Minnesota State University Mankato
Center For Sport and Performance Psychology
Schedule an Appointment
Social Media YoutubeLinkedinTwitter Facebook Newsletter



Research is an integral part of what we do here at MSU. Part of providing clients and potential clients with the highest level of performance enhancing tips, skills, and interventions is staying familiar with current trends in sport and exercise psychology research and being active participants in the process of conducting research.


The Blueprint of Grit: Examining the Development of Passion and Perseverance of Long-Term Goals

Jaxson Judkins, Lead Author

In sports, top-tier athletes are accustomed to endure challenges that often make or break their success. They are the individuals that overcome obstacles and are driven over the long-term because they have passion, perseverance, and a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish. Such athletes become refined and perform better in the face of adversity by working through years of physical and mental effort. This project examines potential contributing factors of grit among elite athletes in various professional sport domains (e.g., NBA, WNBA, NFL, CFL, and Olympics) to determine if grit can be developed.

Parenting Styles’ Role in the Development of Grit in College Athletes

Austin Hanson, Lead Author

Grit, the passion and perseverance for long-term goals (Duckworth & Quinn, 2009), has been linked to higher achievement in many different contexts, such as the military, national spelling bee contestants, and Ivy League students – among others. Researchers have found a multitude of areas where grit has proven to be powerful and studied many other similar traits, such as resilience and conscientiousness; however, research has yet to study where grit comes from. The current study examines one context that is particularly salient to psychological development – parenting.

A Qualitative Exploration of Psychological Relatedness in College Athletes

Isaac Steffensmeier, Lead Author

The psychological concept of relatedness in self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985) has been applied to sport and is widely used in the sports context. The need for relatedness is defined as the desire to interact with, be connected to, and experience caring and support from others. However, there is little research in regards to how athletes perceive this phenomenon of relatedness and how their meaning of relatedness is constructed. This project qualitatively explores this phenomenon of relatedness in the context of college athletics.


The Impact of Facebook on Exercise/Running Behavior

Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., Lead Author

Our research team has explored this new, innovative study on the impact of Facebook on runners. We surveyed runners about how posts on Facebook impact their motivation and training behavior.

Boston MarathonResilience in the Aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings

Kelsey Timm, Lead Author

The psychological concept of resilience has been applied to sport in the past, but has yet to be applied specifically to runners. Runners tend to exhibit many qualities that are found in resilient people, including positive emotions, active coping skills, and cognitive flexibility, which they may have developed through their training. This project will look at how runners who participated in the 2013 Boston Marathon used the resilience skills they had developed from their running to overcome the traumatic experience of the bombings in the six months following the event.

mental toughnessCritical Incidents that Lead to the Development of Mental Toughness in NCAA Athletes

Bethany Bachman, Lead Author

Critical incidents are experiences that a person learns from that changes their behavior. Researchers believe that both positive and negative critical incidents are crucial in the development of mental toughness in athletes. However, there is little research on the specific critical incidents athletes’ experience, which contributes to their development of mental toughness. This project examines the critical incidents that led to the development of mental toughness in NCAA athletes.

Our Work as Been Featured In