Parents and Young People: Establishing a Place in the Gymnastics Subculture
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Guided by the literature surrounding narrative identities in sport, this study examined parents and young people, specifically within the gymnastics subculture. The aim of the study was to understand the parents’ background, interests and experiences which ultimately influenced them into bringing their children to gymnastics. The study involved seven participants (parents) who voluntarily participated in on-going observations over a six month period in the gymnasium; one focus group and an individual interview. The data showed some similarities as well as contrasting findings about the parents’ motives and desires surrounding the gymnastics subculture. Common themes emerged throughout the study such as the benefits of gymnastics from a social, physical and selfesteem aspect. The article highlights such themes and discusses; (a) whether the influences of parents could in fact have the potential to cause more harm than good; (b) the identity hierarchy of parents in gymnastics in relation to their children’s ability; and (c) the term success requires clarity in order to measure the achievement of children in gymnastics. The study concludes by acknowledging that all of the children participate in gymnastics due to their parents’ encouragement. There is scope for more research into the parents’ experiences in the gymnastics subculture later on in their child’s career. Gymnastics clubs can benefit from this study in understanding the role that parents play in sport.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT DEVELOPMENT
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