Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS) was honored by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education with the Ross Merrick National Recognition Award for the center’s longtime commitment of using research and best practice evidence to advocate for young athletes.
Kinesiology Professor Dan Gould of MSU’s College of Education, who serves as director of ISYS, accepted the honor at the annual convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance’s annual convention in Baltimore. The award was presented by Professor Jody Brylinksy of Western Michigan University, who lauded the MSU institute’s success.
“There are few social actions that have the positive impact on youth today than ‘sport done right.’ And for close to 30 years, the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports has studied, published, evaluated and advocated for healthy positive physical activity for all children and youth,” Brylinsky said. “From world-class research on critical issues in sport to hands-on training of volunteer coaches, the ISYS has been a leader in promoting the beneficial outcomes of youth sport.”
Founded nearly 30 years by Professor Vern Seefeldt, the ISYS has produced numerous programs. Chief among them is the PACE coach training program and the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s/ISYS partnership to develop the Coaching Advancement Program, which is used today to provide education for Michigan’s school coaches. The institute’s partnership with Think Detroit/Police Athletic League developed a leader training program that will help them achieve their objective of teaching character through sport to over 11,000 underserved youth in Detroit.
Among research initiatives, the institute conducted studies for the U.S. Tennis Association on the role parents play in helping children develop as tennis players and people. It found that parents can help young players develop to elite levels in a manner which is consistent with optimal child development. One does not need to be an overly pushy, critical parent to help the player become a top pro. The institute’s National Football Charities grant work identified how great high school coaches not only were successful on the field, but consistently fostered life skills in their players. This is helping teach future generations of coaches how to develop young athletes as people. In addition, research was conducted teaching adolescent ice hockey players how to better control their emotions so they play in physically assertive but safe and clean ways. This information is being disseminated to youth coaches throughout the state.