The 5C framework, demonstrating the interaction between each of the Cs

Make no mistake, parents are significant stakeholders in youth sport whose role is as varied as it is demanding. Beyond facilitating and providing the sport experience for your child through logistical, organisational, and financial support, and representing an essential source of emotional support, you also play a key part in your child’s psychosocial development that will contribute positively to their enjoyment, motivation, focus, self-belief, and ability to interact with others.

These qualities and skills, which will enable your child not only to thrive in sport, but also within other life domains, for example school, family, and work, can be grouped under the 5Cs of: Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control, and Confidence. Of course, participation in sport can serve to naturally foster the development of these psychological and social skills, however, this is certainly not a given. As a parent, you have the opportunity to intentionally and proactively shape psychosocial development through your child’s engagement in sport, as well as to act as a powerful role model for your child that enables them to pick up on appropriate ways to manage themselves and their interactions with others.

Let’s take a brief look at each ‘C’ and how you can intentionally and proactively help your child to develop each.

A parent who looks to promote commitment encourages their child to show consistent effort, high quality preparation, and a desire for learning within training and competition.

A parent can help and support their child to develop commitment by encouraging them to set clear goals for improvement (e.g., asking “what’s one thing that you want to improve on in today’s session?” whilst in the car on the way to training) as well as by promoting review and reflection afterwards, allowing athletes to consider and comment on their efforts.

Communication focuses on athletes’ interpersonal skills and their ability to interact with others. This involves sharing information, praising their teammates, asking helpful questions, listening respectfully, and giving and accepting feedback.

Parents can support the development of communication by encouraging their child to show both verbal and non-verbal skills in order to be a strong HELPA – That is an athlete who Helps, Encourages, Listens, Praises, and Acknowledges others.

Concentration relates to athletes’ ability to focus on the right things at the right time, and in the right place, while at the same time blocking out the distractions that can impact performance.

A parent can help and support their child to develop concentration by encouraging them to pay attention to their attention. For example, you might ask your child to reflect on what they were thinking, doing, or about to do at a specific moment in their training session or competition (e.g., when on or off the ball, or between breaks in play), or challenge your child to maintain focus when faced with increased difficulty (e.g., when they feel tired).

Control relates to an athlete’s ability to manage their emotions before, during, and after a performance. A parent who looks to promote control will encourage their child to be composed yet alert prior to performing, and to display positive, helpful reactions to themselves and others following challenges and mistakes.

A parent can help and support their child to develop control by being aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions (e.g., anxiety) and modelling positive, helpful responses themselves when faced with challenges. They will promote open discussion around the emotions experienced before, during, and after training sessions and competition and encourage the use of strategies (e.g., breathing, self-talk affirmations, support from teammates) that their child can use in training sessions and competition.

The final C, confidence, isn’t a mental skill like commitment, communication, concentration, and control before it. Instead, it is essentially a state of mind that reflects the beliefs that your child has in executing a skill to the desired level or achieving a specific outcome. Confidence can frequently fluctuate if it is not built on three solid foundations: the development of a positive attitude to a task or situation; the building and banking up of accomplishments; and a sense of positive support from others.

A parent can help and support their child to build confidence by encouraging them to keep a record of their achievements or their development progress, as well as by promoting reflection on their personal strengths and consideration of how they can use these in different competitive situations.

If you would like to become a 5C parent, or if you would like more information, check out our services page or get in touch.

For tips on how to help your children improve their 5Cs, you can also view our “Essential Mental Skills for Young Footballers” resource, linked below.