The Impact Of Family On University Tennis Players Essay

The Impact Of Family On University Tennis Players Essay

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The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the impact families have on University tennis players. Previous research has documented the impact parents and siblings have on athletes (Greendorfer, Boutilier & SanGiovanni, 1982; Wuerth, Lee & Alfermann, 2004). However, research into this impact over an athlete’s development has been scarce. Studies also paid little attention to the views parents and siblings have in perceiving their own influence (e.g. Côté, 1999). Therefore, the current work aimed to fill a gap in the existing literature regarding the impact of family on the development of tennis players. The results revealed that both parents and siblings have a huge influence on tennis players, consistent with previous research (Gould et al, 2006; Davis & Meyer, 2008). The role families have changed throughout the player’s development. Parents in particular went from having a very large role in introducing their child to the sport and responsibility towards the players to a relatively small role where they have little impact. Players gradually became more independent and relied less on parent’s support.
Similarly, to previous findings by Côté (1999), three phases were identified to help explain the change in family influences. The first major change in family influences occurred when the players started to compete in tennis, causing an increase in intensity. Parents and siblings influence was most significant at this stage of the player’s development. Family members differ in the way they encourage and show support (Greendorfer, Boutilier & SanGiovanni, 1983). In this sample, parents were responsible for providing support while siblings caused rivalry driving on the player’s competitiveness. In contrast to previous findings, the ...


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... may be more beneficial for future research to interview players in different stages of their tennis careers.
Implications:
This study could have implications in educating parents how to help their child in sports such as tennis where intensity can get so high (Fernandez, Mendez- Villanueva & Pluim, 2006). Findings suggest we should teach parents how they can best emotionally support their child while allowing their child to have independence and avoid over involvement.
Findings from this study are also useful in the way they can help understand causes of excellence in sport and in allowing athletes to make better transitions to higher levels of performance. However, as these athletes have not quite reached the elite stage, future research comparing the elite to the sub elite could help advance our understanding of familial factors which cause these differences.

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