This week on the Way of Champions Podcast, we welcome back Amanda Visek, a certified mental performance coach and associate professor at George Washington University. Dr. Visek has contributed to some of the most incredible research out there on youth sports. During our chat, we discuss why fun is looked upon so poorly in youth sport, what are the similarities between coaching boys and girls, and how kids from ages 8 and 18 define fun. Dr. Visek has been a huge inspiration for John’s new book, Every Moment Matters, out this week!

Highlights from the Podcast:

  • Dr. Visek helps us to understand her recent work with youth sports
  • Using concept maps to help kids have fun in sports
  • Why do coaches think some athletes want it to be fun and some want sport to be competitive?  
  • Dr. Visek explains why fun is synonymous with development
  • What were the differences between younger and older athletes?
  • Are team dynamics between 8-year-olds and 16-year-olds different?
  • What are some differences between what boys and girls said was fun about playing sports?
  • What are the key takeaways coaches can use to make the sport experience better for their athletes? 
  • What does vulnerability have to do with good coaching?
  • What is the biggest takeaway from all the research?

Amanda J. Visek, PhD, CMPC is an Associate Professor in the Department of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., USA. Her translational approach to scientific research has focused on the application of pediatric sport psychology to issues of public health, namely improving child and adolescent health outcomes by establishing sport participation as a public health practice through safe, positive physical activity and human movement experiences that are fun.

Her federally funded, applied research includes the FUN MAPS, the latest sport science advancement capturing attention from local grassroots communities to national and international sport organizations. The FUN MAPS are the scientific blueprints for the fun integration theory, the first-ever fully conceptual framework for optimizing youth’s positive sport experiences, both in their childhood and through their adolescence. Her work has been featured nationally in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, ESPNW, the N.Y Times for Kids, U.S. News & World Report, National Public Radio, CBS Radio, ABC News, NBC News, NBC Sports, FOX News and many others, while also being featured globally.

She has authored over 29 peer-reviewed papers, 7 book chapters, and given more than 145 refereed and invited talks around the world. The recipient of early career achievement awards from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the American Psychological Association’s Division 47, she is committed to leveraging children’s physical literacy via the most fun sport experiences possible.


Resources mentioned:

Connect with Amanda Visek


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Tagged under: research, youth sports