Working With Parents in Sport: Insights

Who are Working With Parents in Sport (WWPIS)?

‘Working with Parents in Sport’ supports organisations, coaches, parents and children to work effectively together to help young people fulfil their potential both in and out of sport.

Why was WWPIS set up?

Gordon MacLelland set up ‘Working with Parents in Sport’ after 20 years as a teacher and coach across all age levels from 7 year olds to adults. WWPIS offers advice to sporting organisations who are looking to improve or implement a ‘parental engagement’ programme. WWPIS’s primary partners are the Youth Sport Trust and Spond. They work with amongst others, England Rugby, British Gymnastics, UK Coaching, British Sailing, Cricket Scotland, Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland, Newcastle United and other football clubs.

What is the key message for me?

The bottom line as a NICAS coach: Well engaged parents, carers and guardians from the start are crucial. To be able to deal with any issues, it is much easier if you have been proactive in your communication with parents and explained how things are likely to work. If issues arise you can always then refer back to that culture and what the parents bought into when they joined.


UKCoaching has a podcast with Gordon from WWPIS that is a useful introduction to some of the key topics:

  • How do you communicate with the parents of your participants?
  • What information will you be wanting to get across?
  • Are you being consistent with when you’re getting in touch?
  • Are you sharing too much, or too frequently?
  • What methods are you using to communicate?
  • Have you built in time for face-to-face discussions?

There are a large number of additional resources aimed at coaches and at parents on the WWPIS website.