The Role of Parents in Tennis Success: Focus Group Interviews with Junior Coaches

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Michigan State University
  • 2 Amato Lusitano de Castelo Branco High School
  • 3 Psy4Sport
  • 4 Cary, North Carolina
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This study was designed to investigate experienced coaches’ perceptions of the parent’s role in junior tennis and identify positive and negative parental behaviors and attitudes. Six focus groups were conducted with 24 coaches. Content analysis of coaches’ responses revealed that most parents were positive influences and espoused an appropriate perspective of tennis, emphasized child development, and were supportive. In contrast, a minority of parents were perceived as negative, demanding and overbearing, and exhibiting an outcome orientation. New findings included parents’ setting limits on tennis and emphasizing a child’s total development, as well as the identification of behaviors that represent parental overinvolvement and that negatively affect coaching. Results are discussed relative to sport-parenting literature, and practical implications are outlined.

Gould and Lauer are with the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1049. Rolo is with Amato Lusitano de Castelo Branco High School, Portugal. Jannes is with Psy4Sport, Belgium. Pennisi is from Cary, NC.

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