As a graduate student I read a lot for school, and as a sport and performance psychology consultant I read what I can fit into the breaks in my schedule. I recently was advised to read Justin Su’a’s book, Parent Pep Talks by another student consultant. I am just starting to become involved with parent education as part of my sport and performance psychology practicum experience. Parent Pep Talks was written for parents to read and then implement strategies on their own. Yet, from a consultant’s perspective reading it gives the opportunity to observe how one can deliver sport and performance psychology material to parents.

I observed that Justin relays the information with much storytelling and anecdotes. He draws his anecdotes from his own sporting, student, professional, and parent careers, and writes them much how he delivers them in person (I have seen him speak at a conference on one occasion). The book provides a clear and concise explanation of several mental skills and psychological concepts, accompanied by ways for parents to implement and utilize them. What I gained from reading a parent education book from this perspective was threefold.

  1. Making a human connection with parents is crucial, and still doable for a young adult with no kids like myself. The key being that you show genuine care for the improvement and well-being of their children.
  2. When delivering the psychological concepts to parents, leave out the majority of research, just relay the main point and move on.
  3. Always give an action step or “how to” for parents to try themselves. You don’t want parents to have the right information, but not know what to do with it.

I would recommend that any student sport and performance psychology consultant read Parent Pep Talks for two reasons: it provides the chance to observe Justin Su’a in action without having to be there, and gives some very useful stories and anecdotes for use in a consulting session (with credit given to Justin of course). A final note for any parents: the quick guide to what you need to know and how to implement it is located in the back of the book from pages 109-112. You should at least glance at those pages and try to commit the guidelines to memory next time you are in the book store.

-Ryan Marshall