n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Coaches' perceptions of parental involvement in youth sport : a qualitative approach : youth sports

Volume 14, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Coaches' and parental involvement in youth sport offer numerous benefits; a medium through which the lives of youth can be nurtured in lessons of life and values by reducing anti-social behaviour and by enhancing their self worth through various levels of sport participation. Researchers have acknowledged the influential and overzealous role that parents play in bringing out the best in their children, a situation often detrimental for their children; a concern that suggests that parents often go beyond their role of being parents to assume a role of a coach. In addition, there have been well documented reports of instances of parents engaged in abusive, obtrusive and controlling behaviour towards sport coaches, in countries like the United States. Literature review also suggests that such trends are also permeating in developing countries like South Africa. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine coaches' perceptions of parental involvement in youth sport. A qualitative approach, which is widely used as an exploratory mechanism to gather information, was adopted to obtain information regarding parental involvement in sport. An experience survey using key informants was used to collect data at different coaching venues in the Gauteng province of South Africa. A total of 22 youth sport coaches who were four years and more in a coaching position were interviewed. Positive and negative aspects regarding parental involvement emerged from the analytical narrative of the coaches. These narratives were categorized into the following themes : expectations, support, pressure and knowledge. Whilst coaches acknowledged the instrumental role parents play in enhancing children's participation in sport, they also cautioned that parents should remain within their boundary spanning role of being parents rather than coaches in order to achieve beneficial and reciprocal outcomes for their children and their teams. Recommendations emanating from this study are provided. Whilst limited in its sample size, narratives from sport coaches do provide an emerging debate in parental involvement in sport and an antecedent for further research.

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