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VIDEO: What Fun Means to Players

By MAHA Staff, 09/30/19, 3:30PM EDT


Check out the video from a presentation given at the MAHA Summer Meeting from Amanda J. Visek, PhD, CMPC, and Heather Mannix, MS, on the science behind how to make youth sports fun for all participants. A more detailed outline can be found below the video.


Amanda J. Visek, PhD, CMPC is an Associate Professor in theDepartment of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., USA. Her translational approach to scientific research has focused on the application of pediatric sport psychology to issues of public health, namely improving child and adolescent health outcomes by establishing sport participation as a public health practice through safe, positive physical activity and human movement experiences that are fun. Her federally funded, applied research includes the FUN MAPS, the latest sport science advancement capturing attention from local grassroots communities to national and international sport organizations .The FUN MAPS are the scientific blueprints for the fun integration theory, the first-ever fully conceptual framework for optimizing youth’s positive sport experiences in childhood and through their adolescence. Her work has been featured nationally in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, ESPNW, the N.Y Times for Kids, U.S. News & World Report, National Public Radio, CBS Radio, ABC News, NBC News, NBC Sports, FOX News and many others, while also being featured globally. She has authored over 29 peer-reviewed papers, 7 book chapters, and given more than 142 refereed and invited talks around the world. Dr. Visek is the 2013 recipient of the Dorothy V. Harris Memorial Award from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology for her significant contributions to advancing the field of sport psychology and the 2014 American Psychological Association’s Division 47 Early Career Professional Award, organizations for which she has also served professionally in elected and appointed positions. She is a Certified Mental Performance Consultant (CMPC) of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology & Mental Training Registry. 


Heather Mannix, MS, a native Michigander, grew up playing AAA hockey in the MAHA organization and continues to play hockey to this day. She earned her master’s degree in Exercise Science from The George Washington University (GW), during which time she was recognized by the Exercise & Nutrition Sciences Department for her outstanding thesis research and awarded the 2013 Excellence in Research Award. Thereafter, she managed the department’s exercise physiology and body composition laboratory, while also holding a Research Associate position with Dr. Amanda J. Visek, co-authoring the original FUN MAPS paper entitled, “The fun integration theory: Toward sustaining children and adolescents’ sport participation”published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health. Ms. Mannix continues to work closely on domestic and international FUN MAPS research projects, while co-authoring refereed research papers, most recently published in the International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching and the Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal and delivering presentations and conducting workshops with Dr. Visek. Passionate about intersecting sport psychology with research and applied practice, Ms. Mannix is dedicated to promoting positive sporting experiences for children at all levels of the game and is involved in the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program. She also works as a Corrective Exercise Specialist at APEX Physical Therapy in Brighton, MI.