At a time when parents have become more demanding of their children’s sporting careers from such a young age the relationship between coaches, parents and some governing bodies appear fractured to say the least.
‘Working with Parents in sport’ is a uk based company helping support parents to give their child the best possible sporting experience.
The increased coverage and exposure of leading sportspeople has meant more and more parents wish for that for their child from the moment they show a modicum of ability, leading to them living their life through their child.
Twenty years ago children went out to play sport for the fun of the game and if they became successful and were able to make a living from it then that was great. It was not the primary motivation for parents setting out their children on their sporting careers.
Many parents from the moment they see their child in sports kit and they begin to look like mini-adults their expectation of their child has increased considerably.
The increased media coverage, analysis on the sky sports channels has meant many parents who have no experience in the field of coaching suddenly think they can assist and coach their child, this can lead to a toxic mix between coach and parent and ultimately the child suffers.
As obesity rates continue to rise in the UK, many young people are giving up sport in their teenage years due to some of the pressures, behaviours put on them by parents during their formative years and they simply fall out of love with sport.
We all have a responsibility to address this. Sport and physical activity should be seen as a lifetime investment for our children, not a short term gain.
In the UK we need to go back to basics and see sport for what it is, a chance for our children to learn experiences for life.
Teamwork, dealing with adversity, friendships, sportsmanship are all valuable traits in life and not just in sport.
We need to work hard to link the triangle back together. The working relationship between parent, coach and child in the hope that we can give the next generation of children every chance of maximising all the positives that sport has to offer.
Gordon MacLelland set up ‘Working with Parents in Sport’ after 20 years as a teacher and as a coach to all age levels from 7 year olds to Adults.
He has a BA/Hons degree in Sports Science from University College Chester and a PGCE from Lancaster University.
He is a qualified teacher and has been Director of Sport at an independent prep school in the UK for the last 10 years. He has worked in schools in both the UK and New Zealand for the last 16 years.
He is the author of two books, ‘Sporting Do’s and Don’ts- A pocket guide for parents of children in sport’ and ‘Parenting in Football’ (due to be released soon). In recent times he has become a parent to two children and the early sporting experiences of his own children prompted him to set up the company as well as write the two books above.
When he speaks he brings a wealth of experience to working with parents gathered through 20 years as a teacher and coach as well as a parent currently involved in children’s sport.