Sport Research and Studies
Articles and Videos

We’ve collated all of the important research in sport and distilled the results into the relevant facts and importantly, how to apply this knowledge. You may also be interested in our most popular, most recent and other categories of articles and videos.

How Happiness Affects Athletes

A 75 year-long Harvard study reveals that authentic, honest and reliable relationships are the source of happiness, physical and mental health. One of the longest running studies on adult development in the world, Director Robert Waldinger’s TED Talk on the findings has recorded some 13 million views. In this article we speak to Athlete Assessments Senior Consultant, Bo Hanson, about what these important findings mean for athletes, teams and coaches.

Answer to THE Coaching Question

Plain speak analysis of a report detailing the differences between the small percentage of super athletes and their competitors. What’s the difference between super champions, champions and athletes who don’t quite make it? It’s the quintessential coaching question and in this article we’ll recap the research findings that reveal the answers and tell you everything you need to know to apply the academic knowledge to everyday coaching. 

Why Sport is Important for Girls and Women

It is a myth that “boys are more interested in sports than girls” – There is no research that shows that boys are more interested in sports than girls. We do know that girls are just as interested in sports as boys when they are young. A combination of lack of opportunity, lack of peer group support when they do play sports and lack of encouragement causes them to drop out of sports at a rate that is two times greater than boys. In addition, CAAAWS research shows that if girls have not played sport by the time they are 10 years old, they are very unlikely to participate later in life.

Footballing Bible FourFourTwo Investigates Team Chemistry

When the world’s biggest football magazine, FourFourTwo, took a look at team chemistry, writer Ben Welch spoke to premiership winning players, Arsenal’s premiership winning Coach, and the Cottages Player Manager. Welch researched the science behind the subject, examining the role of biochemistry, hormones and neurotransmitters. Ben also spoke to Bo Hanson about personality combinations and their contribution to team chemistry. This is Hanson’s account of the interview.

Superelites – What makes the best, the best?

coach-athleterelationshipWhat differentiates a superelite from someone who competes at the Olympics but goes home empty-handed? New research “turns on its head a long-held view that we must simply pair the best technical and tactical coaches to our best athletes to achieve ultimate performance.” You’ll want to read about the findings presented in November at the World Class Performance Conference. There are significant differences between the superelites and high-performing athletes and you’ll want to know what they are. 

Coach Athlete Relationships Matter (Canadian Olympic Study)

Women in Sport

In recent years, more attention (through the result of many compelling studies) has focused on the impact of the Coach athlete relationship on an athlete’s performance. Research from the 2008 Canadian Olympic Study definitively showed that Coach athlete relationships significantly impact athlete performance. The study was conducted and written by Penny Wurthner as part of the Canadian “Own the Podium” program.

Relationships Matter in Sport Infographic

Am Football practiceRelationships (especially the coach-athlete relationship) matter in sport, as they are a significant performance factor. Featuring research and quotes from the NCAA, 2008 Olympic Study, Coaching Legends, and Journals, in this sport infographic you will find critical information on why relationships matter in sport.

Leadership Research: Why People Follow Leaders

SunsetRunnersYou are a Leader only if others follow. After reading ‘How Full is Your Bucket’ by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton PhD, I read another of Rath’s books titled ‘Strengths Based Leadership’.  An important chapter of this book is all about why people follow leaders.  For so long, leadership research has focused on asking leaders what they do.  But with this focus of research, there is a very obvious point overlooked:  You are a Leader only if others follow you.

Factors and Obstacles Influencing Olympic Performance

When we find research we think is valuable, we do our best to pass it on to you!  This research centers around the findings of the Athlete Development Division of the United States Olympic Committee in 2000, when they asked Olympians to list the five factors they believed contributed the most to their success.  It also asked the Olympians to list the five most significant obstacles they had to overcome in order to achieve success in their sport. 

Research on Abuse in Sport and Athlete Welfare

Am Football practiceRecently Sports Illustrated published an important article titled, ‘Is the era of abusive college coaches finally coming to an end?’. The article highlighted alarming issues with modern collegiate athletics based on surveys of 20,000 college athletes, as well as the latest research in psychophysiology, psychology, depression, health and abusive leadership. In reading the article, what becomes crystal clear is the impact the coach has on either magnifying or eliminating these issues.

Data Analytics in Sport: Science vs People

443726_31923700An article has been published in the MIT Technology Review looking at the best-selling book Moneyball by Michael Lewis and how it has changed the way people think about data analytics in sport. Lewis’s book introduced the sporting world, and in particular those with the biggest vested interests, a method in which player performance was measured and assessed using algorithms and science driven by the ability to gather vast amounts of data about players and the play during a game.

Research Review of Personality and Behavioral Assessments

DISCThis article will review and discuss the key aspects of personality and behavioral assessments and how they can be measured. In order to do this, we must first review the distinction between personality and behavior. We must also evaluate the different methods of testing the two, specifically DISC (behavioral) and psychometric (personality) testing. Both are used in creating organizational change and to encourage high team and personal performance, whether this be within an academic, business or sporting environment. 

Importance of Communication in Sport

RugbyThe importance of communication in sports cannot be understated. Now yet another study has proven it! European Leaders recent research showed that poor communication is responsible for reduced performance in the business world. The study emphasized why it is so important for senior management to be able to communicate effectively, with 41% of employees believing communication improves productivity and performance. In the sporting world it is no different. Better communication from Coaches will result in a positive impact on performance.

Importance of Youth Sports: Statistics that will Scare and Inspire

Former Student-Athletes Blitzing the CompetitionDid you know that female high school athletes are: 92% less likely to get involved with drugs, 80% less likely to get pregnant, 3 times more likely to graduate than non-athletes. There are countless statistics linking a youth’s involvement in sport to both their emotional and physical health. Despite this: By the time they reach early adolescence, 50% of sports participants have left sport. We discuss the statistics that show the importance of Youth Sports. 

DISC Profiling Research into the Effectiveness of Developing Self-Awareness

david hedlund 2Over the summer, Bo Hanson, Director of Athlete Assessments and David Hedlund, Assistant Professor of Sport Management at St. John’s University, New York presented at the National Coaching Conference in Morgantown. The presentation focused on David’s ‘Research into the Effectiveness of Developing Sport Coaches’ Self-Awareness using DISC Profiling’. David previously presented accompanying research at the 2014 SMAANZ Conference in Melbourne. 

Professional Development for Sports Coaches

CoachProfessional Development for Sports Coaches is critical. The best coaches know that to be the best, they must continue to develop professionally. But with the many types of Professional Development available, it can be difficult to discover the most effective way to improve coaching skills. With this in mind, we thought it would be valuable to pass on the results of ‘The Coaching Panel’, a recent survey by Sports Coach UK of 1,200 coaches, specifically the section focusing on the Professional Development Sports Coaches found most valuable in their careers.

Developing Women Coaches: Moving Forward

CoachFemaleWhen we read Deborah Brake’s research paper on “Discrimination Inward and Upward: Lessons on Law and Social Inequality from The Troubling Case of Women Coaches“, we were inspired to provide you with some of the key findings. The paper begins by recapping some of the numerous and well known advantages Title IX has brought to women coaches and sport in America.

The Coach Athlete Relationship is a Performance Factor

StartingLineThe Coach athlete relationship is recognized as a performance factor in today’s modern sporting environment. Like any other relationship it is defined by the quality of understanding, respect, trust and predictability that exists between two people. Athletes who are able to form close attachment to their Coaches are more likely to feel secure in exploring their role in sport, pushing their boundaries, taking risks to improve performance and being able to confidently give 100% effort.

Professional Development Topics for Coaches

CoachFemaleThe Professional Development Coaches Actually Want! Recently Sports Coach UK released The Coaching Panel, the results of their survey of 1,200 coaches. It was interesting to see some of the insights The Coaching Panel had on coaching and what coaches are most interested in. We were not at all surprised to see that: Over 60% of the most popular topics coaches sought information on were intangible, non-technical, and focused on the people side of sport. This included 3 of the top 5 most popular topics!

Former student-athletes blitzing the competition

Former Student-Athletes Blitzing the CompetitionWe all know sports is good for us. We know it acts as a vehicle for life skills, gives us an opportunity to participate, be the best we can be and helps us develop resiliency during our training and in competition. But what you might not know is that former student-athletes are also stronger and more consistent, in areas of well-being outside of sports than non-student-athletes.

The Gender Equality Debate; A Boost for Women in Sport

Hockey contestGender equality in sports has always been a controversial topic. Even the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, said in 1896, “No matter how toughened a sportswoman may be, her organism is not cut out to sustain certain shocks”. In America 40% of sportspeople are women, however only 6-8% of the total sports media coverage is devoted to them. And women-only sports stories add up to just 3.5%of all sports stories in the four major US newspapers.

Re-visiting Coach Behavior: How Effective is your Coaching Practice?

Business agreementThe complex nature of the coaching process means that coaches’ behavior, and practice within it, is subject to a wide range of often confounding and uncontrollable variables. However, whilst seemingly obvious, how the coach behaves and what the coach does is one element of the coaching process that is under the control of the coach. This article is used with Permission by Dr. Chris Cushion. 

Big Win for Women in Sport and Life

RowersIf there was a way to ensure that your children would get better grades at school, grow up to be more successful in their jobs, have higher levels of self-esteem and more vitality in their overall well-being, wouldn’t you want to give them this opportunity? For those who know me, you know that I am a big supporter of girls and women in sport, and female equality in sport. So I couldn’t help but share this tangible evidence on why getting our girls involved in playing sport in school is so important, and not just for now but for the future too.

Coach Survey Results: 2009 Evolution of Athlete Conference

443726_31923700Here we provide you with the results of the Coach Survey Summary Results from the 2009 Evolution of Athlete Conference. For example, coaches were asked ‘When taking on a new athlete, what methods do you as a coach rely on to get a strong understanding of the athlete?’. 96% rated ‘Informal chats with the athlete, on average of 2-3 hours over the first few weeks’. 59% rated ‘Meet with or phone their parents and/or family, on average 1-2 hours over the first few weeks’ and 37% rated ‘Formal Interviews with the athlete, on average of 1-2 hours over the first few weeks’

Sports Coaching Challenges: 2008 Evolution of Athlete Conference

BballHere we provide you with the results of the Coach Survey Summary Results from the 2008 Evolution of Athlete Conference. For example, coaches were asked ‘What are the top three sports coaching challenges faced?’. 50% rated “Understanding individual athlete’s personality and how to best motivate them”, 46% rated “Personal life balance – managing sport, career, home and social etc” and 31% rated “Team/squad dynamics and managing relationships within the team/squad”.

Youth Sports, What Can They Learn From Finnish schools?

finland schoolsSports in many ways is like education. Athletes need to be taught new skills, they need to be nurtured, especially in the conscious incompetence and unconscious competence stages of their learning. After sharing this research, found in an interesting article by Fulbright scholar and Media and Education Lecturer at the University of Eastern Finland, William Doyle, let’s look at what we can take from it and how we can use it as Coaches to better our athletes, especially in youth sports. 

Women’s Sports Fans: Vital Facts

Tennis FemaleThe Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation in the United Kingdom recently released two reports (‘Prime Time’ and ‘Big Deal) about the commercial value of women’s sport, financial statistics and detailed case studies of best practice. In this article we bring you the a summary of what the reports had to say on Audience Opinion, Commercial Investment Opportunities and how Social Media is changing the game in relation to women’s sports fans.

Athlete-Centered Coaching is Better – Research Paper

Waterpolo2The following content has been adapted from a research paper written by Jason Drummond pursuant to a NRL High Performance Coach accreditation assessment task. Coaching is a dynamic, multidimensional process that involves interactions between the coach, athlete, environment and task, for the purpose of enhancing athlete performance (Kidman & Davis, 2006). Different approaches to coaching reflect different value systems and can be classified as either autocratic (coach-centered) or democratic (athlete-centered) (Lyle, 2002). 

Graduate Sport Management Programs: Student Satisfaction 

StudentsRecently we attended the 2014 NASSM Conference in Pittsburgh. The North American Society for Sport Management Conference often features the innovators of the Sport Management industry, and many lecturers we meet there are committed to delivering the most valuable and practical experience for their students. At that conference, I saw Nels Popp, Ph.D. and Erianne Weight, Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill present on “Student Satisfaction in Graduate Sport Management Programs”. 

Sports High Performance Program Planning

planning1This article has been adapted from a research paper written by Jason Drummond pursuant to a NRL High Performance Coach accreditation assessment task. Within a high performance program it is necessary to function within a high performance plan. The function of any high performance program plan is to facilitate the increased performance of players both individually and as a team. The plan provides a blueprint for the way an organization will achieve this. It includes both operational and strategic planning components. 

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