Missing Out, as Well: The Absence of Youth Sports and Its Effect on Parents During the COVID-19 Global Pandemic

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Niel Strydom School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Alex Murata School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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Jean Côté School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

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In December of 2019, COVID-19 began spreading globally. As a result, many youth sport organizations were forced to halt programming. While unfortunate, this imposed disengagement from youth sport provided an opportunity to explore what youth sport means to parents, being that this was the first time many were without it. As such, researchers aimed to explore the attitudes and perceptions of youth sport parents regarding their child’s sport participation in its absence. Semistructured interviews were conducted to explore these perceptions, and three themes were constructed through thematic analysis. Findings suggest that sport parents miss their experiences as “live-in” sports fans of their child’s sport participation due to the absence of their spectator experiences, social opportunities, and feelings of success, which drive their motivation for continued involvement. Understanding parental motivations to support youth sport participation may lead future researchers to uncovering the influences of parental behavior in the youth sport context.

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