PYD SportNET is a network to stimulate knowledge generation and exchange in the area of Positive Youth Development (PYD) through sport. PYD is about developing the athlete and developing the person through sport. PYD SportNET will link researchers with practitioners, sport organizations, parents, and coaches and will provide evidence-based resources for enhancing the sport experiences of Canadian children and adolescents.

PYDSportNET is an initiative arising from a ‘Partnership Development Grant’ from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Positive Youth Development, or PYD, is a way of understanding how children develop. Historically, there has been a tendency to focus on ‘fixing’ problematic aspects of development. This is called a ‘deficit’ approach. PYD provides a different perspective. It is focused on building strengths to help develop happy and healthy children. PYD through sport involves finding ways to promote PYD through children’s involvement in sport. We do this by focusing on children’s interactions with peers, parents, and coaches and ways in which sport organizations deliver programs.

We came up with the idea for PYD SportNET in response to what we see as a ‘gap’ in the Canadian sport ‘system.’ Canada boasts some of the leading youth sport researchers in the world and Canadian research is used to inform the development of sport programs internationally. Yet, Canadian research rarely informs the delivery of sport in Canada. PYD SportNET is our way of plugging this gap by trying to connect research and researchers with athletes, coaches, parents, and sport organizations.

Our Team

  • Nicholas Holt

    Edmonton, AB

    Dr. Nick Holt is a Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, and the ‘captain’ of the PYDSportNET team. He is internationally renowned for his research examining psychosocial aspects of youth sport, with a particular focus on PYD and parenting. He has published over 120 articles and four books. He works with several sport groups, including Sport Canada. He is also a soccer coach and a weekend warrior endurance athlete.

    • Martin Camiré

      Ottawa, ON

      Martin Camiré is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa. Through his research, Dr. Camiré is interested in examining how positive youth development can be facilitated in sport and in understanding the role played by coaches in teaching life skills.

      • Jessica Fraser-Thomas

        Toronto, ON

        Jessica Fraser-Thomas is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research focuses on psychosocial influences (e.g., coaches, family, peers) in children and youths’ development through sport. She recently co-edited Health and Elite Sport: Is High Performance Sport a Healthy Pursuit?

        • Dany MacDonald

          Charlottetown, PEI

          Dany MacDonald is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at the University of Prince Edward Island. His research has focused on developing instruments to measure positive youth development in sport and around methods of helping coaches incorporate positive development practices into coaching.

          • Leisha Strachan

            Winnipeg, MB

            Dr. Leisha Strachan is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. She completed her doctoral degree at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Her line of research focuses on integrating positive youth development research into sport and examining those experiences for children and youth at recreational or elite levels. She is also interested in examining the growth of life skills and physical activity with new immigrant youth in Winnipeg. An avid coach, Dr. Strachan is also involved in community organizations in Winnipeg working to teach positive skills and enable positive experiences for young people.

            • Katherine Tamminen

              Toronto, ON

              Katherine is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Her research examines stress, coping, and emotion among youth athletes and high-performance athletes, and she also studies the role of parents and coaches in helping athletes to deal with stress in sport.