Transactional or Transformational – What Type of Sporting Parent Do You Think Your Child Wants You to Be?

Transactional or Transformational – What Type of Sporting Parent Do You Think Your Child Wants You to Be?

Many of you may have heard these terms used in the business world  or more recently in the world of sport when describing coaches and coaching.

We thought we would take a look at how the model would look if we applied it to the world of sports parenting.

So what do these terms actually mean?

A transactional sporting parent would  be wanting conversations and actions going on between them and their child to improve immediate performance.  Their focus would be on improving their child’s techniques, skills and decision making instantly, to be the best player in training and to win matches at the weekend, whatever the human cost may be.

A transformational sports parent would be looking to help support the whole child.  Not just focus on performance and outcomes but to encourage bags of effort,a great attitude, positive body language, resilience, creativity, self organisation, sportsmanship and decision making to name but a few.  They may still want their child to be the best and win at the weekend like I am sure many parents do but it would not be their number one success criteria.

What would we expect to see from a transactional parent?

  • Someone who relives their own playing career and highlights regularly
  • Joins in with warm ups, sessions and shows off their own ability
  • Shows a disregard to rules and culture(poor touchline behaviour could be one of these)
  • Disrespects and criticises other parent, coaches and officials
  • Judges their own self worth based on their child’s performance
  • Rewards wins and goals scored with cash rewards or treats.
  • Shows blatant favouritism towards their own child

What would we expect to see from a transformational parent?

  • Builds the whole child focussing on being part of a team, working hard, respect etc
  • Helps child deal with failure and uses these moments as valuable learning opportunities for both parties
  • Positive role model – speaks appropriately and displays good body language regardless of the situation
  • Positive to all other players and parents involved in the game or training
  • Accepts and hands over responsibility to the coach

Undoubtedly many parents may well have dipped into both sides of this on occasions and it is not as straightforward as we have perhaps described.  From our point of view we are pretty certain that if you are entirely transactional then your child is likely to drop out from sport, fall out of love with it and most probably will suffer from a huge loss in confidence.

We are asking you as sporting parents to take a step back, think which of these behaviours you think may best describe you at this point in time and ask yourself the following question, ‘ Which of these sporting parents would my child like me to be?’

Armed with that information I am sure that the vast majority of sporting parents may be just able to tweak, moderate and even fundamentally change their behaviour knowing that the only person that may be ultimately affected by this behaviour is their very own child.


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