Resources for Parents

Free resources for New Sports Parents, Returning Sports Parents, and High Performance Parents

The Importance of Movement

"Movement is how kids learn and develop. Movement is more than exercise, more than sports, more than fitness. Movement helps kids learn sports skills, yes, but movement also helps kids increase self-awareness, non-verbal communication, and social and emotional growth. Active kids learn better, improve memory, and pay attention better.” - Rick Howard NSCA



Resources contributed by WWPIS.

Working With Children In Sport is a company that works with sporting organisations, parents, and coaches around the globe. They supply unbiased information and resources to provide the best possible youth sport experience.

More About WWPIS

New Sports Parents

1. Lack of Free Play → Learn More 

2. Marginalization of Physical Education→ learn more → link to No Running

3. Decreased competence of fundamental movement skills → Learn More

4. Early Sport Specialization → Learn More

5. Technology → Learn More

6. Cost

1. Fun

2. Friends

3. Fair Play

4. Friendly competition

5. Finishing the Season Better than I started

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1. Gives you a better chance to discover the sport you love

2. Exposes you to a number of different environments

3. Helps prevent overuse injuries

4. Prevents boredom and burnout

5. Allows for a greater movement repertoire & skill transfer


Learn more | Additional Resources

  1. A coach who displays a caring personality towards your child.
  2. A coach who is consistent and reliable.
  3. A coach who engages with you and your child
  4. A coach who is approachable and willing to answer questions
  5. A coach who is a great role model and inspires

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  1. One that focuses on development as much as results
  2. A club with a seal of approval(accredited, safeguarding etc)
  3. Key roles fulfilled including a sound management structure
  4. Safe facilities and equipment
  5. Appropriately qualified coaches

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  1. Be a parent and not a coach
  2. Be a positive role model - your child will be watching you
  3. Keep things in perspective
  4. Do not allow your child to specialize in one sport too early
  5. Avoid comparisons with other children.

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  • Competence - physical abilities such as speed, strength, endurance etc +
  • Competence - technical/tactical abilities such as dribbling, stickhandling etc +
  • Character - mental/psychological ability such as respect the game, teammates, opponents etc.
  • Confidence - mental/psychological ability such resilience, grit, mental toughness etc
  • Connection - social/emotional ability such as having fun, relationships with team mates etc.

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The idea of Long Term Athlete Development and the American Development Model are frameworks or roadmaps for age & stage appropriate steps towards quality movement in sport and life. When parents and coaches try to force too much too soon in an attempt to get you to the top level in a specific sport, we risk ruining your experience through burnout, injury or removing the fun from your journey.

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Gordon MacLelland

Gordon is the CEO and founder of Working with Parents in Sport (WWPIS). He has 20 years of experience in coaching and education, having coached all age ranges from 7 year olds to adults. Gordon is the author of "Great Sports Parenting" and "Engage - How to Build Positive Relationships with Your Players' Parents".

Gordon's LinkedIn WWPIS's Facebook | WWPIS's Twitter | More about Gordon

Returning Parents

  1. Understand why they are playing
  2. Know which part of the experience they enjoy the most
  3. Know which part of the experience they enjoy the most
  4. Ask them how they would like you to be involved and support including on match day.
  5. Ensure you have picked the correct club and coach for them.
  6. Ensure that you have organised your child with the correct equipment.

  1. What are your goals for the season?
  2. What is your policy on game time?
  3. What is your communication policy for logistics and if we have a problem?
  4. How can I help you as a parent during the course of the season?
  5. What is your policy on selection? 

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  1. This is a pre-season / pre enrolment conversation with the coach and organization.
  2. The question; what is your fair play policy?
  1. Try to keep your behaviour as consistent as possible
  2. Do not use it as a time to debrief, emotions can be running high
  3. If you must ask questions, ask those that allow your child to reflect
  4. Have a set routine each week, who chooses the music?
  5. Silence and poor body language is as bad as ranting about the game

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  1. Speed - running fast as often as possible
  2. Strength - push, pull, lift weight to get stronger
  3. Endurance - move at pace for longer periods of time
  4. Power - move with quick bursts of energy / explosively
  5. Flexibility - stretch the muscles when resting
  6. Agility - quick lateral & diagonal movements through space
  7. Balance - seeking uneven surfaces and or single arm / leg use.
  1. Leaving the car = Have fun
  2. Returning from play = I just love to watch you play
  3. Weekends & downtime = Just go play.
  1. Who
  2. What
  3. When
  4. Where
  5. Why
  6. How

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  1. Be positive and encourage
  2. Support all players on your team and the opposition if they do something well
  3. Do not yell tactical instructions, it only leads to confusion
  4. Have a set plan about your pre match routine agreed with your child?
  5. Have a set plan about how you deal with the aftermath of a game?
  6. Be consistent and positive with your messages and body language, win, lose or draw.

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  1. Have a conversation at least 48 hours after the issue
  2. Be clear about what you want answers to?
  3. Do not bring into the conversation other players and other parents
  4. Try not to be confrontational
  5. Listen to both sides of the discussion before proceeding further

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  1. Focus on process expectations rather than performance outcomes
  2. Keep your routine as normal as possible
  3. Don’t increase the number of sessions close to the event
  4. Try to avoid researching opponents and competition. Help focus your child on what they can control
  5. Be mindful of your body language - even if you are nervous, do your best to hide it from your child 

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Dr. Mariana Brussoni

Mariana is an Associate Professor at UBC in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health. In addition to being a risky play advocate, Mariana is the Research Lead at the Brussoni Lab at the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute.

Mariana's LinkedIn | Play Outside UBC's Facebook | Play Outside UBC's Twitter More about Mariana


High Performance Parent

  • If your kid, on their own accord, of their own volition, at any point in their life - is eating, sleeping, breathing & practicing ‘a’ sport; morning, noon & night in lieu of vaping, texting, partying & gaming and are lights out, physically AND mentally miles above those in their age-group year after year maybe… just maybe they are suited to a more specialized sport development pathway, with other sports played to benefit their primary sport. This is the self identifying passcode to the <2% high performance sport club.
  • If your kid on their own accord, of their own volition, at any point in their life - enjoys having fun, hanging with friends, participating in friendly & fair competition and finishing the season with better skills then they started maybe… very likely they are suited to an ‘as many as possible, as long as possible in the best environments possible’ development pathway. This is the self identifying passcode to the >98% participation sport clubs.
  1. Creating objectivity and identifying external support
  2. Make the right decisions at the right time
  3. Monitor healthy development
  4. Work with the NGB or organisation your child is involved with
  5. Managing different voices/demands from different people involved in your child’s sporting journey 

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96% of age group winners / champions do not go on to be Olympic or professional players.

  1. Sample as many sports for as long as possible
  2. Teenage years at the earliest should be when our children are thinking of specialising
  3. If involved in early specialisation sports such as gymnastics, you need to manage the situation. 

Learn More | Additional Resources

  1. Club has cannot articulate their plan for long term athlete development
  2. Club does no baseline evaluation across the 4C’s
  3. Club attempts to force you to choose one sport at early ages
  4. Club lays claim to the development of drafted athletes who spent <5yrs with them
  1. Is your child being looked after as an individual and not just as a sports person
  2. Have we helped our children schedule and manage their diaries? Too much of the wrong thing at the wrong time can be detrimental
  3. What can I control as a sporting parent and help my child control?
  4. What can I not control?
  5. Am I helping support my child to be a multi-faceted individual?

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  1. Who
  2. What
  3. When
  4. Where
  5. Why
  6. How

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  1. Discover Who You Are From Within
  2. Define Your Personal Brand
  3. Develop Skills Imperative To Your Growth
  4. Discuss Issues Relevant To Sport & Life
  5. Inspire- Learn From Former Athletes Who Tell The Truth

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Dr. Tommy John

Tommy is the Founder of Dr. Tommy John Performance and Healing Center in San Diego, California. He is a Doctor of Chiropractic, specializing in soft tissue injuries. Tommy is also the author of "Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance", and he's a highly sought after speaker on the issues of early sport specialization.

Tommy's LinkedIn | Tommy's Facebook | Tommy's Twitter | More about Tommy


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