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Frank Smoll, Ph.D.


Interests: Sport Psychology, Leadership Behavior in Youth Sports


Phone (206) 543-4612
Website(s) Website


Do I accept and train new psychology graduate students in general?
Am I accepting new graduate students in the upcoming year?
I am NOT accepting graduate students in 2020-2021
Advising Areas:


Over 45-million children and adolescents participate in community and school-sponsored athletics in the United States. That represents more than half of the young people in the 6-to-18 age range—an amazing number! Over that past three decades, my colleague (Dr. Ron Smith) and I have done research on the effects of sport competition on youngsters’ personal and social development. Our Youth Enrichment in Sports project is designed to develop, evaluate, and deliver educational programs for coaches and parents. The project initially involved development of Mastery Approach to Coaching (MAC) and Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports workshops. The interventions were then tested in a series of field experiments and proven to have desirable effects. For example, the MAC workshop was shown to (a) promote higher mastery-oriented achievements goals in sports and in school, (b) foster positive coach-athlete relations, (c) increase the amount of fun that athletes experience, (d) create greater team cohesion and a more supportive athletic setting, (e) increase athletes’ self-esteem, (f) reduce performance-destroying anxiety and fear of failure, (g) reduce dropout rates from approximately 30% to 5%, and (h) produce equally positive effects on boys and girls teams. Given the success of our evidence-based interventions, we have entered the distribution phase of our work. This involved transforming the coach and parent workshops into videos and publishing “how to” books on the Mastery Approach. Additionally, in the course of the project, a large data set has been amassed that provides a basis for future research.

Selected Publications

  • Smoll, F. L., & Smith, R. E. (2017). Coaching young athletes: Sport psychology theory, research, and intervention. Indian Journal of Psychology, 92 (Special Issue, July), 126-139.
  • Schwebel, F. J., Smith, R. E., & Smoll, F. L. (2016, March). Measurement of perceived success standards in sport and relations with athletes' self-esteem, performance anxiety, and achievement goal orientation: Comparing parental and coach influences. Child Development Research, Article ID 7056075.
  • Smoll, F. L., & Smith, R. E. (2015). Conducting evidence based coach-training programs: A social-cognitive approach. In J. M. Williams & V. Krane (Eds.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (7th ed., pp. 359-382). Boston: McGraw-Hill.
  • Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L., & Cumming, S. P. (2009). Motivational climate and changes in young athletes' achievement goal orientations. Motivation and Emotion, 33, 173-183.
  • Smoll, F. L., Smith, R. E., & Cumming, S. P. (2007). Effects of a motivational climate intervention for coaches on changes in young athletes' achievement goal orientations. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, 1, 23-46.
  • Smoll, F.L., Smith, R.E., & Cumming, S.P. (2007, Summer). Effects of coach and parent training on performance anxiety in young athletes: A systemic approach. Journal of Youth Development, 2. Article 0701FA002.

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