Characteristic issues surrounding parents in youth sport include examples of negative verbal and non-verbal behaviour demonstrated during competition. Numerous studies have done well to highlight while parents possess a great potential for positively influencing the sport experience, they can also exert a considerable negative influence by engaging in a range of non-preferred and inappropriate behaviours. There is certainly a need to further understand the nature of the sport-parenting paradigm given that encouraging and supportive parental involvement is a critical factor in promoting enjoyment and intrinsic motivation among participants. This is particularly important given that children's preferred parental behaviours are temporally dependent. That is, different types of parental involvement are preferred before, during and after competitive sport. However, one aspect of parental involvement in youth sport which has been largely overlooked is the post-game setting. Drawing on qualitative data derived from focus groups and individual interviews with 86 parents and children involved in junior Australian football, this paper reveals an aspect of the sport-parenting role which can further enhance or undermine the youth sport experience. Specifically, it reveals an intriguing insight into the way that parents engage in ‘debriefing’ children's performances—representing a challenge for parents who strive to engender a positive and supportive influence in youth sport. While the concept of sport-parenting receives much attention within the competitive setting, this paper argues that in order to enhance the quality of parental involvement in youth sport, much can be learnt from exploring ‘what happens after the game’.
- Australian football
- Parental involvement