Date of publishing: 10th August 2017
Can you give us a bit of background information on yourself?
My name is Anders Giske (57). I am a Norwegian football coach and founder of the digital learning centre “Giske Defending”.
UEFA A Licence Coach
38 Caps for Norway, Ex-Prof Bayer 04 Leverkusen, FC Cologne, FC Nürnberg..
“A-team. Norway’s Greatest Football Players of All Time.” (Sæter, Øiestad 2005)
Click here to read about my background
How would you define a parent(s) role within the youth sports environment?
The role of a parent(s) is dependent among several things including tradition and culture. In Norway, it`s quite common that parents are coaches due to economic challenges in the clubs, while Iceland, for example, has only professional coaches. It makes a big difference.
To put this issue in the right perspective, I think parent(s) play a much more important role in a player’s development than me as a coach, because a parent has greater influence of a player`s character and human development which is even more important than a coach`s contribution in the long run.
Furthermore, a parent(s) should support their children at home and the TEAM when they are players, because how should a player learn to be a team-player (which is crucial to succeeding) if a parent(s) don`t understand the value of it?
What are the benefits of embracing parental involvement within youth sports?
Parents are a large group which has a direct and/or indirect influence on players and the team, and there are many benefits to embrace parental involvement like:
Cooperation to establish good habits (e.g. sleep, meals, schoolwork)
Communication on personal challenges (e.g. conflicts, family issues, illness)
Utilization of professional expertise (e.g. mental growth, other sports, nutrition)
How have you as a coach/club attempted to increase parental involvement?
I am working as a freelancer so this has not been an issue for me in the last decade. But if I should start such a process I would prefer to get to know (each player/family) and try to identify each other needs and expectations face to face.
What challenges have you faced by attempting to increase the level of parental involvement?
One common challenge in Norwegian football is the very high parental involvement. It is not uncommon that all people around a team are parents. This often leads to discontent, conflicts and a split parent group which is a general problem for the clubs. It is, for example, challenging when a coach (parent) is following a player from club to another and vice versa.
Have you seen a difference in youth athletes when parental involvement is embraced not neglected and/or ignored?
In the role as a parent, and just as a parent, of three children I have also experienced the advantages of full parental involvement. We had, except one big conflict, some great years with much fun and great development both for the players and teams. This was related to good coaches with a lot of life experience who understood the importance of open communication with players and parents.
What advice would you give coaches that are unsure about increasing parental involvement within youth sports?
I think each group or situation is unique and my advice would, therefore, be, as mentioned above, to start a dialogue to get know (each player/family) and try to identify each other needs and expectations in a meeting. However, it is always important to break the ice and communicate.
For those parents unaware of their influential role, what advice would you give parents?
Parents are anchored in the children’s lives and have an important task to aid their self-esteem in a good way. I think it is always important (no matter what you do) to find the RIGHT BALANCE, for example between support and challenge. That’s my experience and best advice.
What is next for you as a coach / club / organisation ?
My next step is to continue developing my project Giske Defending through new learning products and spending more time on clubs and practice on the pitch.
Thank you, Anders for taking the time to complete the following interview questions
You can find more about Anders on these social media outlets:
LinkedIn: Anders Giske
The Sporting Resource