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Understanding and Supporting Parents of Academy Footballers / RACHAEL NEWPORT

Swansea University Author: RACHAEL NEWPORT

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DOI (Published version): 10.23889/SUthesis.58988

Abstract

The aim of this thesis was two-fold: firstly, to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of academy football parents and identify support that may be beneficial, and; secondly, develop, implement, and evaluate programmes of support for parents of academy footballers. Two action research cy...

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Published: Swansea 2021
Institution: Swansea University
Degree level: Doctoral
Degree name: Ph.D
Supervisor: Knight, Camilla J. ; Love, Thomas D.
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa58988
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Abstract: The aim of this thesis was two-fold: firstly, to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of academy football parents and identify support that may be beneficial, and; secondly, develop, implement, and evaluate programmes of support for parents of academy footballers. Two action research cycles were carried out to address these aims. The exploration and reflection phases of action research cycle one, sought to understand parents’ experiences and offer recommendations for supporting parents within youth academy football. An instrumental case study of one football academy was conducted, with data collected over an eight-month period through interviews, focus groups, informal conversations, reflexive diary, fieldwork, and observations. It was recommended during this study that parents may benefit from a programme of support, along with a series of cultural changes that focused on enhancing their experience. Subsequently, based on these initial findings, reflections, and recommendations made, a programme of support for academy parents, combined with cultural changes, was developed and implemented. The initial programme was evaluated using interviews, observations, informal conversations, practitioner reflections, fieldwork, and an online survey. Overall, parents found the sessions useful for gaining information and benefitted from talking with other parents. However, attendance was poor and some academy staff did not buy-in to the proposed cultural changes. As such, following a period of reflection and building on the findings of the first action research cycle, a second programme was planned and delivered. This was a condensed programme, comprising one 90-minute face-to-face session and booklet. Further cultural changes were also promoted. This programme was evaluated using an online survey, observations, fieldwork, informal conversations, and practitioner reflections. As with the first programme, parents suggested that the condensed version was useful for increasing their knowledge, they enjoyed learning from others, and gained social support. Despite the condensed programme, the issues pertaining to attendance and buy-in continued. Based on the findings of the two action research cycles, general suggestions for working with parents and developing parent support interventions are presented.
Keywords: Parents, Youth Football, Support, Parent Journey, Support Programme
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering