Interview: Dr.Richard Bailey

Date of publishing: 30th March 2017

Can you give us a bit of background information on yourself?

My name is Richard Bailey, I’m currently based in Berlin, Germany.  My first career was as a physical education teacher, so I coached (and in many cases took qualifications) in quite a large variety of sports. But when I was younger, my main coaching experience was in cricket and the martial arts.

I also have academic qualifications in physical education, philosophy and psychiatry.

How would define a parent(s) role within the youth sports environment?

Parents play a wide range of roles within the youth sports environment. To some extent, these roles are determined by the age of the child. Parents often introduce different sports to their children, decide when coaching is necessary or useful, pay for equipment and coaching, and provide a taxi service.

At least as important as these practical functions is the role the parents play in communicating messages about the importance of sport, And how it should be played.


What are the benefits of embracing parental involvement within youth sports?

Children’s experiences of sport all heavily influenced by adults, and the extent to which their overall experience is either positive or negative is largely determined by parents, coaches, teachers and others. So it is vitally important the parents are involved in new sports from the very beginning. Some of the more visible problems with the parents, such as bad behavior during matches and access pressure on the children, could be either avoided or minimized by effective communication of expectations between key adult socializes.

How have you as a coach/club attempted to increase parental involvement?

I no longer work as a club coach. When I did, I always found time to talk to parents about their child’s participation in sport, what should be expected, and useful ways of supporting it. I did a similar thing when I worked as a physical education teacher.

PGA, Arbeitstagung, Kassel, 20.2.2016

Have you seen any difference in players when parental involvement is embraced not neglected and/or ignored?

I think the evidence suggests that children are much more likely to have positive experiences of sport if their parents and coaches share values and expectations about youth sport.

What advice would you give coaches that are unsure about increasing parental involvement within youth sports?

I think it is important that coaches establish Communication channels from the very beginning with parents, and maintain it with regular information. There is a lot more that national governing bodies can do to promote this, and it will be good to see accessible practical resources made available to coaches for engaging parents.


For those parents unaware of their influential role, what advice would you give parents?

We need to start educating parents. Some parents have clearly lost sight of the purpose of youth sport, and seemed to think it is a way to wealth and success, rather than and inherently valuable and exciting experience for young people.

In most cases, discussions about talent are completely inappropriate, and merely serve to reinforce unrealistic expectations and unhealthy pressure.

What is next for you as a coach/club/organisation?

I’m working on a number of projects connected coaching at the moment. I’m carrying out studies examining coaches’ knowledge  about learning and the brain,  as misunderstandings in this area often result’s in the introduction of ridiculous and ineffective practices.

I’m also hoping to carry out studies looking at international policy for coach education. In most countries of the world, there is little or no coach education, and that raises serious concerns about the quality of coaches working with young people.

You can find more about Richard on these social media outlets:

Twitter: Dr.RichardBailey

LinkedIn: Dr.RichardBailey

Blog: Talking Education and Sport

Thank you for taking the time to complete the following interview questions.

The Sporting Resource

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