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Peer-reviewed

Research Article

Sport psychology and performance meta-analyses: A systematic review of the literature

Roles Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliations Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America, Education Academy, Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania

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Roles Data curation, Methodology, Writing – original draft

Affiliation Department of Psychological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America

Roles Data curation, Methodology

Roles Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management, Honors College, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America

Roles Data curation, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Faculty of Education, Health and Well-Being, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom

Roles Data curation, Formal analysis, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Division of Research & Innovation, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

  • Marc Lochbaum, 
  • Elisabeth Stoner, 
  • Tristen Hefner, 
  • Sydney Cooper, 
  • Andrew M. Lane, 
  • Peter C. Terry

PLOS

  • Published: February 16, 2022
  • https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263408
  • Peer Review
  • Reader Comments

Fig 1

Sport psychology as an academic pursuit is nearly two centuries old. An enduring goal since inception has been to understand how psychological techniques can improve athletic performance. Although much evidence exists in the form of meta-analytic reviews related to sport psychology and performance, a systematic review of these meta-analyses is absent from the literature. We aimed to synthesize the extant literature to gain insights into the overall impact of sport psychology on athletic performance. Guided by the PRISMA statement for systematic reviews, we reviewed relevant articles identified via the EBSCOhost interface. Thirty meta-analyses published between 1983 and 2021 met the inclusion criteria, covering 16 distinct sport psychology constructs. Overall, sport psychology interventions/variables hypothesized to enhance performance (e.g., cohesion, confidence, mindfulness) were shown to have a moderate beneficial effect ( d = 0.51), whereas variables hypothesized to be detrimental to performance (e.g., cognitive anxiety, depression, ego climate) had a small negative effect ( d = -0.21). The quality rating of meta-analyses did not significantly moderate the magnitude of observed effects, nor did the research design (i.e., intervention vs. correlation) of the primary studies included in the meta-analyses. Our review strengthens the evidence base for sport psychology techniques and may be of great practical value to practitioners. We provide recommendations for future research in the area.

Citation: Lochbaum M, Stoner E, Hefner T, Cooper S, Lane AM, Terry PC (2022) Sport psychology and performance meta-analyses: A systematic review of the literature. PLoS ONE 17(2): e0263408. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263408

Editor: Claudio Imperatori, European University of Rome, ITALY

Received: September 28, 2021; Accepted: January 18, 2022; Published: February 16, 2022

Copyright: © 2022 Lochbaum et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper.

Funding: The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Introduction

Sport performance matters. Verifying its global importance requires no more than opening a newspaper to the sports section, browsing the internet, looking at social media outlets, or scanning abundant sources of sport information. Sport psychology is an important avenue through which to better understand and improve sport performance. To date, a systematic review of published sport psychology and performance meta-analyses is absent from the literature. Given the undeniable importance of sport, the history of sport psychology in academics since 1830, and the global rise of sport psychology journals and organizations, a comprehensive systematic review of the meta-analytic literature seems overdue. Thus, we aimed to consolidate the existing literature and provide recommendations for future research.

The development of sport psychology

The history of sport psychology dates back nearly 200 years. Terry [ 1 ] cites Carl Friedrich Koch’s (1830) publication titled [in translation] Calisthenics from the Viewpoint of Dietetics and Psychology [ 2 ] as perhaps the earliest publication in the field, and multiple commentators have noted that sport psychology experiments occurred in the world’s first psychology laboratory, established by Wilhelm Wundt at the University of Leipzig in 1879 [ 1 , 3 ]. Konrad Rieger’s research on hypnosis and muscular endurance, published in 1884 [ 4 ] and Angelo Mosso’s investigations of the effects of mental fatigue on physical performance, published in 1891 [ 5 ] were other early landmarks in the development of applied sport psychology research. Following the efforts of Koch, Wundt, Rieger, and Mosso, sport psychology works appeared with increasing regularity, including Philippe Tissié’s publications in 1894 [ 6 , 7 ] on psychology and physical training, and Pierre de Coubertin’s first use of the term sport psychology in his La Psychologie du Sport paper in 1900 [ 8 ]. In short, the history of sport psychology and performance research began as early as 1830 and picked up pace in the latter part of the 19 th century. Early pioneers, who helped shape sport psychology include Wundt, recognized as the “father of experimental psychology”, Tissié, the founder of French physical education and Legion of Honor awardee in 1932, and de Coubertin who became the father of the modern Olympic movement and founder of the International Olympic Committee.

Sport psychology flourished in the early 20 th century [see 1, 3 for extensive historic details]. For instance, independent laboratories emerged in Berlin, Germany, established by Carl Diem in 1920; in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, established respectively by Avksenty Puni and Piotr Roudik in 1925; and in Champaign, Illinois USA, established by Coleman Griffith, also in 1925. The period from 1950–1980 saw rapid strides in sport psychology, with Franklin Henry establishing this field of study as independent of physical education in the landscape of American and eventually global sport science and kinesiology graduate programs [ 1 ]. In addition, of great importance in the 1960s, three international sport psychology organizations were established: namely, the International Society for Sport Psychology (1965), the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity (1966), and the European Federation of Sport Psychology (1969). Since that time, the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (1986), the South American Society for Sport Psychology (1986), and the Asian-South Pacific Association of Sport Psychology (1989) have also been established.

The global growth in academic sport psychology has seen a large number of specialist publications launched, including the following journals: International Journal of Sport Psychology (1970), Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (1979), The Sport Psychologist (1987), Journal of Applied Sport Psychology (1989), Psychology of Sport and Exercise (2000), International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2003), Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology (2007), International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2008), Journal of Sport Psychology in Action (2010), Sport , Exercise , and Performance Psychology (2014), and the Asian Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (2021).

In turn, the growth in journal outlets has seen sport psychology publications burgeon. Indicative of the scale of the contemporary literature on sport psychology, searches completed in May 2021 within the Web of Science Core Collection, identified 1,415 publications on goal setting and sport since 1985; 5,303 publications on confidence and sport since 1961; and 3,421 publications on anxiety and sport since 1980. In addition to academic journals, several comprehensive edited textbooks have been produced detailing sport psychology developments across the world, such as Hanrahan and Andersen’s (2010) Handbook of Applied Sport Psychology [ 9 ], Schinke, McGannon, and Smith’s (2016) International Handbook of Sport Psychology [ 10 ], and Bertollo, Filho, and Terry’s (2021) Advancements in Mental Skills Training [ 11 ] to name just a few. In short, sport psychology is global in both academic study and professional practice.

Meta-analysis in sport psychology

Several meta-analysis guides, computer programs, and sport psychology domain-specific primers have been popularized in the social sciences [ 12 , 13 ]. Sport psychology academics have conducted quantitative reviews on much studied constructs since the 1980s, with the first two appearing in 1983 in the form of Feltz and Landers’ meta-analysis on mental practice [ 14 ], which included 98 articles dating from 1934, and Bond and Titus’ cross-disciplinary meta-analysis on social facilitation [ 15 ], which summarized 241 studies including Triplett’s (1898) often-cited study of social facilitation in cycling [ 16 ]. Although much meta-analytic evidence exists for various constructs in sport and exercise psychology [ 12 ] including several related to performance [ 17 ], the evidence is inconsistent. For example, two meta-analyses, both ostensibly summarizing evidence of the benefits to performance of task cohesion [ 18 , 19 ], produced very different mean effects ( d = .24 vs d = 1.00) indicating that the true benefit lies somewhere in a wide range from small to large. Thus, the lack of a reliable evidence base for the use of sport psychology techniques represents a significant gap in the knowledge base for practitioners and researchers alike. A comprehensive systematic review of all published meta-analyses in the field of sport psychology has yet to be published.

Purpose and aim

We consider this review to be both necessary and long overdue for the following reasons: (a) the extensive history of sport psychology and performance research; (b) the prior publication of many meta-analyses summarizing various aspects of sport psychology research in a piecemeal fashion [ 12 , 17 ] but not its totality; and (c) the importance of better understanding and hopefully improving sport performance via the use of interventions based on solid evidence of their efficacy. Hence, we aimed to collate and evaluate this literature in a systematic way to gain improved understanding of the impact of sport psychology variables on sport performance by construct, research design, and meta-analysis quality, to enhance practical knowledge of sport psychology techniques and identify future lines of research inquiry. By systematically reviewing all identifiable meta-analytic reviews linking sport psychology techniques with sport performance, we aimed to evaluate the strength of the evidence base underpinning sport psychology interventions.

Materials and methods

This systematic review of meta-analyses followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines [ 20 ]. We did not register our systematic review protocol in a database. However, we specified our search strategy, inclusion criteria, data extraction, and data analyses in advance of writing our manuscript. All details of our work are available from the lead author. Concerning ethics, this systematic review received a waiver from Texas Tech University Human Subject Review Board as it concerned archival data (i.e., published meta-analyses).

Eligibility criteria

Published meta-analyses were retained for extensive examination if they met the following inclusion criteria: (a) included meta-analytic data such as mean group, between or within-group differences or correlates; (b) published prior to January 31, 2021; (c) published in a peer-reviewed journal; (d) investigated a recognized sport psychology construct; and (e) meta-analyzed data concerned with sport performance. There was no language of publication restriction. To align with our systematic review objectives, we gave much consideration to study participants and performance outcomes. Across multiple checks, all authors confirmed study eligibility. Three authors (ML, AL, and PT) completed the final inclusion assessments.

Information sources

Authors searched electronic databases, personal meta-analysis history, and checked with personal research contacts. Electronic database searches occurred in EBSCOhost with the following individual databases selected: APA PsycINFO, ERIC, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and SPORTDiscus. An initial search concluded October 1, 2020. ML, AL, and PT rechecked the identified studies during the February–March, 2021 period, which resulted in the identification of two additional meta-analyses [ 21 , 22 ].

Search protocol

ML and ES initially conducted independent database searches. For the first search, ML used the following search terms: sport psychology with meta-analysis or quantitative review and sport and performance or sport* performance. For the second search, ES utilized a sport psychology textbook and used the chapter title terms (e.g., goal setting). In EBSCOhost, both searches used the advanced search option that provided three separate boxes for search terms such as box 1 (sport psychology), box 2 (meta-analysis), and box 3 (performance). Specific details of our search strategy were:

Search by ML:

  • sport psychology, meta-analysis, sport and performance
  • sport psychology, meta-analysis or quantitative review, sport* performance
  • sport psychology, quantitative review, sport and performance
  • sport psychology, quantitative review, sport* performance

Search by ES:

  • mental practice or mental imagery or mental rehearsal and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • goal setting and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • anxiety and stress and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • competition and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • diversity and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • cohesion and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • imagery and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • self-confidence and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • concentration and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • athletic injuries and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • overtraining and sports performance and meta-analysis
  • children and sports performance and meta-analysis

The following specific search of the EBSCOhost with SPORTDiscus, APA PsycINFO, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and ERIC databases, returned six results from 2002–2020, of which three were included [ 18 , 19 , 23 ] and three were excluded because they were not meta-analyses.

  • Box 1 cohesion
  • Box 2 sports performance
  • Box 3 meta-analysis

Study selection

As detailed in the PRISMA flow chart ( Fig 1 ) and the specified inclusion criteria, a thorough study selection process was used. As mentioned in the search protocol, two authors (ML and ES) engaged independently with two separate searches and then worked together to verify the selected studies. Next, AL and PT examined the selected study list for accuracy. ML, AL, and PT, whilst rating the quality of included meta-analyses, also re-examined all selected studies to verify that each met the predetermined study inclusion criteria. Throughout the study selection process, disagreements were resolved through discussion until consensus was reached.

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Data extraction process

Initially, ML, TH, and ES extracted data items 1, 2, 3 and 8 (see Data items). Subsequently, ML, AL, and PT extracted the remaining data (items 4–7, 9, 10). Checks occurred during the extraction process for potential discrepancies (e.g., checking the number of primary studies in a meta-analysis). It was unnecessary to contact any meta-analysis authors for missing information or clarification during the data extraction process because all studies reported the required information. Across the search for meta-analyses, all identified studies were reported in English. Thus, no translation software or searching out a native speaker occurred. All data extraction forms (e.g., data items and individual meta-analysis quality) are available from the first author.

To help address our main aim, we extracted the following information from each meta-analysis: (1) author(s); (2) publication year; (3) construct(s); (4) intervention based meta-analysis (yes, no, mix); (5) performance outcome(s) description; (6) number of studies for the performance outcomes; (7) participant description; (8) main findings; (9) bias correction method/results; and (10) author(s) stated conclusions. For all information sought, we coded missing information as not reported.

Individual meta-analysis quality

ML, AL, and PT independently rated the quality of individual meta-analysis on the following 25 points found in the PRISMA checklist [ 20 ]: title; abstract structured summary; introduction rationale, objectives, and protocol and registration; methods eligibility criteria, information sources, search, study selection, data collection process, data items, risk of bias of individual studies, summary measures, synthesis of results, and risk of bias across studies; results study selection, study characteristics, risk of bias within studies, results of individual studies, synthesis of results, and risk of bias across studies; discussion summary of evidence, limitations, and conclusions; and funding. All meta-analyses were rated for quality by two coders to facilitate inter-coder reliability checks, and the mean quality ratings were used in subsequent analyses. One author (PT), having completed his own ratings, received the incoming ratings from ML and AL and ran the inter-coder analysis. Two rounds of ratings occurred due to discrepancies for seven meta-analyses, mainly between ML and AL. As no objective quality categorizations (i.e., a point system for grouping meta-analyses as poor, medium, good) currently exist, each meta-analysis was allocated a quality score of up to a maximum of 25 points. All coding records are available upon request.

Planned methods of analysis

Several preplanned methods of analysis occurred. We first assessed the mean quality rating of each meta-analysis based on our 25-point PRISMA-based rating system. Next, we used a median split of quality ratings to determine whether standardized mean effects (SMDs) differed by the two formed categories, higher and lower quality meta-analyses. Meta-analysis authors reported either of two different effect size metrics (i.e., r and SMD); hence we converted all correlational effects to SMD (i.e., Cohen’s d ) values using an online effect size calculator ( www.polyu.edu.hk/mm/effectsizefaqs/calculator/calculator.html ). We interpreted the meaningfulness of effects based on Cohen’s interpretation [ 24 ] with 0.20 as small, 0.50 as medium, 0.80 as large, and 1.30 as very large. As some psychological variables associate negatively with performance (e.g., confusion [ 25 ], cognitive anxiety [ 26 ]) whereas others associate positively (e.g., cohesion [ 23 ], mental practice [ 14 ]), we grouped meta-analyses according to whether the hypothesized effect with performance was positive or negative, and summarized the overall effects separately. By doing so, we avoided a scenario whereby the demonstrated positive and negative effects canceled one another out when combined. The effect of somatic anxiety on performance, which is hypothesized to follow an inverted-U relationship, was categorized as neutral [ 35 ]. Last, we grouped the included meta-analyses according to whether the primary studies were correlational in nature or involved an intervention and summarized these two groups of meta-analyses separately.

Study characteristics

Table 1 contains extracted data from 30 meta-analyses meeting the inclusion criteria, dating from 1983 [ 14 ] to 2021 [ 21 ]. The number of primary studies within the meta-analyses ranged from three [ 27 ] to 109 [ 28 ]. In terms of the description of participants included in the meta-analyses, 13 included participants described simply as athletes, whereas other meta-analyses identified a mix of elite athletes (e.g., professional, Olympic), recreational athletes, college-aged volunteers (many from sport science departments), younger children to adolescents, and adult exercisers. Of the 30 included meta-analyses, the majority ( n = 18) were published since 2010. The decadal breakdown of meta-analyses was 1980–1989 ( n = 1 [ 14 ]), 1990–1999 ( n = 6 [ 29 – 34 ]), 2000–2009 ( n = 5 [ 23 , 25 , 26 , 35 , 36 ]), 2010–2019 ( n = 12 [ 18 , 19 , 22 , 27 , 37 – 43 , 48 ]), and 2020–2021 ( n = 6 [ 21 , 28 , 44 – 47 ]).

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As for the constructs covered, we categorized the 30 meta-analyses into the following areas: mental practice/imagery [ 14 , 29 , 30 , 42 , 46 , 47 ], anxiety [ 26 , 31 , 32 , 35 ], confidence [ 26 , 35 , 36 ], cohesion [ 18 , 19 , 23 ], goal orientation [ 22 , 44 , 48 ], mood [ 21 , 25 , 34 ], emotional intelligence [ 40 ], goal setting [ 33 ], interventions [ 37 ], mindfulness [ 27 ], music [ 28 ], neurofeedback training [ 43 ], perfectionism [ 39 ], pressure training [ 45 ], quiet eye training [ 41 ], and self-talk [ 38 ]. Multiple effects were generated from meta-analyses that included more than one construct (e.g., tension, depression, etc. [ 21 ]; anxiety and confidence [ 26 ]). In relation to whether the meta-analyses included in our review assessed the effects of a sport psychology intervention on performance or relationships between psychological constructs and performance, 13 were intervention-based, 14 were correlational, two included a mix of study types, and one included a large majority of cross-sectional studies ( Table 1 ).

A wide variety of performance outcomes across many sports was evident, such as golf putting, dart throwing, maximal strength, and juggling; or categorical outcomes such as win/loss and Olympic team selection. Given the extensive list of performance outcomes and the incomplete descriptions provided in some meta-analyses, a clear categorization or count of performance types was not possible. Sufficient to conclude, researchers utilized many performance outcomes across a wide range of team and individual sports, motor skills, and strength and aerobic tasks.

Effect size data and bias correction

To best summarize the effects, we transformed all correlations to SMD values (i.e., Cohen’s d ). Across all included meta-analyses shown in Table 2 and depicted in Fig 2 , we identified 61 effects. Having corrected for bias, effect size values were assessed for meaningfulness [ 24 ], which resulted in 15 categorized as negligible (< ±0.20), 29 as small (±0.20 to < 0.50), 13 as moderate (±0.50 to < 0.80), 2 as large (±0.80 to < 1.30), and 1 as very large (≥ 1.30).

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Study quality rating results and summary analyses

Following our PRISMA quality ratings, intercoder reliability coefficients were initially .83 (ML, AL), .95 (ML, PT), and .90 (AL, PT), with a mean intercoder reliability coefficient of .89. To achieve improved reliability (i.e., r mean > .90), ML and AL re-examined their ratings. As a result, intercoder reliability increased to .98 (ML, AL), .96 (ML, PT), and .92 (AL, PT); a mean intercoder reliability coefficient of .95. Final quality ratings (i.e., the mean of two coders) ranged from 13 to 25 ( M = 19.03 ± 4.15). Our median split into higher ( M = 22.83 ± 1.08, range 21.5–25, n = 15) and lower ( M = 15.47 ± 2.42, range 13–20.5, n = 15) quality groups produced significant between-group differences in quality ( F 1,28 = 115.62, p < .001); hence, the median split met our intended purpose. The higher quality group of meta-analyses were published from 2015–2021 (median 2018) and the lower quality group from 1983–2014 (median 2000). It appears that meta-analysis standards have risen over the years since the PRISMA criteria were first introduced in 2009. All data for our analyses are shown in Table 2 .

Table 3 contains summary statistics with bias-corrected values used in the analyses. The overall mean effect for sport psychology constructs hypothesized to have a positive impact on performance was of moderate magnitude ( d = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.42, 0.58, n = 36). The overall mean effect for sport psychology constructs hypothesized to have a negative impact on performance was small in magnitude ( d = -0.21, 95% CI -0.31, -0.11, n = 24). In both instances, effects were larger, although not significantly so, among meta-analyses of higher quality compared to those of lower quality. Similarly, mean effects were larger but not significantly so, where reported effects in the original studies were based on interventional rather than correlational designs. This trend only applied to hypothesized positive effects because none of the original studies in the meta-analyses related to hypothesized negative effects used interventional designs.

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https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263408.t003

In this systematic review of meta-analyses, we synthesized the available evidence regarding effects of sport psychology interventions/constructs on sport performance. We aimed to consolidate the literature, evaluate the potential for meta-analysis quality to influence the results, and suggest recommendations for future research at both the single study and quantitative review stages. During the systematic review process, several meta-analysis characteristics came to light, such as the number of meta-analyses of sport psychology interventions (experimental designs) compared to those summarizing the effects of psychological constructs (correlation designs) on performance, the number of meta-analyses with exclusively athletes as participants, and constructs featuring in multiple meta-analyses, some of which (e.g., cohesion) produced very different effect size values. Thus, although our overall aim was to evaluate the strength of the evidence base for use of psychological interventions in sport, we also discuss the impact of these meta-analysis characteristics on the reliability of the evidence.

When seen collectively, results of our review are supportive of using sport psychology techniques to help improve performance and confirm that variations in psychological constructs relate to variations in performance. For constructs hypothesized to have a positive effect on performance, the mean effect strength was moderate ( d = 0.51) although there was substantial variation between constructs. For example, the beneficial effects on performance of task cohesion ( d = 1.00) and self-efficacy ( d = 0.82) are large, and the available evidence base for use of mindfulness interventions suggests a very large beneficial effect on performance ( d = 1.35). Conversely, some hypothetically beneficial effects (2 of 36; 5.6%) were in the negligible-to-small range (0.15–0.20) and most beneficial effects (19 of 36; 52.8%) were in the small-to-moderate range (0.22–0.49). It should be noted that in the world of sport, especially at the elite level, even a small beneficial effect on performance derived from a psychological intervention may prove the difference between success and failure and hence small effects may be of great practical value. To put the scale of the benefits into perspective, an authoritative and extensively cited review of healthy eating and physical activity interventions [ 49 ] produced an overall pooled effect size of 0.31 (compared to 0.51 for our study), suggesting sport psychology interventions designed to improve performance are generally more effective than interventions designed to promote healthy living.

Among hypothetically negative effects (e.g., ego climate, cognitive anxiety, depression), the mean detrimental effect was small ( d = -0.21) although again substantial variation among constructs was evident. Some hypothetically negative constructs (5 of 24; 20.8%) were found to actually provide benefits to performance, albeit in the negligible range (0.02–0.12) and only two constructs (8.3%), both from Lochbaum and colleagues’ POMS meta-analysis [ 21 ], were shown to negatively affect performance above a moderate level (depression: d = -0.64; total mood disturbance, which incorporates the depression subscale: d = -0.84). Readers should note that the POMS and its derivatives assess six specific mood dimensions rather than the mood construct more broadly, and therefore results should not be extrapolated to other dimensions of mood [ 50 ].

Mean effects were larger among higher quality than lower quality meta-analyses for both hypothetically positive ( d = 0.54 vs d = 0.45) and negative effects ( d = -0.25 vs d = 0.17), but in neither case were the differences significant. It is reasonable to assume that the true effects were derived from the higher quality meta-analyses, although our conclusions remain the same regardless of study quality. Overall, our findings provide a more rigorous evidence base for the use of sport psychology techniques by practitioners than was previously available, representing a significant contribution to knowledge. Moreover, our systematic scrutiny of 30 meta-analyses published between 1983 and 2021 has facilitated a series of recommendations to improve the quality of future investigations in the sport psychology area.

Recommendations

The development of sport psychology as an academic discipline and area of professional practice relies on using evidence and theory to guide practice. Hence, a strong evidence base for the applied work of sport psychologists is of paramount importance. Although the beneficial effects of some sport psychology techniques are small, it is important to note the larger performance benefits for other techniques, which may be extremely meaningful for applied practice. Overall, however, especially given the heterogeneity of the observed effects, it would be wise for applied practitioners to avoid overpromising the benefits of sport psychology services to clients and perhaps underdelivering as a result [ 1 ].

The results of our systematic review can be used to generate recommendations for how the profession might conduct improved research to better inform applied practice. Much of the early research in sport psychology was exploratory and potential moderating variables were not always sufficiently controlled. Terry [ 51 ] outlined this in relation to the study of mood-performance relationships, identifying that physical and skills factors will very likely exert a greater influence on performance than psychological factors. Further, type of sport (e.g., individual vs. team), duration of activity (e.g., short vs. long duration), level of competition (e.g., elite vs. recreational), and performance measure (e.g., norm-referenced vs. self-referenced) have all been implicated as potential moderators of the relationship between psychological variables and sport performance [ 51 ]. To detect the relatively subtle effects of psychological effects on performance, research designs need to be sufficiently sensitive to such potential confounds. Several specific methodological issues are worth discussing.

The first issue relates to measurement. Investigating the strength of a relationship requires the measured variables to be valid, accurate and reliable. Psychological variables in the meta-analyses we reviewed relied primarily on self-report outcome measures. The accuracy of self-report data requires detailed inner knowledge of thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Research shows that the accuracy of self-report information is subject to substantial individual differences [ 52 , 53 ]. Therefore, self-report data, at best, are an estimate of the measure. Measurement issues are especially relevant to the assessment of performance, and considerable measurement variation was evident between meta-analyses. Some performance measures were more sensitive, especially those assessing physical performance relative to what is normal for the individual performer (i.e., self-referenced performance). Hence, having multiple baseline indicators of performance increases the probability of identifying genuine performance enhancement derived from a psychological intervention [ 54 ].

A second issue relates to clarifying the rationale for how and why specific psychological variables might influence performance. A comprehensive review of prerequisites and precursors of athletic talent [ 55 ] concluded that the superiority of Olympic champions over other elite athletes is determined in part by a range of psychological variables, including high intrinsic motivation, determination, dedication, persistence, and creativity, thereby identifying performance-related variables that might benefit from a psychological intervention. Identifying variables that influence the effectiveness of interventions is a challenging but essential issue for researchers seeking to control and assess factors that might influence results [ 49 ]. A key part of this process is to use theory to propose the mechanism(s) by which an intervention might affect performance and to hypothesize how large the effect might be.

A third issue relates to the characteristics of the research participants involved. Out of convenience, it is not uncommon for researchers to use undergraduate student participants for research projects, which may bias results and restrict the generalization of findings to the population of primary interest, often elite athletes. The level of training and physical conditioning of participants will clearly influence their performance. Highly trained athletes will typically make smaller gains in performance over time than novice athletes, due to a ceiling effect (i.e., they have less room for improvement). For example, consider runner A, who takes 20 minutes to run 5km one week but 19 minutes the next week, and Runner B who takes 30 minutes one week and 25 minutes the next. If we compare the two, Runner A runs faster than Runner B on both occasions, but Runner B improved more, so whose performance was better? If we also consider Runner C, a highly trained athlete with a personal best of 14 minutes, to run 1 minute quicker the following week would almost require a world record time, which is clearly unlikely. For this runner, an improvement of a few seconds would represent an excellent performance. Evidence shows that trained, highly motivated athletes may reach performance plateaus and as such are good candidates for psychological skills training. They are less likely to make performance gains due to increased training volume and therefore the impact of psychological skills interventions may emerge more clearly. Therefore, both test-retest and cross-sectional research designs should account for individual difference variables. Further, the range of individual difference factors will be context specific; for example, individual differences in strength will be more important in a study that uses weightlifting as the performance measure than one that uses darts as the performance measure, where individual differences in skill would be more important.

A fourth factor that has not been investigated extensively relates to the variables involved in learning sport psychology techniques. Techniques such as imagery, self-talk and goal setting all require cognitive processing and as such some people will learn them faster than others [ 56 ]. Further, some people are intuitive self-taught users of, for example, mood regulation strategies such as abdominal breathing or listening to music who, if recruited to participate in a study investigating the effects of learning such techniques on performance, would respond differently to novice users. Hence, a major challenge when testing the effects of a psychological intervention is to establish suitable controls. A traditional non-treatment group offers one option, but such an approach does not consider the influence of belief effects (i.e., placebo/nocebo), which can either add or detract from the effectiveness of performance interventions [ 57 ]. If an individual believes that, an intervention will be effective, this provides a motivating effect for engagement and so performance may improve via increased effort rather than the effect of the intervention per se.

When there are positive beliefs that an intervention will work, it becomes important to distinguish belief effects from the proposed mechanism through which the intervention should be successful. Research has shown that field studies often report larger effects than laboratory studies, a finding attributed to higher motivation among participants in field studies [ 58 ]. If participants are motivated to improve, being part of an active training condition should be associated with improved performance regardless of any intervention. In a large online study of over 44,000 participants, active training in sport psychology interventions was associated with improved performance, but only marginally more than for an active control condition [ 59 ]. The study involved 4-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson narrating both the intervention and active control using motivational encouragement in both conditions. Researchers should establish not only the expected size of an effect but also to specify and assess why the intervention worked. Where researchers report performance improvement, it is fundamental to explain the proposed mechanism by which performance was enhanced and to test the extent to which the improvement can be explained by the proposed mechanism(s).

Limitations

Systematic reviews are inherently limited by the quality of the primary studies included. Our review was also limited by the quality of the meta-analyses that had summarized the primary studies. We identified the following specific limitations; (1) only 12 meta-analyses summarized primary studies that were exclusively intervention-based, (2) the lack of detail regarding control groups in the intervention meta-analyses, (3) cross-sectional and correlation-based meta-analyses by definition do not test causation, and therefore provide limited direct evidence of the efficacy of interventions, (4) the extensive array of performance measures even within a single meta-analysis, (5) the absence of mechanistic explanations for the observed effects, and (6) an absence of detail across intervention-based meta-analyses regarding number of sessions, participants’ motivation to participate, level of expertise, and how the intervention was delivered. To ameliorate these concerns, we included a quality rating for all included meta-analyses. Having created higher and lower quality groups using a median split of quality ratings, we showed that effects were larger, although not significantly so, in the higher quality group of meta-analyses, all of which were published since 2015.

Conclusions

Journals are full of studies that investigate relationships between psychological variables and sport performance. Since 1983, researchers have utilized meta-analytic methods to summarize these single studies, and the pace is accelerating, with six relevant meta-analyses published since 2020. Unquestionably, sport psychology and performance research is fraught with limitations related to unsophisticated experimental designs. In our aggregation of the effect size values, most were small-to-moderate in meaningfulness with a handful of large values. Whether these moderate and large values could be replicated using more sophisticated research designs is unknown. We encourage use of improved research designs, at the minimum the use of control conditions. Likewise, we encourage researchers to adhere to meta-analytic guidelines such as PRISMA and for journals to insist on such adherence as a prerequisite for the acceptance of reviews. Although such guidelines can appear as a ‘painting by numbers’ approach, while reviewing the meta-analyses, we encountered difficulty in assessing and finding pertinent information for our study characteristics and quality ratings. In conclusion, much research exists in the form of quantitative reviews of studies published since 1934, almost 100 years after the very first publication about sport psychology and performance [ 2 ]. Sport psychology is now truly global in terms of academic pursuits and professional practice and the need for best practice information plus a strong evidence base for the efficacy of interventions is paramount. We should strive as a profession to research and provide best practices to athletes and the general community of those seeking performance improvements.

Supporting information

S1 checklist..

https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263408.s001

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge the work of all academics since Koch in 1830 [ 2 ] for their efforts to research and promote the practice of applied sport psychology.

  • 1. Terry PC. Applied Sport Psychology. IAAP Handbook of Applied Psychol. Wiley-Blackwell; 2011 Apr 20;386–410.
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  • 3. Chroni S, Abrahamsen F. History of Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology in Europe. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2017 Dec 19. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.135
  • 4. Rieger K. Der Hypnotismus: Psychiatrische Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Sogenannten Hypnotischen Zustände [Hypnotism: Psychiatric Contributions to the Knowledge of the So-called Hypnotic States]. Würzburg, Germany: University of Würzburg; 1884.
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  • 11. Bertollo M, Filho E, Terry PC. Advancements in Mental Skills Training: International Perspectives on Key Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology. London: Routledge; 2021.
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  • 24. Cohen J. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioral Sciences. New York: Routledge Academic; 1988.
  • 50. Ekkekakis P. The Measurement of Affect, Mood, and Emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2013.

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Clinical Practice in Athletic Training: A Journal of Practice-Based, Outcomes, and Action Research

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Visit our Journal MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT Clinical Practice in Athletic Training: A Journal of Practice-Based, Outcomes, and Action Research is an online, open-access outlet for dissemination of practice-based research in the field of athletic training. Practice-based research involves clinicians working together to answer community-based healthcare questions and translate research findings into practice. In addition, the journal provides the opportunity for clinical outcomes research that studies the result of health services that take the patient's experiences, preferences, and values into account. The vision of Clin AT is to provide an outlet for the practicing athletic trainer to share their story, successes and failures, in terms of patient services and practice advancement. We believe in the value of the voice of the clinician of bridging the gap between clinical practice and best available evidence. Clin AT strives to offer unique manuscript styles and dissemination types, while blending the principles of evidence-based practice and emerging frameworks for clinical practice. MANUSCRIPT TYPES Clinical Practice in Athletic Training is a triannual, peer-reviewed journal that provides reports from athletic training patient care and practice advancement perspectives. The journal includes eight sections. A description of the manuscript type and style guidelines specific to that section can be found below by clicking on the section type. • Disablement Model Case Studies and Reports • Validation Case Reports • Point-of-Care (Practice Characteristic) Research • Clinical Outcomes Research • Quality Improvement (PDSA Cycle) Reports • Preceptor Case Studies • Clinician Expertise Commentary • Patient-Centered Care Commentary ISSN: 2577-8188

COPYRIGHT STATEMENT I, as Editor of the Clinical Practice in Athletic Training: A Journal of Practice-Based, Outcomes, and Action Research which owns the copyright, grant to Indiana State University the non-exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, perform, and/or display my submission (including the abstract and any supplementary materials) in whole or in part, worldwide in print or an electronic format, whether in existence now or developed in the future, in any medium, including but not limited to audio or video, for the sole purpose of preserving and providing free, open electronic access to the work. I further agree that Indiana State University will utilize evolving current best practices to ensure preservation and/or distribution. I hereby state that the Clin AT retains full copyright and ownership rights to this submission and have the right to exercise all rights under copyright in the work not granted herein, including for example, publishing this work in a non-electronic format, creating books, articles, or derivative works. If the submission contains material for which the Clin AT does not hold copyright, the authors have obtained the unrestricted permission of the copyright owner to grant Indiana State University the rights required by this license, and that such third-party owned material is clearly identified and acknowledged within the text or content of the submission. In the event of a subsequent dispute over the copyrights to material contained in the submission, the Clin AT agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Indiana State University and its employees or agents for any uses of the materials authorized by this license. The Indiana State University Library reserves the right to add or edit metadata for the purpose of access, clarification and/or preservation. The Clin AT understands and agrees that this license agreement shall become effective on the date that this document is signed to the Indiana State University; that Indiana State University will clearly identify my name as the editor of the Clin AT , and will not make any alteration, other than as allowed by this license agreement, without my express written consent.

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The Pandemic as an Opportunity to Reflect on Athletic Training Research

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As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletic training community needs to reflect on the pandemic’s impact on athletic training research. This reflection requires the athletic training community to consider how studies were and will be affected, how investigators deliver research messaging to stakeholders, how editors and reviewers assess research, and how investigators’ careers were impacted. We wish we could offer some grand proposal for how to address these critical questions. Instead, we seek to encourage an era of reflection on how athletic trainers do research, assess research, disseminate research, and who is involved in research. The athletic training community should use the pandemic as a once in a century temporal landmark to elicit a “fresh start effect.” 1 It can become an opportunity “to relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view …, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors.” 1 We offer topics for key stakeholders (e.g., authors, readers, editors, mentors, reviewers) to consider, and some immediate action items that should be implemented as the discussion evolves.

The pandemic represents a monumental time that dramatically impacted research in the lab and field. Research teams paused or prematurely stopped many studies. Furthermore, some studies that continued may be influenced by participants changing their behavior. As our patients return to activity, it will be challenging to know how to interpret findings from data collected during the pandemic or immediately after. For example, participants in a clinical trial may have become less compliant or adopted behaviors during the pandemic that could have skewed results. Furthermore, it is unclear how return to activity during or after the pandemic may impact injury or illness rates. Hence, authors must report the dates when data collection was occurring, a common element of manuscript checklists (e.g., CONSORT, 2 STROBE 3 ). Authors should also consider if and how the pandemic may influence their study results and describe in the discussion if the pandemic influenced how a reader should interpret the results.

Authors should also learn from the pandemic about how they can optimize the delivery of key take-home messages to key stakeholders. The publication of a paper cannot be the end of a study, but instead, the beginning of a new chapter focused on dissemination. 4 Authors need to provide a consistent, clear message about what is known or not. It may also be beneficial to identify key influencers (e.g., well-known coaches, professional organizations, popular magazines) among key stakeholders groups for a study. Authors could then discuss the results with these influencers and encourage them to share the findings.

Readers need to consider how data collected before or during the pandemic may apply to their current clinical situation. Patient-reported outcomes and exposure to physical activity may have changed during the pandemic, and some of these changes may represent unmeasured confounding. For example, during the pandemic, accelerometers may have detected a decrease in physical activity during a shutdown. Alternatively, accelerometers may have detected similar minutes of moderate to vigorous activity before and during the pandemic. However, the person shifted from running outside to using an elliptical. Hence, readers need to think twice about whether there are spurious factors that may contribute to a study’s findings. Furthermore, readers should consider whether a study’s implications may differ when people initially return to sports versus a year after returning. For example, the prevalence of risk factors for acute and chronic injuries or illnesses may differ between the time that people initially return to sport after COVID-related shutdown and the period after they have acclimated to full participation.

Editors need to acknowledge that the pandemic put data collection on hold. If editors wait for research laboratories to resume studies and reach full enrollment, then editors could hinder patient care by delaying needed therapies or screening strategies. Hence, editors need to encourage authors to submit manuscripts with innovative and clinically compelling findings from studies stopped prematurely by the pandemic. The P value cannot be allowed to cripple progress. 5 , 6 If authors provide compelling results that demonstrate potentially clinically meaningful effect estimates, editors should encourage the authors to acknowledge the limitations of a small sample and the need for more robust studies; but, editors should not stifle innovation. Allowing these preliminary findings may inspire other investigators to pursue new directions or review their existing data. It can spark invaluable discussions among researchers and clinicians. Editors should encourage innovation and foster discussions. Another benefit of publishing these promising papers is to support young investigators trying to establish their research line. The pandemic has potentially created a major impediment to their career development, and editors need to take reasonable steps to support the next generation of investigators.

Editors need to be brave. They need to exert their influence on the review process. Suppose a reviewer is sticking to the old paradigm of relying solely on P values to define significance. In that case, editors should advise them that while P values still have a role, they cannot be the only determinant of meaningfulness. 6 Authors will continue to emphasize P values if reviewers keep making authors focus on P values. 5 At International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training , we encourage a more comprehensive approach to data analysis and interpreting results based on the emerging trends in clinical research. While many studies may have been impacted by the COVID pandemic, editors should continue to promote best practices of reporting methods and results. This includes adhering to recommended checklists (e.g., STROBE, CONSORT, PRISMA, etc.) and cultivating open and transparent relationships with reviewers to ensure that there are clear actionable items for authors to address in the revision process that help to enhance the message to the readers. 7

  • Mentors/Reviewers (Grant/Papers)

Mentors and reviewers need to appreciate that the pandemic had a major impact on many researchers, especially early stage/young investigators, including postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students. Mentors and reviewers cannot expect young investigators to match old expectations. Adjusting expectations does not lower the bar; it recognizes that investigators faced unique and considerable hurdles over the past year. This change in assessment will not lower our standards but instead acknowledges that other things are important, and perhaps we should offer more value to some aspects of our research. A paper someone is reviewing may describe a study with a smaller sample size than expected, but does it offer some new insights? A grant someone is reviewing may offer less preliminary data, but can the investigators still perform the study, is it grounded in sound science, and will the potential results yield new insights or open up an innovative research line? If allowed, the pandemic could be a catalyst for shifting from a publish-or-perish mentality to something more meaningful. 1

We are emerging from one of the largest and most public medical research/public health endeavors in history. On the plus side, we have seen what can be accomplished in therapeutics and vaccine development when there is a commitment of resources and efficient communication from clinicians to medical researchers. On the other hand, we also saw some of the confusion that arises when people “see the sausage being made,” and there is inconsistent messaging. For example, we saw the rapid rise and fall of possible therapeutics like hydroxychloroquine. All medical fields need to look at this past year and see what lessons can be learned. For example, in sports medicine—how can we improve our public health messaging about the importance of injury prevention programs, heat illness prevention, and other vital prevention strategies? How can we more efficiently disseminate information to clinicians and patients? How can we streamline the translation from research to bedside and bedside to research? 8 How can we dispel or prevent the uptake of pseudo treatments? Answering these questions will require a discussion among researchers, editors, publishers, funding agencies, and other professional organizations. This discussion should represent one of the biggest endeavors that the field needs to undertake in the next few years. We have failed to efficiently translate research to practice and vice versa for too long. We must see the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess our current strategies and develop new paths forward.

We also cannot ignore the other major story of the year. Sports Medicine (including the research community) needs to do more to promote diversity and inclusiveness. This requires our community do more than just ensuring our review panels, editorial boards, committees, and speaker panels represent our stakeholders’ diversity. We also need to have honest discussions about whether we are serving the whole community. We need to consider the implications of the possible lack of diversity in our research studies and how we can do better in the future. Every grant application and paper should discuss whether the study truly represents the target population and how failure to do so may impact the generalizability of the results.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic will leave its mark on medicine and research for decades. The extent to which it leaves a positive lasting impact on these communities depends on how we proceed in the coming months and years. Authors, editors, readers, mentors, and reviewers need to recognize the importance of learning from this moment and use it as an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate our priorities. If we fail to learn and recognize the impact this pandemic has had on our field, we risk propagating a failing dissemination strategy and losing valuable young investigators who are the key to our long-term success. Let us step up to the challenge and grow from this experience.

  • Author Biography

Driban is a research associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and is a member of the Special and Scientific Staff at Tufts Medical Center. He is an associate editor for the International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training , the cofounder of Sports Medicine Research, and a founding member of the Athletic Training Osteoarthritis Consortium.

Dai H , Milkman KL , Riis J . The fresh start effect: temporal landmarks motivate aspirational behavior . Manag Sci . 2014 ; 60 ( 10 ): 2563 – 2582 . doi:10.1287/mnsc.2014.1901

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Schulz KF , Altman DG , Moher D , CONSORT Group . CONSORT 2010 Statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials . J Clin Epidemiol . 2010 ; 63 ( 8 ): 834 – 840 . PubMed ID: 20346629 doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2010.02.005

von Elm E , Altman DG , Egger M , et al . The strengthening the reporting of observational studies in epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies . J Clin Epidemiol . 2008 ; 61 ( 4 ): 344 – 349 . PubMed ID: 18313558 doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2007.11.008

Driban JB . Tapping into the evidence pipeline—the role of social media in evidence-based practice . Int J Athl Ther Train . 2016 ; 21 ( 3 ): 1 – 4 . doi:10.1123/ijatt.2016-0032

Halsey LG . The reign of the p-value is over: what alternative analyses could we employ to fill the power vacuum? Biol Lett . 2019 ; 15 ( 5 ): 20190174 . PubMed ID: 31113309 doi:10.1098/rsbl.2019.0174

Wilkerson GB , Denegar CR . A growing consensus for change in interpretation of clinical research evidence . J Athl Train . 2018 ; 53 ( 3 ): 320 – 326 . PubMed ID: 29624454 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-8-17

McKeon PO , Medina McKeon JM . Peer review: the hallmark of external evidence integrity . Int J Athl Ther Train . 2018 ; 23 ( 4 ): 137 – 140 . doi:10.1123/ijatt.2018-0070

Driban JB , Laursen RM . Starting a dialogue: athletic training researchers and clinicians . Int J Athl Ther Train . 2019 ; 24 ( 2 ): 41 – 43 . doi:10.1123/ijatt.2019-0018

* Driban is with the Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. McKeon is with Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, USA.

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research paper topics on athletic training

Supporting athletic training research to advance the profession

NATA supports the advancement of the athletic training profession through different types of research, led primarily by the NATA Research & Education Foundation.

NATA Research & Education Foundation

Incorporated in 1991, the NATA Foundation 's mission is to support and advance the athletic training profession through research and education.

The NATA Education Advancement Committee 's mission is to identify short-term and long-term educational research priorities, to advance evidence-based scholarship, and to continually assess best practices related to athletic training education in order to enhance clinical practice and patient care. The committee works in collaboration with the NATA Foundation to identify and support critical areas of educational research that will benefit NATA members and the profession as a whole, ultimately enhancing patient care and improving health outcomes.

NATA publishes the Journal of Athletic Training and the Athletic Training Education Journal , two excellent sources for the latest in AT research. Visit Publications to learn more. 

NATA addresses clinical practice updates, current events and other timely topics by issuing the Position, Official, Consensus and Support Statements. Read all NATA statements in the Press Room .

Overview of Athletic Training Education Research Publications

Affiliation.

  • 1 Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • PMID: 12937539
  • PMCID: PMC164419

OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of the limited amount of peer-reviewed literature on athletic training education that has been published in athletic training journals. Publications that related specifically to the development of evaluation tools or specific addenda to the required athletic training curriculum were not included. BACKGROUND: As education reform continues to unfold in athletic training, it is important for all certified athletic trainers to understand the research that undergirds the educational practices in athletic training. Many of the profession's educational practices have been taken from standards and methods developed by the discipline of education, with very little validation for applicability to the discipline of athletic training. A very limited number of comprehensive scientific investigations of the educational standards and practices in athletic training education have been carried out; however, for more research to be conducted, it is essential that the currently available research be reviewed. DESCRIPTION: The summaries of athletic training educational research in this article include the topics of learning styles, facilitation of learning and professional development, instructional methods, clinical instruction and supervision, predictors of success on the National Athletic Trainers' Association Board of Certification certification examination, program administration, and continuing education. The amount of research in athletic training education is limited when compared with the amount and quality of educational research available in other professions, such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. In this article, I attempt to describe the existing literature and identify what is needed to expand the breadth and depth of research in athletic training education. CLINICAL ADVANTAGES: This article is intended to help educators identify areas within athletic training education that require further validation and to provide both educators and clinicians with insight into the current validated educational practices that may be appropriate to incorporate into educational settings or practice.

Sports Research Paper Topics and Ideas

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Table of contents

  • 0.1 Key Points
  • 1.1 You Don’t Have To Rehash The Same Old Ideas
  • 1.2 Choose A Topic With Plenty Of Sources
  • 1.3 A Sports Research Paper Needs To Be Relevant
  • 1.4 Use Evidence For Your Sports Paper
  • 1.5 Bring Something New To The Table
  • 2 Sports Management Research Topics
  • 3 Sports Psychology Research Topics
  • 4 Research Topics About Sports Medicine
  • 5 Research Topics on Exercise
  • 6 Research Topics on the History of Sports
  • 7 Research Topics on Sports Marketing
  • 8 Sports Research Topics on Sociology
  • 9 Research Paper Topics About Soccer
  • 10 Research Paper Topics about Basketball
  • 11 Research Topics on Athletic Training
  • 12 Sports Research Paper Topics: Key Takeaway

Writing about sports is as fun as playing it if you choose the right topic. But what to do if you’ve run out of ideas? No worries, we’ve got you covered with our selection of the most engaging sports research paper topics. One of them will help you to reveal your writing potential. Keep reading to find inspiration for an A-grade sports research paper.

  • Sports research paper topics include major league baseball, football fans, and mental health. Even topics like sports celebrities, extreme sports, science, and doping
  • Write about something that you’re passionate about and is in line with your essay brief
  • Make sure your research paper topic allows you to present useful content and narrow it down if it is too broad

Tips for Selecting Ideal Sports Research Topics

Good sports research topics make putting your essay together more enjoyable. When that happens, your writing flows better, and your readers will enjoy it too. Take a look at these tips that college students can use to select the perfect research paper topics.

You Don’t Have To Rehash The Same Old Ideas

Let’s be honest – researching and following methodology in a research paper is tedious. But if you’re doing it on a subject you enjoy, your passion for the topic should keep you motivated and engaged. And you’ll likely produce high-quality work.

Choose A Topic With Plenty Of Sources

At the same time, make sure it’s narrow enough to get specific and provide insight. You have to find the right balance. You want to have enough information to get stuck into the topic, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.

A Sports Research Paper Needs To Be Relevant

A trending or hot topic is much easier to write about. And your readers are going to thank you for it. As long as they relate to what you’re saying, you’re halfway there. Take a look at news coverage of the industry. Are there any current discussions or debates? Or has a particular sports personality tweeted something viral?

Use Evidence For Your Sports Paper

You’re going to need sources to back up your claims. Are there enough articles, books, and other sources on hand to conduct an extensive study? You’ll need research papers, journals, documentaries, or interviews with experts in the field.

Bring Something New To The Table

Instead of writing on something already well-covered, try and contribute something new. Think about finding practical applications or implications for the sporting industry. If originality isn’t your strong suit, there’s an option to buy a research paper to get excellent results. That way, you’re guaranteed high-quality, well-researched work created by experts in the field. The result will be a unique perspective that makes your sports paper stand out.

Sports Management Research Topics

Sports management degree matter looks at effective leadership, athlete management, and marketing. They provide valuable insights into global sports culture today. You’ll also get the chance to learn more and develop critical thinking skills.

  • Are Sports News Media Firms Necessary?
  • Management In Promoting Social Inclusion
  • Technology’s Impact on Management
  • The Evolution Of Management: From Amateur To Professional
  • Evaluating The Efficiency Of Management In Collegiate Athletics
  • The Effect Of Gender Equality In Management
  • Implications Of Mental Health Awareness In Management
  • Strategic Management In Professional Sports: A Case Study Approach
  • Ethics And Integrity In Management
  • A Comparative Study Of Management Practices Across Different Countries
  • An Overview Of Sports Management Duties
  • Sustainability In Management: A Road To Environmental Consciousness
  • The Economic Impact Of Major Sporting Events: A Management Perspective
  • Leadership Styles In Successful Management
  • The Future Of Management: Trends And Predictions

Sports Psychology Research Topics

Research paper topics on psychology explore human behavior and experiences. Write about any of the following sports topics, and you’ll have an impact. How? By understanding the psychological and physical factors that affect athletes. Ethical issues among college athletes are also on the rise. Making character development a vital aspect of research paper topics.

  • A Study Of Coaching Styles On Athletes’ Psychological Well-Being
  • Achieving Peak Performance And Self-Confidence
  • Psychological Techniques For Stress Management Physical Activity
  • Considering Group Dynamics On Sports Team Performance
  • The Psychological Effects Of Injury On A Sports Person
  • Psychology In The Rehabilitation Of Injured Athletes
  • The Cognitive And Behavioral Characteristics Of Mental Toughness
  • Psychological Impact Of Competitive Pressure On Athletes
  • Visualization Techniques In Enhancing Performance
  • Athletes’ Experiences With Mindfulness Training
  • Taking A Look At Physical Activity Participation On Mental Wellbeing
  • Should We Push Young Athletes To Do Better?
  • Psychological Aspects Of Retirement
  • A Team Approach: Psychologists In Promoting Positive Mental Health
  • The Effect Of Social Support On Athletes’ Performance And Well-Being

Need help with research paper writing? Get your paper written by a professional writer Get Help Reviews.io 4.9/5

Research Topics About Sports Medicine

In sports medicine research paper topics, you’ll look at the health of athletes. It includes diagnosing and treating injuries and training programs. Provide an in-depth analysis of how physical education sessions prevent sports related injuries. And if you want something juicier, how about drinking and drug abuse? Plus, such research paper topics address the specific needs of female athletes.

  • Medicine In Injury Prevention
  • Aspects Of Injuries On Young Athletes’ Long-Term Health
  • The Advancement Of Injury Treatments
  • The Use Of Platelet-Rich Plasma In Injury Recovery
  • Nutrition In Sports Injury Treatments And Prevention
  • A Look At Concussions On Athlete Health
  • Physiotherapy In Injury Rehabilitation
  • Evaluation Of Different Pain Management Techniques In Medicine
  • Medicine In Enhancing Athletes’ Performance
  • Health Effects Of Steroids On Athletes
  • Genetic Testing in Medicine: Implications
  • How Important Is Sleep For Athlete Performance And Recovery
  • Effects Of Overtraining On Athlete Health And Performance
  • Technology Advances In Injury Treatment
  • How Doping Affects Physical And Cognitive Functions

Research Topics on Exercise

Try writing a research paper about why exercise is good for you. You’ll look at how working out benefits physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The following interesting sports research paper topics promote understanding and healthy lifestyle habits. If you write about exercise, offer valuable evidence-based resources. You never know, your peers could use your research paper to educate others.

  • Benefits Of Regular Exercise On Mental Health
  • Chronic Diseases and Exercise
  • The Effects of Exercise on Stress Levels
  • Exercise Capacity and Age
  • The Impact of Exercise on Body Image
  • Cognitive Function In Elderly People: The Benefits Of Exercise
  • Exercise In Preventing Obesity
  • The Importance Of Physical Education In Schools
  • Insights Into Group Exercise’s Psychological Benefits
  • A Study On Exercise On Sleep Quality
  • Exercise As A Treatment For Depression
  • Do Personal Physical Exercises Improve Athletic Performance
  • A Review Of Exercise On Cardiovascular Health
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (MICT)
  • How Exercise Has An Impact On Women’s Health

Research Topics on the History of Sports

A great way to understand the impact of sports on society is to examine its evolution over time. Sports history research topics look at the origins of it. As well as contexts and the changes in equipment, rules, and player abilities. Through them, you’ll learn more about the sport you love. You’ll also learn what the sport is like today and the efforts of athletes and organizers over the years.

  • How Have Sports Developed In The Olympic Games
  •  Women in Athletics: A History
  •  Taking A Look At Racial Integration
  •  How Equipment Has Evolved Through The Ages
  •  Doping In Athletics: Then And Now
  •  How Transgender Affects Sporting Activities
  •  Changing Shapes Of Competition On National Identity
  •  Banned Dangerous Ritual Sports
  •  Why Do People Want To Ban Fighting In Ice Hockey?
  •  Historical Analysis Of The Paralympic Movement
  •  Aspects Of Competition In Cultural Exchange
  •  Insights From Playing Cricket In The Creation Of Softball Sports
  •  Incorporating Technology Into Competition
  •  Coaching Techniques: An Evolution
  •  The History Of Martial Arts As A Sports Competition

Research Topics on Sports Marketing

Sports research paper topics on marketing study advertising techniques in the sports industry. You’ll write about market structure, consumer behavior, sponsorship, and branding. All while evaluating the impact of different approaches in attracting and engaging fans. It’s a fascinating subject that goes into sport psychology. As well as the promotional events that drive revenue.

For those times when inspiration runs low, experts help save the day. Luckily, professionals at the research paper writing service are ready to advise on effective writing. They’ll guide you toward crafting a well-thought-out and relevant academic paper.

  • Using Social Media In Marketing
  •  Considering Brand Endorsements On Athletes’ Public Image
  •  How Marketing Has Evolved In The Digital Age
  •  Observations On The Effects Of Marketing On Consumer Behavior
  •  The Effectiveness Of Celebrity Sports Personalities In Advertising Campaigns
  •  An Overview Of Marketing In Promoting Diversity And Inclusion
  •  A Study On Sponsorship On Brand Recognition
  •  The Challenges Of Marketing In The Era Of Esports
  •  Strategies For Marketing To Generation Z
  •  The Ethical Implications Of Using Athletes In Advertising
  •  A Study Of Marketing On Youth Sports Participation
  •  Taking A Look At International Sports Events On Tourism Marketing
  •  Insights Into Viral Marketing
  •  Marketing’s Impact On The Popularity Of Lesser-Known Games
  •  A Look At Data Analytics In Sports Marketing Strategies

Sports Research Topics on Sociology

Sports research topics examine the relationship between sports and society. Here’s where ethical research topics come into play. Think about things like culture, values, media, politics, race, religion, and gender.

And by studying the connections, you’ll notice how competition shapes society. The reason is that physical games aren’t only about competition – they play a larger societal role. They help communicate cultural values, relieve stress, and contribute to social mobility.

  • How Competition Promotes Social Cohesion
  •  Taking Stock Of Societal Norms On Gender Roles
  •  Bringing Out The Best In Youth: Youth Development And Socialization
  •  Does Physical Competition Perpetuate Or Challenge Social Inequalities
  •  Bringing Race, Culture, And Athletics Together
  •  The Sociological Impact Of Sports Injuries
  •  A Study Of The Social Perception Of Professional Athletes
  •  A Look At How Games Foster Patriotism
  •  Incorporating Social Media Into Sporting Culture
  •  Doping in Physical Competitions: Societal Implications
  •  How Community Development Grows Through Games
  •  The Impact Of Athletics On Body Image And Self-Esteem
  •  Sports Rituals And Traditions Have Cultural Importance
  •  Commercialization and Societal Effects
  •  Taking A Closer Look At The Effects Of Celebrity Competition On Societal Values

Research Paper Topics About Soccer

A well-written research paper on soccer shows how well you assimilate knowledge. This means researching, analyzing, and explaining your conclusions. If you love soccer, then the following sports topics are for you. It’s amazing how easy it is to produce a good essay on something you’re interested in.

To make things a bit more exciting, narrow down your topic by choosing a niche soccer area to explore. Consider the impact of technology or the sports psychology of soccer moms.

  • Over The Decades: Soccer Strategies Over The Decades
  •  Incorporating Technology Into Soccer Officiating
  • Soccer Vs. American Football
  •  Considering International Politics On Soccer
  •  Youth Soccer Participation and Socio-Economic Factors
  •  The Effects Of Sports Nutrition And A Balanced Diet On Soccer Performance
  •  World Cup History And Significance
  •  Soccer Fan Behavior And Sports Club Culture
  •  The Dynamics Of Team Sports In Soccer Success
  •  An Analysis Of Coaching Style On Player Development In Soccer
  •  Insights Into Gender Equality Initiatives In Soccer
  •  Performance Of Soccer At Different Altitudes And Climates
  •  Incorporating Medicine In Soccer Injury Prevention
  •  The Commercialization Of Soccer: Benefits And Drawbacks
  •  Soccer’s Influence on International Diplomacy

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Research Paper Topics about Basketball

Basketball research paper topics cover many subjects related to the sport. Its history, rules, psychology, sociology, and physiology are among them. Writing an essay on such a subject is an excellent way to explore the game and its impact on society.

And don’t think these topics won’t help you excel. You’ll still develop critical thinking skills and elevate your writing. Plus, basketball is very popular. In other words, there are plenty of resources for research and finding relevant info.

  • Basketball Rule Changes On The Evolution Of The Game
  •  Using Analytics In Modern Basketball Strategies
  •  Basketball Culture Around The World As Influenced By The NBA
  •  Basketball Performance And Physical Conditioning
  •  Basketball Participation And Socio-Economic Factors
  •  Insights Into Coaching And Mentorship In Basketball Player Development
  •  Physiotherapy And Medicine On Injury Prevention In Basketball
  •  Social Issues And Basketball
  •  College Basketball’s Growing Commercialization
  •  Basketball Success Depends On Team Chemistry
  •  The History And Significance Of The NBA Draft
  •  Basketball Performance And Nutrition
  •  Youth Development And Socialization Through Basketball
  •  A Study Of Gender And Race Within Basketball Culture
  •  Taking A Look At International Basketball Events On Global Diplomacy

Research Topics on Athletic Training

With training in sports research topics, you’ll be a part of something ground-breaking. Writing about the subject explores scientific advances and adds knowledge to the field. You’ll have the chance to prove your research, analytical, and communication skills. Skills that employers and academic programs appreciate.

Athletic training subjects are also a great way to develop your reasoning abilities. And another bonus is you’ll learn about the science behind competitive performance. Sports topics for research papers on athletic training cover medicine and athlete healthcare. Consider ideas you have on sports injury relief, performance enhancement, and sports nutrition.

  • A Look Sports Training In Injury Prevention
  •  How Nutrition Has Evolved In The Sporting Industry
  •  Different Training Regimens and Their Physiological Effects
  •  The Role Of Athletic Training Facility Units
  •  Coaching and Athletic Training Ethical Issues
  •  Incorporating Technology In Enhancing Athletic Training
  •  Effects Of Athletic Training On Long-Term Health And Wellness
  •  Athletes Need Recovery Strategies
  •  Athletic Training Methods Based On Age And Gender
  •  A Review Of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Benefits And Risks
  •  Introducing Medicine In Athletic Training
  •  Mental Health Effects Of Athletic Training
  •  Athlete Development: Strength And Conditioning
  •  Insights Into Athletic Training On Career Longevity In Professional Competition
  •  An Integrative Approach To Athletic Training Based On Sports Psychology

Sports Research Paper Topics: Key Takeaway

Whenever you choose research paper topics, make sure it’s something you’re enthusiastic about. Find out if there’s enough information available on Google and work from there. Remember that you’re still going to need relevant sources for your argument.

As for sports paper topics, there are so many to pick from. You can explore the psychological and physiological aspects of competition. And if you want to go more in-depth, think about the significance of volleyball injuries. With the right approach and a bit of creativity, you’ll find a topic to produce a paper you’re proud of.

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Optimizing Health and Athletic Performance for Women

Celina de borja.

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Division of Pediatric Orthopaedics, University of California, San Francisco, 1825 4th Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94158 USA

Cindy J. Chang

2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Primary Care Sports Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94158 USA

Rhonda Watkins

Carlin senter, purpose of review.

The exponential growth of women participating in competitive sports throughout the years was made possible through several initiatives by the International Olympic Committee and the passage and implementation of Title IX as a federal law in the United States. However, this positive trend towards gender equity in sports has not transpired for women in medicine, especially in fields that care for elite athletes. This current review will discuss specific areas that can be tailored to help female athletes prevent injuries and optimize their athletic performance. We will also highlight how increased female team physician representation in sports may help optimize care for female athletes.

Recent Findings

Female athletes are considered high risk for certain conditions such as ACL tears, patellofemoral pain syndrome, bone stress injuries, sport-related concussions, and sexual violence in sport. Addressing factors specific to female athletes has been found to be valuable in preventing injuries. Strength and conditioning can optimize athletic performance but remains underutilized among female athletes. Although diversity in healthcare workforce has been found to be beneficial for multiple reasons, women remain underrepresented in sports medicine. Increasing female team physician representation may positively impact care for female athletes.

Team physicians must understand the physiologic, biomechanical, and anatomic factors that are unique to female athletes in order to tailor injury prevention programs and optimize their athletic performance. Advocating for gender equity in sports medicine to advance representation of women in the field will increase workforce diversity and promote excellence in sports medicine care.

Introduction

During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a new record was reached when 45% of the 11,444 athletes that competed were women [ 1 ]. Organizers of the first modern Olympics held in 1896 did not allow women to participate. Back then, women’s participation in competitive sport was at odds with the prevailing beliefs that women who were gentle, passive, and frail were more beautiful and more desirable. Misconceptions regarding physical exertion as a threat to a woman’s reproductive capabilities also misled the public to believe that women should only participate in sports considered to be feminine and leisurely [ 2 , 3 ]. It was not until 1900 that women were allowed to compete in a global arena for the first time [ 1 ]. Gradually, female athletes have debunked myths and broken barriers, shown through the exponential growth of women participating in competitive sports throughout the century. This was made possible through several initiatives. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has played an important role in advocating for gender equity by encouraging women to participate in sports at all levels by creating more opportunities for female athletes and by expanding the Olympic program to include more women’s events [ 4 ]. The passage and implementation of Title IX as a federal law in the United States, allowing equal opportunity for athletic participation across sexes, have also significantly influenced the growth of women in sports at the collegiate and professional levels [ 2 , 5 ••].

Women now make up 43.7% of collegiate athletes across all division levels and 48.2% of NCAA division 1 power 5 conference athletes [ 5 ••]. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of women involved in intercollegiate sports as athletic administrators or part of the coaching and athletic training staff [ 6 ]. Unfortunately, this positive trend towards gender equity in sports has not yet reached women in medicine, especially in fields that care for elite athletes. Women comprise only 12.7% of all team physicians in the collegiate (18.1%) and professional (6.7%) levels, with the highest representation for female team physicians (31.3%) in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) [ 5 ••]. With this discrepancy in mind, it is important to consider how increased female team physician representation in sports might benefit our female athletes. We now have an expanded understanding of female athletes and how certain physiologic, biomechanical, and anatomic factors influence their risk for injury [ 7 ]. Similarly, we have an opportunity as clinicians to use this knowledge to optimize their health and performance [ 8 , 9 ••]. This paper will discuss specific areas that can be tailored to prevent injuries in female athletes and optimize their athletic performance.

Tailoring Prevention to High-Risk Areas

Growth and developmental considerations for adolescent female athletes.

Growth and development can be characterized by behavioral, physiological, and physical changes that are most pronounced during puberty. Girls and boys experience these changes differently [ 10 ]. Adolescent female athletes gain more body fat and less lean muscle mass than their male counterparts during puberty, which may increase female athletes’ risk for disordered eating, overtraining, and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport [ 11 ]. Girls also tend to have greater ligamentous and joint laxity than boys that persists beyond puberty and can increase their risk for ligamentous injury such as ankle sprains [ 12 ]. Furthermore, while boys develop greater shoulder width and muscle mass, girls gain hip width and fat mass, which may contribute to their increased risk for ACL injuries. Prevention efforts should first start with increased awareness of these risks and increased focus on neuromuscular training for female athletes to mitigate these injury risks.

Knee Injuries

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are usually sustained from sports that involve cutting, pivoting, or twisting such as soccer, basketball, and football. Although relatively infrequent, ACL injuries can cause significant loss of time from play [ 13 ]. Female athletes are at increased risk of sustaining ACL tears from noncontact mechanisms compared to male athletes, especially after puberty. Female athletes also have a higher risk of subsequent contralateral ACL injury [ 9 ••]. Increased risk specific to female athletes may be attributed to multiple factors including anatomical (increased Q angle, narrow intercondylar notch, and increase in posterior tibial slope), hormonal, and neuromuscular (poor core and gluteal muscle strength and increased quadriceps-to-hamstring ratio) [ 9 ••, 13 ]. Injury prevention programs that focus on biomechanical and neuromuscular factors such as competence in landing and cutting positions (e.g., box drop and landing) and hip and core strengthening (e.g., single-leg squat) can prevent these injuries, particularly when the prevention programs are initiated during pre-season and continued into the sports season as part of the athlete’s warmup exercises [ 8 , 9 ••, 13 ].

Anterior knee pain from patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is an overuse injury that more commonly affects adolescent female athletes than their male counterparts [ 9 ••]. Similar factors that increase female athletes’ risk for ACL tears are associated with PFPS including anatomic variants (patella alta, trochlear dysplasia), static and/or dynamic malalignment (increased Q angle, valgus lower extremity alignment), and deficits with strength and flexibility at the pelvic, femoral, and knee regions resulting to poor neuromuscular control [ 9 ••, 13 ]. Identifying these risk factors specific to girls and women should be utilized for developing strength and conditioning programs that can be helpful for injury prevention and rehabilitation [ 8 , 9 ••, 13 ].

Bone Stress Injuries

Bone stress injuries occur when repetitive load exceeds the capacity of the bone to repair itself. These injuries are usually sustained by endurance athletes or dancers and commonly involve weight-bearing bones of the lower extremities or pelvis. These injuries are more prevalent in females than in males and are due to risk factors including the following: extrinsic (exercise volume, type, or intensity), intrinsic (biomechanics, muscle strength, balance, and limb alignment), and/or medical/psychologic (poor nutrition, eating disorder/disordered eating (ED/DE), low energy availability (EA), menstrual dysfunction, low bone mineral density) [ 9 ••]. Screening for risk factors, especially those that are more prevalent in female athletes such as ED/DE that can lead to low EA and subsequent menstrual dysfunction and low bone mineral density, is important for injury prevention [ 9 ••]. Bone stress injuries that reveal underlying medical/psychological conditions should prompt coordination with a multidisciplinary team for evaluation and management [ 9 ••]. Progressive resistance training has also been found to improve bone mineral density thereby preventing bone stress injuries [ 8 ].

Concussions

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces that result in clinical signs and symptoms that reflect a functional disturbance rather than structural injury [ 14 ]. Earlier studies have shown higher rates of concussions reported in female athletes compared to male athletes that played sports with the same rules [ 9 ••, 13 ]. Females were also found to report more symptoms than males, have longer recovery times, and suffer worse outcomes [ 15 – 17 ]. These differences are hypothesized to be driven by multiple factors including deficits with neck strength or stability that increase susceptibility to concussive events, hormonal fluctuations that may influence pain response and impact recovery outcomes, and greater incidence of pre-existing conditions that are associated with prolonged recovery [ 16 , 18 ]. However, a recent prospective study found no overall difference in concussion recovery between male and female Division I athletes, while female Division II/III athletes had longer recovery. This suggests that modifiable extrinsic factors such as access to an athletic trainer or sports medicine specialist may also influence concussion outcomes [ 19 ••]. Injury prevention remains the greatest challenge in concussion management. Some injury reduction strategies include neck strengthening exercises, technique modifications (e.g., tackling and checking), enforcement of existing rules or game rule changes, and educational programs that focus on risk awareness and reporting of symptoms [ 13 ]. Although studies exploring the relationship between hormonal fluctuations with respect to the menstrual cycle and concussion recovery outcomes have been emerging in the recent years, more research is necessary to further understand how to apply these concepts in injury prevention and management of concussions specifically to female athletes.

Sexual Violence in Sport

The term sexual violence when used in this paper includes both sexual harassment (any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature) and sexual abuse (any sexual conduct where consent is not given). All athletes are at risk for sexual violence with prevalence ranging widely and suspected to be underestimated. The risk seems to be highest for elite athletes, athletes in sports where there is early specialization, and where intensive talent identification occurs around puberty [ 20 ]. These factors all portend an environment of increased dependence on the coach and increased athlete vulnerability. Female athletes seem to be at increased risk for sexual violence in sport compared to male athletes, though the body of literature on this topic is heterogeneous with different definitions of sexual abuse and type of perpetrator and/or limited to very specific female athlete populations [ 21 ].

Due to the rising concern about sexual violence in sport, both the IOC and the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) have recently published consensus statements focused on prevention and treatment of sexual violence in sport [ 22 , 23 •]. With respect to actions recommended for sports medicine physicians and healthcare providers, the first task is raising awareness. Clinicians must be aware that sexual violence occurs in sport and must be committed to reducing the risk of sexual violence in sport as part of an overarching goal of fostering a culture of safety and health. Secondly, the team physician should collaborate with coaching and sports organizations on policies and procedures to prevent sexual violence in sport. Training should be provided to athletes, coaches, and administrators on the prevention and identification of sexual violence in sport [ 23 •]. Policies should be developed that specify the context and extent of contact between the coach, healthcare providers, and the athletes [ 22 , 24 ]. Prudent recommendations include the following: never be alone in a room with an athlete or share a hotel room at an event, never drive an athlete home after practice, and avoid seeing an athlete socially [ 20 ]. Clinicians should have the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs and symptoms of sexual violence, evaluate and treat the athlete in a clinical setting, and report the allegation appropriately while adhering to patient confidentiality laws [ 23 •].

Optimizing Performance for Female Athletes

How does the menstrual cycle affect exercise performance.

The menstrual cycle is made up of three phases of hormonal fluctuation that occur over the course of 23–28 days: the follicular phase (low estrogen, low progesterone levels), the ovulatory phase (high estrogen, low progesterone levels), and the mid-luteal phase (high estrogen and progesterone levels). Typically, we focus on the effects of estrogen and progesterone on the uterus in the setting of reproductive physiology; however, estrogen and progesterone also have effects on multiple organ systems, and these might have implications for female athletic performance.

Estrogen promotes muscle strength, whereas loss of estrogen leads to muscle weakness (as seen in menopause). Post-menopausal women who take estrogen hormone therapy had 5% greater strength than those women who did not take estrogen hormone therapy, a result of improved muscle function rather than muscle hypertrophy [ 25 ]. Estrogen and progesterone both affect the body’s metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrate; however, exactly how and if this affects athletic performance is not clear as the extent of metabolic demand caused by exercise also determines whether or not effects by estrogen and progesterone are significant [ 26 ].

Whether or not there are phases of the menstrual cycle that correlate with improved athletic performance remains debatable. Some studies have shown improved performance in each of the three phases of the menstrual cycle while others have shown no difference. McNulty et al. conducted the first meta-analysis to evaluate studies on exercise performance across the different phases of the menstrual cycle in eumenorrheic women. The authors found a very small effect size with reduced performance in the early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle when compared to the other phases. They concluded that this trivial reduction in athletic performance in the early follicular phase is so small that it is likely irrelevant for the majority of athletes but could be important for elite athletes where very small differences matter. They recommend that providers working with elite athletes be aware that performance might be reduced during the early follicular phase compared to all other phases. They also recommend that future studies compare exercise performance across multiple phases of the menstrual cycle, with objective measurements of blood hormone levels, to evaluate the effects of different ratios of estrogen to progesterone on performance [ 27 ].

Does Use of Combined Estrogen-Progestin Oral Contraceptives Affect Exercise Performance?

Up to 57% of female college athletes take combined estrogen-progestin oral contraceptives (COCs) [ 28 ]. Benefits of COC use for the female athlete include high contraceptive efficacy, rapid reversibility, regulation of menstrual bleeding, decreased menstrual blood loss, improvement in iron deficiency anemia related to blood loss, decreased dysmenorrhea, reduced symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and reduced risk of benign breast disease [ 29 ]. The effect of COCs on exercise performance is unclear based on existing data. In the first ever meta-analysis on the subject, Eliott-Sale et al. evaluated the effect of COCs on athletic performance and found that COCs might lead to a slight exercise performance deficit compared to naturally menstruating female athletes. However, the authors caution that the group-level effect is most likely trivial and that there was relatively large study design variance that might influence the effects. The authors recommend that clinicians take an individualized approach when counseling female athletes about the risks and benefits of COCs as the state of the existing data does not allow for more generalized guidance [ 30 ]. Because the negative effect of COCs on exercise performance is likely insignificant for the majority of athletes, this risk may in many athletes’ cases be outweighed by the numerous clear benefits of COCs.

How Do Breast Biomechanics Affect Physical Activity?

Physical inactivity is a major public health problem in the United States. In 2017 only 49% of women in the United States achieved 150 min of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 min of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, while 28.1% of adult women reported engaging in no leisure-time physical activity [ 31 ]. Physical activity decreases in females as breast size increases [ 32 , 33 ]. Seventeen percent of women surveyed about breast health and physical activity reported that the breast was a barrier to physical activity, indicating that the inability to find the right sports bra and embarrassment about their breast motion were barriers to activity [ 34 ].

A correctly fitting bra can reduce exercise-related breast pain, avoid deep furrows due to strap pressure, and reduce the risk for neck and back pain [ 35 ]. Exercise-induced breast pain is thought to be the result of the breasts hitting the torso when a woman’s foot strikes the ground when she runs [ 36 ]. When women wear more supportive bras, they experience less breast motion and less exercise-induced breast pain. There are three main types of sports bras (crop top bra, encapsulation bra, and hybrid sports bra) [ 37 •] . In general, crop top bras are less supportive than encapsulation bras. The best sports bra, however, is not necessarily the sports bra that maximally restricts breast motion, as sports bras that eliminate breast motion have been found to be uncomfortable. McGhee and Steele published a list of design features to consider when choosing a sports bra [ 37 •] . The following are some key concepts from their publication that a sports medicine physician could discuss with patients when giving advice on bra fit: (1) The cups or front panel should completely cover each breast with no bulging of the breast over the top nor wrinkling or gapping of the fabric. The cups or front panel should have a side panel, sling, or side seams that reduce medial-lateral breast motion; (2) when wearing a new bra, the wearer should use the loosest hook so that as the bra stretches the wearer can fasten more securely as needed; (3) when the wearer is reaching overhead, the band of the bra should not slide up; (4) the bra straps should be wide and padded to support the breasts and adjusted so that they neither dig into nor slide off the shoulders; and (5) underwires do not add to support but have to do with breast shape. If the bra has an underwire, it should sit flat against the ribs and not on the breast tissue [ 37 •] .

How Can We Optimize Health and Athletic Performance in the Pregnant and Postpartum Athlete?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourages women to initiate or continue participating in physical activities during and after pregnancy due to its multiple health benefits. Although some modifications may be necessary due to anatomic and physiologic changes that occur during pregnancy, exercise is considered safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies or those without medical contraindications. Both aerobic exercises (walking, stationary cycling, and dancing) and strength and conditioning exercises (stretching and resistance training) have been proven to be beneficial, while contact activities with high risk for abdominal trauma should be avoided. Scuba diving is contraindicated during pregnancy due to concerns surrounding the fetal cardiopulmonary circulation.

Limited data is available for elite athletes who participate in vigorous exercise during pregnancy. A recent meta-analysis on elite athletes and pregnancy outcomes suggests a decrease in pregnancy-related low back pain and an increased odds of excessive weight gain compared with active/sedentary controls. The same study found no significant difference in other pregnancy-related outcomes (e.g., miscarriage, preterm birth, low birth weight, macrosomia, cesarean section, instrumental delivery, perineal tears, and maternal mental health conditions). All studies included in this systematic review were observational and were evaluated as “very low” to “low” certainty of evidence [ 38 •] . Competitive athletes who engage in these activities must have a clear understanding of the risks and require close supervision by healthcare professionals to ensure that they avoid hyperthermia, maintain proper hydration, and sustain adequate caloric intake necessary for fetal growth [ 39 •] .

Maintenance of regular exercise is important in optimizing athletic performance for the pregnant and postpartum athlete. Multiple studies have shown that regular physical activity during pregnancy and the postnatal period, as compared to inactivity, reduces the risk of developing depression [ 40 – 42 ]. In addition, aerobic exercise for about 30–60 min two to seven times per week during pregnancy, as compared with being more sedentary, is associated with a significantly reduced risk of gestational hypertensive disorders overall and cesarean delivery [ 43 ].

A prospective study showed that pregnant women who continued to participate in sports that specifically trained the perineal muscles (dance, artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, athletics, figure skating, tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, running, horseback riding, and snowboarding) are associated with a lower rate of episiotomy and ≥ 2nd-degree perineal lacerations [ 44 ]. Stress urinary incontinence has been reported in a large variety of sports and can interfere with training and compromise athletic performance [ 45 ]. Regular exercisers at mid-pregnancy have stronger pelvic floor muscles than their sedentary peers, and this pelvic floor muscle strength is associated with urinary continence [ 46 ].

Women who develop gestational diabetes or anemia during pregnancy are at risk for poor postpartum fitness [ 47 ]; these are modifiable risk factors that should be addressed with regular moderate-intensity physical activity and adequate iron supplementation during pregnancy in order to optimize athletic performance during the postpartum period. Besides low iron, magnesium deficiency may also reduce physical performance and negatively affect exercise capacity, as it plays a central role in the control of neuronal activity, cardiac excitability, neuromuscular transmission, muscular contraction, vasomotor tone, and blood pressure [ 48 ]. A loss of intracellular magnesium can lead to muscle weakness, neuromuscular dysfunction, and cramping or spasms. The recommended intake of magnesium increases during pregnancy and lactation. While adequate magnesium intake can help to optimize athletic performance both during and after pregnancy, the use of supplemental magnesium has not been shown to enhance athletic performance.

Strong evidence exists that moderate intensity physical activity in women during and following pregnancy has multiple health benefits and reduces the risk of pregnancy-related complications [ 49 ]. Presence of these medical conditions can certainly diminish or delay the return of peak athletic performance; thus, counseling pregnant women to continue exercising can be recommended to optimize health and athletic performance.

Pregnancy-related low back pain (LBP) is often accepted as a normal part of pregnancy, with a prevalence of 20 to 84%, and while it is often thought that back pain will resolve after delivery, it can continue postpartum in 50% of women at 1 year and 20% at 3 years [ 50 ]. Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a separate entity up to four times more prevalent and even more disabling. Few studies specifically address LBP and PGP in pregnant athletes, with inconsistent results regarding the influence of regular exercise on PGP and LBP during pregnancy [ 51 ]. Some studies have found that kinesiotape or other similar drug-free elastic therapeutic tapes have a short-term effect on both pain intensity and disability in women with pregnancy-related low back pain, although there was no sham taping application in the control groups, and therefore, there could have been a placebo effect [ 52 ]. However, with this type of tape being used by many athletes, physical therapists, and athletic trainers for the treatment of various musculoskeletal problems to help activate the muscle, reduce pain, reposition joints, and reduce abnormal muscular tension, it will likely become even more popular as a complementary and safe treatment method to achieve effective control of LPB and PGP in active pregnant women.

How Does Strength and Conditioning Affect Exercise Performance?

Strength and conditioning (S&C) can both optimize athletic performance and decrease injury risk in athletes. Though research specific to female athletes in regard to S&C is limited, the research that exists demonstrates that girls and women stand to benefit significantly from strength training. A recent meta-analysis of a limited number of studies on resistance training (RT) in female athletes found that male and female youth athletes show similar RT-related gains in muscle strength and vertical jump performance, while girls had significantly larger training-induced sport-specific performance improvement [ 53 ]. Female athletes benefit the most from S&C programs incorporated before the onset of puberty as this timing most effectively builds muscle mass [ 54 ]. This is an important consideration because sex differences in performance are exaggerated during adolescence where girls typically reach a plateau or improve minimally. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) most recent recommendations, plyometric programs should be instituted before puberty due to their ability to facilitate the already naturally occurring neural process during this time and add strength training in the post-pubertal age [ 55 ]. With respect to adult female athletes, strength training builds bone density, reduces risk for falls, improves glycemic control, reduces pain and stiffness related to osteoarthritis, and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease [ 56 ].

Despite the known benefits of S&C, S&C is an underutilized type of physical activity in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that children perform muscle-strengthening activities such as climbing or doing push-ups at least 3 days per week and adults perform strengthening activities at least 2 days per week [ 57 ]. For athletes, disparities exist in the incorporation of S&C programs in male vs female training regimens, with female athletes having less access to S&C programs [ 53 , 54 ]. This seems to be partly due to both personal barriers, such as females reporting fear of “bulking up” leading to less interest in S&C programs, as well as systemic barriers wherein females are not being challenged to work as hard as males because they are viewed as dainty. A study of S&C programs among varsity high school athletes found that only 17% of female athletes were required to participate in S&C year-round compared to 50% of male athletes. In addition, coaches of female athletes were less likely to know the credentials of their strength coaches and were less likely to use certified coaches to plan and implement their strength and conditioning programs [ 58 ].

Optimizing Workforce to Care for Female Athletes

Why is gender equity important in the team physician workforce in order to optimize care for female athletes.

Gender equity is important in medicine not only for ethical reasons, to give women equal opportunities professionally as those of men [ 59 ], but also in terms of quality of care. Diversity promotes excellence in all fields, medicine included [ 60 ]. In quality metrics, women outperform men in a number of areas. Women physicians are more likely than men physicians to screen their patients for breast and cervical cancer [ 61 ]. Women physicians engage in more patient-centered communication than men physicians [ 62 ]. Patients of women physicians had lower 30-day readmission and 30-day mortality rates post-hospitalization than did patients of men physicians [ 63 ••] . A Swedish study found that female general practitioners (GP), female surgeons, and older male physicians were least paternalistic, and among female physicians, the most autonomy-respecting groups were female surgeons and GPs [ 64 ].

When patients can better identify with their physician based on sex or ethnicity, patients demonstrate greater trust, better outcomes, and improved communication and compliance [ 62 , 65 – 68 ]. In some cases, women patients prefer women physicians. A 2018 survey of women patients showed that 43% of those surveyed preferred a woman endoscopist. Eighty-seven percent of those who preferred a woman endoscopist were willing to wait > 30 days for the procedure to be performed by a woman physician. Five percent of the women surveyed reported that they would not have a colonoscopy unless performed by a woman endoscopist [ 69 ], raising concern that care might be delayed if gender concordance were not met. In a quantitative and qualitative study of collegiate athletes, the majority of male and female respondents expressed no preference for gender of team physician; however, only 51.6% of women collegiate athletes reported that they were comfortable seeing a physician of the opposite sex for an examination of the reproductive organs or an issue involving sexual health versus 75.5% of males [ 70 ]. In another study of Division I collegiate athletes, women athletes preferred women physicians when the patients had questions about sex, contraception, acne, diet, relationships, and mental health [ 71 ]. Similar to the study on colonoscopy, one worries that if female athletes have a preference for a female physician when discussing these subjects, will they avoid seeking care if they do not have access to a woman physician?

In the sports medicine literature, it has been found that females drop out of sports participation more commonly than males [ 72 – 77 ]. Women suffering from ACL or other knee injuries were significantly less likely to return to competitive sport than men [ 78 ]. A qualitative study of varsity collegiate athletes returning to sport following surgery found that female athletes found difficulty within interpersonal relationships and external support, while male athletes struggled internally with their body image and changing self-concept. Being female, young, having a limited experience of injury, negative emotion, and perceptions of isolation are factors related to less successful outcomes of rehabilitation [ 79 ]. Female primary care sports medicine physicians and orthopedic sports medicine surgeons may be able to better understand the experiences of female athletes, critical to ensure that they are supported as they cope with injury and seek to successfully return to sport [ 80 ].

What Is the Current State of the Sports Medicine Physician Workforce?

In the United States, sports medicine certification is available through the American Board of Medical Specialties to physicians with certification in the specialties of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and orthopedic surgery, who complete an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education–accredited sports medicine fellowship. Sport medicine physicians, also referred to as primary care sports medicine (PCSM) physicians, treat patients with both medical and musculoskeletal conditions, while orthopedic sports medicine surgeons focus on the surgical and non-surgical management of musculoskeletal conditions.

Based on the 2019–2020 annual report of the AMSSM, females comprise 28% of total members (1154/4122) [ 81 ]. In the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) membership database, female orthopedic surgeons comprised 6.5% of members (239/3668). Women are not only underrepresented in the field of sports medicine, but they are also less likely to become a team physician. Overall, men sports medicine-family physicians (SM-FP) are more likely to be team physicians than women SM-FPs (71.3% vs 45.3%), and of those SM-FPs who covered a professional team, only 7% were women [ 82 ]. In a survey of Division I colleges and professional sports teams, women comprised the minority of team physicians although they constituted a similar percentage of orthopedic surgeons to their representation in AOSSM (with some regional differences at the collegiate level) [ 5 ••] .

Data collected for NBA and WNBA team physicians between the years of 2009 and 2019 found that of the 125 NBA team physicians, 122 (97.6%) were male and 3 (2.4%) were female; of the 28 WNBA team physicians, 20 (71.4%) were male and 8 (28.6%) were female. The Northeast had the highest proportion of female team physicians, with 5 of 18 (27.8%); the lowest was in the West with 1 of 48 (2.1%) [ 83 •] . While WNBA had the highest percentage of female team physicians among professional leagues, much lower proportions were found in the all-male professional leagues of the NBA (6.3%), NFL (1.9%), and MLB (7.9%) [ 5 ••] .

In 2019, data was collected on head team physician and athletic trainer composition within the NCAA. Out of the 1121 NCAA institutions included, only 11.2% (129/1145) of the head team physicians were women, while 88.7% were men. Data also revealed that 31.7% head athletic trainers were women, with significant gender differences among the 3 NCAA divisions. Within NCAA institutions, fewer female physicians and athletic trainers than men have sports medicine leadership roles [ 84 ].

How Can We Improve the Gender Balance Within the Sports Medicine Workforce?

Barriers that women in sports medicine face are similar to those experienced by women in other fields of medicine and science. The 2019 data from the American Medical Colleges Association show that while women now comprise 50.5% of all medical school students, women remain underrepresented in upper faculty positions [ 85 ]. There also remains a gender gap in promotion and leadership in medicine that has remained unchanged in the last 35 years [ 86 ]. Women associate and full professors are still half as likely as men of equal rank to be appointed to department chair. These differences in promotion persist across every academic department. Because women are also underrepresented among residency program directors and on editorial boards of medical journals, they are less likely to serve as role models and help with research publications and career advancement for other women. A study comparing the ratio of male and female participants in original research articles published in Sports and Exercise Medicine journals found that female researchers were significantly under-represented (39% female vs 61% male). The average percentage of female participants per article was also low, ranging from 35 to 37% [ 87 ]. “Manels,” or panels at medical conferences or meetings consisting only of men, are unfortunately still common and convey implicit gender discrimination and bias [ 88 ]. Despite the higher quality care provided by women physicians, men continue to receive more pay, more promotion, and more leadership opportunities than women.

While motherhood and the inability to have work–life balance may inhibit some female sports medicine physicians from moving up to leadership positions in collegiate and other athletic settings, hopefully as more women assume leadership positions such as the head team physician, more younger women will experience mentorship and seek out these positions as well. However, challenges for women in sports medicine leadership include those common to women in general: [ 89 ]

  • The association of leadership with masculine qualities;
  • Lack of affirmation of feminine leadership traits and the resulting lack of self-identification as a leader;
  • Barriers in the career progression pipeline;
  • Lack of diversity in selection panels;
  • The “double bind” (where women are expected to demonstrate masculine traits and are then criticized for doing so);
  • Persisting cultural norms (career vs family).

Potential causes of the sex gap in promotion to leadership positions include a persisting “old boys’ club” mentality and climate, lack of sex parity in leadership and compensation, and a disproportionate burden of family responsibilities resulting in difficulties in achieving work–life balance. While female and male sports medicine physicians early in their careers may have had similar leadership aspirations, women were less likely to perceive their institution as willing to make changes to address diversity goals and especially to be family friendly.

Thorborg et al. discussed that gender balance and gender diversity are needed in order to promote a move towards gender justice within sports medicine [ 90 ]. Female sports medicine physicians may need to challenge those — often male physicians — who are considered the experts and hold the leadership positions. Female sports medicine physicians may need to advocate to expand the number of topics relevant to women athletes at conferences and the number of publications authored by women in sports medicine journals. It is important to address the “manels” by asking for transparency and involvement in the invitation process.

In summary, women comprise a minority of team physicians in select NCAA Division I collegiate and especially professional sports organizations. There is also a substantial difference in the number of female physicians with leadership roles in both the NBA and WNBA compared to male physicians. Barriers affecting female sports medicine physicians and sports medicine orthopedic surgeons as team physicians should be identified and strategies implemented to provide equal opportunities to both male and female physicians. Lastly, because the current gender composition of SM-FPs is not representative of the current gender composition of family medicine residents, future studies should examine the motivation and barriers for women pursuing SM training and careers.

Conclusions

There has been an exponential growth in women participating in competitive sports throughout the years. Team physicians must understand the physiologic, biomechanical, and anatomic factors that are unique to female athletes in order to tailor injury prevention programs and optimize their athletic performance. Despite the achievements made by women in sports, women physicians are still underrepresented in fields that care for elite athletes. Advocating for gender equity in sports medicine by identifying barriers and implementing strategies to advance representation of women in the field will increase workforce diversity and promote excellence in sports medicine care.

Declarations

Celina de Borja, Rhonda Watkins, and Carlin Senter declare that they have no conflict of interest. Cindy J. Chang has stock options from Neuroslam and is a member of the company’s medical advisory board; has stock options from Student Health Research Inc and is a member of the company’s medical advisory board; and owns stock at Baseline Global and is a member of the company’s medical advisory board

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Gender and Racial Disparities

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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484 Sports Research Topics & Good Ideas

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  • Icon Calendar 18 May 2024
  • Icon Page 4564 words
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Sports research paper topics encompass many interesting themes, each captivating in its own field. Some themes span from physical performance enhancement, delving into nutrition, training regimes, and physiological limits, to the mental aspects of sports psychology, focusing on motivation, team dynamics, and coping with pressure. Then, sociocultural implications are equally significant, examining gender equality, racial representation, and the societal impacts of sporting events. Another intriguing area is sports economics, discussing team franchise values, player salaries, and the economic effects of sports tourism. Finally, people have the domain of sports technology, exploring how advancements, like wearables, analytics, and virtual reality, are revolutionizing the field. The spectrum of sports research paper topics is vast and multidimensional, a reflection of the dynamic nature of sports itself.

Best Sports Research Topics

  • Influence of Nutrition on Athletic Performance: An In-Depth Study
  • Doping in Sports: The Persistent Moral Dilemma
  • Roles of Sports Psychology in Enhancing Player Performance
  • The Impact of Concussions on American Football
  • Dissecting the Relationship Between Sports and Nationalism
  • Effects of Technological Advancements on Modern Sports
  • Unveiling the Economic Aspects of Major League Sports
  • Gender Inequality in Professional Sports: A Comprehensive Analysis
  • The Paradox of Violence in Contact Sports
  • Performance Anxiety Among Young Athletes: Causes and Solutions
  • The Role of Media in Shaping Sports Culture
  • eSports Phenomenon: A Sociological Perspective
  • Long-Term Health Consequences of High-Intensity Sports
  • Underrepresentation of Minority Groups in Major Sports Leagues
  • Benefits of Physical Activity for Children’s Mental Health
  • Cultural Factors Influencing Popular Sports in Different Countries
  • Steroids in Bodybuilding: Unveiling the Hidden Dangers
  • Roles of Sports in Promoting Inclusive Societies
  • Challenges and Successes in Women’s Professional Football
  • Ethical Implications of Genetic Engineering in Sports
  • Olympic Games: The Evolution of Modern Sportsmanship
  • Economic Impact of Hosting Mega Sporting Events
  • Extreme Sports and Risk-Taking Behavior: A Psychological Perspective
  • Professional Athletes as Role Models: A Societal Impact Analysis
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Outdoor Sports

Easy Sports Research Topics

  • How Do Sports Influence Youth Development and Social Skills?
  • Comparative Analysis of Training Techniques in Different Sports
  • Rehabilitation Techniques in Sports Medicine: A Detailed Review
  • Social Issues in Sports: Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia
  • Evolution and Impact of Sports Marketing
  • Exploring the Concept of ‘Home Advantage’ in Sports
  • Impacts of Globalization on the Sports Industry
  • Sports Law and Its Implications: A Comprehensive Review
  • Fan Culture in Sports: The Influence on Players’ Performance
  • Roles of Innovation in Sports Equipment Design
  • Psychological Resilience in Elite Athletes: Unveiling the Secrets
  • Sports Sponsorships: The Impact on Brand Awareness
  • Understanding the Paralympic Movement: History and Evolution
  • Emergence and Growth of Mixed Martial Arts: An Analysis
  • Effects of Physical Training on Mental Well-Being
  • Roles of Video Technology in Modern Sports Adjudication
  • Importance of Good Sleep Habits for Athlete Performance
  • Assessing the Sustainability of Major Sports Events
  • Science Behind Hydration and Sports Performance
  • Dealing With Injuries: Mental Health of Athletes
  • Sports Careers: Beyond Being an Athlete

Sports Research Topics & Good Ideas

Interesting Sports Research Paper Topics

  • Comparative Study of Traditional and Online Sports Betting
  • Advent of Virtual Reality in Sports Training
  • Stress Management Strategies for High-Performance Athletes
  • Analysis of Leadership Styles in Sports Coaching
  • Sociocultural Impact of Sports on Community Development
  • The Future of Sports Broadcasting: Trends and Predictions
  • Transformation of Public Perception Toward Female Athletes
  • Examining the Role of Ethics in Sports Journalism
  • Impacts of High Altitude Training on Athlete Performance
  • Sports-Based Rehabilitation Programs for Incarcerated Individuals
  • Examining the Phenomenon of Superstition in Sports
  • Youth Sports Specialization: Risks and Benefits
  • Comparative Study of Fan Loyalty in Different Sports
  • Roles of Mental Imagery in Enhancing Athletic Performance
  • Effects of Climate Conditions on Athlete Performance
  • Impacts of Sports-Based Interventions in Conflict Resolution
  • Aging Athletes and Longevity in Professional Sports
  • The Impact of Family Support on Young Athletes
  • Sports Tourism: Its Economic and Social Effects
  • Cognitive Skills Development through Competitive Sports: A Study
  • Emerging Trends in Sports Nutrition: A Health Perspective
  • Roles of Strength and Conditioning in Injury Prevention
  • The Influence of Music on Athletic Performance

Sports Research Topics on History

  • Evolution of the Olympic Games: From Ancient Greece to Modern Era
  • Impacts of World Wars on the Progression of Sports
  • Rise of Women’s Participation in Competitive Sports: A Historical Perspective
  • Transformation of Boxing: From Bare-Knuckle Bouts to Regulated Matches
  • Analysis of the FIFA World Cup: Its Origins and Influences
  • Pivotal Moments in the History of American Baseball
  • The Socioeconomic Influences of Football’s Popularity in Europe
  • Development and Evolution of Motor Racing Sports
  • Cricket’s Journey: From the British Empire to Global Phenomenon
  • Integration of Technology in Sports: A Retrospective Review
  • Influential Figures in the Growth of Basketball: A Historical Analysis
  • Cultural Shifts in Traditional Martial Arts: East Meets West
  • Impacts of Racial Segregation on the History of American Sports
  • Modernization of the Paralympic Games: Overcoming Adversity
  • Expansion of the National Hockey League: A Century-Long Journey
  • Golf’s Transformation: From Elitist Leisure Activity to Global Sport
  • Rise of Extreme Sports in the Late 20th Century
  • Influence of Rugby on Global Sports Culture
  • Tennis: The Evolution of the Modern Game
  • Historical Shifts in the Perception of Physical Fitness and Bodybuilding
  • Roles of Professional Wrestling in Pop Culture: An Historical Overview
  • Cycling’s Journey: From Basic Transportation to Competitive Sport

Psychology Sports Research Topics

  • Psychological Impact of Injuries on Athletes: A Comprehensive Study
  • Embracing Defeat: Mental Resilience in Professional Sport
  • Roles of Sports Psychology in Enhancing Team Performance
  • Influence of Mental Conditioning on Athletes’ Success Rates
  • Gender Differences in Competitive Stress Responses
  • Sports Psychology: Applications in Youth Development Programs
  • Cognitive Processes Underlying Decision-Making in Team Sports
  • Understanding the Psychological Preparation of Olympic Athletes
  • Impacts of Spectator Behavior on Athlete Performance: An Exploration
  • Motivational Strategies in Professional Sports Coaching
  • Mindfulness and its Role in Athletes’ Stress Management
  • Exploring Psychological Trauma in Retired Athletes
  • Impacts of Psychological Interventions on Athletic Injury Recovery
  • Psychological Factors Contributing to Athlete Burnout
  • Roles of Self-efficacy in Athletic Performance: A Detailed Study
  • Analysis of Personality Traits Among Successful Athletes
  • Stressors in Elite Sports: An Examination of Coping Mechanisms
  • Influence of Team Dynamics on Individual Performance in Sports
  • Exploring the Psychology of Endurance Sports
  • Impacts of Coach-Athlete Relationships on Athlete Psychology
  • Mental Health in Sports: Stigma, Support, and Solutions

Research Paper Topics About Women in Sports

  • Pioneering Female Athletes: A Historical Perspective
  • Challenges and Opportunities in Women’s Professional Basketball
  • Advancements in Women’s Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Intersectionality of Gender, Race, and Culture in Women’s Sports
  • Achieving Parity: An Analysis of Pay Inequality in Women’s Sports
  • Evolution of Women’s Roles in the Olympics: 1896 to Present
  • Impacts of Title IX on American Women’s Sports Participation
  • Female Sports Representation in Media: Progress and Remaining Challenges
  • Investigating Sociocultural Barriers to Women’s Sports Participation Worldwide
  • Psychological Impacts of Competitive Stress on Female Athletes
  • Understanding Body Image Issues Among Female Athletes
  • Analysis of Leadership Roles: Women in Sports Management
  • Biomechanical Differences Between Male and Female Athletes: Implications for Training
  • Role Models and Mentoring in Women’s Sports: A Comparative Study
  • Promoting Inclusion: The LGBTQ+ Community in Women’s Sports
  • Influence of Female Athletes on Fashion and Lifestyle Trends
  • Advancement in Equipment and Gear Designed Specifically for Female Athletes
  • A Study on the Prevalence and Prevention of Eating Disorders in Women’s Sports
  • Exploring the Notion of ‘Femininity’ in the Context of Women’s Sports
  • Women’s Participation in Extreme and Non-Traditional Sports: A Growing Trend
  • Effects of Maternity Leave Policies on Professional Female Athletes’ Careers
  • Recognizing the Unsung Heroes: Contributions of Women in Sports Science

Sports Research Topics on Training

  • Exploring the Impacts of High-Intensity Interval Training on Athletic Performance
  • The Role of Strength Training in Injury Prevention for Athletes
  • Effectiveness of Sport-Specific Training vs. Generic Training Programs
  • Nutrition and Training: Understanding the Link in Athletic Performance
  • Influence of Altitude Training on Endurance Sports Performance
  • Mental Training and Its Effects on Sports Performance: A Comprehensive Review
  • The Role of Cross Training in Enhancing Skills of Multi-Sport Athletes
  • Periodization in Training: A Modern Approach for Optimizing Athlete Performance
  • Sleep’s Impacts on Athletic Recovery and Performance
  • Diving Into the Science of Flexibility Training for Athletes
  • Understanding the Biochemical Responses to Resistance Training in Athletes
  • The Importance of Balance Training in the Prevention of Sports Injuries
  • Ergogenic Aids in Training: The Science and the Ethics
  • How Does Overtraining Affect Athlete Performance and Health?
  • The Role of Plyometric Training in Improving Power and Agility in Athletes
  • Techniques for Mental Toughness Training: Impact on Athlete Success
  • Roles of Core Training in Enhancing Athletic Performance
  • Hydration Strategies in Training and Performance: A Critical Review
  • Neurological Adaptations to Sports Training: A Deeper Dive
  • Optimizing Interval Training for Enhanced Cardiovascular Fitness in Athletes

Research Paper Topics on Sports Science

  • The Impact of High-Intensity Interval Training on Endurance Performance in Soccer Players
  • Evaluating the Effects of Nutrition Interventions on Muscle Recovery in Weightlifters
  • Investigating the Role of Biomechanics in Enhancing Golf Swing Performance
  • Analyzing the Effects of Plyometric Training on Vertical Jump Height in Basketball Players
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Athletic Performance in Elite Athletes
  • Effects of Altitude Training on Oxygen Utilization in Distance Runners
  • Examining the Impact of Sports Psychology Techniques on Mental Toughness in Tennis Players
  • Investigating the Influence of Sports Supplements on Muscle Strength and Power in Rugby Players
  • Analyzing the Effects of Heat Acclimatization on Performance and Thermoregulation in Marathon Runners
  • Exploring the Role of Visual Perception and Reaction Time in Baseball Batting Performance
  • Effects of Cold-Water Immersion on Muscle Recovery in Soccer Players
  • Analyzing the Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Agility Performance in Football Players
  • Exploring the Impact of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Stress and Performance in Athletes
  • Analyzing the Relationship Between Vitamin D Levels and Muscular Strength in Athletes
  • Exploring the Influence of Mental Imagery Techniques on Skill Acquisition in Divers
  • Examining the Impact of Gender on Injury Patterns in Collegiate Soccer Players
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Personality Traits and Motivation in Team Sports
  • Analyzing the Effects of Music Tempo on Performance and Perceived Effort in Cyclists
  • Exploring the Influence of Biofeedback Training on Heart Rate Variability in Swimmers
  • The Impact of Recovery Strategies on Fatigue and Performance in Triathletes
  • Investigating the Role of Genetic Factors in Athletic Performance and Injury Susceptibility

Sports Research Paper Topics on Exercise

  • Comparative Analysis of Different Training Methods for Enhancing Strength and Power in Athletes
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Sports Injuries and Exercise Techniques
  • The Impact of Nutrition and Hydration on Endurance Training
  • Exploring the Psychological Benefits of Regular Physical Exercise in Sports
  • Evaluating the Role of Stretching Exercises in Injury Prevention for Athletes
  • Analyzing the Effectiveness of CrossFit Training Programs in Enhancing Overall Fitness
  • Investigating the Role of Physical Exercise in Enhancing Cognitive Function in Athletes
  • The Relationship Between Sleep Quality and Athletic Performance in Sports
  • Benefits of Plyometric Training in Enhancing Explosive Power for Athletes
  • Evaluating the Influence of Sports Supplements on Muscle Recovery and Performance
  • Analyzing the Impact of Exercise Intensity and Duration on Weight Loss in Sports
  • Effects of Resistance Training on Bone Density and Injury Prevention in Athletes
  • Investigating the Role of Yoga and Pilates in Improving Flexibility and Balance for Athletes
  • Analyzing the Impact of Altitude Training on Endurance Performance in Athletes
  • The Effects of Sport-Specific Training on Skill Acquisition and Performance Enhancement
  • Examining the Influence of Gender on Athletic Performance in Different Sports
  • Investigating the Effects of Sports Massage on Muscle Recovery and Performance
  • Evaluating the Effects of Different Cooling Strategies on Exercise Performance and Recovery
  • The Relationship Between Exercise and Aging: Implications for Sports Performance
  • Analyzing the Effects of Heat Acclimation on Exercise Tolerance and Performance

Athletic Sports Research Topics

  • The Power of Sports Psychology in Enhancing Athlete Performance
  • Nutrition’s Impact on Athletic Endurance: A Comprehensive Study
  • High-Intensity Interval Training: Boosting Athletic Performance
  • Unraveling the Connection Between Sleep and Athletic Recovery
  • Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports: Examining Efficacy
  • Weather Conditions and Outdoor Sporting Events: Exploring the Relationship
  • Cross-Training: Maximizing Athletic Abilities and Potential
  • Age: Its Influence on Athletic Performance and Injury Risk
  • Genetics and Athletic Performance: Unveiling the Link
  • Gender’s Roles in Sports Performance and Participation: An Investigation
  • Psychological Factors in Injury Rehabilitation: A Critical Analysis
  • Virtual Reality in Athletic Training and Performance: An Innovative Approach
  • Biomechanics: Enhancing Athletic Technique and Performance
  • Sports Massage: An Effective Tool for Recovery and Performance
  • Athlete Burnout: The Psychological Impact on Performance
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Enhancing Athlete Well-Being and Focus
  • Altitude and Endurance Performance: An In-Depth Study
  • Sports Analytics: Optimizing Performance through Data Analysis
  • Coach-Athlete Relationships: Impact on Athletic Success
  • Pre-Competition Rituals: Their Effectiveness in Enhancing Performance
  • Strength and Conditioning Programs: Benefits for Athletes

Sports Management Research Topics

  • The Impact of Data Analytics on Sports Management
  • Enhancing Fan Engagement Strategies for Sports Management
  • Sustainable Practices in Sports Facility Management
  • Leveraging Social Media for Sports Marketing and Management
  • The Role of Sports Agents in Athlete Management
  • Leadership in Sports Team Management
  • Ethical Issues in Sports Management
  • Effective Sponsorship Strategies in Sports Management
  • Technology in Sports Event Management
  • Enhancing Athlete Performance Through Sports Science Management
  • Economic Impacts of Major Sporting Events on Local Communities
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Sports Management
  • Evolution of Sports Broadcasting and Its Impact on Management
  • Challenges of Sports Facility Operations and Management
  • Roles of Sports Psychology in Athlete Management
  • Risk Management Strategies in Sports Organizations
  • Sports Law and Regulations in Management Practices
  • Branding and Merchandising in Sports Management
  • Roles of Sports Medicine in Athlete Management
  • Financial Management in Sports Organizations

Marketing Sports Research Topics

  • The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Sports Sponsorships
  • Evaluating Athlete Endorsements in Sports Marketing Effectiveness
  • Analyzing the Role of Branding in Sports Merchandise Marketing
  • Exploring Fan Engagement and Its Relationship With Sports Marketing Strategies
  • Investigating the Influence of Sports Events on Local Economic Development
  • Examining the Use of Influencer Marketing in the Sports Industry
  • Assessing Sports Marketing Campaigns Targeting Gen Z Effectiveness
  • Data Analytics in Sports Marketing and Fan Engagement
  • Athlete Personalities and Their Impact on Sports Marketing Success
  • Analyzing Sports Marketing Strategies’ Use of Gamification
  • Fan Loyalty Programs’ Role in Sports Marketing
  • Evaluating Sports Sponsorship Activation Strategies’ Effectiveness
  • Investigating Sports Advertising Influence on Consumer Behavior
  • Fan Communities’ Role in Sports Marketing and Brand Building
  • Analyzing the Use of Virtual Reality for Enhanced Sports Marketing Experiences
  • Examining Sports Celebrity Endorsements’ Influence on Consumer Buying Decisions
  • eSports Impact on Traditional Sports Marketing Strategies
  • Assessing Cause Marketing Effectiveness in the Sports Industry
  • Augmented Reality in Enhancing Sports Marketing Engagement
  • Analyzing Emotional Branding in Sports Marketing Campaigns
  • Investigating Sports Betting’s Influence on Sports Marketing Strategies

Research Paper Topics on Sports Theory

  • The Influence of Psychological Factors on Performance in Competitive Sports
  • Motivation’s Role in Sports Performance: A Theoretical Perspective
  • Personality Traits’ Impacts on Sports Success
  • Analysis of Effective Sports Training Methods for Skill Acquisition
  • Leadership Styles’ Effect on Team Performance in Sports
  • The Application of Sports Psychology in Injury Rehabilitation
  • Evaluating Sports Nutrition’s Impacts on Athlete Performance and Recovery
  • Understanding Sports Biomechanics’ Role in Enhancing Athletic Performance
  • Mental Imagery’s Effects on Sports Performance and Skill Execution
  • Effects of Pre-Competition Rituals on Sports Performance
  • Communication Between Coach and Athlete and Its Relationship With Team Cohesion
  • The Impact of Sports Technology on Performance Enhancement
  • Psychological Skills Training and Athletes’ Mental Toughness
  • The Role of Sports Sociology in Shaping Sporting Cultures
  • Sports Injuries and Psychological Well-Being: Exploring the Relationship
  • Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Their Effects on Sports Performance
  • Gender’s Roles in Sports Participation and Performance
  • Environmental Factors and Their Influence on Sports Performance
  • The Effect of Goal Setting on Athlete Motivation and Performance
  • Sports Specialization and Long-Term Athletic Development

Research Paper Topics About Sports Sociology

  • The Impact of Gender Roles on Sports Participation and Performance
  • Media Influence on the Perception of Athletes and Sports Culture
  • Social Class and Its Effects on Sports Opportunities and Success
  • Racial Inequality in Professional Sports: Challenges and Progress
  • The Role of Sports in Building Social Networks and Communities
  • Sports and National Identity: Exploring the Connection
  • Education and Sports: Examining the Benefits and Challenges
  • The Role of Sports in Promoting Health and Well-Being in Society
  • Sociology of Sports Fandom: Identity, Rituals, and Belonging
  • Sports and Youth Development: Socialization and Empowerment
  • Disability and Inclusivity in Sports: Breaking Barriers and Challenging Stereotypes
  • Deviance in Sports: Examining the Relationship Between Rule-Breaking and Social Order
  • Activism in Sports: Exploring Social Movements Within Athletic Contexts
  • Commercialization of Sports: Impacts on Athletes, Fans, and Society
  • Politics and Sports: Analyzing the Intersections and Controversies
  • Influence of Sports on Body Image and Self-Esteem
  • Sports and Aging: Promoting Healthy Aging and Social Engagement
  • Construction of Heroes and Villains in Sports
  • Sports and Religion: Exploring the Connections and Conflicts
  • Sociology of Sports Injury: Understanding Recovery and Rehabilitation Processes
  • Nationalism and Sports: Examining the Role of Sports in Shaping Patriotism

Nutrition Sports Research Topics

  • The Impact of Protein Supplementation on Athletic Performance
  • The Role of Carbohydrates in Post-Exercise Recovery
  • Assessing the Effects of Hydration on Endurance Athletes
  • Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Sports Performance
  • Analyzing the Impact of Caffeine on Exercise Endurance
  • Investigating the Effects of Antioxidants on Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress
  • Evaluating the Influence of Vitamin D on Muscle Strength and Power
  • Understanding the Importance of Electrolyte Balance in Sports Nutrition
  • Exploring the Role of Pre-Workout Supplements in Enhancing Performance
  • Analyzing the Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training in Fat Loss and Muscle Gain
  • The Relationship Between Nutrition and Bone Health in Athletes
  • Examining the Use of Probiotics for Gut Health in Sports Performance
  • Investigating the Impact of Plant-Based Diets on Athletic Performance
  • The Role of Micronutrients in Immune Function for Athletes
  • Evaluating the Effects of Dietary Fiber on Digestive Health in Athletes
  • Analyzing the Benefits of Branched-Chain Amino Acids for Muscle Recovery
  • Understanding the Impact of Iron Deficiency on Female Athletes
  • The Effect of Creatine Supplementation on Strength and Power in Athletes
  • Assessing the Role of Glycogen in Endurance Exercise Performance
  • Exploring the Effects of Sports Drinks on Hydration and Performance

Sports Research Topics on Medicine

  • The Impact of Sports-Related Concussions on Brain Health: An In-Depth Analysis
  • Evaluating the Efficacy of Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sports Medicine
  • The Role of Sports Medicine in Preventing and Treating Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Exploring the Effects of Exercise on Mental Health and Well-Being in Athletes
  • Enhancing Performance through Sports Nutrition: A Comprehensive Review
  • Examining the Relationship Between Sports Participation and Cardiovascular Health
  • The Role of Sports Medicine in Managing and Preventing Chronic Diseases
  • Analyzing the Impact of Sports Medicine on Female Athletes’ Health and Performance
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rehabilitation Programs in Sports Medicine
  • The Use of Biomechanics in Sports Medicine: Advancements and Applications
  • Investigating the Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy in Injury Recovery and Performance Enhancement
  • Assessing the Role of Sports Medicine in Preventing and Managing Overuse Injuries
  • Understanding the Role of Sports Medicine in Enhancing Respiratory Health in Athletes
  • Examining the Impact of Exercise on Metabolic Disorders and Obesity
  • The Use of Sports Medicine in Optimizing Performance for Elite Athletes
  • Exploring the Role of Sports Medicine in Youth Sports: Injury Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Investigating the Effectiveness of Cryotherapy in Sports Medicine
  • Analyzing the Impact of Sports Medicine on Psychological Factors in Athletes
  • The Role of Sports Medicine in Managing and Preventing Exercise-Induced Asthma
  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Sports Medicine Programs in Enhancing Flexibility and Mobility
  • Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Sports Supplements in Athletes

Sports Research Topics About Injuries

  • Exploring Gender Disparities in ACL Injuries Among Collegiate Soccer Players
  • Assessing Preventive Measures to Reduce Baseball Pitching-Related Injuries
  • Comprehensive Evaluation of Basketball Injuries and Rehabilitation Techniques
  • Long-Term Consequences of Head Injuries in Youth Ice Hockey: An Investigation
  • Tennis Elbow among Professional Players: Prevalence and Causes
  • Effectiveness of Protective Equipment in Minimizing Combat Sports Injuries
  • Psychological Rehabilitation of Athletes Following Sports-Related Injuries: An Analysis
  • Roles of Nutrition in Promoting Healing and Recovery From Sports Injuries
  • Incidence of Ankle Sprains in High School Basketball Players: A Study
  • Overtraining and Musculoskeletal Injuries in Marathon Runners: Analyzing the Relationship
  • Impacts of Environmental Factors on Heat-Related Illnesses in Outdoor Sports
  • Rehabilitation Programs for Shoulder Injuries in Baseball Pitchers: Evaluating Efficacy
  • Mechanisms and Risk Factors of Hamstring Injuries in Soccer Players: An Investigation
  • Artificial Turf and Knee Injuries in Football: Examining the Relationship
  • Psychological Effects of Season-Ending Injuries on Professional Athletes: Analysis and Implications
  • Prevalence and Prevention of Volleyball-Related Ankle Injuries: A Comprehensive Study
  • Biomechanics and ACL Tears in Female Athletes: Assessing the Risk
  • Effectiveness of Sport-Specific Conditioning Programs in Reducing Injuries: An Evaluation
  • Equipment Design and Head Injuries in Snowboarding: Analyzing the Relationship
  • Physiotherapy in Treating Tennis-Related Shoulder Injuries: Evaluating Efficacy

Sports Research Topics on Doping

  • Impacts of Performance-Enhancing Drugs on Athletic Performance
  • Ethics of Doping in Professional Sports
  • Long-Term Health Effects of Doping on Athletes
  • Effectiveness of Anti-Doping Policies in Sports
  • Roles of Drug Testing in Preventing Doping in Athletics
  • Psychological Factors Driving Athletes to Dope
  • Use of Designer Drugs in Sports
  • Influence of Doping on Gender Equality in Athletics
  • Economic Implications of Doping in Professional Sports
  • Relationship Between Doping and Sports Sponsorship
  • Impacts of Doping Scandals on Athletes’ Legacies
  • Roles of Athlete Education in Preventing Doping
  • Influence of Social Media on Doping Culture in Sports
  • Use of Doping in Amateur and Youth Sports
  • Roles of Coaches and Trainers in Encouraging or Discouraging Doping
  • Effectiveness of Doping Detection Methods in Sports
  • Influence of Peer Pressure on Doping Practices
  • Roles of Sports Organizations in Combating Doping
  • Relationship Between Doping and Sports Injuries
  • Impacts of Doping on Fair Play and Sporting Integrity
  • Use of Gene Doping in Enhancing Athletic Performance

Argumentative Sports Research Topics

  • Impacts of Performance-Enhancing Drugs on Athletes’ Long-Term Health
  • Ethics of Using Genetic Engineering in Enhancing Athletic Abilities
  • Inequality in Prize Money Distribution in Male and Female Sports
  • The True Cost of Hosting the Olympic Games: An Economic Analysis
  • Should eSports Be Recognized as Legitimate Competitive Sports?
  • Dangers of Early Specialization in Youth Sports: A Comprehensive Review
  • How Does Media Coverage Affect Female Athletes’ Perception?
  • Analyzing the Effect of Mental Health on Athletic Performance
  • Collegiate Athletes and Compensation: Should They Be Paid?
  • Evolution of Technology in Sports: Boon or Bane?
  • The Role of Race and Racism in Professional Sports
  • The Influence of Role Models in Sports on Youth Development
  • Exploring the Connection Between Sports Participation and Academic Achievement
  • Violence in Sports: Societal Implications and Solutions
  • Effects of Sponsorship on Athletes’ Performance and Branding
  • Importance of Fair Play in Sports: A Philosophical Perspective
  • Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Outdoor Sports
  • Professional Athletes’ Wages: Justified or Overrated?
  • Doping Controls in Sports: Are Current Methods Effective?
  • Roles of Sports in Promoting Social Inclusion and Unity
  • Impacts of Sports-Related Concussions on Cognitive Functioning
  • Perspectives on Body Image Issues Among Female Athletes

Sports Research Paper Topics About Running

  • Enhancing Long-Distance Running Performance Through Endurance Training
  • Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Sprint Performance in Runners
  • Psychological Factors Influencing Marathon Running Performance
  • Nutrition and Hydration: Key Factors in Running Performance
  • Age and Running Performance: A Comparative Analysis of Masters Athletes
  • Strength Training: Improving Running Efficiency
  • Altitude Training and Its Impact on Endurance Running Performance
  • Genetics: A Determining Factor in Running Ability and Performance
  • The Influence of Running Surfaces on Injury Risk and Performance
  • Power Development in Runners: The Role of Plyometric Training
  • Warm-Up and Cool-Down Protocols: Impact on Running Performance
  • Psychological Strategies of Elite Runners: Performance Enhancement Techniques
  • Sleep, Recovery, and Running Performance: Exploring the Connection
  • Footwear Technology: Effects on Running Performance and Injury Prevention
  • Cross-Training: Enhancing Running Performance Through Variation
  • Anaerobic Capacity in Runners: Effects of Interval Training
  • Running Economy and Performance: An Analysis of Distance Runners
  • Stretching and Flexibility Training: Influence on Running Performance
  • Physiological Adaptations in Long-Term Endurance Running Training
  • Fatigue and Overtraining in Runners: Contributing Factors

Water Sports Research Topics

  • The Impact of Water Sports on Physical Fitness and Health
  • Exploring the Economic Benefits of Water Sports Tourism
  • Environmental Conservation in Water Sports: Practices and Challenges
  • Investigating the Psychological Benefits of Water Sports
  • The Role of Gender in Water Sports Participation and Performance
  • Exploring the History and Evolution of Water Sports
  • Analyzing the Safety Measures in Water Sports Activities
  • The Influence of Technology on Water Sports Performance
  • Assessing the Social and Cultural Impacts of Water Sports Events
  • Understanding the Physiology of Water Sports Athletes
  • Investigating the Role of Nutrition in Enhancing Water Sports Performance
  • Exploring the Role of Coaching in Water Sports Training
  • The Effect of Water Sports on Cognitive Function and Mental Well-Being
  • Analyzing the Economic Viability of Water Sports Facilities
  • Investigating the Environmental Effects of Water Sports Equipment and Gear
  • The Impact of Water Sports on Coastal Ecosystems and Marine Life
  • Understanding the Psychological Challenges Faced by Water Sports Athletes
  • Exploring the Influence of Water Sports on Youth Development
  • Assessing the Role of Media in Promoting Water Sports
  • Analyzing the Cultural Significance of Traditional Water Sports
  • The Influence of Weather Conditions on Water Sports Activities

Soccer Sports Research Topics

  • Soccer Tactics Evolution: Analyzing the Impact of Formations on Team Performance
  • Influence of Home Field Advantage in Soccer: A Statistical Analysis
  • Roles of Mental Training in Enhancing Soccer Performance: A Case Study of Professional Players
  • Player Positioning and Goal-Scoring Efficiency in Soccer: An Analytical Study
  • Effectiveness of Different Training Methods for Developing Soccer Skills
  • Impacts of Playing Surface on Soccer Performance and Injury Rates: A Comparative Study
  • Psychological Factors Affecting Penalty Shootout Performance in Soccer: An Analysis
  • Nutrition and Diet: Enhancing Soccer Players’ Performance and Recovery
  • Relationship Between Soccer Team Diversity and Success: A Case Study of Professional Leagues
  • Impacts of Weather Conditions on Soccer Matches: A Comparative Analysis
  • Influence of Managerial Styles on Team Performance in Soccer: Exploring the Link
  • Technology’s Role in Enhancing Soccer Fan Engagement and Experience: An Overview
  • Economic Impacts of Major Soccer Events on Host Countries: Analyzing the Effects
  • Impact of Player Transfers on Team Performance in Professional Soccer: An Investigation
  • Relationship Between Soccer and National Identity: A Comparative Study
  • Soccer-Specific Physical Conditioning Programs: Effectiveness in Injury Prevention
  • Role of Soccer Academies in Player Development: A Comparative Analysis
  • Effectiveness of Video Analysis in Improving Soccer Tactics and Strategy: A Study
  • Impacts of Fan Behavior on Soccer Match Atmosphere and Player Performance: An Examination
  • Influence of Soccer Broadcasts on Fan Engagement and Support: Analyzing the Effects

Extreme Sports Research Topics

  • Exploration: Psychological Benefits of Extreme Sports
  • Analysis: Impact of Extreme Sports on Physical Fitness
  • Examining the Role of Risk-Taking in Extreme Sports
  • Investigating the Evolution of Equipment in Extreme Sports
  • Understanding the Sociocultural Significance of Extreme Sports
  • Exploring the Environmental Impact of Extreme Sports
  • Assessing the Role of Technology in Extreme Sports
  • Analyzing Economic Aspects of the Extreme Sports Industry
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Gender and Extreme Sports Participation
  • Examining the Influence of Extreme Sports on Youth Culture
  • Role of Media in Promoting Extreme Sports
  • Analyzing the Impact of Sponsorship in Extreme Sports
  • Physiology of Athletes in Extreme Sports
  • Understanding Roles of Fear and Adrenaline in Extreme Sports
  • Examining the Role of Extreme Sports in Overcoming Personal Challenges
  • Investigating the Impact of Extreme Sports on Mental Well-Being
  • Analyzing Cultural Appropriation in Extreme Sports
  • Exploring the Relationship between Extreme Sports and Natural Landscapes
  • Examining Safety Measures and Risk Management in Extreme Sports
  • Investigating the Impact of Extreme Sports on Tourism
  • Exploring Ethics of Extreme Sports

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Athletic Training

  • Research Basics
  • Evidence Based Research
  • Where to Search
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Advanced Research

As you progress through the Athletic Training Program you will learn about Evidence Based Research/Practice. Evidence Based Research is the expectation that as a professional you are able to locate, evaluate, and implement the best information when making treatment/prevention/diagnosis decisions. This guide will include tips and strategies that will help you discover the best resources for your research question.

  • Population: the group you are interested in
  • Intervention: What treatment/therapy 
  • Comparison: Are there multiple options for the treatment. Often this will be the standard treatment and the Intervention will be a newer option.
  • Outcome: What are you measuring to see if your intervention worked with your population.

For example: If you one of your athletes was coming back from a sprained ankle and asked you if taping their ankle would help prevent future sprained ankles. Your PICO would look like this

P: Soccer Players recovering from sprained ankle (in some cases the gender and/or age range may make a difference. You can start specific and move to a broader search if you do not find a lot of results)

I: Taping 

C: None (In this case you are comparing taping to doing nothing at all)

O: Reduced occurrence of subsequent sprained ankles

Hierarchy of Research

Evidence based research places provides guidance for deciding which types of studies you should use. The preference is always for systematic reviews and meta analysis, followed by randomized control trials. See the table below for additional study types.

research paper topics on athletic training

The above image is based on the  EBM Page Generator   (2006) from Dartmouth College and Yale University and the Coursera MOOC “ Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics “ (2016). Located at  http://libguides.cmich.edu/cmed/ebm/pyramid

CAT Resources

This guide will provide links to resources on Critically Appraised Topics (CAT).

  • Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) Has resources on Levels of Evidence, appraisal tools, study designs and more. Can be very helpful for evaluating included articles in a CAT
  • Journal of Sport Rehabilitation This journal has a seperate section for CAT and can be a great resource for finding examples of published CATs.
  • Author Guidelines for CATs This link will take you directly to the author guidelines provided by the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation (JSR), which includes a section for the required components for submitting a CAT for publication by JSR.
  • How to write a Critically Appraised Topic: evidence to underpin routine clinical practice Article that discusses the role and importance of CATs and how to write an effective CAT.
  • What is a Cricially Appraised Topic (CAT) Introduction to CAT from Physiopedia

Subject Keywords

Most research databases use a controlled vocabulary where they assign subject keywords to each article, which makes it easier to discover relevant resources. Unfortunately the terminology for the subject keywords is not standard. Below is a listing of how the databases you will encounter most often label their subject listings.

  • PubMed: uses MeSH. Pubmed will automatically map terms to mesh. You can also click the part of the search bar that says PubMed and change it to MeSH to search their catalog of terms.
  • CINAHL: They also use MeSH terms, but because it is hosted through a different platform you need to look at the top of the screen for CINAHL Headings if you want to search for specific terms
  • SPORTDiscus: Hosted on Ebsco, and uses the term Thesaurus, located at the top left of the page.
  • Cochrane Library: Uses MeSH as well. You can find if by clicking on Advanced search and then clicking the Medical Terms (MeSH) tab.
  • Web of Science and Google Scholar do not have a controlled vocabulary because they index too much information
  • PEDro: Also does not use a controlled vocabulary because they are a free resource and do not have the resources needed to implement a controlled vocabulary.

Peer Review

Peer review is a process where authors submit their articles for review by experts in the field. The reviewers evaluate the submitted articles for quality of study design, appropriateness of statistical analysis, and value of the conclusions drawn from the study. This process is not infallible, but does help maintain a higher standard of accountability. Many databases offer an option to filter for peer reviewed articles.

Additional Resources

For more information on Evidence Based Medicine I recommend you check out these other resources

  • http://guides.mclibrary.duke.edu/ebm/home
  • http://www.cebm.net/study-designs/
  • https://hsls.pitt.edu/resources/ebm
  • http://ebm.bmj.com/content/early/2016/06/23/ebmed-2016-110401
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100+ Youth Sports Research Paper Topics to Write About

sports research paper topics

I know many sad stories  of college students who write about non-interesting sports research topics such as the usefulness of teamwork or the history of football. Here in Homework Lab, I’ve got 21 students from the U.S. who came to us with D and even F marks for sports research paper topics, banned as hackneyed  by their professors. For my students, I used to create a list of 10-20 topics to select when they started the essay. Today, I publish my collection. These are 100 best  research ideas, based on academic articles and research, which will surely work for you. Feel free to check them below! 👇

Update 24 Oct:  I’ve wiped out some old topics and introduced fresh ones. The list is ready for 2019 season!

Contents (Clickable)

   Sports Research Examples by Homework Lab Geeks

Why reinvent the wheel if you can take a look at the wheels made by your peers? Before you start browsing currently unused and unique topics, it is worth checking essays that have already passed college and high school grading with success 📝. You can use them as a source of inspiration and fresh ideas for your own writing!

  • “Miller Park Baseball Stadium” essay example  is devoted to the unusual theme: infrastructure for sports. It considers even such intricate factors as weather, the safety of workers and the behavior of sports fans — it is a good sample for sports management research.
  • “Nike’s Marketing Communication Mix”  paper example explores how Nike penetrated the market by helping athletes to perform better, and what solutions were required. Apparel matters for success, and sometimes even more than you think.
  • “Critical Analysis of Sidney Crosby by Kristi Allain” exemplifies how sports research can be used to analyze identities of athletes — and how venerable heroes affect national culture. Sports psychology and culture students would like to check it!
  • “Nutrition and Fitness” Essay  reminds of usually forgotten topic — food, supplements and nutrition of athletes are regulated by many organizations! The paper points out that restrictions are needed to save human lives in some situations.
  • “Fitness and Wellness Essay” example — a great source of physical assessment information and tips to be used by nursing, rehabilitation and sports safety students.
  • “Fraud Examination: 2015 FIFA Corruption” paper  refers to the topic of fairness in sports competition research — and how virtues of equality are violated by officials for their profits. Must-read for those who look for interesting sports research topics.
  • “The Value of Physical Exercise and P.E. Classes at School”  provides empirical evidence on why sports education is being developed in the U.S — and why there are still problems (spoiler: because of parents and Maths).
  • “The Construction of National Identity in British Media Coverage of Sport” is an essay example about the impact of media on how competitive sports are being developed, and on the society in general.

A butler serves sports research topic samples

Browse and download essay examples from the most full and up to date Free Online Essay Database at Homework Lab . All the examples of college essays have been donated by the students to boost your writing creativity.

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     💊 research topics on sports injuries.

In healthcare studies, students are required to focus on sports injuries and avoiding them in athletic practice. In my experience, the best option is to write about injury prevention and post-injury care, and  never on emergency help.  Unless you are a nursing student, you are not expected to be an expert in medical emergency services. On the sports field, every action after an injury may have dramatic consequences for athlete health — and your tutor is not likely to be forgiving to your mistakes.

Following topics are entirely predictable — you will find enough sources to write about, and you are likely to enjoy your research. After an update, I also added some  safe  emergency topics. During 3 years of my work as a Geek, they did not cause any problems.

  • Brain concussion of athletes.  Should be athletes with suspicion on concussion removed from the field?
  • Treating acute and chronic overstrains in athletes . What is better: massage, injections or ointments?
  • Athletic varicose disease. Causes of development, signs, methods of prevention.
  • Anti-doping control in sports : What is the most performance-affecting drug in the world?
  • Athletic pharmacology.  What is the best medication to cure injuries and facilitate post-traumatic recovery?
  • Overtraining. What are its symptoms, how it affects competition and how to avoid it?
  • Sudden death in sports.  What impacts on-field mortality of athletes and what sports organizations do to mitigate the issue?
  • Overwork & fatigue in sports.  How can trainers help athletes to work more productively and avoid exhaustion?
  • Acute pathological athletic conditions . What severe diseases can develop due to sports and training, and how they can be avoided without medication?
  • Recovery after the illness.  How athletes turn back on track after catching flue, cold or other diseases?
  • Do athletes live shorter than ordinary people?  What impacts the life expectancy of people of sports?
  • Thermal and solar strikes during sports competition. 
  • Dislocation in sports.  Is it an unavoidable plague of active sports?
  • Fear of injury.  Do athletes who were traumatized once feel anxiety during the play?
  • Masculinity and injuries.  Some sports research topics suggest that male athletes incur much more traumas and wounds than their female peers. Is that true?
  • Breast traumas.  What threats await for female athletes in competitive and active sports?

I received the feedback that these ideas had been useful for nursing and healthcare students too — so, feel free to use!

     📊 Research Paper Topics On Sports Management

Management topics on sports revolve around three things: organizing people, providing athletes with everything they need, and connecting sports organization and stakeholders to enable competition. Don’t think that it’s too easy, though — management tutors like graphs, statistics, and science. They are also not likely to tolerate some extreme ideas like maximization of sports event funding at the cost of fans’ safety and sports dignity. Below, you will find topics where you teacher  just cannot  force you to sweat😓.

  • Management of sports club.  What is needed to create a sports hub for professional athletes and the community?
  • How to save costs on sports.  Which facilities and services for athletes are too expensive, and how can savvy managers save funds?
  • Where to find money for sports events?  Sources of funding, sponsors, charity, donations, and issues of ticket selling.
  • Community awareness of sports.  How to attract locals to your sports organization and why do you need it?
  • Women in sports.  Is there any ceiling that prevents the career development of women in sports industries?
  • Efficiency management in a sports organization.  How can a non-athlete manager know that everything goes right in a sports club?
  • Relationships with philanthropists in sports.  What drives sponsors to fund sports, and what can be done to retain and attract them?
  • Cost-benefit analysis of the sports industry.  Can sports organization be a profitable and sustainable business?
  • Global warming and sports  (I know that it is unexpected). Does environmental change affect sports and what shifts can we expect in the future?
  • Sports accessibility.  What are difficulties of providing access to physical activities for seniors, children, and people with disabilities, and how to overcome them?
  • Ecology of water sports.  What to do with wastewater from pools?
  • HR and recruiting in sports.  How to find good athletes for your team if you don’t have $1,000,000?

Do you want to learn an advanced research method to apply statistics to your research? Afraid of maths and hate calculations?

We created a human language guide on chi-square test  that  everyone  can use. Tested on 8th-graders — no math is needed, online tools provided! Term papers nailed.

     ⚛ Sports Science Research Topics

If your major is not sports or you are pursuing a degree in sports education, then you are likely to be assigned to a science research paper. The primary point of such topics is to find the connection between sports and some field of study — be it psychology, economics or chemistry. I added some ideas for the 2018-2019 academic year that are easy to research.

  • Connections between sports and the economy.  Are nations that invest in sports are more successful that sports-hating countries?
  • Why do some countries refuse to host the Olympics?  Can major international events become a burden for the national economy?
  • January Club in sports.  Why children who born in January become more successful in sports than kids born in other months? (It’s a true fact, besides, and called a Relative Age Effect ).
  • Can athletic success be inherited?  Genetics and heredity in sports.
  • Sports regulation and performance of athletes. 
  • What hormones are the most important for athletes?  Biochemistry of winning sports competition.
  • Athletic nutrition.  What do top athletes eat to remain strong, fast and steady?
  • What traits of character are needed for an athlete to win?  Sports psychology research has a lot of papers on the topic, so you’ll have a good time writing about it.
  • Empathy in sports . Is the ability to understand other people necessary for athletic training?
  • Sports for an animal. 🐶  Can a dog athlete earn more than a human sports practitioner?

Did you expect such topics, hah? They are really scientific, still not boring. For more science stuff, check sociology topics below, in the 8th section of our post. 👇

De Exupery offers to explore search paper topics

“ A goal without a plan is just a wish “, de Saint-Exupéry said. Homework Lab can help you to plan your sports essay:

  • Register at Homework Lab  (Free Sign Up)
  • Plan and schedule your task
  • Work on your own or request expert help from a Geek

No Wishes, Let’s Nail My Essay

     🎓 sports schools topics for college students.

I know that in sports school, the primary objective of any sports writing assignment is to show your professional abilities. What are they? It is your skills on how to make training safe, enjoyable and beneficial. Given that the humanity works on these tasks for several hundreds of years now, good sports school topic is hard to find and easy to miss. Honestly, it is the most popular part of my list.

  • What is more important for sports: a mind or a body? Physical and mental development of athletes.
  • What sports uses the body the most?  Body activity during physical exercises.
  • Safest exercises for students with disabilities. 
  • How does training help to become stronger?  The biological and mental process of training as the improvement of sports skills.
  • Collaboration on a sports field. What is the most effective communication strategy among sports team members?
  • Being tired is not OK in sports. Signs of fatigue during training and measures to prevent it.
  • Physiological characteristics of “second breath” . How to boost the stamina of athlete to play two times longer?
  • Self-control in sports.  How to transform a body into a programmable success tool?
  • Posture and internal organ functioning.  Does it matter for health how we move, sleep and eat?
  • Overweight and sports.  Is it possible to be obese even when you train hard?
  • The friendship between a trainer and students.  Is it ethical to become more than a teacher for your sports students?

     🏈 Football Research Topics

You may already know that right now, lawsuits on head injuries of college students  may make ban this type of sports from the public education. It’s an excellent topic to write if you are focused on injuries and health. Honestly, I believe that football topics present a lot of place for creativity — this sport has evolved beyond a simple play and now presents a complex cultural construct.

  • Why is rugby called football?  It’s not a big secret that outside the US, “football” means “soccer.” Such words shift has an exciting history.
  • How are champions selected?  Why date of birth matter for junior football leagues? (Remeber about  Relative Age Effect )
  • Evolution of football today.  Which rules are about to change in years coming?
  • Football tactics. What do rugby players have in common with Ancient Rome infantry? ⚔
  • Can football gear be used as an armor?
  • Head concussions and football.  Are football players doomed for neurological disorders as they mature?
  • Who earns the most on football?  Players, stadiums or beer manufacturers?
  • Is a football player accountable for injuring another player?  Legal peculiarities of sports and athletic insurance.
  • How many pounds rugby players lift?  The role of strength and endurance in football competition.
  • Is cheerleading an art?  Cheerleading as a separate sport that born out of football.
  • Psychopaths and football.  Can people with a mental disorder be better athletes than their ordinary peers?
  • Impact of fame on sports performance.  Do famous athletes begin playing worse when they reach recognition?

I strongly recommend to take a loot on athletic training topics too — they are several sections below, and they focus on even more controversial issues. ⬇

Now you come to me, and you say: “ Homework Lab, give me sports research paper topics. ” But you don’t ask with an awareness that Homework Lab has a Research Paper Guide with an Example — all-in-one manual for conducting & writing your research assignments. 

     🏒 Hockey Research Paper Topics

According to statistics , ice hockey is ninth in the world by the number of its fans. However, it cannot be said about hokey’s revenues — it sport earns $4.1 billion yearly in the U.S. only! That is why essays on hockey remain to be popular in high school and colleges, given the complexity of the discipline. Below go topics that have not been ridden to death by hundreds of students before you!

  • Why is field hockey more popular than grass hockey?  (It’s a fact, by the way).
  • Why is hockey popular in Russia?  Low temperatures, national love to the sports, or communistic heritage?
  • Can adults enroll in hockey and become a champion?  A length of hockey athletes career.
  • Hockey injuries.  What are unique traumas that you can get in that sport?
  • Aggressiveness in hockey.  Are hockey players more aggressive than players in other sports?
  • Olympic vs. League Hockey.  Are there any differences?
  • Differences between h ockey schools in the USA and Canada.
  • 5 hockey inventions that are used in everyday life. 
  • How fast can a puck run?  How fast can a hockey player run? Can a puck break through a human body? Hockey can a dozen amazing stats that you can write about.
  • Why is hockey so profitable?  Secrets of huge fortunes earned in this sport.
  • Evolution of hockey : changes in rules and practices within the last 50 years.

      💪 Athletic Training Research Topics + Sports Psychology

I know that 4 of 5 of psychology students are assigned with essays and research papers on training. It is not surprising — training is a complex psychological process of overcoming physical and mental barriers  to improve body performance. Moreover, mental strength is as important as physical power for athletic competition. Scientists proved that the nervous system has a bigger impact on functional strength than muscle mass and training.

My topics already consider the latest research findings.  Don’t worry: all these questions exist in academia, however fantastic they may sound.

  • What determines strength: a neural system or muscle mass? 
  • Do strict sports rules generate stress? Impact of game rules on athletic training.
  • “Second breath”: myth of truth?  What determines the stamina of an athlete and how to train it?
  • Team chants:  do they help to play better?  Techniques and secrets of teambuilding in team sports.
  • Willpower and sports.  Do athletes really have a swift and robust character?
  • “Adrenaline junkies” in sports.  Is that true that adrenaline is an addictive drug and many athletes practice risky sports just to get their dope?
  • Multitasking in sports as a barrier to performance  Why team captains usually strike fewer goals than ordinary team members?
  • Hygiene in sports. Why not taking a shower is dangerous for health? 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and sports.  Do people with ADHD are prone to becoming athletes?
  • Sports trophies and self-esteem.  Does winning cups and medals help teenagers to prove their worthiness to parents and peers?
  • Selfies and sports safety.  What causes people to take dangerous selfies while doing extreme sports?

If you want to focus on money in sports, scroll down to sports marketing topics. We all want to know where to find 💰💰💰, and in sports, they are all around for well-informed business people.

Sports are cool, fashionable and trendy. Still, they are not everything you can write about. Check out our 50 Crazy Pop Culture Topics — provocative but appropriate for the classroom. The author of the article successfully helped students from the toughest English courses in the US and the UK. 🏆

     👨‍👩‍👧‍👧  Sports Sociology Research Topics

Sports research paper topics of sociology focus on two things: why do people play sports, and what sports make for society. I composed the list below to allow you to explore these questions in depth and width. Sports are the social activity by the very definition — even when they are not played in the team, they are spectated by other people. Therefore, every sociology idea from the list below will work, regardless of your major.

  • Sports behavior in kids.  Do sports and training present a part in human instincts.
  • Sports as a tribal behavior.  Do Indigenous Australians, Native Americans or Native Africans play their unique sports?
  • Sports as a mental health treatment.  Can psychological diseases be cured with training and sports?
  • Sports and school performance.  Do young athletes really study worse than nerds? Why?
  • Why is physical education mandatory in schools?  Besides, did you know that in some countries, physical education is mandatory for college students too, even with the major in math?
  • Sexual activity and sports.  Are athletes more sexually active than their non-training peers? What causes such an effect?
  • Transgender women: should they compete against males or females?  It’s a difficult but interesting topic to research.
  • Gender and sports.  Do representatives of different genders perceive sports differently?
  • Athletes as role models. Is an idol from the sports industry better for child’s development than a pop star?
  • Are sports a reasonable career?  How athletes as professionals compare to other jobs in the labor market of your country?
  • Youth sports and juvenile delinquency.  Is that true that playing sports and training at school reduces kid’s chances to commit crimes and get into jail?

     🤑 Sports Marketing Research Topics

Sports marketing ≠ sports advertising, my dear students. Marketing is far, far more complex — professionals research the whole society to find  how to transform and adapt sports to maximize popularity and revenue. Online event streams, e-sports, viral campaigns with athletes: these are only a few attempts made to convert sports as an industry. So, instead of writing about generic “How to advertise sports,” let me show you some advanced but easy topics to write about.

  • International tickets selling.  How to sell tickets to people who don’t even speak English?
  • Viral sports promotion.  What are the most successful PR cases of sports marketing in the US?
  • How to promote your sports even for free and gain revenue? 
  • Tickets are not the primary source of revenue in sports.  How do event hosts and sports associations earn billions on food, ads, and merchandise?
  • Marketing budgets for Olympics.  What are the most expensive items in the purchase list for an international event?
  • Sports celebrities and food advertising.  Is it ethical for star athletes to advertise McDonald’s?
  • Marketing Eagles vs. Marketing Dragons.  What are the differences between sports markets in the US and China?
  • Social media and sports motivation.  Can sports pictures and videos on Instagram help to attract people to sports and training?
  • How to attract the local community to your gym?  Sports and fitness as a business.
  • Personal data and sports.  How can marketers use your sports behavior data to advertise and sell stuff to you?
  • Banned sports ads.  What advertisements about sports  were  removed from screens and paper by courts and public volunteers? Why?

Are you ready for some expert stuff? I’ve also disclosed our internal topic checklist from Homework Lab. Check it below if you want to select your own idea and don’t get stuck without sources! 👇

A Geek girl adores sports research topics of psychology

Hey, I’m the Geek who wrote that topic list.

Below, you will find my advanced tips on research idea selection. I can also help you to finish your research paper with Homework Lab tools.

  • 1. Register at Homework Lab
  • 2. Plan and schedule your task
  • 3. Work on your own or request expert help from a Geek

Don’t worry — it’s free unless you want professional help.

All Right, Geek, Show Me Your Secrets 

   criteria for selecting a good sports research paper topic.

There is a Golden Essay Idea Checklist that is used by our Geeks in their works — it helps to avoid writing crises, lack of information and low grades!

  • Google your idea for controversy!  Anecdotal case: “sports rehab” topic was returned to a student for a second resit. Tutors required to write about treating injuries with sports — and the submitted paper was about the rehabilitation of people with a drug addiction! Google your idea to avoid such anecdotes.
  • Check availability of sources!  Some fresh topics as so fresh so you will not find any articles or books to use for citation 😋. This problem is very critical for athletic training research topics!
  • Mind Ethics!  Students are often directed by tutors to resit on the paper — in lucky cases! — for such proposals as testing substances on athletes. Sports psychology topics should also consider human dignity, research ethics and morals, which are required by every tutor in the US, the UK, and Australia!
  • Use a human-centered approach!  A research design that focuses on the safety of people and their wellbeing is a must for students in 2018. Safety of athletes from injuries in high-performance competitions is more desired topic than discussing the opportunities to push the human organism to its limits.

Now, you are ready to proceed! All the topics in this article have passed the Golden Checklist and are safe to use. However, if you alter them, it will be necessary to re-check everything. Here is a table with reminders for you

   3 Sources To Choose a Right Topic & Start Researching 

No topic suits you 100%, and you don’t feel satisfied? Or, you want to find more information to start off your paper? Here are three main websites to keep on the sharp edge of sports research. Maybe, even closer to the edge than your tutor! I used them to compose this list.

1. BBC Sports

BBC is famous worldwide, and the section “ Sports ” covers all the recent sports events in the world. Visiting this web page may help you to find the urgent topic or the topic you have a particular interest in. It’s a good place to find trendy discussions and hot academic findings, as well as industry news.

2. The Sport Journal

It’s a peer-reviewed journal  that focuses sports published by the US Sports Academy. Here you could search for articles in the field of sports science that will help you to produce a good paper. Use this when you need academic articles in your paper — or you just want to look more professional.

3. Sportscience

In this resource , you could find articles, research reports and statistics on sports. There are a lot of topics that could be explored using this resource – it will help you to find the most interesting one for you. Don’t be afraid of the old-fashioned interface — what distracts other students gives you a unique and valuable resource!

Now, you are good to go… Oh no,  de Saint-Exupéry and his Little Prince have something to say! 

Exupery demands to grab his expertise in sports research essay topics

DON'T MAKE DE SAINT-EXUPERY MAD AND GRAB 15% OFF

Once again, sign up is free. You don’t bear any risks by giving a try.

  • Register on Homework Lab.
  • Schedule your task to get free tips and reminders.
  • Paste “ Exupery 15% off ” in your task description to get expert help with your topic, outline, and paper from a Geek.

You won’t be disappointed 👌.

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Controlled diffusion model can change material properties in images

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Three icons of a hand holding a wand transform three images into new pictures. In one, a Baby Yoda toy becomes transparent; in another, a brown purse becomes rougher in texture; and in the last, a goldfish turns white.

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Researchers from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Google Research may have just performed digital sorcery — in the form of a diffusion model that can change the material properties of objects in images. Dubbed Alchemist , the system allows users to alter four attributes of both real and AI-generated pictures: roughness, metallicity, albedo (an object’s initial base color), and transparency. As an image-to-image diffusion model, one can input any photo and then adjust each property within a continuous scale of -1 to 1 to create a new visual. These photo editing capabilities could potentially extend to improving the models in video games, expanding the capabilities of AI in visual effects, and enriching robotic training data.

The magic behind Alchemist starts with a denoising diffusion model: In practice, researchers used Stable Diffusion 1.5, which is a text-to-image model lauded for its photorealistic results and editing capabilities. Previous work built on the popular model to enable users to make higher-level changes, like swapping objects or altering the depth of images. In contrast, CSAIL and Google Research’s method applies this model to focus on low-level attributes, revising the finer details of an object’s material properties with a unique, slider-based interface that outperforms its counterparts. While prior diffusion systems could pull a proverbial rabbit out of a hat for an image, Alchemist could transform that same animal to look translucent. The system could also make a rubber duck appear metallic, remove the golden hue from a goldfish, and shine an old shoe. Programs like Photoshop have similar capabilities, but this model can change material properties in a more straightforward way. For instance, modifying the metallic look of a photo requires several steps in the widely used application.

“When you look at an image you’ve created, often the result is not exactly what you have in mind,” says Prafull Sharma, MIT PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science, CSAIL affiliate, and lead author on a new paper describing the work. “You want to control the picture while editing it, but the existing controls in image editors are not able to change the materials. With Alchemist, we capitalize on the photorealism of outputs from text-to-image models and tease out a slider control that allows us to modify a specific property after the initial picture is provided.”

Precise control

“Text-to-image generative models have empowered everyday users to generate images as effortlessly as writing a sentence. However, controlling these models can be challenging,” says Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor Jun-Yan Zhu, who was not involved in the paper. “While generating a vase is simple, synthesizing a vase with specific material properties such as transparency and roughness requires users to spend hours trying different text prompts and random seeds. This can be frustrating, especially for professional users who require precision in their work. Alchemist presents a practical solution to this challenge by enabling precise control over the materials of an input image while harnessing the data-driven priors of large-scale diffusion models, inspiring future works to seamlessly incorporate generative models into the existing interfaces of commonly used content creation software.”

Alchemist’s design capabilities could help tweak the appearance of different models in video games. Applying such a diffusion model in this domain could help creators speed up their design process, refining textures to fit the gameplay of a level. Moreover, Sharma and his team’s project could assist with altering graphic design elements, videos, and movie effects to enhance photorealism and achieve the desired material appearance with precision.

The method could also refine robotic training data for tasks like manipulation. By introducing the machines to more textures, they can better understand the diverse items they’ll grasp in the real world. Alchemist can even potentially help with image classification, analyzing where a neural network fails to recognize the material changes of an image.

Sharma and his team’s work exceeded similar models at faithfully editing only the requested object of interest. For example, when a user prompted different models to tweak a dolphin to max transparency, only Alchemist achieved this feat while leaving the ocean backdrop unedited. When the researchers trained comparable diffusion model InstructPix2Pix on the same data as their method for comparison, they found that Alchemist achieved superior accuracy scores. Likewise, a user study revealed that the MIT model was preferred and seen as more photorealistic than its counterpart.

Keeping it real with synthetic data

According to the researchers, collecting real data was impractical. Instead, they trained their model on a synthetic dataset, randomly editing the material attributes of 1,200 materials applied to 100 publicly available, unique 3D objects in Blender, a popular computer graphics design tool. “The control of generative AI image synthesis has so far been constrained by what text can describe,” says Frédo Durand, the Amar Bose Professor of Computing in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and CSAIL member, who is a senior author on the paper. “This work opens new and finer-grain control for visual attributes inherited from decades of computer-graphics research.” "Alchemist is the kind of technique that's needed to make machine learning and diffusion models practical and useful to the CGI community and graphic designers,” adds Google Research senior software engineer and co-author Mark Matthews. “Without it, you're stuck with this kind of uncontrollable stochasticity. It's maybe fun for a while, but at some point, you need to get real work done and have it obey a creative vision."

Sharma’s latest project comes a year after he led research on Materialistic , a machine-learning method that can identify similar materials in an image. This previous work demonstrated how AI models can refine their material understanding skills, and like Alchemist, was fine-tuned on a synthetic dataset of 3D models from Blender.

Still, Alchemist has a few limitations at the moment. The model struggles to correctly infer illumination, so it occasionally fails to follow a user’s input. Sharma notes that this method sometimes generates physically implausible transparencies, too. Picture a hand partially inside a cereal box, for example — at Alchemist’s maximum setting for this attribute, you’d see a clear container without the fingers reaching in. The researchers would like to expand on how such a model could improve 3D assets for graphics at scene level. Also, Alchemist could help infer material properties from images. According to Sharma, this type of work could unlock links between objects' visual and mechanical traits in the future.

MIT EECS professor and CSAIL member William T. Freeman is also a senior author, joining Varun Jampani, and Google Research scientists Yuanzhen Li PhD ’09, Xuhui Jia, and Dmitry Lagun. The work was supported, in part, by a National Science Foundation grant and gifts from Google and Amazon. The group’s work will be highlighted at CVPR in June.

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