Our objective is to conduct and disseminate research that systematically investigates sport and physical activity settings to better understand the experiences and outcomes associated with its participants. We use quantitative and qualitative methodologies and an interdisciplinary lens to answer our questions. Our current projects focus on youth sport and physical education contexts.
Coaching Education Needs Assessment
Research suggests that formal youth coaching education programs do not fully meet the specific needs of coaches, and thus the majority of coaches are ill-prepared to handle the tactical, developmental, and psychological aspects of youth sport. We initiated a line of research to determine the educational needs of local youth sport coaches in terms of content, current issues and challenges, and preferred sources of learning. Coaches, administrators, and parents in the Treasure Valley community were surveyed about their perceived value and need for coaching education in youth sport. Our next studies in this line of research include gathering athletes’ perspectives on coaching education, completing in-depth interviews with administrators, and implementing a coaching education mentoring program.
Early Youth Sport Specialization (eYSS)
Recent trends show that young athletes are starting to specialize in one sport at an early age, even as young as 6 years old. Rather than “sampling” by playing many different sports during childhood, youth are more often “specializing” by focusing on only one sport, with an intense year-round practice and competition schedule. While research suggests that sport participation can be beneficial for youths’ physical, emotional, and social growth, questions remain as to the benefits and consequences of participating in sport at a high intensity at such a young age. This line of inquiry aims to better understand the experiences of early sport specializers. We will use semi-structured interviews and questionnaires to gather athletes’, parents’, and coaches’ perspectives on why these athletes specialized early in sport and the factors that drive their continued commitment to sport participation.
- Click HERE to see some of our previous research.