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The role of parents and coaches in sport

Parents have a pretty major influence on whether their child gets involved in sport, whether it’s for fun, fitness or to educate around teamwork and competition. After all, they’re the ones who pay for everything and ferry their kids to and from practice.

Generally, children who have a warm and secure relationship with their parents or carers are more likely to have positive self-concepts and high self-esteem, traits that are handy both for playing sports and for navigating through life.

With girls, taking up a sport has a lot to do with having supportive parents or carers who encourage their child without placing too much pressure on them to succeed. Push too hard, and a girl will push back, and probably want to pull out altogether.

Girls – in fact, children as a whole – who receive positive interactions, support and encouragement from parents without undue pressure tend to enjoy their sport more, show more preference for challenges and are more motivated.

Sports coaches play a huge part in our children's lives

Other grown-ups besides parents can have a big influence, too.

Coaches play an important role in young girls’ mental and emotional wellbeing, because they're often at the centre of the sports activity. Behind the scenes or on game day, they provide support, act as a role model, and can shape the nature of the whole sports experience.

So, as a parent introducing a child to sport, it could pay to learn a little about the coach first. Coaches who provide specific, corrective feedback, and who give praise and encouragement based on effort rather than outcomes, are most likely to have a positive impact on children’s psychological growth.

“A good coach can have a positive impact on a child’s psychological growth.”

Whether on the sports field or in the game of life, who you share the experience with, and how they go about it, can have a significant influence on the final result.

ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.

If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, confidence or mental or physical health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.

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