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Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

Leadership, Scholarship, and Outreach to Transform Youth Sport


The mission of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports is to provide leadership, scholarship and outreach that transforms the face of youth sports in ways that maximize the beneficial physical, psychological, and social effects of participation for children and youth while minimizing detrimental effects.  The institute works by:

  • conducting novel research in critical areas related to youth sport
  • partnering with sport organizations and governing bodies to conduct evaluation, develop training programs, and build organizational capacity
  • conducting outreach and development programs to develop coaches and sport leaders
  • training and preparing graduate students to be the next generation of scholars in areas related to youth sports

In addition, we coordinate the Summer Coaches’ School and provide oversight for two graduate programs in Sport Coaching and Leadership.

Summer coaches’ school

This annual event brings together sport coaches and leaders for two days of instruction on topics from building athlete mental toughness, working with sport parents, designing physical training that optimally challenges athletes, to turning around a struggling program.  Workshops are led by MSU faculty, coaches, outside experts, and MSU graduate students, all with expertise in working with sport coaches and leaders. This event provides a great opportunity to meet and network with a range of coaches, administrators, as well as teachers and researchers who study sport science.

Teacher explaining to student

Graduate programs in sports coaching and leadership

If you are a current or aspiring sport coach or sport leader, and you are looking to extend your knowledge and advance your career, then you may consider applying to one of our graduate programs offered through the Department of Kinesiology. A masters degree and graduate certificate program are offered each year. Courses are taught online by expert faculty. See the program website for application instructions.

Soccer ball being kicked

How we learn to move

The MSU Motor Performance Study was unique blend of innovation, community collaboration, focus on service and a drive to find answers on humans grow and learn motor skills. Read the story of (and findings from) the historic study, created by Vern Seefeldt, inaugural director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. (2017 photo: Amanda Pinckney, WKAR-MSU.)

Sparty running with kids