Presentation on theme: "Youth Sport Coach-Parent Relationships: Increasing Union and Decreasing Problems William Russell, PhD Missouri Western State University Presented at the."— Presentation transcript:
Youth Sport Coach-Parent Relationships: Increasing Union and Decreasing Problems William Russell, PhD Missouri Western State University Presented at the 2005 Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MOAHPERD)
Overview: Youth Sport is endemic to American Society: –Approximately 3 million men and women volunteer time as coaches, league administrators, officials –Children are encouraged to participate in youth sports b/c they are thought to promote fundamental values: Character Teamwork Determination Physically active lifestyles Problem solving Others? The “Athletic Triangle” is critical to making Youth Sport work: 1.The Coach 2.The Parent 3.The Athlete – Coaches are in a position to channel parents’ concerns in a way that heightens the value of the athlete’s sport experiences.
The Developmental vs. The Professional Model of Sport: Youth sports provide educational medium for development of psychosocial characteristics Professional sports are a commercial enterprise –Main goals: Entertainment and Make Money –Negative problems occur when applying professional model mindset to youth sport
Research indicates that youth athletes (8-14) participate for the following reasons: 1. To have fun 2. To improve skills 3. For the thrills and excitement 4. To be with their friends / make new friends 5. To succeed and to win
When do we know that winning may be out of perspective? 1. When a display of comradeship with opponent is considered weakness 2. When a coach instructs athletes to take unfair advantages of an opponent 3. When youth are coaxed to engage in unethical behaviors 1.Cheat 2.Drugs 4. When winning the game becomes more important than winning friends, respect, self-confidence, self-worth ……
Parents’ Responsibilities and Challenges: When a child enters a sport program parents automatically take on obligations A common question asked: –When is your child old enough to participate in youth sports? A more rare but better question: –When is your child old enough for you to get involved in youth sports? How would you react if: A soccer player on the other team intentionally tripped your child and he lay on the ground crying? Your child’s tennis opponent repeatedly called good shots from your child”out” when you see they clearly landed in? You overheard a parent sitting nearby in the stands making derogatory comments about your son like “we keep losing because of him”? Would you have the same response if your child was 16 instead of 6?
Parents’ Responsibilities and Challenges (cont): How do parents react when they feel their son/daughter is threatened? In youth sport: –They might yell out something to the referee from the sidelines –Say something directly to the other child (the instigator) –Walk on the court and temporarily stop the game In a way, even though these actions might not help the youth athlete, all these actions are perfectly normal.
When is Your Child Old Enough for You to get involved in Youth Sports?: The question to be asked of parents is: –“When will you be comfortable with allowing your child to be tackled, tripped, yelled at, cheated, or left out?” 3 major things parents can do to make their child’s introduction to sport a positive experience: 1. Don’t support a program that encourages competition for youth (at the expense of skill development) 2. Look for sport activities that the child will enjoy 3. Consider whether the child (under 12) needs to participate in competitive sports at all.
The Reverse Dependency Trap: All parents identify with their children’s participation to some extent In some cases, identification becomes excessive Parents begin to define their own self-worth in terms of son’s / daughter’s success The Trap reveals itself in certain ways: 1. Over-identification 2. Selfish Dreaming 3. Confusing investment with sacrifice 4. Competing with other parents
The technique of Challenging Parents to examine appropriate behaviors in and out of sport: Canadian Youth Hockey put together interesting PSAs: “If it’s not right off the rink, what makes it OK on the rink?” hide_med.mov potato_med_e.mov pin_med.mov
Examples of ways parents can cross the line between positive and negative support: Giving Encouragement Being a parent of a young athlete requires commitment in terms of time and energy This involves: –Financial support –Regular game attendance –Practicing with the child –Informational support Becoming Over-Involved Parents who act in ways that upset the athlete can create tension not only for the family, but for teammates and other parents.
Examples of ways parents can cross the line between positive and negative support: Providing Constructive Criticism Common for a parent to teach a child new skills if the parent also played the game. Skill building can take place in an informal way Becoming a Pushy Parent Problems arise when a parent’s tendency to be supportive clashes with the coaching process
Examples of ways parents can cross the line between positive and negative support: Being a role model: Children learn far more from their own observations of adult behavior than from verbal instructions on how to behave. Becoming Abusive: Action speak louder than words: If you tell the child to display self-control and you “lose it” – all your efforts are undermined.
Commitments and Affirmations: The following questions serve as reminders of which the parents must be able to answer “yes”: 1. Can the parents share their son/daughter? 2. Can the parents accept their child’s disappointments? 3. Can the parents show their child self-control? 4. Can the parents give their child some time? 5. Can the parents let their child make his/her own decisions?
Positive Conduct at Sport Events: Smith and Smoll (1999) – have researched youth sport – Make the following recommendations: 1. Don’t interfere with your child’s coach 2. Don’t shout instructions / yell at youth athletes 3. Do remain in the spectator area during the sport event 4. Don’t make abusive comments to athletes, parents, officials, or coaches 5. Do express unconditional encouragement and support for the child 6. Do lend a hand when a coach asks for help
Who are these “Problem Parents”? 1. Disinterested Parents: –Their absence is what upsets the athlete –Coaches need to find out the reason for their absence 2. Overcritical Parents –They give impression it is “their” game –Coaches need to tactfully make overcritical parents aware of this 3. Parent “Behind-the-Bench” Screamers: –Are vocal to everyone –Everyone is their target – “everyone” –If the parent can handle, give an assistance role –League administrators can help 4. Sideline Coaches: –Are often found leaning over the bench to make “suggestions” –Coaches need to convey “ground rules” about instruction during games 5. Overprotective Parents: –They frequently threaten to remove their athlete from the dangers involved –Make sure these parents understand the nature of the sport
The relationship between parental involvement and youth athlete stress: LowmoderateHigh Parental involvement Anxiety
An Effective Intervention for Youth Sport Coaches: The Coach-Parent Meeting: The objectives of the meeting: 1.To improve parents’ understanding of youth sport setting 2.To gain cooperation and support 3.To set the groundwork for open communication and questions 1. Planning and Preparation- –If well planned – meeting should take 1-1 ¼ hours –Plan for maximum attendance; as early in the season as possible –Different views on whether athletes should attend –Coordinate another team function for maximum attendance (e.g. uniform distribution)
The Coach-Parent Meeting: 2. Content and Conduct of the Meeting: Opening (approx. 5 minutes) Should begin with general introductions Explain your background, experience, special training experiences The focus should be on your philosophy about athlete development in sport Do not begin the meeting by talking about shortcomings (e.g. lack of experience with coaching a sport, a given age level) Objective of Youth Sports (approx. 10 minutes) Focus on the goals and values that are a major part of your coaching Find out what objectives the parents would like to have emphasized
The Coach-Parent Meeting (cont): Details of the Program (approx. 10 minutes): Specifically, consider clarifying the following: 1. Equipment needs and purchase requirements 2. Sites / schedules for practices / games 3. Team travel plans 4. Lengths / structures of practices 5. Team rules and guidelines 6. Any special rule modifications 7. Info about medical examinations 8. Fund-raising projects 9. Communication systems (e.g. cancellations) 10. Postseason events, play
The Coach-Parent Meeting (cont): Coaching Roles and Relationships (10 minutes): Parents benefit from knowing about the coach’s leadership style This helps for a couple of reasons: 1.It helps to provide context for parents to understand why the coach does things a certain way during games 2.It can be reinforced that parents use the same style when they practice with their children 3.It provides a good occasion for parents to clarify any misunderstandings about the coach’s style
The Coach-Parent Meeting (cont): Parents’ Responsibilities and Challenges (20 minutes): In many ways, this is the “meat” of the session. Coach should discuss: 1.Talking with children about sport selection (or position) and level of play they want to achieve 2.The dangers for parents of the reverse dependency trap 3.Parent commitments and affirmations (those 5 important questions) 1.Can the parent share their son/daughter? 2.Can the parents accept their child’s disappointments? 3.Can the parents show their child self-control? 4.Can the parents give their child some of their time? 5.Can the parents let their child make his/her own decisions? 4.Rules and conduct at sport events: The coach is responsible for the team; the parents are responsible for their behavior. 5.A general distinction between “task” and “ego” orientation in youth athletes.
The Coach-Parent Meeting (cont): Coach-Parent Relations (approx. 5 minutes) Here the coach tells parents about his/her willingness to discuss any problems that might arise Let parents know the times, places, circumstances best suited for discussions Closing (approx. 20-30 minutes) Conclude the session with a question/answer session with parents. Is perhaps the most important part of the meeting Provide some opportunity for parents to ask one-one questions immediately after the meeting The Parent-Coach meeting alleviates many problems – BUT YOU MUST BE PREPARED FOR IT!
Summary: The Coach-Parent Meeting is important for developing positive parental involvement / alleviating problems with “problem parent behaviors” later on. Simple Intervention that is worth the effort. Idea/Thoughts on: –Personal disasters? –Personal Success stories?