Date of publishing: 2nd November 2017
Can you give us a bit of background information on yourself?
Andy Edwards, 42, from Bristol, been coaching for over 10 years – coached all ages from 5-16 in grassroots clubs, schools and development centres.
FA Level 1, Level 2, Youth Award (assessed), Futsal Level 1, Coerver Youth Diploma 1 and 2.
UEFA B candidate.
How would you define a parent(s) role within the youth sports environment?
Parents clearly play an enormous role in a child’s sporting experience. Giving the child the initial opportunity, buying the kit required, paying the subs, getting the child to the venue, dealing with the excitement/upsets, dietary intake – the list goes on and on.
What are the benefits of embracing parental involvement within youth sports?
The benefits are clear if we are to put the well being and development of the child first. It is obviously advantageous if the child is hearing the same/similar messages from parents and coaches. In volunteer-run clubs it is crucial to get most/all of the parents contributing in some way – this not only helps in a practical way but develops a sense of club and community.
How have you as a coach/club attempted to increase parental involvement?
For a long time, I have sent out weekly emails with various bits of information – session plans, videos to watch, articles to read.
We request that parents help to set up pitches, act as linesperson, contribute to the running of community events etc.
What challenges have you faced by attempting to increase the level of parental involvement?
The biggest challenge is that some parents don’t respond to a variety of ways of communicating – whether that is email, text or face to face.
Many parents also think it is appropriate to act as if it is a professional game they are watching..
Have you seen a difference in youth athletes when parental involvement is embraced not neglected and/or ignored?
I have seen countless examples of children being negatively affected by the presence of a parent. I have also experienced success with changing the behaviour of some parents (in a team I have been coaching for a long time). We have tried to introduce a culture of supporting without instructions and to applaud good play from the opposition as well.
What advice would you give coaches that are unsure about increasing parental involvement within youth sports?
I would advise all coaches that it is essential to embrace the role of the parent. The children spend a lot more time at home than at training so it is really important we are all on the same page.
For those parents unaware of their influential role, what advice would you give parents?
I would, and have, provide reading material for parents – Working With Parents In Sport etc.
What is next for you as a coach / club / organisation?
I am currently on the UEFA B course and have aspirations to tutor in the future. I already mentor other coaches and like the idea of being able to help more coaches help more kids develop through sport.
Thank you for taking the time to complete the following interview questions.
You can find more about Andy on these social media outlets:
Twitter: Andy Edwards
LinkedIn – Andy Edwards
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