Physical activity levels during youth sport practice: does coach training or experience have an influence?

Chelsey R. Schlechter, Richard R. Rosenkranz, George A. Milliken, David A. Dzewaltowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This study examined moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels in youth during flag football practice and compared youth MVPA in practices led by trained or untrained, and by experienced or inexperienced, coaches. Boys (n = 111, mean age = 7.9 ± 1.2 years) from 14 recreation-level flag football teams wore an accelerometer during two practices. Each team’s volunteer head coach reported prior training and coaching experience. Mixed-model team-adjusted means showed the proportion of practice time spent in sedentary (13 ± 1%), MVPA (34 ± 2%) and vigorous (12 ± 1%) activity. Practice contributed ~20 min of MVPA towards public health guidelines. There was no significant difference in percentage time spent in MVPA between teams with trained (mean = 33.3%, 95% CI = 29.4%, 37.2%) and untrained coaches (mean = 35.9%, 95% CI = 25.5%, 42.4%) or between experienced (mean = 34.1%, 95% CI = 30.2%, 38.0%) and inexperienced coaches (mean = 33.8, 95% CI = 27.9%, 39.7%). Although sport provides a setting for youth to accrue MVPA, two-thirds of practice was spent sedentarily or in light activity. Participation in a coach training programme was not associated with higher MVPA. Further research is needed to inform volunteer coach training programmes that provide coaches with skills necessary to increase the percentage of practice time spent in MVPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • accelerometer
  • organised sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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