SIR CHRIS Hoy has vowed not to be a pushy parent and make fun “the centre of everything”.
The cycling legend, who became a father last week , said he did not want to be a parent who “screamed” at their children and told them off for not performing.
His wife Sarra gave birth to their first child at just 29 weeks and although early, their son is said to be doing well.
The pair decided to name their son Callum David Robert Hoy and before the birth Chris revealed how names starting with A were ruled out because the name would end up “A Hoy”.
The six times Olympic gold medallist, in an interview with website Parentdish, said: “You see some parents screaming at their children when competing and in training and telling them off when they don’t perform, with the kids usually in tears.
“Ultimately, you are putting your child off.
“The key is to make it fun, not structured.
“Fun should be the centre of everything.”
He added: “The commitment and pushing might make some children ‘good’ at certain disciplines, but they won’t like it, so what’s the point?”
Sir Chris admitted: “Of course all that sounds great in theory but I can imagine it’s not all that easy in practice. It’s all about support and encouragement, without pushing.”
“I was into any sport and activity as a child – not just cycling. I loved being out and about, and my parents embraced that,” Sir Chris told Parentdish.
“Cycling scratched that sporting itch, but my time on a bike started as a way of spending time with my dad.
“He worked long hours and of course I was at school. Getting out with him was time spent together, which then grew into something bigger. We started travelling together for me to compete, and my parents came to watch me racing.”
Sir Chris said he wanted to wait until he was retired before having a family.
“I don’t know how athletes do it when they are still competing – both things take all your energy and time.
“I wanted to commit 100% to my baby and family and I just felt I couldn’t do it when competing. So when it happened to us just after retiring it just fell into place.”
The 38 year-old cyclist, who grew up in Edinburgh, said his own approach to impending fatherhood was inspired by the way his parents, David and , brought him up.
He said his childhood was “happy, fun and filled with love”.
“I always felt secure and enjoyed unconditional love, which I believe is the foundation for a happy life.
“I had my parents with me the whole way, giving encouragement but supporting my decisions.”
Asked about deciding on names for the baby, Sir Chris said: “It’s a minefield and so hard.
“Every name we find we either know someone called that or associate it with someone.
“There’s so much to think about – will they like it, will it end up rhyming with something awful in the playground?
“He or she can’t have a name beginning with A as then they will be ‘A-Hoy!”
Sir Chris has launched a search for the country’s most inspirational parent.
The ‘Parentspiration’ campaign aims to recognise parents and guardians who have gone above and beyond to help their children achieve their dreams or overcome their challenges.
He said: “Of course, when you’re younger you don’t necessarily appreciate what they are giving you at the time, which is why the Parentspiration campaign and competition is right up my street.
“But the balance of support and encouragement is a tricky one to master,” he said.
The star retired from professional cycling last year, and now splits his time between charity work, launching a range of Hoy bikes and a motor-racing career.
By Xantha Leatham