Social Networks in Sport: Parental Influence on the Coach-Athlete Relationship

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Loughborough University, UK
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The study aims to explore the nature of influences that parents exert on the quality of the dyadic coach-athlete relationship. A conceptual model was proposed as a guiding framework for the study. The proposed model incorporates Sprecher, Felmlee, Orbuch, and Willets’ (2002) notion of social networks and Jowett and Cockerill’s (2002) conceptualization of coach-athlete relationships. Fifteen participants from five coach-athleteparent triads were interviewed, and content analysis revealed that athletes’ parents (a “psychologically significant” network member) provided a range of information, opportunities, and extensive emotional support, all of which influenced the quality of the coach-athlete relationship as defined by closeness, commitment, and complementarity. Results are discussed based on previous relevant research along with recommendations for future research directions and practical applications.

The authors are with the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom. Email:

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