The inner lives of indoor youth soccer parents


The overall purpose of this study was to examine the "inner lives" of indoor youth soccer parents throughout the course of a season. The term inner lives refers to the aspects of being a sport parent that occurred not just at sporting events but also in the family home, in car rides, and during other interactions in the family setting. Data were collected from three parents; Holly, Bellamy, and Steve (2 mothers and 1 father respectively, Mage= 47 years) over a three-month period during the 2018-2019 indoor soccer season. Parents completed audio-diaries in which they discussed their day-to-day responsibilities, conversations they had with their children regarding sport, and challenges they faced as sport parents. They also participated in individual semi-structured interviews at the beginning and end of the season. Data were analyzed using narrative thematic analysis (Riessman, 2008). While common themes were found among all three participants (e.g., time management, emphasizing effort and fun, relationships with coaches, and teaching life skills) each parent experienced a unique journey throughout the season. Conflict between Holly and her husband in terms of behaviours and attitudes toward sport, Bellamy's challenges as a single parent, and Steve's performance-oriented approach to parenting are represented with idiographic narrative accounts. Findings from this study provide insight into the different qualities of sport parents and the intricate demands they face in youth sport. In the future, it may be useful to consider the distinctive experiences and challenges parents face when designing sport parent education and support programs.