Research group

Development of Young People through Sport (DYPS)

Silhouette of a man about to throw a basketball

How can we maximise positive youth development through sport?

In many ways, sport acts as a dress rehearsal for life. By providing opportunities to give and receive feedback; develop discipline; adhere to rules and respect those who apply said rules; learn about one’s roles, responsibilities, and obligations to others; provide support and encouragement to others; and experience highs and lows, victory and defeat. Sport allows us to learn about ourselves and develop personal, inter- and intra-personal skills.

The Developing Young People through Sport group examines ways to (1) adapt sports competitions for positive individual and group-level outcomes, (2) develop effective training programmes, (3) facilitating optimal training environments, (4) train effective and efficacious coaches, and (5) improve the lives of disadvantaged and disengaged young people and youth at risk.

Areas of research include:

  • Bio-banding
  • Coach-Athlete Relationships
  • Coaching Efficacy and Effectiveness
  • Competitive Engineering
  • Fundamental Movement Skills
  • Group Dynamics and Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Moral Development 
  • Pedagogy
  • Perceptual-Cognitive Skill Development
  • Physical Education
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Relative Age Effect

Related courses

Sport and Exercise Psychology (MSD, MPhil, PhD)

Sports and Exercise Sciences (MSD, MPhil, PhD)

Health and Physical Activity (MSD, MPhil, PhD)

Current projects

We are currently working with the Rugby Football Union (RFU) completing a two year evaluation of the ‘Half Game Rule’ in age grade rugby (U7-U19).

The Half Game Rule ensures that all players named in a match day squad play for at least half a game. This research is examines how engineering junior competition affects participation, retention, enjoyment, and the game of rugby more broadly.

Studentship opportunities

Performance banded physical education classes to improve fitness and mental health outcomes in youth

Our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences is offering a part-funded studentship for a taught Postgraduate degree (Master of Science) to start in October 2020, with a research assistant stipend of £5,616 plus travel and expenses, for a maximum of 12 months. Student fees are not included.

Physical Education (PE) classes are the primary source of physical activity that children experience and provide an environment in which to shape a positive association with physical activity for life. This research will see University of Essex work with secondary education schools to develop and enhance their current PE curriculum and delivery.

The primary aim of the trial is to investigate the impact of a 10 month CE intervention (performance banding) delivered during PE upon; physical activity levels within PE, psychosocial outcomes and fitness levels. To date there is no school-based evidence to test whether performance banding can improve enjoyment, global mental health, physical activity within PE lessons and fitness levels.

Supervisor: Dr Ben Jones

Deadline: 14 September 2020

Our research

Our School has a proven track record of excellence in teaching, research and applied sports science. The majority of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the most recent Research Assessment Framework (REF 2014).

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