Parental coaching: An exploration of how parents perceive the effects of their comments on child performance

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to take a phenomenological approach to explore the perceptions of what role parents of athletes believe they serve by reflecting on the cognitions (words) they have expressed during “parental coaching.” Cognitive behavioral theory was used to guide this study. The following research questions were explored: How do parents perceive their acts of parental coaching in relation to the effect it has on their child athlete? What role do parents believe they serve in relation to their child athlete and their sport? What do parents believe “parental coaching” means, and what are their thoughts regarding how they measure up with that definition? Does a parent’s coaching behavior vary depending on situational aspects (games vs practice)? What effect do parents believe they have on their child’s mindset, performance, and overall enjoyment of the sport? Do parents believe there are any consequences to their “parental coaching”? Twenty structured interviews were completed by parents of athletes. Data obtained was transcribed, coded and triangulation was used to determine credibility. In this study, five themes were identified: Parent as Life Coach, Support and Encouragement, Daughter’s Receptiveness Parent’s Financial Commitment to Results and Parenting Differences by Gender . Under Parent as Life Coach, a sub theme of Timing was found. Parents in this study believed their parental coaching to be less related to the act of coaching in the specific sport and more related to being a Life Coach. Commentary related to the child’s performance was also enhanced or reduced based on timing. Support and Encouragement was found to be a way in which parents universally defined parental coaching and was prevalent when discussing a parent’s overall role. Daughter’s Receptiveness was a defining factor in the amount of commentary a parent had with their child and what was said. Lastly, themes of Parent’s Financial Commitment to Results and Parenting Differences by Gender were presented organically. Many parents noted the importance of their expectations being met due to the amount of money that was invested in the sport. Parents also noted the delivery of information was different when it came from the father.

Parental coaching, Sports