Communicating with Children in Sport

Communicating with children in sport

Youth Sports Psychology Tips: Communicating with Children in Sport

Communication can be a challenge for many children

Often when we get chatting, parents, teachers and coaches and I, get into a conversation about helping children communicate better.  They often recognise, especially today, with modern technology at your finger tips, that this area is vital for a happy and healthy child.

Concerns and challenges that regularly come up are:

– Bullying by peers

– Children unhappy with coaches’ decisions

– Parents behaviour during a match or event is embarrassing for a child

– Children are unable to speak up and challenge a coach

So how should you as a parent or a coach communicate with a child to ensure you know what is happening in their world?

You’re looking for trust in the relationship, Yes?  So as a child what would you like or dislike?


– Be under involved in their sport

– Not going to games

– Attending games but playing on your phone when you are there

– Be over-involved in their sport

– Yell on the sidelines

– Question referees

– Criticise your child


– Keep the lines of communication open

– Help coaches in training and matches

– Be loving and supportive at all times

– Give your child space when they request it

– Praise the effort they put in

– Remain calm

The most important thing, is that you keep the lines of communication open and attempt to stay in control of your emotions in the process (That can be easier said than done for some!).

You’ll be faced with many matches when they play poorly and are upset.  They’ll come to you and have a moan.  Don’t jump straight in and criticise them, look to remain calm and supportive.  Yes, you can agree with them and talk about aspects that they struggled in but always look to point out the good things, what they did well.

What if your children are struggling and not enjoying their sport, may be a coach is playing them out of position or in their opinion a coach has favourites in the team.  Your role is to be loving and encouraging, to listen and take what they say seriously.  After all, you are you child’s champion, so take the appropriate action and assert yourself where necessary.  You are helping your child trust you, whilst teaching them a valuable life skill.

I hope this article helps you.  It’s good to talk and listen.  Let your children express their emotions and feelings about their sport.  It may be difficult to hear at times, but go on listen without interrupting them or telling them to “man up” – this will give them a boost, especially if you remain positive.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to discuss this article – or if you wish to find out more about online or face to face sport psychology coaching in Newcastle.

If you enjoyed this blog offering sports psychology advice to parents and coaches why not sign up to “The Mental Edge” for regular updates.

David Charlton Sports Psychologist

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist who is located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  David also uses online video conferencing software (Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp) on a regular basis and has clients who he has supported in USA, Canada, South America, UAE, Australian and New Zealand.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly. 

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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