LiFEsports researchers continuously study key topics within the field of sport-based youth development. Specifically, LiFEsports researchers regularly investigate the mechanisms and moderators that lead to positive outcomes from youth. Learn more about our current research studies underway below!
Our research team collected data from over 10,000 coaches across the country to explore the current state of coach education and training in the U.S. This work was funded in partnership with the Aspen Institute, the Susan Crown Exchange, and Nike. Our findings will inform innovations and adaptations in the youth sport environment or and contribute to measuring the impacts of the Million Coach Challenge. Click here to read the full National Coach Survey Final Report or the National Coach Survey Executive Summary Report.
In the fall of 2021, LiFEsports led a state-wide survey of Ohio sport coaches to inform the development of state-specific coach trainings. Over 5,600 coaches completed our survey. Our results helped us identify 10 key training topics to strengthen coach education and training in Ohio. Several peer-reviewed articles on coach education and performance, as well as coaching stress, satisfaction, and retention, are forthcoming. Please see our Coach Beyond page on our website to learn more about our survey results.
Student-athletes have experienced immense changes over the last two years and are the foremost experts on factors that make coaches great. To elevate student-athletes needs post-COVID-19 and understand their perceptions of positive and negative coaching behaviors, our team has recruited over 50 student-athletes across the state to participate in focus groups. This research has informed the development of our Coach Beyond trainings and is helping coaches, athletic directors, and school leaders better understand how to best support youth sport participants all across Ohio.
In the summer of 2022, our research team ran its first experimental design study in partnership with a local school district to examine the influence of LiFEsports on youths' sport and social skill development. Our findings demonstrated the program's positive influence on youths' social skill development, especially for boys and youth seeing behavioral health providers. Results also showed youth attending LiFEsports experienced positive gains in their gross motor skill development by participating in our four-week intervention. Results are promising and demonstrate the utility of our program for implementation in school settings.
Underserved youth tend to benefit most from positive youth development programs. However, little is understood about what conditions make these programs most impactful. Findings suggest that programs should have clear, structured curricula and expectations. Our findings also highlight the importance of praise. Similarly, programs should honor a reward system to reinforce social emotional learning skills.
Research with the Youth Leadership Academy is exploring how youth navigate experiences in their community, families, peers, and school systems. Using pre-, mid-, and post-surveys along with secondary data, interviews, and focus groups, these findings will help us better understand the positive and negative influences affecting urban youth and how to address these influences to promote healthy adolescent and young adult development.
The Aspen Coaching Study is examining Central Ohio’s youth sport coaches experiences and perceptions of youth sport. Specifically, this survey asked coaches about their coaching education, youth sport opportunities, available resources, and barriers preventing some youth from participating in sport, among others. These findings will help identify future directions for youth sport in Central Ohio. To view the report for school-based coaches, please click here.