Parents use “video” evidence to challenge results!
Are these parents awful or is it the sporting environment which is tainted?
I’m gutted for the teachers who said they’d try and work out who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd, however……
Two weeks ago England Rugby Coach Russell Earnshaw run an epic looking event aimed at exploring what athletes of the future are going to need to be successful. At the event, they visited a number of environments to learn from, GB hockey, Wembley, and drama school. Why? Because environments impact behaviour and outcomes!
Coaches get a raw deal at times from some parents, but coaches also make parents scapegoats without considering how their environment impacts parents and parent culture. Will excellent environments stop all the behaviour like this? NO! But it will go a significant way to changing the narrative.
This article is an excellent insight into the competitive nature of parents in sport! Some will no doubt condemn the parents as the ones entirely at fault. I would want to ask five questions:
1) What competitive culture has the school created? Winning or competitive focused?
2) What about the environment directs all involved to be more supportive of sport being fun?[This week my 8 year old’s sports teacher says she has to miss the music festival because they need her to help them win the interschools sports day! I pointed out to him that she’s 8, winning shouldn’t be on the pressure agenda like that!] Obviously, there is also the wider impact from societal on the sport parent too, the school is not entirely at blame either.
3) It’s happened before, so what has the school done to help parents manage their defensiveness around issues of perceived injustice to their children?
4) Does a strongly worded letter change anything? Prof French would call this a ‘nudge’ and nudges on their own rarely work. I totally get this is not easy for the staff, but there are more complex issues at play other than ‘ awful sports parents’.
5. Can a child-centred approach to coaching and the production of athlete centred environments ever be fully successful without considering parents? Without bolting on an understanding and compassionate intrigue into ways in which the teams/school/club environment impacts parents and loved ones, I doubt it. A number of excellent coaches I know, try to keep parents at arm’s length from their environment, but parents impact on their athletes is anything but arm’s length. Even if these parents were banned from filming, can you imagine the car journey conversations? “you were robbed, I know you can 3rd not 4th!” Embracing parents is embracing a child-centred and athlete centred environment.
The effort from coaches to seek out learning from impacting environments for their athletes is a great thing, it is time to think more seriously about parents in the same way?