Why parents play such a crucial role and why it’s easy to get it wrong
One of the most influential sources of a child’s psychological and sociological development is theirparents.A coach may interact with a young player from between one to, say, five hours a week, but this pales into insignificance when compared with the time a parent spends with their child.
It is primarily in the home that a child’s beliefs, values, perceptions, attitudes and goals are shaped. Research has shown that the interest and support of parents is vital to a young player’s continued participation in sport. It has, however, also shown that much of the pressure and anxiety young players feel in sport can come from their parents.
Parents have an extremely influential role to play in their child’s tennis experience, whatever the level of their involvement, but this can be of both a positive and constructive, or negative and destructive nature.
So why do parents become so animated and involved in their child’s sport? Parents often have a very strong desire to make things right, this ‘righting reflex’ has a tendency to make parents over-zealous in their attitude towards their child.
This often well intentioned desire can lead to confrontation rather than collaboration, telling the child what they should or should not have done as opposed to respecting the child and believing that their child has the answer and encouragingly drawing it out of them.
Some parents may perceive that their child’s competence is their competence. They may wish to live or re-live their sporting experience through their child and assume their child has to do as they did. A child’s participation in tennis can offer parents the opportunity to rewind their own sporting experience and make up for their own perceived ‘failures’ and missed opportunities.