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With South Australian families concerned about inappropriate conduct at junior sporting events, new research will tackle the reasons for poor parenting behavior and unreasonable pressure on children to win, as part of a project exploring a broader parental engagement in youth sport.

Supported by the Office of Recreation, Sports and Racing, researchers will for the first time help establish protocols that improve how community sports clubs engage parents to optimize positive behaviors and maximize participation in their children’s activities. children.

The community study will include numerous focus groups, one-on-one interviews and field observations, as well as immersion in community sport settings.

Project Manager Dr Sam Elliott, of Sport, Health, Activity, Performance and Exercise Research Center (SHAPE) at Flinders University, said the goal of the project is to explore how organized youth sports engage parents throughout their journey, develop protocols to improve engagement practices, while evaluating the feasibility of current protocols with key stakeholders.

“Parents can pose a risk to youth sport by pressuring children to win, having unrealistic expectations, engaging in confrontational behavior with coaches and verbally abusing other participating children.

“This will be the first international study of its kind and will generate knowledge to improve parental involvement in youth sport and help develop a political understanding of sport and parenting among young people.”

“The research will place Australia at the forefront of the practice of maximizing participation by improving the quality of parental involvement.”

Dr Sam Elliott had previously found that well-meaning parents put too much pressure on their children.

The results of this research aim to:

  • Influence the way clubs and coaches initiate and maintain communications with parents and volunteers in youth sport.
  • Provide evidence of the importance of strengthening parental involvement in improving health outcomes associated with long-term sport participation.
  • Provide legitimate evidence of track record with industry for future CRA liaison projects designed to improve youth sport outcomes.

Recreation, Sports and Running Minister Corey Wingard says it is important to ask why this type of behavior is happening and find appropriate ways to address it.

“Sadly, there is a minority in our community who tarnishes children’s sport with bad behavior and irresponsible actions on the sidelines.

“I look forward to seeing the results of this important study supported by the Office of Recreation, Sports and Racing.

“We should do all we can to encourage participation in sport and create a safe environment in which our children can be active.”

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