Exploring parental perceptions of the parent-coach dual-role and their coaching effectiveness


Over 80% of all youth sport coaches also act as parents or caregivers of at least one child on their team (ParticipACTION, 2018). As such, several strategies have been previously recommended to aid parent-coaches in maintaining positive relationships with their child (Holt & Knight, 2014; Zehnter et al., 2020; Schmid et al., 2015). Despite this, little research has examined what parent-coaches think about their unique dual-role and how coaching their own child affects both their behaviours and overall coaching effectiveness. With this in mind, the purpose of the present study was to explore parent-coaches' perceptions of how their dual-role affects their coaching effectiveness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 youth sport coaches—seven from boys' sports teams and seven working in girls' sport. The project's interview guide was constructed using Côté and Gilbert's (2009) definition of coaching effectiveness and results identified through a systematic overview of the youth sport parent-coach literature. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and data was analyzed through the completion of a thematic analysis. Findings indicated that parent-coaches experienced a variety of challenges within the realms of interpersonal, intrapersonal, and professional knowledge, such as making unbiased decisions, a lack of training and education, and avoiding favouritism. Despite this, parent-coaches were active in formulating strategies in hopes of displaying positive coaching behaviours towards all members of their team. Results highlight the importance of continuing to explore and support the complex role parent-coaches inhabit as essential members of the youth sport system.

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC Grant #435-2020-0094).