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Applied Sport Psychology Laboratory

The mission of the Applied Sport Psychology Lab (ASPL) is to maximize the athlete experience and benefits available from sport through world leading research and programming. Within the ASPL, we conduct responsive applied research as well as create and develop programming, conduct evaluations, and prepare evidence-based resources that directly impact targeted end-users. Research conducted within the ASPL typically focuses on sport groups and key sport stakeholders, as well as athlete and support staff for athletic organizations.

The primary aims pursued within the ASPL are (1) producing high quality research and scholarship, and (2) developing programming to enhance mental health and mental performance related to sport, exercise, and rehabilitation settings. Faculty-directed research teams utilize the ASPL for research design and analysis, and program and curriculum development and evaluation. Presently, two teams share this space: the Sport Psychology Service Provision (SP2) team, and the Psychosocial Aspects of School Sport (PASS) team.


  • The Applied Sport Psychology Lab is presently supervised by Dr. Zakrajsek and Dr. Blanton.
  • Contact Dr. Zakrajsek at | Contact Dr. Blanton at

HPER 119 | The Lab

Doctoral, Graduate, and Undergraduate students that work on our research and project teams utilize this space to collect and analyze data, and to prepare, develop, and evaluate programs that serve our unique partners in a variety of settings

Each research team member and student working on projects under the direction of either Dr. Zakrajsek or Dr. Blanton should report directly to their faculty supervisor regarding issues related to the space or projects.








Sport Psychology Service (SP²) Team

The Sport Psychology Service Provision (SP²) team is directed by Dr. Rebecca Zakrajsek.

On the SP² team, we focus on maximizing athlete well-being and performance by working effectively with and through sport personnel (e.g., coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, administrators). Through research, we have developed and continue to investigate the Multidimensional Model of Sport Psychology Service Provision (M²SP²), which is a conceptual framework focused on perceptions and attitudes that influence gaining access as well as impact satisfaction with and continued use of sport psychology services. The M²SP² is rooted in attitude and behavior change theories. In addition, our team focuses on the development and evaluation of programs (e.g., mental skills, interpersonal skills, and intrapersonal skills) aimed to ultimately impact well-being and/or performance success. This research agenda is rooted in person-centered theory, motivation (self-determination theory), thriving, and resilience. Our primary scientific and applied organization is the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), and we regularly present our research at AASP, FEPSAC, USCCE, and MSEPS.

Sport Psychology Service Provision (SP²) Team:

     Director: Rebecca Zakrajsek

     Doctoral Students: Shane Thomson, Shelby Miller

Current Projects:

  • Mental training program for DPT students (South College)
    • Developmental evaluation – currently revising program based on developmental evaluation findings from pilot
    • Preparing for implementation of program with South College DPT students in 2023
  • Person-Centered Theory – Exploring Positive Self-Regard within sport
    • Athletes’ experiences of positive self-regard throughout their sport experience
    • Survey study (conceptualization): Relationship between positive self-regard, thriving, and resilience
  • Use of Sport Psychology and Mental Performance Services
    • Currently conducting a mixed-methods study identifying and assessing NCAA DI athletic trainers’ personal use of sport psychology techniques and mental performance services.
  • USA Figure Skating
    • Collaborating with USA Figure Skating applied practitioners and world scholars – use of innovative research and technology to support athlete thriving

Psychosocial Aspects of School Sport (PASS) Team

The Psychosocial Aspects of School Sport (PASS) team is directed by Dr. Jedediah Blanton.

On the PASS team, we focus on adolescent development in sport, primarily through maximizing the interscholastic sport experience for young people. We aim to help athletes, coaches, and administrators identify how to increase the positive developmental nature of school sport, and seek ways to harness the educational mission of high school and interscholastic athletics. Through critical research, we have investigated and developed a grounded theory of education-based athletics. Furthermore, our team collaborates with world-leading scholars and national sport organizations to develop and evaluate programming like the NFHS hosted Captains Course (completed by >50K people), and are investigating mental health literacy and components of well-being in school sport settings and sport-anchored relationships. Our primary scientific society is the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, and we regularly attend the Midwest Sport and Exercise Psychology Symposium (MSEPS).

Psychosocial Aspects of School Sport (PASS) Team:

Director: Jedediah Blanton

Doctoral Students: Rachel Williams

Masters Students: Tjaša Pintar

Undergraduate Researchers/Assistants: Brooklyn Barnes, Jake Agee

Current Projects:

  • Leadership Development & the Captains Course | Project supported by grant from the Michigan High School Athletic Association
    • Building 3 online asynchronous courses for the NFHS with embedded psychometric assessments and evaluative mechanisms
    • Examining participant data from Captains Course 1.0, preparing for LIWC assessment of short answer prompts and participant demographics
  • Mental Health and Mental Performance in Sport
    • Mental Health First Aid and Literacy in Sport | Project supported by the Illinois High School Association
      • Examining knowledge of mental health and mental performance skills in high school athletes
      • Empowering high school athletes with mental health first aid training
      • Preparing for Participatory Action research project exploring high school student-athletes delivering mental health first aid training and/or mental performance training.
  • Student experiences of life skills learned in high school sport and extracurriculars
    • Examining first-year college students’ perceptions of life skills learned in HS sport and the transition into college
    • Exploring how coaches teach and reflect upon integrating life skills training with high school athletes
    • Exploring athlete and college student identity development post-retirement from high school sport
    • A Content analysis of high school student-athletes’ reflections on lessons learned from high school sports, high school extracurriculars, and definitions of sportspersonship from high school sport

Students: Interested in joining our teams?

The Sport Psychology Service Provision (SP²) team is directed by Dr. Rebecca Zakrajsek | email:

The Psychosocial Aspects of School Sport (PASS) team is directed by Dr. Jedediah Blanton | email:

If you are interested in joining the Applied Sport Psychology Laboratory and one of the research teams as a potential or incoming GRADUATE STUDENT, please email the faculty directors.

If you are interested in joining one of the research teams as an UNDERGRADUATE student – Thank you!

PASS Team Research Assistants Job Description

We are happy to support undergraduate students in our research projects as much as possible, so long as we can offer a good mentored experience that contributes to one of our research aims. To be most prepared to join our research teams, interested undergraduate students should complete the CITI research training <link> in Social and Behavioral Research. Send along your resume and a brief goal statement to the professor whose team you are interested in assisting, and include the CITI training certificate as an attachment. Though it is certainly not required, students who have taken KNS 231 Intro to Sport Psychology are usually poised to engage more deeply in our work with that course behind them.