Parental Strategies for Supporting their Child’s Psychosocial Development Within and Beyond Elite Sport

Sara Kramers, Sam N. Thrower, Karl Steptoe, Chris Harwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research regarding what parents do to support their child’s psychosocial development within elite youth sport contexts is lacking. The present study was conducted in an English professional youth football (soccer) academy that has intentionally integrated the 5Cs framework (Harwood, 2008; commitment, communication, concentration, control, confidence) into its player development process. The purpose of the study was to explore parents’ interpretations of their roles and experiences of supporting young athletes’ psychosocial development. Six focus groups were conducted with 30 parents (17 fathers, 13 mothers; Mage = 44.8) who had a child in the foundation (8-11 years) or youth development phase (12-16 years). The transcripts were subjected to reflexive thematic analysis. Practical strategies that were used to support their child’s 5Cs within and beyond the academy are presented, as well as barriers that were perceived as hindering parents’ support. Accompanying recommendations based on the parents’ perceived barriers are presented to offer implications for future research and practice. Results highlight the need for intentional and congruent approaches to psychosocial development in elite youth sport contexts. Implications are discussed for how parent education can be better tailored to support intentional psychosocial development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2022


  • Sport parents
  • Youth sport
  • Positive youth development
  • Intentional

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