Parental involvement in youth sports: The good, the bad and the ugly



(Last part)

Mothers play an equal, if not more important, role in the psychological and behavioral development of our young athletes.

“Although we are most likely to initiate a child’s involvement in youth sport, it is the mother that is more likely to provide the long-term support required of our child’s continued participation”, he added.

Young athletes tend to perceive their mothers as being more positive and supportive while fathers may be more inclined to provide critical or evaluative feedback regarding the child’s involvement in sports.

Mothers may be more inclined to provide emotional and provisionary support.

Children learn from watching others and copying the behavior they see demonstrated.

It is most often that the parent is the first person to introduce a child to sports, and parental involvement could affect whether a child enjoys the experience or not.

Parental involvement in sports can be looked at as a continuum from non-involvement to over-involvement. Or it could range from low to high and from positive to negative.

A moderate level of involvement is the desired optimum level of parental involvement.

Although there may be a general increase in the number of negative parental behavior at youth sports events, the majority of parents behave in an agreeable manner.

“It is important to create an atmosphere that puts the interests of our child before winning,” said Llaguno.

Parenting children in sports is a potentially challenging endeavor.

It is easy to lose perspective and put pressure on children rather than keep them motivated to participate.

Build the children’s self-esteem by complimenting effort and giving positive feedback after performances.

Another way to keep sport enjoyable is to practice sport skills with our children or play sports together in a non-competitive setting.

Emphasizing skill development and enjoyment gives children something positive to focus on and enables them to feel competent and successful on and off the field.

We must remind children that sports are a great way to make new friends and build positive and empowering relationships with peers.

Parental support is associated with greater enjoyment of sport, better performance and a positive self-worth.

Parental pressure often results in discontent, stress, poor performance and negative self-worth among young athletes.

Things are not always going to go the way they are planned and it is the bounce-back mentality that will help individuals persevere.

A crucial part of parental involvement is to teach the children to strike a balance between family and sports.

Parents play the largest role in the development of children.

Children learn from parents who serve as their main role models.

Children also learn values and attitudes from parents.

Lastly, the role of parents in youth sports is unquestionable but caution must be taken to ensure that the development of the children and their enjoyment of the activity are not hindered.


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