University works with NSPCC to support Parents in Sport Week

Swansea University is working with the NSPCC to promote the positive role of parents through Parents in Sport Week 2017 (October 2-8).

Parents in SportFollowing the huge success of the inaugural NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit Parents in Sport week last year, sports scientist Dr Camilla Knight of the College of Engineering is again working with the NSPCC to support the project.

Dr Knight said: “Parents are key to a child’s life-long participation in sport. Through their positive involvement, parents can help children to enjoy sport, gain a range of physical, psychological, and social benefits through their participation, and help them to reach their potential. Parents in Sport week seeks to celebrate the critical role parents play in sport and provide guidance to help optimise parents’ support of young athletes.”

Dr Knight has been working with the Child Protection in Sport Unit for the last three years, helping to shape policy and practice regarding parents involvement in sport. Specifically, she has worked closely with members of the CPSU team to produce resources, guide strategy, and implement research in practice to optimise parental involvement in sport. Her work has provided the research support and guidance for the Parent in Sport Week.

Now entering its second year as a national initiative and first year as an international initiative, the NSPCC and Dr Camilla Knight have joined forces with more than 100 sports organisations in the UK, Ireland, and Canada to promote Parents in Sport Week.  The project aims to encourage athletes, coaches, and sports clubs support the project which underscores the positive, supporting role that parents play.

Feedback from current sports stars and research with young people shows how important parents are as role models, providers of opportunities, and in helping children to cope with the highs and lows of youth sport. 

Dr Camilla Knight said: “Parents play a critical role within youth sport. Every weekend, across the country, thousands of parents are committing extensive amounts of time, money, and emotional energy to help children participate in sport. Without the support and involvement of parents, youth sport could not exist in the way it does today. If we want children to get the most out of sport, we need parents to be positively involved and for their support to be recognised and valued.

“Parents in Sport Week is the perfect opportunity to say thank-you to all the parents who are supporting their children in sport. Unfortunately, despite the excellent support and involvement of most parents, there is a dominant narrative regarding parents being pushy or overinvolved in sports. This negative view of parents is putting parents off encouraging their children to participate in sport, impacting on the relationships parents have with coaches and sports organisations, and is distracting from children’s experiences. Through Parents in Sport Week project aims to change the conversation about parents and remind everyone just how important parents are in sport.”

To celebrate Parents in Sport Week, Dr. Knight will be hosting a webinar, which can be access on the CPSU website The NSPCC has also produced resources for clubs to use with parents and their own coaches.