Entry for:2019 Pitch it Clever
Parents can be the best, and the worst, of children's sport. They take us to early morning training and far distant games, they pay for our club fees, coaching, equipment and uniforms, they keep us going when our motivation wavers and keep our clubs going with endless fundraising and volunteer support. They are our most loyal, diehard, one-eyed fans. And yet, parents can also be the harshest critics, the worst of losers and the poorest of sports. Misdirected parental support can, ironically, significantly contribute to children dropping out of active sport participation. Strategies such as punitive (e.g. fines system), contractual (e.g. codes of behaviour) and restrictive methods (e.g. ‘Silent Saturday’s’) are not optimal because they do not equip parents with the skills to maximise support and encouragement, which are necessary for promoting sustained sport involvement. My research proposes a new education and support approach to immediately arrest the risks posed by parents for children’s sport enjoyment and motivation. This will help to maximise participation and help to reduce the economic burden of physical inactivity in Australia, which is an estimated $555M per year. This represents a key government priority in pursuit of becoming the most active nation in the world.