Parental Pressure in Sports

Article by Sana Singru

With season two drawing to a close and season three kicking into full swing, athletes are, once again, having to cope with various pressures that are inevitable when playing sports. Balancing school work, training and games is a task in itself, but when there is an added stress of parental pressure in regards to sports, the stakes change completely. Parental involvement is key in the ISM sporting community, and this results in countless positive, as well as negative, effects on the student athletes. Bamboo Telegraph interviewed some athletes who have experienced this parental pressure to see how it has impacted them.

Junior Dani P., one of the captains of the varsity tennis team, said, “When I first started tennis [my parents] used to be super involved and super tiger parents, but I think they realised it made me love the sport less so kind of backed off a bit.” When asked about how their involvement has benefited her, she said, “It has definitely benefited me in some ways, even though it gave me stress at times. For one thing, it’s really helpful to have them involved because they have more experience than I do as they were both athletes when they were kids so they are able to build a really effective training program for me and get me involved in different programs.” She also highlighted some of the negative impacts of their involvement; “I don’t like it when they criticize me and when they’re on my back by watching my every move and pointing out every small mistake, because it makes it difficult for me to correct my mistakes then.”

Junior Raina S., on the other hand, is a varsity badminton athlete. She said, “The only reason why I play badminton is because my dad started teaching me when I was about 3 years old and he’s been my main coach most of my life.” In terms of her parents’ positive impact on her game, she added, “My dad has spent a lot of time training me and teaching me everything I know, and his involvement in teaching me is the only reason why I made IASAS in freshman year.” When asked about how their involvement may have hindered her game in any way, she answered, “Whenever I play, I don’t like it when my parents watch because I have trouble with mental endurance in sports so when my parents are watching and I lose a point that should have been mine, it feels like I’m letting them down, which then adds to the pressure.”

Overall, from the two interviews, it seems that parental pressure has several negative and positive impacts on athletic performance; while it is crucial for the athletes’ success, it can also be the reason why they don’t perform to the best of their ability. However, regardless of the stress that comes with them being involved, it is evident that ISM’s students are indeed very grateful to have their parents be a part of the sports they love.