrated by Claire when she compared the behavior of her mother and
18
father, “I like my mom cause she actually comes and supports me…but my dad just criticizes me
19
at the end of the game.” She continued to explain, “I’d like to keep my mom where she is [in
20
terms of feedback] and just tell my dad not to focus so much on the negative.”
21
When providing this more evaluative individual feedback athletes indicated needing their
22
parents to time their comments appropriately. Hailey explained, “They [parents] need to be able
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 21
to read their kids… So when the parents can pick-up on that and just leave you be and let you
1
focus then that’s good.” Crystal also explored this idea, she said “Sometimes at first I’m just like
2
really upset, they still try to talk to me in the car and I’m like, ‘Can we just talk about it later?’
3
And then they just try to talk about it later.” In general it appeared that parents should first
4
recognize that athletes wanted some time with their teammates immediately following games.
5
For example, Chloe said, “If we have like a team meet, like when we have our team meeting
6
outside like don’t go out because it’s just the team.”
7
Discussion
8
This study examined early adolescent female athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors
9
at team sport competitions. Findings were organized temporally in terms of athletes’ preferences
10
before, during, and after competitions. Before competitions athletes prefer parents ensure they
11
are physically and mentally prepared for the competition so the team has the best chance of being
12
successful. During games, maintaining a positive and relaxed environment was important for
13
athletes. This could be done by parents providing positive and encouraging reactions and
14
interacting with officials in a positive way. Behaviors parents display should not distract from
15
the game or attract excessive attention. Following games parents should allow the team time to
16
process the game outcome, provide positive comments to all the team, and ensure that athletes
17
are prepared for the next game if necessary. These results provide clear guidelines regarding
18
appropriate parental behaviors at youth sport competitions. Utilizing these findings to develop
19
educational resources for parents may help to ensure that the behaviors parents display at
20
competitions create the most supportive environment for youth sport teams.
21
Previous research has identified what behaviors parents display, or comments they make,
22
during competitions (e.g., Bowker et al., 2009; Holt et al., 2008; Kidman et al., 1999). However,
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 22
little consideration had been given to athletes’ specific preferences for parental behaviors
1
(Knight et al., 2009). The current study illustrated that athletes had specific preferences for
2
parental behaviors. The findings of the current study highlighted that coding parental behaviors
3
positively or negatively is a difficult task. For example, athletes wanted their parents to provide
4
positive encouragement during competition, but they did not want their parents to be excessively
5
positive and draw attention to themselves for fear of causing embarrassment. It has generally
6
been assumed in observations of parental behaviors that comments that reflect praise or
7
encouragement are positive features of parental involvement (e.g., Bowker et al., 2009; Holt et
8
al., 2008; Kidman et al., 1999). However, athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors appear
9
more complicated than may have been anticipated because, for example, excessive engagement
10
as a ‘positive’ behavior may not match athletes’ preferences.
11
Athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors varied in relation to temporal factors (i.e.,
12
before, during, or after competition). These findings suggest that a preference for parental
13
behavior is not just the behavior per se, but a preference for displaying the behavior at the
14
appropriate time, such as helping with physical and mental preparation before games. To our
15
knowledge, this is the first study that has specifically addressed the different behaviors that
16
athletes would like from their parents before, during, and after competitions. There are, however,
17
some interesting parallels between the current findings and previous studies which have shown
18
the stressors parents experience in relation to sport vary before, during, and after competition
19
(Harwood & Knight, 2009a; Harwood & Knight, 2009b). For example, before competition,
20
parental stressors include ensuring players are physically and mentally prepared for the game.
21
During the game, the majority of stressors parents encounter are associated with controlling their
22
own emotions and behaviors as they watch their children compete. Finally, post-competition
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 23
stressors arise in relation to parents perceiving themselves to have a lack of skills to help children
1
cope with the result of the game.
2
The time period following a competition may be particularly emotional for youth athletes
3
and parents (Harwood & Knight, 2009a; Lauer et al., 2010). Thus, understanding how athletes
4
would prefer parents to behave at this time is important to maximize athletes’ positive reactions
5
to competition. The current findings are consistent with previous research which has shown that
6
parents should try to understand and ‘read’ their children’s emotions after games and provide
7
feedback accordingly (Holt, Tamminen, Black, Mandigo, & Fox, 2009). Holt et al. suggested
8
that such open communication was a sign of an autonomy supportive parenting style.
9
By focusing upon athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors and how they varied
10
before, during, and after competition the findings of the current study address an important issue
11
that may add to the literature. We suspect researchers need to consider the extent to which
12
parents actual behaviors match their children’s preferences for parental behaviors. It is plausible
13
that when parents’ behaviors, and the timing of these behaviors, match children’s preferences
14
children would appraise their parents’ behavior positively. Although this is a speculative
15
conclusion that was not explicitly tested in the current study, it may help explain why different
16
children could interpret the same parental behavior (e.g., cheering) in positive or negative ways.
17
Teasing out the differences between preferred behaviors and actual behaviors within the
18
temporal context of competitions may enable a more sophisticated study of parental behaviors,
19
which can then be examined alongside different psychosocial variables (e.g., anxiety, enjoyment)
20
and provide a greater understanding of the consequences of parental behaviors in sport.
21
A strength of the study was that athletes were from a narrow and conceptually significant
22
age range (12-15 years), which helped to focus the findings around a specific developmental
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 24
period during which parental involvement in sport becomes increasingly complex (see Côtê,
1
1999). On the other hand, there was some variation in the athletes’ experiences in sport, which
2
was important given the remarkably consistent perspectives that were provided. Although the
3
interviews were relatively short in duration, we recruited a sufficiently large sample to obtain an
4
adequate level of data saturation. In fact, there was a high level of consistency between the
5
athletes in terms of the findings we reported.
6
The results of this study should be judged in terms of certain limitations. Due to the fact
7
we collected data from children attending summer camps and, due to REB requirements, we
8
were unable to obtain personal information (such as e-mail addresses), we did not complete any
9
member-checking interviews to confirm the veracity of our analyses. Additionally, whereas it is
10
important to obtain young athletes’ preferences for parental behavior to add to the literature, in
11
the future it will also be important to compare athletes’ preferences with how parents themselves
12
believe they should behave at competitions. As with most qualitative studies, the concept of
13
empirical generalizability does not apply. That is, these findings cannot be generalized far
14
beyond the sample studied. Rather, the principle of naturalistic generalizability can be applied,
15
which means that the findings may generalize to similar types of athletes in similar situations.
16
Another issue is that although there did not appear to be any differences in athletes’
17
preferences for parental behaviors based upon parental gender, qualitative research designs are
18
not particularly well suited for assessing between group differences. Given that previous
19
evidence has shown differences in children’s perceptions of their parents behaviors based upon
20
the parents’ gender (e.g., Babkes & Weiss, 1999; Leff & Hoyle, 1995; Sagar & Lavallee, 2010),
21
it is likely that further research is required to understand how preferences for mothers’ versus
22
fathers’ behaviors may vary.
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 25
The current findings may contribute to future research by demonstrating which
1
behavioral preferences to assess before, during, and after competitions. Indeed, the primary
2
contributions of the current study to the youth sport and applied sport psychology literature is
3
that it revealed athletes’ preferences for parental behaviors across different phases of
4
competitions. These findings have the potential to inform practice and the development of
5
educational materials for parents. We hope that by matching parents’ behaviors with children’s
6
preferences parents will be able to create an enjoyable, team atmosphere at competitions, which
7
will help athletes to perform and be confident and motivated.
8
9
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 26
Footnote
1
1
The final iteration of the results was influenced by feedback provided by the Associate Editor
2
and two anonymous reviewers, to whom we are very grateful.
3
4
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 27
References
1
Anderson, J.C., Funk, J. B., Elliott, R., & Smith, P.H. (2003). Parental support and pressure and
2
children’s extracurricular activities: Relationships with amount of involvement and
3
affective experience of participation. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24,
4
241-257. Doi: 10.1016/S0193-3973(03)00046-7
5
Babkes, M. L., & Weiss, M. R. (1999). Parental influence on cognitive and affective responses in
6
children’s competitive soccer participation. Pediatric Exercise Science, 11, 44-62.
7
Bois, J. E., Lalanne, J., & Delforge, C. (2009). The influence of parenting practices and parental
8
presence on children’s and adolescents’ pre-competitive anxiety. Journal of Sports
9
Science, 27, 995-1005. doi:10.1080/02640410903062001
10
Bowker, A., Boeknoven, B., Nolan, A., Bauhaus, S., Glover, P., Powell, T., & Taylor, S. (2009).
11
Naturalistic observations of spectator behavior at youth hockey games. The Sport
12
Psychologist, 23, 301-316.
13
Colucci, E. (2007). “Focus groups can be fun”: The use of activity-orientated questions in focus
14
groups discussions. Qualitative Health Research, 17, 1422-1433. doi:10.1177
15
/1049732307308129
16
Côté, J. (1999). The influence of the family in the development of talent in sport. The Sport
17
Psychologist, 13, 395-417.
18
DeFrancesco, C., & Johnson, P. (1997). Athlete and parent perceptions in junior tennis. Journal
19
of Sport Behavior, 20 (1), 29-36.
20
Eccles, J. S., & Harold, R. D. (1991). Gender differences in sport involvement: Applying the
21
Eccles’ expectancy model. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 3, 7-35.
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 28
Fraser-Thomas, J., Côté, J., & Deakin, J. (2008). Understanding dropout and prolonged
1
engagement in adolescent competitive sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 645-662.
2
doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2007.08.003
3
Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2004). Parental influences on youth involvement in sports. In M.
4
R. Weiss (Ed.), Developmental sport and exercise psychology: A lifespan perspective (pp.
5
145-164). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
6
Gould, D., Lauer, L., Rolo, C., Jannes, C., & Pennisi, N. (2008). The role of parents in tennis
7
success: Focus group interviews with junior coaches. The Sport Psychologist, 22, 18-37.
8
Gould, D., Tuffey, S., Udry, E., & Loehr, J. (1996). Burnout in competitive junior tennis players:
9
II. Qualitative analysis. The Sport Psychologist, 10, 341-366.
10
Harwood, C., & Knight, C. (2009a). Understanding parental stressors: An investigation of British
11
tennis-parents. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27, 339-351. doi:10.1080/02640410802603871
12
Harwood, C., & Knight, C. (2009b). Stress in youth sport: A developmental investigation of
13
tennis parents. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 447-456. doi: 10.1016/
14
j.psychsport2009.01.005
15
Holt, N. L., Tamminen, K. A., Black, D. E., Sehn, Z. L., & Wall, M. P. (2008). Parental
16
involvement in competitive youth sport settings. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 663-
17
685. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2007.08.001
18
Holt, N. L., Tamminen, K. A., Black, D. E., Mandigo, J. L., & Fox, K. R. (2009). Youth sport
19
parenting styles and practices. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 31, 37-59.
20
Kidman, L., McKenzie, A., & McKenzie, B. (1999). The nature and target of parents’ comments
21
during youth sport competitions. Journal of Sport Behavior, 22, (1), 54-68.
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 29
Knight, C. J., Boden, C. M., & Holt, N. L. (in press). Junior tennis players’ preferences for
1
parental behaviors at tournaments. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology.
2
Lauer, L., Gould, D., Roman, N., & Pierce, M. (2010). How parents influence junior tennis players’
3
development: Qualitative narratives. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 4, 69-92.
4
Leff, S. S., & Hoyle, R. H. (1995). Young athletes’ perceptions of parental support and pressure.
5
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 24, 187-203. doi:10.1007/BF01537149
6
Mayan, M. J. (2009). Essentials of qualitative inquiry. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
7
McCarthy, P. J., Jones, M. V., & Clark-Carter, D. (2008). Understanding enjoyment in youth
8
sport: A developmental perspective. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 9, 142-156. doi:
9
10.1016/j.psychsport.2007.01.005
10
Miles, M.B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis. London: Sage.
11
Omli, J., & LaVoi, N. M. (2009). Background anger in youth sport: A perfect storm? Journal of
12
Sport Behavior, 32, (2), 242-260.
13
Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3
rd
ed). Thousand Oaks, CA:
14
Sage.
15
Partridge, J.A., Brustad, R. J., & Babkes Stellino, M. (2008). Social influence in sport. In, T. S.
16
Horn (Ed.), Advances in sport psychology (3
rd
ed) (pp. 269-292). Champaign, IL: Human
17
Kinetics.
18
Power, T. G., & Woolger, C. (1994). Parenting practices and age-group swimming: a
19
correlational study. Research Quarterly for Sport and Exercise, 65, 59-66.
20
Richardson, L. (1994). Writing: a Method of Inquiry. In N. K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.)
21
Handbook of qualitative research (2
nd
ed., pp. 293-248). Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.
22
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 30
Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. (2005). Qualitative interviewing: the art of hearing data. Thousand
1
Oaks CA: Sage.
2
Sagar, S. S. & Lavallee, D. (2010). The developmental origins of fear of failure in adolescent
3
athletes: Examining parental practices. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 11, 177-187.
4
DOI:10.1016/j.psychsport.2010.01.004
5
Shields, D. L., Bredemeier, B. L., LaVoi, N. M., & Power, C. F. (2005). The sport behavior of
6
youth, parents, and coaches: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Journal of Research in
7
Character Education, 3(1), 43-59.
8
Statistics Canada (2008). Sports involvement by sex. Retrieved from http://11140.statcan.gc.ca
9
/101/cst01/arts18eng.htm?sdi=sport%20sports%20involvement%20sex
10
Ullrich-French, S., & Smith, A. L. (2006). Social and motivational predictors of continued youth
11
sport participation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 10, 87-95.
12
Vernon, A. (2002). More what works when with children and adolescents: a handbook of
13
individual counseling techniques. Champaign, IL: Research Press.
14
Wiersma, L. D., & Fifer, A. M. (2008). “The schedule has been tough but we think it’s worth it”:
15
The joys, challenges, and recommendations of youth sport parents. Journal of Leisure
16
Research, 40, 505-530.
17
Woolger, C., & Power, T. G. (2000). Parenting and children’s intrinsic motivation in age group
18
swimming. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, 596-607. doi: 10.1016
19
/S0193-3973(00)00055-1
20
Wuerth, S., Lee, M. J., & Alfermann, D. (2004). Parental involvement and athletes’ career in
21
youth sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5, 21-33. doi:10.1016/S1469-
22
0292(02)00047-X
23
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 31
Wylleman and D. Lavallee, D. (2004). A developmental perspective on transitions faced by
1
athletes. In M. Weiss (Ed.) Developmental sport and exercise psychology: A lifespan
2
perspective. (pp. 507527). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.
3
4
5
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 32
Appendix A: Interview Guide
1
Icebreakers
2
What is your name and how old are you?
3
What sports do you play competitively and how long have you been playing them?
4
How often do you train and compete for your sport?
5
Which of your parents is most involved in your sport? (In all additional questions make
6
reference to the parent that is identified as most involved in the athletes’ sport)
7
8
Transition questions: Parents at games
9
First, I would like you to talk generally about parents’ behaviors during sport events.
10
When you have been competing (in said sport) have you ever seen any examples of really
11
good parents? For example, parents who you feel were being very supportive of their
12
child or who were behaving very well? Can you describe what you have seen?
13
(Probe: What makes these are good/positive things for parents to do?)
14
Have you ever seen examples of parental behavior that you feel is inappropriate at
15
sporting events? This does not have to refer to your own parents, but anything you have
16
seen. Can you describe what you saw?
17
(Probe: What makes these are negative/bad things for parents to do?)
18
19
Parents’ behavior during games
20
Now we want you to talk more specifically about your mother/fathers behaviors during your
21
games. First, some short questions:
22
Do you like your parents coming to watch them play?
23
(Probe: What do you like them doing? Would you like anything to be different?)
24
Do you look at your parents when you are competing?
25
Do you listen to what they say when you are competing?
26
What kind of things do they say to you?
27
(Probe for children’s thoughts and feelings in response to parents’ comments)
28
Do you ever notice your parents’ ‘body language’ when you play? Body language
29
includes things like how your parents are sitting, whether they are making any particular
30
faces (whether they look happy, sad, angry), or if they are moving their arms around or
31
sitting with their arms crossed
32
(Probe for children’s thoughts and feelings in response to body language).
33
Now so slightly longer questions:
34
What are some of the best things your parents do while you are competing?
35
(Probe: What do you like about them?)
36
Are there any things you would like your parents to do differently while you are
37
competing?
38
(Probe: What would you prefer them to do? What is it about this?)
39
Do you think your parents can influence your own performance in any way?
40
(If yes, how. If no, why not? )
41
42
Interviewer summarizes main behaviors that children reported they liked and disliked.
43
PARENTAL BEHAVIORS IN TEAM SPORTS 33
Parents’ behaviors during games
1
Now we want to ask you if your parents’ behavior changes during games:
2
Do you ever notice your parents’ behavior changing during games?
3
(Probe: When you are winning, when you are losing, when it is close.
4
How do behavior changes make you feel (e.g. nervous, tense, happy, relaxed etc)
5
How would you like your parents to act during games?
6
(Probe: When you are winning, when you are losing, when it is close. Why?)
7
8
Parents’ behavior before games
9
Next we want to ask you about how your parents might help you prepare for games.
10
Do your parents do anything before games that help you prepare?
11
(Probe for examples. Do they like what their parents do?)
12
Is there anything you would like your parents to do differently before games?
13
(Probe for examples).
14
What would you like your parents to do before games?
15
16
Parents’ behavior after games
17
Now we are going to ask about parents behaviors after games.
18
What do you do when you have finished competing?
19
(Probe: do children react differently after a good/bad performance, a win or loss?)
20
What things do your parents’ do that you like after games?
21
(Probe for reasons children prefer certain behaviors).
22
What things would you like your parents to do differently after games?
23
(Probe for reasons children prefer certain behaviors).
24
How would you ideally like your parents to behave after games? What would you like
25
them to say?
26
27
Ending questions
28
If you had a chance to tell your parents how they could help you when you are competing
29
what would you say? (Probe: Before a game, during a game, after a game)
30
31
Final Activity
32
In order to summarize this interview and check we understood everything, we would like
33
you to help us create a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ for parents in youth sport.
34
[At this point we will use a flip chart and write responses on paper. First children will be
35
asked to list all the ‘dos’ which we will write down. The same process will be completed for
36
the ‘don’ts’. When the participants feel the list is complete, they will be thanked for their
37
participation and the interview will end].
38
39
40
... An important aspect of parental behaviours and interactions with their children in youth sport concerns the ways that parents and children communicate and interact with one another. Researchers in this area have explored parent-child communication and interactions prior to, during, and after competition, focusing on topics such as athlete preferences for parental behaviours across these periods (e.g., Elliott et al., 2018;Knight et al., 2010;Knight et al., 2011), parent and spectator sideline behaviour during competitions (Bowker et al., 2009;Dorsch et al., 2015;Holt et al., 2008;Kidman et al., 1999;Teques et al., 2018), and parent feedback and debriefing after competition (e.g., Elliott & Drummond, 2017a;Tamminen et al., 2017). In preparing for competitions, adolescent female athletes have indicated that they prefer parents to support them with their physical and mental preparation by helping them to relax and to enhance their confidence, and they expressed a desire for positive feedback and information about areas for improvement following competitions (Knight et al., 2011). ...
... Researchers in this area have explored parent-child communication and interactions prior to, during, and after competition, focusing on topics such as athlete preferences for parental behaviours across these periods (e.g., Elliott et al., 2018;Knight et al., 2010;Knight et al., 2011), parent and spectator sideline behaviour during competitions (Bowker et al., 2009;Dorsch et al., 2015;Holt et al., 2008;Kidman et al., 1999;Teques et al., 2018), and parent feedback and debriefing after competition (e.g., Elliott & Drummond, 2017a;Tamminen et al., 2017). In preparing for competitions, adolescent female athletes have indicated that they prefer parents to support them with their physical and mental preparation by helping them to relax and to enhance their confidence, and they expressed a desire for positive feedback and information about areas for improvement following competitions (Knight et al., 2011). During competitions, parents and spectators have been shown to make a variety of verbal comments identified as positive (praise or encouragements), instruction or performance feedback, negative (critical or corrective), derogatory, or neutral (Bowker et al., 2009;Holt et al., 2008;Kidman et al., 1999). ...
... Despite the contributions of the existing studies in this area, there are some limitations that provide points for further exploration. First, much of the research to date on interactions and communication between parents and athletes has relied largely on retrospective accounts of athletes' and parents' experiences of these interactions, gathered primarily through qualitative interviews (e.g., Elliott & Drummond, 2017a, b;Knight et al., 2011;Tamminen et al., 2017). Notwithstanding the value of these studies for advancing our understanding of parent-child communication, research in this area could be enhanced by adopting 'in-vivo' or 'naturalistic' approaches to data collection that capture parent-child interactions in real time. ...
Article
Objective Parents’ behaviours have important implications for youth athletes’ sport experiences, and researchers have begun to examine parental communication with youth athletes. However, there is a lack of information about the range of behaviours in parent-child interactions, and much of the existing research has focused on parental verbal comments. Thus, there is a need to better understand the quality, quantity, and types of sport-related communication between parents and athletes that occurs before and after sport events. The purpose of the present study was to examine the nature of parent-child communication during the car ride to and from sport practices and games. Design and Methods: Video recordings (N = 98 videos) of interactions during the car ride to and from sporting events were collected from 28 parent-child dyads (30 hours of video in total). Sport-related conversations were analyzed to identify verbal and non-verbal behaviours and patterns of responses between parents and athletes. Results The amount of time spent talking about sport-related topics was minimal (12.9%) compared to non-sport-related conversations (28.5%) or periods of silence (59.0%). Parents provided more praise about their child’s performance than athletes did themselves. Parents’ praise and criticism typically consisted of general or task-oriented comments, with few instances of ego-oriented praise or criticism. Parents asked closed/descriptive questions most frequently, while open/reflective questions were asked least often. In several instances, parents interjected before athletes could respond to parents’ comments. Conclusions The results of this study identify a wider range of verbal and non-verbal behaviours than previously reported in the literature on parent-athlete communication in sport. The patterns of interactions and responses identified in this study provide a starting point for further research to understand parent-athlete communication and its contribution to positive developmental outcomes for youth athletes.
... The impact of evident parental squeezing factor has been dissected equivalent to an assortment of psychosocial results, similar to intrigue and motivation, anyway has commonly based on the impact that obvious squeezing factor has on enthusiastic responses in sport (Neely, 2017). Numerous youthful competitors who see evident levels of squeezing factors from their folks similarly experience more raised degrees of negative energy for SP. ...
... Despite the fact that taking part in sports plays a vital role inside the general advancement of the student-athletes, an adverse consequence on academic accomplishment is the expense of interest (Neely, 2017). Indeed, even with the abundance of writing demonstrating a positive relationship between sports and academic accomplishment, connection isn't characteristic of causation (Sanchez, 2013). ...
... Such an observation is mirrored by the general sport parenting literature, whereby American and British (e.g. Gould et al., 2006;Knight et al., 2011Knight et al., , 2016 samples dominate the literature, in sports such as tennis and soccer (e.g. Clarke et al., 2016;Lauer et al., 2010). ...
Article
Full-text available
Parent-education programs in youth sport appear to provide an appropriate avenue to facilitate healthy parental involvement, enhance positive parental support, and help to relieve stressors placed on parents, coaches, and youth athletes. However, little is known about the efficacy, design, and evaluation methods utilized in parent-education programs in the youth sport context. The aims of the present systematic review were to examine: (1) the outcomes of parent-education programs which target psychosocial parental support; (2) the theoretical underpinnings of parent-education programs; and (3) measures utilized to evaluate parent-education programs in youth sport. A total of 12 articles met the inclusion criteria. All five quantitative studies yielded significant results. All three qualitative studies reported improvements in parents’ knowledge and skills. Only one mixed methods study reported a significant result, however, qualitative data suggested positive changes in parent-athlete relationships. An examination of underlying theoretical frameworks revealed five studies (42%) explicitly stated how theory informed their interventions. Finally, there was an absence of sport-specific measures utilized to evaluate changes in parents’ behavior and involvement. Future researchers should consider adopting behavior change theories when designing and implementing parent-education programs, and seek to utilize validated sport specific measures to examine changes in parents’ behaviors within the sporting context.
... However, most female athletes attributed that their parents' support and appreciated them very much and celebrate upon their achievements in rural areas. The findings of Knight, Neely, & Holt (2011) confirmed that parents interactions simplify some apparently complex systems that characterized parents' experiences. Consequently, they encourage their girls to exert most of the energy and discuss their sports progress even in the homes. ...
Article
Full-text available
The primary purpose of the study was to investigate the social and cultural factors which provide support to female athletes as well as to explore the interferences in their sports participation. Total 43 female student-athletes of secondary schools participated in six focus group interviews. Interviews of these focus groups were recorded and prepared notes from them. The findings revealed that parents support and appreciate their girls in sports at their achievements at a low level. It was revealed from the findings that female athletes have fewer facilities and rewards/incentives. It was found that female athletes were also criticized on their sports dresses in rural areas of Pakistan. On the other hand, few opportunities, sports dress, and gender inequalities were found as big hurdles in sports participation of female athletes due to male dominance. Parents, peers, siblings, and sports teachers should support their females in their sports participation.
... The present findings are in line with Sánchez-Miguel et al. [22], but not with other studies [39,44] where all of the athletes desired more parental pressure but, in specializing years, they desired more parental praise and understanding. Parental involvement is perceived differently by the athletes in each athletic development phase, and it can become more salient over the years [45][46][47]. As the present study was conducted on a relatively homogeneous sample, although representative, future research may compare different developmental phases also through longitudinal studies. ...
Article
Full-text available
Parents play a key role in the youth sports educational experience. They are responsible for the introduction of their children to physical or sporting education and their involvement has been associated with sport participation in early stages. The aims of this cross-sectional study were, first, to assess the perceived and desired parental involvement by children and, secondly, to examine their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with any specific behavior. 80 male soccer players filled the Parental Involvement in Sport Questionnaire (PISQ) before or after a training session in presence of a coach. PISQ results revealed excessive active involvement and pressure, insufficient praise and understanding and satisfactory directive behavior from children’s parents. Our findings suggest that excessive parental involvement can cause pressure on children who would prefer parental participation characterized by praise and understanding. A balance between a supporting involvement without putting too much pressure is needed by the parents. To prevent burnout and dropout and to facilitate future practice, parents should be counseled (possibly by a sport educator) on how to positively support their children concerning their sport experience.
Article
Full-text available
Nowadays athletes are forced to take a variety of nutritional supplements and regularly consult with nutritionists and sports physicians. However, there are also far more ambiguous ways to reach sporting heights: the use of certain banned substances. Normally, appropriate drugs are prescribed only to patients, but, paradoxically, athletes often become such patients in order to legally consume what is prohibited. The article seeks to clarify the manifestation of such behavior, its potential benefits, and its relationship to the concepts of sports law and sports sociology. The study revealed that the use of illicit drugs still remains in the gray area and there is still a lack of research perspective on inhalers containing beta-2 agonists. The main recommendation that follows from the article is that the WADA should scientifically investigate whether certain asthmatic symptoms during tough physical and psychological exertion can be equated to a medical diagnosis of asthma.
Article
Full-text available
Research exploring the processes and effects of parent-child social interaction in youth sport has been limited by an overreliance on retrospective questionnaire and interview-based designs. The purpose of the current study was to examine the naturally occurring parent-child interactions which unfold during the pre-competition car journey within British tennis. Specifically, the research questions focused on identifying the parental communicative practices that enabled (or limited) affiliative conversations about children’s upcoming tennis performance. Audio and video recordings were made of 13 parent-child dyads resulting in 4 h 45 min of parent-child interactions. These recordings were transcribed using the Jefferson (2004) system for capturing the production, pace, and organisation of social interaction. Conversation analysis revealed that children resisted or disengaged from the interaction when parents positioned themselves as having authority over, and entitlement to know about, the child’s upcoming performance. This positioning was achieved through giving instructions or advice about the child’s performance and through asking ‘test’ questions to which they already knew the answer. However, asking ‘wh-questions’ that enabled children to talk about their own areas to focus on, lead to extended sequences of affiliative talk. From an applied perspective, these findings highlight the importance of asking genuinely open questions that construct the child as having ownership of their tennis development and performances.
Article
As important socializing agents of adolescents, parents may substantially influence adolescents’ physical activity but their roles in adolescents’ physical activity experience have not been sufficiently studied. Furthermore, there is a dearth of research on potential mechanisms through which parents may promote adolescents’ positive physical activity experience. Using a longitudinal sample of 464 urban and primarily Hispanic and African American adolescents, this study examined the impact of parental support on adolescents’ physical activity experience. Results of structural equation modeling showed that after controlling for adolescents’ gender, body mass index, and perceived overall health, parental support positively affected adolescents’ restructuring ability (i.e., ability to construct meaningful and satisfying activities during unpleasant experiences) and intrinsic motivation (i.e., activity participation driven by inherent interest and enjoyment) in physical activity, which in turn positively affected adolescents’ physical activity experience. No significant gender differences were found in these relationships. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine temporally distal influence at a three-month interval of perceived parental responsiveness on athletes’ goal accomplishment, trait cognitive sport anxiety, and thriving. Young players (154 males, 51 females, M = 12.50 years, SD = 0.65) involved in rugby, basketball, and handball participated in the study. Initially, participants set three goals to accomplish over the next three months and completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of their parents’ responsiveness, perceived self-efficacy, and self-esteem. Three months later, participants completed questionnaires assessing their goal accomplishment, worry about sport performance, and thriving. The results showed that athletes’ perceptions of their mother’s/father’s responsiveness, mediated by perceived athletes’ self-efficacy to accomplish their goals, influenced their goal accomplishment and trait cognitive sport anxiety three months later. The results also showed that athletes’ perceptions of their mother’s/father’s responsiveness, mediated by athletes’ self-esteem, influenced athletes’ thriving and trait cognitive sport anxiety three months later. Overall, the present study uniquely contributes to the understanding of parent-athlete relationships by showing that athletes’ perceptions of their mother’s and father’s responsiveness influence certain distal outcomes three months later (i.e., goal accomplishment, sports anxiety, and thriving) while mediated by self-efficacy and self-esteem.
Article
Substantial research has been conducted on children's experiences in youth sports, and on parental influences on children's' affective responses to participation, yet little is known about how parents themselves are impacted by organized programs for their children. The purpose of this study was to understand the positive and negative aspects of parental involvement in youth sports from a sample of 10 focus groups with 55 parents. Parents identified four global themes including: (a) parent joys, (b) parent challenges, (c) factors explaining parental behavior, and (d) adult responsibility. The implications of this study are to provide youth sport leaders, practitioners, and researchers with an understanding of the concerns youth sport parents have in regards to parental conduct at youth sport events.
Article
This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches' perceptions of the parent's role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches' responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents' setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child's total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.