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)
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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