When spectators visit youth sporting events and see parents pushing their child athletes towards extreme performance



When spectators visit youth sporting events and see parents pushing their child athletes towards extreme performance and displaying aggressive and rude behavior towards the child, the audience, coaches, and children begin to develop negative thoughts (Bois, Lalanne and Delforge 2009). In light of the above, parental behaviors considered inappropriate—such as overemphasizing winning and excessively criticizing performance—can result in athletes perceiving undue performance pressure, thereby developing a fear of failure and competitive anxiety, as well as reduced perceived sporting competence.

Moreover, positive and negative behaviors have short- and long-term effects on child athletes. As such, parents’ actions and behaviors positively or negatively motivate child athletes (Partridge, Brustad and Stellino 2008)).

Consequently, parents have several opportunities, positive and negative, that influence their children’s sporting experiences. Often, parents try to live out their athletic dreams through the current abilities of their child athletes. Anderson et al. (2003) pointed out that as parental pressure increases, children’s enjoyment and satisfaction decrease (Anderson, et al. 2003).

Also, some African American parents perceive sports as upward mobility towards success and the only way to attain happiness and prosperity in their lives. The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where or what class they were born into, can attain their version of success in a society where upward mobility is possible for everyone. Moreover, research on the attitudes to gaining wealth and getting ahead in the United States and elsewhere shows that Americans tend to see individual hard work and effort as the key to getting ahead. This belief continues to grow because of the myths and stereotypes involving the notion that African Americans and sports are a part of the former’s biological history and cultural destiny, especially in certain categories of sports.

Problem Statement

Parents demonstrating poor behavior at youth sporting events create a negative impact on the youth and the sports environment. Therefore, the actions of some parents affect children’s participation in sports, apart from reducing the number of referees and league offices. According to Bach (2006), 74% percent said they had witnessed out- of- control adults at their games, and the two most common types of bad behavior involved parents yelling at children and officials or coaches. Further, parents are becoming involved in the lives of young athletes. Greater competition for athletic scholarships and the lure of professional sports has motivated many parents to commit their children to special training regimens at an early age.

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