Experiences of families with a high-achiever child in sport: Case studies

Jessica Knoetze-Raper, Chris Myburgh, Marie Poggenpoel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The family, not only the coach, plays a major role in the pursuit of children to reach the highest level in sport. Yet, it is mainly the high achiever, and sometimes the coach, who get recognition for success in this regard. This study explored the experiences of families with high-achieving adolescent athletes aspiring to compete in the Olympics. The participants consisted of three purposively selected South African families. In-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted. Data were analysed by means of thematic coding. Four themes were identified: a child who is an achiever in sport affects the whole family; acceptance of the trying circumstances of being a high achiever in sport made it easier for the achiever child to cope; as siblings grow older, they try to find their own niche in the family; and coaches become as important to children as their own parents. A cross-validation report of the three case studies and a discussion of findings in the literature give insight into an understanding of the everyday lives of high achievers in sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalSouth African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Acknowledgement of parents
  • Family life
  • High achiever in sport
  • Parenting sport stars
  • Sport family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'Experiences of families with a high-achiever child in sport: Case studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this