Research seeks to determine parental experiences of junior sports

27 July 2022

A CQUniversity research team investigating the experiences of parents when it comes to junior sport is seeking participants for a new study.

The study looks to understand parental beliefs' attitudes and behaviours that help children have positive experiences in sport' but also those that may have a negative impact on a child's sporting experience.

As part of the study' participants will complete an anonymous online survey about their experiences on the sideline' and their own values and beliefs.

Lead researcher' Dr Cassy Dittman from CQUniversity said that there are many experiences' both positive and negative that impact the overall enjoyment and commitment to junior sports for both parents and their children.

"The study aims to explore the important role that parents play in helping their child enjoy sport and stay committed to sport over time'" she said.

"As parents' we enrol our children into sport because we understand all the important benefits it has for kids – physically' socially and emotionally.

"We know that the role of parents is centrally important in helping children and teenagers enjoy sport and commit to it over the long term'" said Dr Dittman.

"There are lots of things that parents do that help children and teenagers get involved in sport – from the financial aspects of registration and uniforms' to being the taxi driver getting them to all their training and games - and to being their greatest supporter on the sidelines.

"However' there are also some things that parents can do that might inadvertently lead to children having a bad experience in sport and losing motivation or perhaps even dropping out'" said Dr Dittman.

"Results from the study have the potential to improve experiences and outcomes of junior sport for both parents and their children' through the development of programs that are designed to provide practical tips to improve accessibility and enhance enjoyment."

Bundaberg-based Dr Dittman was recently involved in the development of a related program for junior rugby league in partnership with researchers from The University of Queensland' National Rugby League (NRL) and Queensland Rugby League (QRL).

The Play Well Triple P Program is now being offered to the parents of junior rugby league players in Southeast Queensland' following a period of research' development' and trialling.

The program takes 30 minutes to complete online and provides practical advice and guidance on post-game debriefing; showing respect and appreciation to your child's teammates' opponents' coaches' and game officials; and how to react positively to passages of play' referee decisions and gameday outcomes.

Dr Dittman said the research team hoped to create similar programs for other junior sporting codes and activities through this new research.

"Ultimately' our goal is to take the learnings from parents' experiences in junior sport and use this information to provide evidence-based information or programs that help parents have a positive involvement in their children's sport."

Parents involved in all types of junior sports are encouraged to participate in the study.

To be eligible' participants need to have a child aged between 8 and 18 years who has enrolled in any type of team or individual sport across Australia in 2022.

To find out more and take part in the survey please click here. Participants who complete the survey will have the chance to go into a draw to win one of two $50 Rebel Sport vouchers.