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Parents’ Perceptions of Coaching Behaviors Toward Their Child With a Hidden Disability in Recreational Youth Sports

Tiffanye M. Vargas, Margaret M. Flores, Robbi Beyer, Sharon M. Weaver


Athletes with hidden disabilities (HD) often exhibit behaviors that are not conducive to the sporting environment (e.g., inattentive behaviors, inability to remember plays). Coaches may label these athletes as problematic or challenging and may negatively adjust their behaviors toward these athletes. As frequent observers of their children, the parent/guardian’s perception of coaching behaviors is particularly pivotal because this perception can guide that of the child, as well as whether the child continues to participate. This study sought to investigate parents’ perceptions of their young athletes’ experience in recreational sports. Three hundred eleven parents/guardians were surveyed; 30 indicated that their child had been tested for learning disabilities. Parents of athletes exhibiting HD behaviors reported higher frequencies of negative behaviors in coaches.

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hidden disability; youth sport; coaching

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