School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


3 Oct 2017

Parents in Sport Week at Loughborough University

Loughborough University staff and students are supporting national Parents in Sport Week, which runs until October 8.

The aim of the week, an initiative established by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) in 2016, is to encourage sports organisations and clubs to recognise and promote the positive and important role parents play in helping children reach their full potential.

Organisations are invited to work with parents to reflect on the demands they’re encountering and identify strategies to manage these demands. In addition, sports are encouraged to show they value parental input and are grateful for what parents can do.

To support the week the University’s National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands (NCSEM East Midlands) has produced a series of videos featuring expert advice from Loughborough’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) academics:

Professor Chris Harwood discusses how parents can support the psychological development of their children through his 5Cs framework.

  • Dr Karl Steptoe’s video looks at how parents can help influence the psychology of their children and the role they play helping them meet the demands of elite sport.
  • Dr Janine Coates discusses how you can get children with a disability to be more active, looking at barriers that exist and to how to overcome them, the benefits of being more active, funding and information sources available.
  • Drs Emma Haycraft, Natalie Pearson and Lauren Sherar focus on the KidsFirst project, which is aiming to reduce children’s screen time and how to be more active as a family.
  • Natalie Matthewman looks at the importance of getting children active from an early age, and the impact this has on child development.
  • PhD student Rob Townsend focuses on disability coaching and the role that parents of children with a disability play in supporting coaching and how parents/coaches can work together.

All the videos can be viewed at

During Parents in Sport Week, the University’s NCSEM East Midlands is also hosting a public lecture on Wednesday October 4 at 6.25pm, titled ‘The weight of responsibility: Schools and the future of our children’s health’. It will be given by Dr Lauren Sherar, a Senior Lecturer in Physical Activity and Public Health. For more information, or to reserve a place at the event click here.

Loughborough University is at the international forefront of research into parenting in sport. Professor of Sport Psychology, Chris Harwood, from the University’s SSEHS is leading programmes that investigate the experiences and support needs of parents, as well as the development of resources that help parents and children gain a positive and confidence building experience from their participation in sport.

He is currently working with the Lawn Tennis Association on the roll-out of a national parent support strategy, including several regional parent workshops that are taking place during the week, with one taking place at Loughborough University.

Speaking about Parents in Sport Week Professor Harwood said: “Parents are key stakeholders in youth sport and eager to help their child thrive in whatever sporting activity they take an interest in. As academics who understand the multiple demands and benefits of sport, we have a real opportunity to share our knowledge with parents and help them to thrive in their support roles. Parent in Sport Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the role of parents in children’s sport.”