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Pushy parents ‘turning kids off sport’

A new report is suggesting that the behaviour of many parents towards their children is turning them off sport


A study by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the Chance to Shine charity says some pupils were sworn at and told things like they were “too heavy”, or too “lazy to run”.

One youngster reported back that swearing had been used and the phrase “you’re not good enough, you can’t do it, you’re worthless.”

In total, nearly half (45%) of the eight to 16-year-olds questioned said the bad behaviour of parents made them feel like they did not want to take part in sport.

The findings also found 40.6% of those polled said they had seen parents abusing a coach or referee on the touchline.

One youngster said they had seen a parent who “swore at their kids and made them cry”, another saw someone throw a coffee cup at an official, and a third child reported that a dad “hit the ref once for sending his kid off”.

Luke Swanson, chief executive of Chance to Shine, added, “This research confirms the central role of parents in supporting their children to play and enjoy sport.

“At the same time it suggests that, all too often, we can curb their enthusiasm. This is a wake-up call to anyone who supports their children from the boundary, the touchline or the courtside.”

MCC and Chance to Shine said it would be providing a nationwide scheme in schools this term aimed at building a culture of healthy competition and fair play.

This included assemblies and lessons on playing sport in a sporting yet competitive manner for 350,000 children in over 5,000 state schools.

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