The summer season sees many sporting tournaments for Sweden’s young. But increasingly these events are accompanied by scores of parents shouting at their kids from the sidelines, booing loudly when the opposition score and pouring abuse on the referee.
In many ways, these parents are more a hindrance than a help to their talented kids, according to sports professor Claes Annerstedt.
“It is great for parents to attend and offer support to their children, but they should do it on the kids’ terms,” Annerstedt said to news agency TT.
And a survey, carried out by market research company Yougov for insurance giant If, shows that 92 percent of parents think that clubs should have the right to bar pushy and aggressive parents from games and matches, if they show repeated bad behaviour towards coaches, stewards or children.
88 percent of parents think that other parents’ aggressive behaviour is a real problem within youth sport.
In order to combat pushy parents in tennis, the insurance company has teamed up with the Stockholm branch of the Swedish Tennis Association (Svenska Tennisförbundet) to equip parents with a guide to appropriate behaviour at tournaments.
“We can see a clear need to continually inform parents of these issues,” said Caroline Uliana, head of external information at Swedish If, in a statement.
During the ongoing tennis tournament Stockholm Open Tour, the association and the insurance company have put together the guide, which will be handed out to all 12,000 participants, and designed to make the parents think about their behaviour.
Previous research shows that almost 20 percent of children taking part in regular sports activities are negative to their parents attending matches.
“Hopefully this will increase the children’s confidence,” Uliana said.
The survey was carried out in May 2011 and 1013 parents between the ages 25 and 55 with kids under 18 took part.