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Parental (over-)ambition in competitive youth sport

A multi-theoretical approach
  • Gunter StraubEmail author
Review

Abstract

Parental investments in competitive youth sport are just as indispensable as manifold. Parental ambition against this background can be thought as a particular, inner psychic resource which is brought into the young athletes’ career in a similar way just like periodic chauffeur services or financial support. Parental ambition can be defined as an increased achievement motivation by the guardians; it is associated with high expectations and striving for control of the children. In this article, the attempt is to make plausible both parental ambition and parental over-ambition by using various theoretical models. Regarding the emergence of an innocuous or possibly functional type of ambition and the pathological form of over-ambition, an inadequate personality development in over-ambitious parents is believed to be the distinctive feature. In order to understand better the genesis and consequences of excessive parental ambition, thoughts are presented which are psychoanalytic in nature. In this context, the role-theory by the German family therapist Horst-Eberhard Richter and Heinz Kohut’s self-psychology are fundamental for providing explanatory performance. Moreover, the expectancy-value model by the pedagogical psychologist Jacquelynne S. Eccles has been proven useful in order to account for interindividual and interfamilial variations in parental ambition on an everyday basis. Finally, implications for scientific research and sport practice are presented.

Keywords

Ego-involvement Intergenerational transmission Narcissistic projection Selfobject Expectancy-value model 

Elterlicher (Über‑)Ehrgeiz im Nachwuchsleistungssport

Ein multitheoretischer Ansatz

Zusammenfassung

Das elterliche Engagement im Nachwuchsleistungssport ist so unentbehrlich wie vielfältig. Elterlicher Ehrgeiz kann vor diesem Hintergrund als besondere innerpsychische Ressource betrachtet werden, die in den Werdegang der jungen Sportler auf ähnliche Weise einfließt wie regelmäßige Chauffeurdienste oder finanzielle Unterstützung. Elterlicher Ehrgeiz lässt sich als eine erhöhte Leistungsmotivation durch die Erziehungsberechtigten definieren; assoziiert ist er mit hohen Erwartungen und dem Bestreben, die Kinder zu kontrollieren. Im vorliegenden Beitrag wird versucht, mithilfe verschiedener theoretischer Modelle sowohl elterlichen Ehrgeiz als auch Überehrgeiz plausibel zu machen. Bezüglich des Auftretens eines harmlosen oder vielleicht funktionellen Ehrgeiztyps und der pathologischen Form des Überehrgeizes nimmt man an, dass eine unzureichende Persönlichkeitsentwicklung bei überehrgeizigen Eltern den Unterschied ausmacht. Um die Entstehung sowie die Folgen eines übermäßigen elterlichen Ehrgeizes besser verstehen zu können, werden psychoanalytische Betrachtungen angestellt. In diesem Zusammenhang sind die Rollentheorie des deutschen Familientherapeuten Horst-Eberhard Richter und die Selbstpsychologie von Heinz Kohut grundlegend für das Erklärungspotenzial. Darüber hinaus hat sich das Erwartungs-mal-Wert-Modell der pädagogischen Psychologin Jacquelynne S. Eccles dahingehend als nützlich erwiesen, interindividuelle und interfamiliäre Unterschiede hinsichtlich elterlichen Ehrgeizes im alltäglichen Miteinander einzubeziehen. Abschließend wird die Relevanz für die wissenschaftliche Forschung und Sportpraxis dargelegt.

Schlüsselwörter

Ich-Beteiligung Intergenerationale Transmission Narzisstische Projektion Selbstobjekt Erwartung-mal-Wert-Modell 

Notes

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

G. Straub certifies that he has no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stockownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or nonfinancial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Association of German Table Tennis Coaches (VDTT)MoersGermany
  2. 2.SpeyerGermany

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