Date of Award

Winter 2012

Project Type


Program or Major

Recreation Management and Policy

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Christopher Harrist


Parent-coaches are individuals who coach their own children (child-athletes) in sports. Although their presence is widespread in the realm of recreational sports, little research has been conducted on the relationship between parent-coach and child-athlete. This is an exploratory study with the goal of better understanding the parent-coach phenomenon in the recreational sports context, from the perspective of both parent-coaches and child-athletes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine parent-child dyads, focusing on positives, negatives, and the unique nature of the parent-coach and child-athlete relationship. Inductive analysis revealed a number of positive and negative themes, many of which were identified by both parent-coaches and child-athletes. Both parent-coaches and child-athletes perceived higher expectations for child-athletes, as well as a desire for equal treatment of all athletes on a team. Suggestions for applications to coaching education, as well as possible implications for future research are discussed.