Sport Psychology PLAYS Research Group

Sport Psychology

PLAYS Research Group

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The PLAYS blog is written by Veronica Allan, PhD Candidate. For general inquiries, ideas, comments, or suggestions, please contact Veronica at

PLAYS Blog Post #1

New Year, New Opportunities

If you are reading this blog post, welcome to the exciting world of the Performance Lab for the Advancement of Youth in Sport (PLAYS)! As youth sport researchers, we examine the psychological and social influences that shape the development of young athletes. Broadly speaking, we strive to identify and promote conditions that encourage long-term participation, optimal performance, and personal development in sport.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a platform for discussion regarding current research in the field of sport psychology and its application in the real world. In addition, we hope to provide a research-informed lens through which current sport-focused campaigns, trends, and events can be understood. We would like to use this blog as a means of communicating with researchers and knowledge users alike – anyone with a personal interest or stake in sport. Whether you are an athlete, parent, coach, program coordinator, sport psychologist, or any other member of a sport club, program, organization, or institution, we want YOU to benefit from the information presented here. In order to ensure that our research has a meaningful impact outside of the academic world, we encourage you to reach out to us with your ideas, comments, and suggestions. We want to reach you, help you, and – when possible – partner with you to move sport in a positive direction.

For our first post, we’d like to take a moment to introduce ourselves: who we are, what we’ve been working on, and what’s in store for 2018.


By the Numbers: PLAYS 2017

Under the leadership of Dr. Jean Côté and Dr. Luc Martin, the PLAYS research team is currently comprised of one postdoctoral fellow, two PhD candidates, 10 master’s students, 10 undergraduate students, and two visiting scholars. In 2017, we saw two of our team members successfully defend their theses – Jennifer Turnnidge (PhD) and Jordan Herbison (MSc) – and return to the lab to advance their studies. If you’d like to learn more about our research team, you can read bios and research interests for each team member right here on our website:

Overall, it was a busy and successful year for PLAYS. Drs. Côté and Martin are currently investigators on four ongoing research grants funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The lab is also involved in partnerships with four Canadian organizations (True Sport Foundation, NUTMEG, Canada Soccer, Coaches Association of Ontario), and is collaborating internationally with groups in England (University of Gloucestershire, University of Portsmouth), Singapore (Singapore Youth Sport Institute), Australia (University of Queensland), and the USA (National Basketball Association). As a result of the many projects underway in our lab, PLAYS was represented nationally and internationally at several major conferences (e.g., AASP, SCAPPS, NASPSPA, ICCE Global Coach Conference, Sport Canada Research Initiative, VISTA) and published 22 research articles over the past year. We’ve included a list of our most recent publications at the end of this post, but you can also find a comprehensive list here:

We are also working on improving the reach and accessibility of our research by developing knowledge products, such as the Transformational Coaching Workshop, and launching new platforms for knowledge dissemination, including this blog.


What to Expect (and How to Get Involved) in 2018

If you thought 2017 was a busy year for PLAYS, then get ready to see what’s in store for us (and you) in 2018. The upcoming year will see Dr. Côté finish a final term as the Director for the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University, while Dr. Martin – upon a successful application for tenure and promotion – will embark on his first sabbatical down under in Australia with his family. The lab will see many more exciting changes as MSc students Chantal Rochon, Sarah Lawrason, Kelsey Saizew, and Julie-Anne Staehli, as well as PhD candidate Veronica Allan, get set to defend their thesis projects over the next 12 months. You can also expect more presentations, publications, and partnerships to come – so stay tuned for updates right here on this blog, or by following us on Twitter.

To set the stage for 2018 and provide you with opportunities to get involved, we’ve featured some of our current projects and partnerships below:


Transformational Coaching Workshop  (PI: Dr. Jean Côté, Queen’s University)

Over the past four years, Drs. Côté and Turnnidge along with a team of researchers across Canada and the United States, have developed a SSHRC-funded, theory-based and evidence-informed workshop for coaches. Whereas existing resources for coach development frequently target coaches’ professional knowledge and behaviours, the Transformational Coaching Workshop is designed to teach coaches how to use interpersonal skills that foster positive developmental outcomes for athletes

GET INVOLVED: We are currently in the process of evaluating the Transformational Coaching Workshop. If you would like to learn more about the workshop, participate in the workshop, or host the workshop for coaches in your organization, please contact Jennifer Turnnidge at  


Canadian Disability Participation Project (PI: Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, UBCO)

The Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP) is a SSHRC-funded international, multidisciplinary, cross-sector partnership among a multitude of community and academic collaborators ( The overarching goal of this seven-year grant is to enhance the quantity and quality of community participation among Canadians living with physical disabilities. Whereas this broader initiative will explore several domains where participation is less accessible for those with a physical disability, PLAYS is focused on researching and improving the quality of participation in parasport. Specifically, PLAYS is working on the development of resources for parasport coaches, including a parasport-specific version of the Transformational Coaching Workshop.

GET INVOLVED: We will soon be pilot testing and evaluating the Transformational Coaching Workshop for parasport coaches. If you would like to learn more about the workshop, participate in the workshop, or host the workshop for coaches in your organization, please contact Jennifer Turnnidge at


True Sport Foundation Partnership (PI: Dr. Luc Martin, Queen’s University)

New in 2018!

Drs. Côté, Martin, and Tomasone have recently secured funding through the SSHRC Connection Grant program to engage researchers, practitioners, and end-users in discussions pertaining to developmentally appropriate sport programming. The PLAYS team will be hosting this event in the summer of 2018, so if you’re involved in sport—be it as a researcher, administrator, coach, parent, or athlete—and are interested in having your voice heard, we’re all ears! Several PLAYS members will also take part in an internship opportunity with the True Sport Foundation, giving them a platform from which to merge their research backgrounds with practical experiences.

GET INVOLVED: Planning for the event is in its early stages, but interested individuals can please feel free to contact Luc Martin at


Social Identity & Moral Behaviour in Youth Sport (PI: Dr. Mark Bruner, Nipissing University)

Led by Dr. Mark Bruner at Nipissing University, several PLAYS members are involved with a SSHRC-funded Insight Grant aimed at exploring implications of social identity for youth sport participants. Specifically, an important component of this grant has been the use of novel electronically activity recorder (EAR) technology to explore athlete interactions in real time. Jordan Herbison has led the development of the Audio Coding System for Social Environments in Sport (ACSSES) to analyze the EAR-captured data, and is currently training an army of undergraduate students as coders.

GET INVOLVED: We are finalizing the development of the coding system, and are always looking for youth sport teams interested in participating in our research. Similarly, if you’re an undergraduate or graduate student who finds this line of research interesting, please contact Jordan Herbison for further details at


Canada Soccer Partnership

PLAYS will continue a partnership established with Canada Soccer in 2017 to work on two primary objectives: (1) integrate the Transformational Coaching Workshop into the Canada Soccer professional development curriculum for coaches, and (2) examine the effects of ‘playing up’ (i.e., playing an athlete in an age group above his or her current age group) in competitive youth soccer. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to explore several other exciting avenues for research with Canada Soccer.

GET INVOLVED:  We are currently exploring coaches’ leadership behaviours and youth’s experiences in soccer, as well as evaluating the Transformational Coaching Workshop. If you are involved in soccer and would like to learn more about these projects, please contact Jennifer Turnnidge at


Coaches Association of Ontario Partnership

The PLAYS lab is currently partnering with the Coaches Association of Ontario to examine coaches’ and classifiers’ experiences in parasport. The findings of this partnership will help to inform future initiatives designed to enhance the quality of sport experiences for athletes, coaches, classifiers, sport programmers in parasport.

GET INVOLVED: An online survey will be available in the coming weeks. If you are over the age of 18 and currently a coach or classifier in Ontario, we would love to hear from you!  You do not have to be currently working with an athlete with a disability to participate in this project. Check in with us in the next few weeks for a link to the survey!


Articles Published by PLAYS Members in 2017

The names of current and former members of the PLAYS research group are bolded. 

  1. Allan, V., Gainforth, H., Vierimaa, M., & Côté, J.  (2017, online).  The use of behavior change theories and techniques in research-informed coach development programmes:  A systematic review.  International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology.
  2. Allan, V., Smith, B., Côté, J., Martin Ginis, K.A., Latimer-Cheung, A.E. (2017, online).  Narratives of participation among individuals with physical disabilities: A life-course analysis of athletes’ experiences and development in parasport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  3. Allan, V., Turnnidge, J., & Côté, J. (2017).  Evaluating Approaches to Physical Literacy Through the Lens of Positive Youth Development. Quest, 69, 515-530. DOI: 10.1080/00336297.2017.1320294.
  4. Bruner, M.W., Boardley, I.D., Allan, V., Forrest, C., Root, Z., Côté, J. (2017).  Understanding social identity and intrateam moral behavior in competitive youth ice hockey: A narrative perspectiveThe Sport Psychologist, 31, 173-186.
  5. Bruner, M.W., Boardley, I.D., Allan, V., Root, Z., Buckham, S., Forrest, C., & Côté, J. (2017).  Examining social identity and intrateam moral behaviors in competitive youth ice hockey using stimulated recall, Journal of Sport Sciences, 35, 1963-1974.  DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1243797
  6. Bruner, M.W., Boardley, I.D., Benson, A.J., Wilson, K.S., Root, Z., Turnnidge, J., Sutcliffe & Côté, J. (2017, online).  Disentangling the relations between social identity and prosocial and antisocial behavior in competitive youth sport.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence.  DOI: 10.1007/s10964-017-0769-2
  7. DiFiori, J., Brenner, J.S., Comstock, D., Côté, J., Güllich, A., Hainline, B., & Malina, R.  (2017, online).  Debunking early single sport specialization and reshaping the youth sport experience.  British Journal of Sports Medicine.
  8. Donkers, J. L., Martin, L. J., & Evans, M. B. (2017, online). Psychological collectivism in individual youth athletes. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/1612197X.2016.1218529
  9. Evans, M. B., Allan, V., Erickson, K., Martin, L. J., Budziszewski, R., & Côté, J. (2017). Are all sport activities equal? A systematic review of how youth psychosocial experiences vary across differing sport activities. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51, 169-176. doi.10.1136/bjsports-2016-096725
  10. Hancock, D.J., Coutinho, P., Côté, J., & Mesquita, I.  (2017). Influences of population size and density on birthplace effects.  Journal of Sports Sciences, 36, 33-38. DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1276614.
  11. Hancock, D., Martin, L. J., Evans, M. B., & Paradis, K. F. (2017, online). Exploring perceptions of group processes inherent in ice hockey officiating. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2017.1349208
  12. Herbison, J. D., Benson, A. J., & Martin, L. J. (2017). Intricacies of the friendship-cohesion relationship in children’s sport. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 13(1), 10-19.
  13. Herbison, J. D., Vierimaa, M., Côté, J., & Martin, L. J. (In press). The dynamic nature of connection and its relation to character in youth sport. International Journal of Sports and Exercise Psychology.
  14. Holt, N. L., Neely, K. C., Slater, L. G., Camiré, M., Côté, J., Fraser-Thomas, J., MacDonald, D., Strachan, L., & Tamminen, K. A. (2017, online). A grounded theory of positive youth development through sport based on results from a qualitative meta-study. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10, 1-49.
  15. Martin, L. J., Balderson, D., Hawkins, M., Wilson, K., & Bruner, M. W. (2017). The influence of social identity on self-worth, commitment, and effort in school-based youth sport. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(3), 326-332. DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1306091
  16. Martin, L. J., Balderson, D., Hawkins, M., Wilson, K., & Bruner, M. W. (2017). Groupness and leadership perceptions in relation to social identity in youth sport. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 29 (3), 367-374. DOI: 10.1080/10413200.2016.1238414
  17. McCalpin, M., Evans, M.B., & Côté, J. (2017). Young female soccer players’ perception of their modified sport environment. The Sport Psychologist, 31, 65-77.  DOI:
  18. Reverdito, R.S., Gallati, L.R., Carvalho, H.M., Scalia, A.J., Côté, J., Gonçalves, C.E., & Paes, R.R.  (2017). Developmental benefits of extracurricular sports participation among Brazilian youth. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 124. 946-960DOI: 10.1177/0031512517724657
  19. Rossing, N.N, Stentoft, D., Flattum, A., Côté, J., & Karbing, D.S.  (2017, online).  Influence of population size, density, and proximity to talent clubs on the linkelihood of becoming elite youth athlete. Psychology of Sport and Exercise.  DOI: 10.1111/sms.13009
  20. Turnnidge, J. & Côté, J. (2017).  Transformational coaching workshop:  Applying a person-centered approach to coach development programs.  International Sport Coaching Journal, 4, 314-325.
  21. Vierimaa, M., Turnnidge, J., Bruner, M., & Côté, J. (2017).  Just for the fun of it:  Coaches perception of an exemplary community youth sport program.  Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 22, 603-617.  DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2017.1341473.
  22. Wagstaff, C. R. D., Martin, L. J., & Thelwell, R. (2017). Subgroups and cliques in sport: A longitudinal case study of a rugby union team. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 30, 164-172. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2017.03.006