EP 23 – Simon Walters – Parents in Youth Sport


Parents play a major part in every young athlete’s story. So much in fact that the type of support they provide can make or break their child’s sporting experience. However, despite their best intensions, many parents dedicate very little time to being a better sporting parent. My guest on the show today had spent many years studying sociology in sport with a specific focus of children. His name is Dr Simon Walters, he’s a Senior Lecturer at AUT in Auckland, New Zealand, and he has published some fascinating work in the areas of children in sport, coach development, and sideline behaviour.

Today on the show, Simon talks about his relationship with sport and why he has dedicated a career to studying it. Simon begins by describing his childhood and his rebellious youth years growing up playing football in Wales. He then shares how he transitioned from dropping out of school at 16 long years working in IT to a teaching and research position in sport in New Zealand.

We end our discussion talking about what he’s learnt from his unique approach to studying the relationship between parents, coaches and kids in sport.

Show Highlights

  • Growing up quickly in the pubs of small town Wales
  • The injury that ended Simon’s football playing days and how it changed his life
  • How being told you’re no good at something can have a dramatic effect on the road you choose to take in life
  • Amazing insights Simon gained from interviewing 6 years old kids about their sport
  • How focusing on the negatives can result in unexpected findings that change the way adults think about youth sport

Connect with Simon via:

Simon’s profile on the AUT website