It is widely acknowledged that Parents play a pivotal role in encouraging and supporting their child’s participation, success and fun when playing any sport. When we all reflect on the past 18 months in these unprecedented and unpredictable times, the role of parents in encouraging their children to continue to practice and develop their skills at home in addition to whatever training sessions have taken place has proven to be invaluable.
To raise awareness of the important role parents play in our clubs, Ulster GAA in partnership with the Irish News are encouraging all our constituent units to join us in supporting Parents in Sport 2021, through our Save our Smiles Campaign which focuses on the positive role that parents play in helping young people reach their full potential. This year we are also striving to empower parents with the confidence, knowledge and tools they need to identify and report concerns in their children’s sport.
We know that children and young people take greater enjoyment from participating in Gaelic Games if their parents are positively involved, attend their games and support in a positive way. They are also more likely to continue playing for longer and have more opportunities to reach their maximum potential.
Some parents commit a lot of time, money and emotional support to their children’s participation, and sometimes in an emotionally charged environment they may get carried away, for example on the side-lines of a game. This can lead to some parents displaying intimidating, aggressive, threatening or abusive behaviour towards their own or other children, coaches, officials or other parents or spectators. These behaviours can have a negative impact on their children, their teammates and opponents, other parents, coaches, and officials. It can lead to children and young people experiencing higher levels of pre-competitive anxiety and lowered self-esteem and confidence. It is vital that if this behaviour is displayed on the side-line at any time that it is challenged in line with our GAA Code of Behaviour, we simply cannot allow for this type of behaviour to become normal and acceptable.
GAA Parents are key stakeholders in all Clubs, the contribution they can make to our games and activities is invaluable, particularly at underage level and in the day to day running of the club from washing team kits through to transporting players, assisting with teams, fundraising and beyond.
Through offering support to parents you can encourage that they engage with their child’s GAA activities in a positive way and letting them know that as a club, you are responsive and open to their ideas, you can help to ensure that everyone involved has an enjoyable experience.
Parent in Sport Week takes place this week 4th-9th October 2021