Use double quotes to find documents that include the exact phrase: "aerodynamic AND testing"

Concussion recovery can be a challenging time for athletes. Research shows that many athletes report mental health challenges, such as feelings of anxiety or depression during their recovery. Helping athletes seek mental health care after their concussion may help reduce the burden of concussions and improve their recovery outcomes.

Everyone knows to warm up before competing, but have you heard of “priming” beforehand? Priming is a round of non-tiring exercise that is done the day before or morning of a competition. Research shows priming may improve performance, as well as reduce athlete pre-competition stress.

Decisions made at the national sport level influence participation at the community level. Problems occur when there is misalignment between what is needed for each level and what is decided at the top. Decision-makers should consider how they can generate alignment between all levels in a sports pathway to improve long-term player development.

Parents play an important role in creating positive sports experiences for their children. Through interviews with athletes, researchers have learnt what behaviours children look for from their parents at competitions. Preferred behaviours included having parents show respect to others in sport, focus on their child’s effort rather than outcomes, and provide positive yet realistic post-competition feedback.


Quality sport. Values-based sport. Safe sport. Positive youth development. Person-centred sport. Athlete-centred sport. Holistic approaches.   

These are just a few of the many terms used within the sport sector to discuss the different ways in which sport delivery, programs, and culture are approached. Whether you are new to working in sport or an experienced staff member, participant, or even sport parent, it’s not uncommon to hear these terms used and feel a sense of confusion. What do they mean? Why are they important? And most importantly, how can you implement them? 

In this article, we explore 3 approaches to sport program delivery that sport researchers and practitioners alike recommend for their potential to optimize the sport experience: Quality sport, values-based sport and safe sport. We define these approaches, what the evidence says about them, and map out how they are similar or different from one another other. 

Quality sport  

Within academic literature, a quality approach to sport participation means ensuring participants view their experiences as enjoyable and satisfying based on their own preferences and values (Evans et coll., 2018). More specifically, researchers define quality participation in sport as repeated exposure to positive experiences, programming, or environments that promote long-term athlete development and participation (Côté et coll., 2014, Yohalem & Wilson-Ahlstrom, 2010). 

There is evidence to suggest when an individual’s needs are satisfied and participants are enjoying their sport experiences, they are considerably more likely to continue to participate in sport (Caron et coll., 2019; Ryan & Deci, 2017). With repeated exposure to positive experiences, they will also be more likely to reap the physical, social, and mental benefits of sport participation (Caron et coll., 2019; Martin Ginis et coll., 2017). This means that prioritizing the quality of programming is important for long-term participation and healthy development 

Figure 1: Sport for Life Society LTD Framework

It is important to acknowledge that organizations apply these definitions in their own way or use slightly different language to express their specific quality sport goals. For instance, Sport for Life uses “quality sport” and promotes the Long-Term Development in Sport and Physical Activity (LTD) framework as a guide for achieving positive experiences in sport and physical activity for individuals over the lifespan. According to Sport for Life, quality sport “is developmentally appropriate, safe and inclusive, and well run.” In other words, quality sport is “good programs, led by good people, in good places.”  

On the other hand, the Canadian Disability Participation Project (CDPP) promotes “quality participation” in sport and physical activity for people with disabilities. According to the CDPP, “quality participation is achieved when athletes with a disability view their involvement in sport as satisfying and enjoyable, and experience outcomes that they consider important.” To achieve quality participation, participants need repeated and sustained exposure to “quality experiences” over time. Six elements contribute to a quality experience (Martin Ginis et coll., 2017):  

To support these elements, appropriate conditions in the physical (for example, accessible facilities, access to equipment), social (for example, coach or instructor knowledge, friendships, family support), and program (for example, program size, funding support) environments need to be in place (Evans et coll., 2018). While the CDPP’s framework was developed for people with disabilities, it can be applied to sport participants in all contexts. 

Figure 2: The CDPP’s blueprint for building quality participation in sport and physical activity.

A variety of practical tools and resources have been created to guide sport organizations and program leaders in fostering quality sport programs. For example, Sport for Life creating a Quality Sport Checklist and a Quality Sport Guide for communities and clubs. Alternatively, the CDPP created the Blueprint for Building Quality Participation in Sport as a tool to help sport programmers foster quality experiences for children, youth and adults with disabilities, which leads to quality participation over time. The Blueprint has also been tailored for children and youth with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ultimately, creating quality sport experiences involves understanding your programs and athletes unique needs to help identify what values and program components you should focus on and prioritize. 

Values-based sport  

The aim of sport delivery that is values-based is to create an environment that encourages values like (but not exclusive to) good character, physical literacy, community and belonging. Another goal of values-based sport is to create good citizens and well-rounded individuals through sport. However, this approach to sport delivery is more explicit in its use of values and morals to achieve its goal when compared to the other approaches described in this article.  

Adopting and promoting values in Canadian sport has been advocated by communities and organizations like Collaborative Community Coaching (C3)™, the Sport Law & Strategy Group, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), and True Sport. 

Of particular note, the CCES is an independent, national, not-for-profit organization committed to making sport better. The CCES does so by working collaboratively to activate a values-based sport system, protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats, and advocating for sport that’s fair, safe and open to everyone. True Sport is an initiative of the CCES designed to give people, communities and organizations the means to leverage the benefits of good sport from a platform of shared values and principles. As a values-based sport network leader, the CCES believes that activating the True Sport Principles, on and off the field of play, will contribute to a positive shift in Canadian sport culture.  

Figure 3: The 7 True Sport Principles

Values-based approaches operate on the belief that sport has many physical, social and mental benefits but these benefits are not guaranteed by simply participating in sport (Bean et coll., 2018). The 2022 True Sport Report, commissioned by the CCES, recommends that in order for sport to be “good sport,” values and principles need to be put into action (for example, incorporated into policy, practice, and programs) and work together at all times. Informed by recent research, the report suggests that when this occurs, participants and communities alike will benefit.  

Despite being advocated for and implemented in organizations for many years, values-based approaches have not yet been investigated extensively in the academic literature. Nevertheless, the goal remains similar to previous approaches discussed—that is, meeting the basic human and developmental needs of participants.  

While researchers are still investigating whether the explicit teaching of values is necessary for participants to acquire them (as opposed to them being obtained organically from “good sport”), the morals and principles promoted through values-based sport are universally positive (Bean et coll., 2018).  

The key characteristic of values-based approaches to sport programming is that they are intentional and clear with the values and purpose of the activities participants are taking part in. According to Jones and McLenaghen, a good starting point for an organization or club looking to take this approach is to develop a “values-based agreement.” In other words, come together and agree upon your organization’s values and principles and promote them throughout your programming. Part of the CCES values-based education programming also includes a values-based agreement as an essential step in guiding and clarifying your community’s purpose for athletes, coaches and leaders, and meeting the goal of fostering values through your programming.  

The CCES provides additional suggestions for those wanting to make a positive difference in their sport and community:  

Safe sport  

The safe sport movement aims to optimize the sport experience for everyone in sport, including but not limited to administrators, officials, and support staff. To optimize the experience, stakeholders should have the reasonable expectation that the sport environment will not only be free from all forms of maltreatment (for example, abuse, neglect, bullying, harassment, and discrimination), but that it will also: 

Safe sport extends beyond the prevention of physical, psychological and social harm to include the promotion of participant rights (Gurgis & Kerr, 2021). According to Gretchen Kerr, an academic expert and a leader in the safe sport movement, the safe sport movement does not intend to abandon athletic results altogether, but rather places emphasis on healthy, safe, and inclusive methods for achieving performance results.   

As testimonies continue to surface of discrimination, harassment, abuse, and other forms of maltreatment in sport, the body of literature focused on safe sport and safeguarding in sport has grown substantially. In particular, recent studies have demonstrated how unsafe sport environments and maltreatment are contributing to participants’ mental health concerns and withdrawal from sport (Battaglia et coll., 2022).   

For example, in a recent SIRCuit article, a team of researchers (Eric MacIntosh, Alison Doherty and Shannon Kerr) described the findings of a study exploring athletes’ perceptions of safe and unsafe environments in high performance sport. The researchers identified coach and teammate behaviour (like aggression, exclusion, and overstepping boundaries), as well as a lack of resources and inattentive sport system (meaning, lack of accountability, attention, and/or action) as primary contributors to unsafe sporting environments. In contrast, athletes shared that they felt safest when they had a knowledgeable coach, athlete interests were prioritized, regulations were followed, they had access to ancillary support (like, physiotherapy and counselling), and when there was a sense of community among athletes and coaches.  

According to experts, adopting a values-based framework where inclusion, safety, fairness, and accessibility are promoted alongside strategies to prevent harm and abuse appears critical to optimizing  the experiences of sport participants (Gurgis, 2021). With safe sport in mind, Donnelly and Kerr (2018) recommend that sport organizations engage in the following strategies: 

The Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS) was developed in 2019 by the CCES with SIRC and in collaboration with national and multi-sport organizations, athletes, coaches, researchers and experts in the areas of child protection and safety in sport. The UCCMS 6.0 underwent a recent update by the SDRCC and is a vital tool for communities and organizations when it comes to implementing safe sport practices. The latest version includes prevention strategies for all levels of Canadian sport organizations and guidelines on how to address maltreatment if it occurs.  

UCCMS violations are investigated and sanctioned by the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC). The OSIC is the central hub within Abuse-Free Sport, Canada’s independent system for preventing and addressing maltreatment in sport. The Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) launched the Abuse-Free Sport program in 2022 after extensive research and a national consultation with more than 75 different organizations. The government of Canada selected the SDRCC to develop and deliver this new safe sport mechanism at the national level in 2021.  

Abuse-Free Sport provides access to a wide range of resources, all of it available in English and French, including: 

You can visit SIRC’s safe sport web hub for more safe sport resources, including policy documents and relevant research. For safe sport education and training, the Coaching Association of Canada offers Safe Sport Training, a free online training module. The Respect Group also offers Respect in Sport Training targeted at coaches and program leaders, as well as parents.  


There are several evidence-informed approaches to sport delivery that researchers and sport organizations encourage, and that you can engage with, to promote positive experiences and combat harmful cultures in sport and society. Quality sport, values-based sport and safe sport are 3 common approaches promoted by sport researchers and practitioners to optimizes experiences and outcomes for sport participants. Although they have their differences, each of these approaches recognizes sport as a context for communities and participants to gain valuable benefits. These approaches promote morals and principles that aim to fulfill basic human needs like belonging, safety, and confidence, which encourage healthy development and overall wellbeing for all sport participants. At the end of the day, the goal of each approach is to encourage positive sport experiences that build thriving people and communities.  

Coaching philosophies play a key role in athletes’ safety. Developed by Dr. Peter Scales, “Compete-Learn-Honor” is a new, evidence-informed approach to player development that promotes emotional and physical safety, fun, and growth as a person and player.

Female endurance athletes have an increased risk of relative energy deficiency syndrome (REDs). Female cross-country runners have the highest incidence of stress fractures of all collegiate sports. Research regarding athlete, coach, and athletic trainer awareness of REDs showed that while athletic trainers have the most knowledge of the syndrome, athletes have the least. This suggests that athlete-directed education is needed.

The Global status report on physical activity is WHO’s first global assessment of implementation of policy recommendations to reduce physical inactivity by 15% in 2030. The report shows global progress has been slow. To reach this goal, WHO provides 5 suggestions, one of which includes providing more opportunities for those such as older adults and people living with disabilities to be active in their communities.

In game 6 of the 2021 NHL playoffs, the Toronto Maple Leafs were down 1-0 in the third period and on the penalty kill. Toronto Maple Leaf Mitch Marner shot the puck over the glass, resulting in a penalty. While in the penalty box, Marner hunched over, looking anxious and defeated.

The Leafs would give up a goal on the resulting 5-on-3 penalty kill and ultimately, lose the game. Marner’s emotions communicated to his teammates a lack of confidence. Should blame be placed on Marner? No. But did his emotions rub off on his teammates and likely impact their performance? Yes.

Understanding emotional contagion

Emotion is a response to an internal or external object or event. An emotional response has 3 main characteristics (Jones, 2003):

  1. Physiological changes: Noticeable changes in facial expression and body language
  2. Subjective experience: An individual’s awareness of what they are feeling
  3. Action tendencies: The urge to perform a certain behaviour when experiencing a specific emotion

It is no secret that communication is a vital component of success in sport. However, the power of emotion as a communication tool is often overlooked. Like the flu, emotions are contagious between individuals (Barsade, 2002). Van Kleef’s (2009) Emotion as Social Information (EASI) model helps explain this phenomenon. The EASI model suggests that one person’s emotional expressions can influence the behaviour of someone they are interacting with in two ways.

First, the original person’s emotion can provide the other person with information about the originator’s feelings, attitudes, and behavioural intentions. To illustrate, picture two hockey players who play on the same line. If player 1 doesn’t pass to player 2, and then player 1 loses the puck, player 2 may express anger. Player 1 may realize that player 2 is upset, and then player 1 determines that they made a bad play, which motivates them to try and pass the puck more. This is an inferential process because one member makes assumptions about the other’s emotions and then changes their behaviour accordingly.

Second, the originator’s emotion can affect the observer’s own emotions. Due to their contagious nature, humans often mirror the emotion they are observing. Using the above scenario, if player 2 expresses anger, player 1 may catch this anger and may begin to dislike player 2. Then, the players may not want to be linemates anymore, impairing team cohesion. This response is an affective reaction, as a change in emotion impacts behaviour.

Why emotional contagion matters in sport

At its core, sport is a social activity where athletes constantly interact with teammates and other members of their team (for example, coaches). Athletes must be able to regulate their emotions to positively influence their teammates and as a result, enhance team functioning (Crocker et coll., 2015). Emotional regulation refers to an individual’s ability to control/change emotions and associated responses to accomplish set goals (Friesen et coll., 2012).

Womens Football Team Celebrating Winning Soccer Match Lifting Player upWhether you are an athlete, coach, or even a fan, your emotions matter. For instance, when teammates demonstrate happy emotions, this can positively influence the collective emotions of a team, that then further serve to positively shape athletes’ perceptions of their own performance (Totterdell, 2000). In addition, if you’ve ever watched a sports game, you may notice how a coach’s emotional expressions influence athletes’ emotions and behaviours. Recently, van Kleef et coll. (2019) found coaches’ who expressed happiness with their athletes predicted team success, while expressions of anger were negatively associated with team success. Similarly, coaches’ stress has also been found to negatively influence the emotions of athletes, resulting in increased levels of anxiety and apprehension, reduced enjoyment and self-confidence, as well as increased pressures to perform well (Thelwell et coll., 2017).

The following tips can help athletes, coaches, and support staff effectively manage emotional contagion on a team to enhance team functioning.

  1. Practice emotional regulation

Team development exercises should include an emotional regulation component. Athletes and coaches can practice their own emotional regulation and get a feel for how athletes within the team communicate using emotions. Here are some strategies that can be implemented to improve emotional regulation:

  1. Capitalize on your opponent’s emotional outbursts 

Try to manage your own emotions while leveraging others. Moll and colleagues (2010) found that two things occurred when a player scored in a shootout and clearly displayed positive emotion: their opponent was more likely to miss, and their next teammate was more likely to score. This was suggested to occur because they communicated feelings of achievement, happiness, and confidence that was contagious to their teammate and discouraging to their opponent.

  1. Sometimes, negative emotions need to be felt

Sometimes in sports, an extremely unfavourable event, such as losing a season-ending game, can cause negative emotions that are too immense to control. This is okay. Sometimes negative emotions need to be experienced, especially when all members are individually feeling down. In fact, not coping with a difficult situation as a team can impair member relations and social cohesion (Tamminen et coll., 2016). In a study of varsity athletes’ perceptions of the function of emotional expressions as social information, dealing with negative emotions as a team was perceived to strengthen social bonds and increase group-based identity (Tamminen et coll., 2016). Thus, in certain situations, negative emotions can be productive. With proper guidance from coaches and management, athletes should face such emotions as a team.

Final thoughts

Emotions can communicate important information about one’s thoughts and intentions as well as influence the emotions of others. Athletes can catch the emotions of their teammates, opponents, coaches, or even fans, ultimately affecting team performance. Hence, just like a slapshot, emotional regulation needs to be practiced so that it can be optimized in a way that supports athletes and their teams in the pursuit of athletic success.

Marner, as a devoted Leafs fan, I understand how you felt. However, your emotions told everyone that you were nervous and unhopeful. Would you ever say to a teammate that you have no hope in them when you want them to succeed? Probably not. On the playing field, your visible emotions shouldn’t communicate anything you wouldn’t wish to say out loud. 

Sports help to develop crucial skills on and off the court, field, or ice. Participating in sports can help youth athletes stay physically healthy, build positive relationships with coaches and other players and learn valuable skills. 

While coaches often play a critical role in supporting athletes’ development, it is also important to consider how athletes can support their own development. In this blog, we provide 3 strategies to help athletes take ownership of their own life skills development through sport participation. 

Defining life skills

Life skills are abilities or characteristics, such as goal setting, emotional control and self-esteem, that can be developed through sport and transferred to non-sport settings (Gould & Carson, 2008). The ability to use life skills in another context is known as “life skills transfer” (Newman, 2020). For example, learning how to problem solve in sport can help athletes when they get into a disagreement with a friend at school or a sibling at home. Developing life skills is not a “one-and-done approach,” but rather an ongoing process that requires time, practice and patience.

A few examples of skills athletes can develop and apply through sport include:

1. Leadership

Leadership is often thought of as personal development but can be imagined as advocating for social change and fostering inclusive community efforts (Camiré et coll., 2021). For instance, an athlete can be a leader by standing up for a teammate who is being bullied due to their racial or ethnic background, gender identity or sexual orientation.

2. Teamwork

Traditionally, teamwork is thought of as working cooperatively towards a common goal. However, teamwork can also be thought of  as “learning and experiencing personal growth, social development and socialization” (Lang, 2010, pp. 1 as cited in Camiré et coll., 2021). For instance, meeting and engaging with new teammates of diverse backgrounds can help develop teamwork skills.

3. Resilience 

Resilience refers to the ability to adapt to risk and adversity (Newman, 2020). This skill is especially important, as it can help athletes overcome challenges and setbacks in key periods of their lives (for example, adolescence). In sport, resilience can help athletes cope with setbacks such as injuries or conflicts with other teammates. 

Strategies for athletes to take ownership of their own life skills development 

Below are 3 tips that youth athletes can use to support their own life skills development: 

1. Build positive relationships with key sport figures

coaching female baseball playerBuilding a positive relationship with coaches and teammates helps build a foundation for life skills development (Hemphill et coll., 2019). To facilitate a positive learning environment, it is important that athletes feel comfortable and safe.

Athletes can cultivate a comfortable environment by engaging in conversation with peers and caring adults to find common interests and goals. Positive relationships with coaches, instructors and parents can help athletes develop important life skills, such as trust, and instill a sense of belonging (Hemphill et coll., 2019).  If an athlete has developed a network of trust, they are more readily able to speak to a caring adult, such as a coach, if they have concerns about interpersonal dynamics (for example, bullying) on the team.

2. Practice reflexivity within and outside of your sport

Being self-aware and reflective means knowing yourself. What skills or strengths do you bring onto the court, field or ice? Self-awareness also helps one recognize and identify what skills you want to work on.

One way athletes can practice reflexivity is through journaling. There is no right or wrong way to journal. To start, it might be helpful for athletes to draw or write down key words of how they felt during practice, or think about what skills they were developing. This will help athletes to think about where they can apply their life skills from sport to a new environment (Newman et coll., 2018). For example, since being on the basketball team a youth athlete learned great leadership skills and can confidently lead a group huddle. This leadership skill can be transferred to a school environment where they start a food drive to help other members of the community.    

3. Try applying your new skills beyond sport

In tip 2, we recommended that athletes engage in a reflection and think about connections where they can apply the life skills that they’ve developed through sport. Now, it’s time to take initiative and put those developed skills into action (this is also known as “life skill transfer”).

Athletes can do this by looking for initiatives and connections within their community and school. For example, through the soccer team, an athlete met new teammates with various backgrounds that positively challenged their perspectives. This experience has allowed the athlete to develop great teamwork skills. The athlete feels able to transfer this skill into a social justice club at school, where they continue to meet and work with classmates of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Final thoughts

Athletes play a crucial role in their own life skills development and transfer process. While the focus of this blog is on sports and athletes, these tips and examples can be applied by individuals in any type of recreational setting.

Remember that although these life skills are developed within sport, they can be used in a variety of environments outside of sports. As youth athletes continue to enter different milestones of their lives, they can continue to think of connections where the skills developed through sport can be applied in their everyday lives.