The development of a psychosocial parent education programme for British Tennis

2016-11-01T14:12:12Z (GMT) by Sam N. Thrower
Although there currently exists an in-depth empirical understanding of parents experiences and involvement in youth sport, there is an absence of published field-based intervention research specifically with sport parents (Harwood & Knight, 2015). In order to address this gap in the literature, this thesis developed a psychosocial parent education programme for British Tennis. The first study identified the education and support needs of tennis parents operating within British high performance centres (study one). Adopting a grounded theory design, data were collected through informal chats, observations, and formal interviews with parents, coaches, and ex-youth players (n=29) during a six-month period of fieldwork. Findings revealed how parents education and support needs occur across multiple levels of functioning (i.e., social, organisational, developmental, and intra-interpersonal) and are influenced by the developmental stage that parents operate in. This theoretical framework was then used as the basis for a group-based tennis parent education programme (study two). Using a qualitative organisational action research framework seven workshops were run over a 12-week period for parents with children between the ages of 5 and 10 years. Participant diaries, social validation feedback forms, and post programme focus groups (n=19) revealed perceived improvements in parents knowledge, affect, and skills across a range of learning objectives. In an attempt to improve accessibility and extend participation, the final study utilised a convergent parallel mixed methods design to examine the effectiveness of an online education programme for British tennis parents (n=38) and their perceptions of engaging in the programme (study three). Quantitative findings revealed positive directional changes in tennis parent efficacy, general parent efficacy, emotional experiences, and achievement goal orientations after completing the programme. Qualitative data provided complementary and unique insights into what worked, how, and why. Taken together, the studies within this thesis are the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of face-to-face and online sport parent education programmes. Findings also extend and advance existing recommendations and guidelines in relation to the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of education programmes for sport parents. In particular, studies illustrate the importance and value of providing sport parents with accessible, proactive, structured, and developmentally appropriate education and support which addresses their stage-specific needs.