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The Role of a Sporting Parent: Parents Just Don’t Understand...or do they? | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12) | ConnectedCoaches

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Home » Groups » Coaching Children (Ages 5-12) » blogs » Jon Woodward » The Role of a Sporting Parent: Parents Just Don’t Understand...or do they?
Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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The Role of a Sporting Parent: Parents Just Don’t Understand...or do they?

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Will Smith, in his previous guise of the Fresh Prince and accompanied by DJ Jazzy Jeff, rapped about how parents just don’t understand. Whilst it was aimed at parents not understanding teenagers growing up, can this be applied to parents understanding sport? I would hope not.
 
I have moved from coach to parent to sport parent with ease. My wife and I encourage our children to be active and take part in sport. However, I must admit to feeling a little lost as the coach in me wants to support this development but I’ve no background or knowledge of the sports they’re involved in. The coach educator in me keeps the coach in me in check – there is no sense in giving out wrong information. It leaves me feeling a little lost, especially not being able to watch the coaching sessions and being met with a primary school age performers answer when posed the question, “What did you do today?” – “Nothing”
 
So here are some tips for parents, coaches and those of us who are both:

  • Enjoy the involvement of your child in sport. It shouldn’t be a stress but a character building experience for both of you and something you can share together from playing, watching and talking about it.

  • Know when to pass your performers on. It is a hard realisation that there may be more suitable coaches out there who can develop your child/performer more than you can. The sense of letting go is the same for a parent or a coach.

  • Take an interest but not too much so you confuse, overload with information and even put them off. Author Daniel Coyle shared an interesting view of Parenting in Silence.

  • Appreciate what the sport and activity is doing for your child – from social confidence all the way through to a podium.

  • It can be a costly experience for sessions and lessons but try and consider it an investment in your child’s development, health and well being.

  • Develop positive role models and experiences. Beth Tweddle and Louis Smith are now my daughter’s favourite sporting icons, along with a whole host of faces from the Olympics and Paralympics she recognises and talks about from the TV screen and magazines. The impact of both Games this summer had a startling impact in our household – from us all jumping manically around on Super Saturday, both daughters doing the Mo-Bot and the Bolt - to the admission that “I don’t think I could win gold in the athletics...but I can in gymnastics” bringing a tear to my eye and a glow in my heart.

So I sit with the other parents and wait for our potential superstars to emerge from the gym - and made a mental note to thank my parents for doing the same for me.

I guess parents do understand and are often an undervalued resource in the development of our sporting stars of the future.

Jon Woodward, Coach Education Advisor

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