Style Matters


Style Matters 

When referring to coaching as a profession we consciously revert to the norms of our role and responsibilities and perhaps we as coaches have been inclusively shaped to place an isolated degree of importance upon components such as physical, technical, tactical and management skills (Miller & Kerr, 2002). While the latter is of significances in developing our next generation of participants, we must also assert respect and acknowledgment to the role parents play (Stein et al.1999)  in influencing the coach-athlete-relationship, social environment and the level of enjoyment and participation within the modern youth sport (Jowett and Timson-Katchis, 2005). In the same way, we must also recognize parenting style(s) and how these impact the prior statements. Therefore, there is a necessity to better understand parenting styles and it influences on youth participants.

As sports in general evolves and the rewards are considerably greater, these influences can be positive and/or negative in their nature. According to Côté and Hay (2002), parenting styles can have positive and negative effect on children’s values and beliefs.  Parenting styles (Côté, 1999; Maccoby 1992) have been acknowledged as one of the influencing factors that contribute towards children’s level of participation in sport (Brustad, 1993; Hellstedt, 1987; Stein et al., 1999,).  It’s vital that we are conscious of such parenting styles as identified by (Côté and Hay, 2002a; Baumrind, 1978) as authoritarian, permissive, and authoritative, past research has also included a fourth parenting style called neglectful.

Based on the research in the sporting environment by (Maccoby,1992; Hellstedt, 1987) who proposed that the authoritative parent (rather than the authoritarian or permissive) is the best at developing a child’s self-esteem, achievement, motivation and sense of competence.

  • “The authoritative parenting style is about setting limits, reasoning with kids, and being responsive to their emotional needs”

It’s vitally important we can better understand all styles and their effects, Baumrind, (1973) termed “Authoritarian parents “as those who use the assertion of power to guide their children. This approach contributes towards a restrictive area for the child to question or discussion anything, and therefore negatively affects a child’s expressiveness and independence (Hill, 1995; Shumow et al., 1998). Baumrind (1978) continued to described permissive parenting as self- actualization, or the natural tendency of children to learn on their own all they need to know and to act on this knowledge when ready to do so. Permissive parents are warm, loving, and child-centered, but they are prone to sudden outbursts of anger when they reach their capacity of tolerance.

As a result, “There is no way in which parents can evade having a determining effect on their children’s personality, character, and competence” (Baumrind, 1978).

As we conclude, the blog we mustn’t overlook the role and styles of parenting in youth sports and its influence on the level of participation and enjoyment. It can be seen, that coaches should attempt to understand the social needs of communicating with parents, in order to enrich and improve the opportunities the child receives within youth sports. Developing these attributes are twofold, 1) help understand the parents and their role/influence and 2) develop the child. Personally, I wish coach education programs and national governing bodies would preserve the time, effort and resources to incorporate the aspects of parental involvement in sports and the social skills required to effectively work with the parents and participants.

Thank you

The Sporting Influencer


Brustad, R.J. (1993) Who Will Go Out and Play? Parental and Psychological Influences on Children’s Attraction to Physical Activity. Pediatric Exercise Science, 5 (3): 210-223

Baumrind, D. (1978). Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth & Society, 9(3), 239-251.

Côté, J. (1999) The influence of the Family in the Development of Talent in Sport. The Sport Psychologist, 13 (4): 395-417

Côté, J. and Hay, J. (2002a) “Family influences on youth sport performance and participation.” In Silva, J.M. and Stevens, D.E. (ed.) Psychological Foundations of Sport. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. pp. 503-519

Hill, N. E. (1995). The relationship between family environment and parenting style: A preliminary study of African American families. Journal of Black Psychology, 21, 408- 423.

Hellstedt, J.C. (1987) The Coach/Parent/Athlete Relationship. The Sport Psychologist, 1 (2): 151-160

Jowett, S. and Timson-Katchis, M. (2005) Social Networks in Sport: Parental Influence on the Coach-Athlete Relationship. The Sport Psychologist, 19 (3): 267-287

Maccoby, E.E. (1992) The Role of Parents in the Socialization of Children: An Historical Overview. Developmental Psychology, 28 (6): 1006-1017

Miller, P.S. and Kerr, G.A. (2002) Conceptualising Excellence: Past, Present and Future. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14 (3): 140-153

Stein, G.L., Raedeke, T.D. and Glenn, S.D. (1999) Children’s Perceptions of Parent Sport Involvement: It’s Not How Much, But to What Degree That’s Important. Journal of Sport Behaviour, 22 (4): 591-601

Shumow, L., Vandell, D. L., & Posner, J. K. (1998). Harsh, firm, and permissive parenting in low-income families. Journal of Family Issues, 19, 438-507.

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