Date of Publication

Spring 4-26-2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Professor's Name

Katharine Burakowski


Youth sport has become one of the most popular outlets for children in today’s society. Youth sport programs and organizations play an important role in the lives of the children that are participating. Many aspects go into, what would be considered, a successful delivery of sports (Barcelona & Young, 2010). Moreover, this includes coaches and parent’s influences and when it contributes to a positive experience (Barcelona & Young, 2010). However, one of the biggest contributions to a positive or negative sport experience, is the role of parental influence.

The culture around youth sports has changed in multiple ways throughout the years. It has started to diminish and one of the reasons that has contributed to this decrease in participation is parents (Rosenwald, 2015). Children are deciding not to play sports anymore because of the pressure that coexists with playing at a young age. Parents and adults within these programs take the competiveness to another lever and forget the real reason why adolescents want to play.

The purpose of this research was to study the relationship of the feelings that former youth athletes have about their sport and how parental influence played a role in their experiences. Furthermore, looking into how former youth athletes feel about sport participation as adults. An abundant amount of research has been conducted to find the benefits, as well as the risks, of participating in sports at a young age and how parents fit into the equation. However, where the research lacks, is in how parent’s involvement has an influence on how children feel about sport in the long run. The objective of this research was to examine if this type of relationship exists within youth sport culture.

This research can be beneficial to various parties that are involved in youth sports and the organizations. It allows parents to understand how their actions can have a lasting impression on their children. As well as, allowing children and young adults understand why parents might do certain things when it comes to youth sport. Understanding this type of relationship can help youth programs adjust how they teach children. This can also help structure programs to ensure a positive environment and allowing parents to understand when their influence is necessary or not necessary.

The purpose of this study was to research the current relationship between parental influence in youth sport and how it plays into the feelings former youth athletes have on sport. The research question of this study was:

What relationship does parental influence in youth sport have with the feeling former youth sport athletes have about sport participation as adults?

The intention of this research was to gain a better understanding of how the experience of youth sport combined with parental influence can influence a former youth athlete of their feelings on playing sport as adults. Many factors go into understanding youth sport and the culture that surrounds it. To comprehend this research, there has to be background knowledge on the purpose of youth sport, an understanding of the factors that play a role in youth sport, and the state of youth sport today.