Coaches often have difficulty working with the parents of their athletes. Communication problems, conflict, and sometimes power struggles over who has control over the child’s training occasionally develop. Based on an integration of sport psychology and family systems theory, a model for understanding the coach / parent / athlete triangle is developed. Three types of parents are described: overinvolved, underinvolved, and moderately involved, as well as goals and strategies for working with each type of parent.
Jon C. Hellstedt is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854.