Relationship dynamics between parents and coaches: are they failing young athletes?

Edward Horne, Jules Woolf, Christine Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale/Purpose: In commercialized youth sport, parents choose who coaches their child. An entire industry of youth coaches exists to meet this demand. However, parent-coach relationship dynamics has received little empirical inquiry. Therefore, this study investigated the relationship between parent and coaches. Design/methodology/approach: The value congruence literature guided this study, with a focus on the mediators explaining how value congruence leads to positive outcomes. Parents (n=17) and coaches (n= 20) of youth tennis players participated in interviews and focus groups. Findings: Results indicated poor communication, mistrust, and a lack of shared goals between parents and coaches. These results suggest the child's development is compromised. Practical Implications: Communication strategies are proposed to enhance predictability and trust in parent-coach relationships while accounting for contingencies. Research Contribution: We extended the use of value congruence to examine parent-coach relationship dynamics. The current study extends our understanding of this relationship while raising important concerns regarding the ways in which it is managed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-240
Number of pages17
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022


  • Athlete development
  • coaching
  • relationship dynamics
  • service delivery
  • youth sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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