Engaging Parents in Sport

Engaging Parents in Sport

Prepared by : Christine May, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport
Reviewed by network : Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN), May 2019
Last updated : 23 August 2019
Content disclaimer : See Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer
Engaging Parents in Sport
Sport Australia


Parents have a unique opportunity to help their children develop life-long engagement and enjoyment with sport and physical activity.

The behaviour of many adult figures (coaches, teachers, extended family, etc.), as well as peers and siblings, play an important role in influencing a child's behaviour. However, parents above all remain the enduring role models that their children use as a basis for their own development.

Parents who actively enable their child’s sport and physical activity can offer encouragement and support—that is, financial, practical and psychological support. This plays a significant role initiating and sustaining a child’s sports participation and positive mindset towards maintaining physical fitness through life.

Key messages


    Parental behaviours and engagement within the sporting environment, and parenting style and attitudes in general, can positively or negatively influence a child’s sporting experience.


    AusPlay data shows that 72% of children with at least one active parent are physically active in organised sport or physical activity outside of school. Participation rises to 89% when at least one parent is both physically active and involved in a non-playing role. 


     Organisations can foster a ‘partnership philosophy’ which encourages coaches and sporting parents to work together as mutually supportive partners in the development of a child’s sporting potential.

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