What is it like to be a parent of an elite junior tennis player?


  • Callum Gowling Liquid Sport Psychology




Junior tennis, Parent attitudes, Performance narratives


This paper is an Interpretative Phenomenological Analyses (IPA) into the experiences of parents of elite junior tennis players. “Performance narratives” have received attention in professional sports settings, but research has yet to fully investigate the effects on parents of junior tennis players. Parents are a psychologically significant network member of coach-athlete relationships. Narrative theory states that through creating personal stories people can make sense of their lives. A “performance narrative” is a story of dedication to sport performance, where, winning, results, achievements are pre-eminent and link closely to the story tellers’ identity. The purpose of this study is to examine the experiences of 8 parents of elite junior tennis players and describe what it is like to be a parent in the elite junior tennis context. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of 8 parents of elite junior tennis players describes their experiences of elite junior tennis tournaments. This study found that (a) parents struggle with the development versus winning paradigm in junior tennis (b) “performance narratives” influence how parents evaluate player improvement (c) “performance narratives” influence parents’ behaviours at competition. This paper recommends more face-to-face coach-parent communication to help parents adhere to development narratives and increasing the frequency / relevancy of parent education workshops that give a realistic depiction of the elite junior tennis pathway.


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How to Cite

Gowling, C. (2023). What is it like to be a parent of an elite junior tennis player?. ITF Coaching & Sport Science Review, 32(91), 37–40. https://doi.org/10.52383/itfcoaching.v32i91.394