Nicole LaVoi

Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota where she is also the Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium.  She received MA (’96) and doctoral degrees (’02) in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology/sociology from the University of Minnesota. After completing her graduate work, Dr. LaVoi was a Research & Program Associate in the Mendelson Center for Sport & Character at the University of Notre Dame (2002-‘05) where she helped launch the Play Like a Champion character education through sport series, and was also an instructor in the Psychology Department. LaVoi was an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Wellesley College (1994-’98), and the Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach at Carleton College (1991-’93).

Dr. LaVoi’s multidisciplinary research includes influences from sport & exercise psychology, sport sociology, sport management, youth development, child development, moral development, and feminist studies. LaVoi’s research has focused on the relational qualities of the coach-athlete relationship, the origins and effect of adult “background anger” behaviors (parents and coaches) on children and youth, the emotional experiences of youth sport parents, the physical activity of underserved girls, the barriers and supports experienced by female coaches, and media representations of girls and women in sport.

She strives to answer critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of coaches and youth athletes—particularly females. To that end, LaVoi was a contributing author of The 2007Tucker Center Research Report: Developing Physically Active Girls, developed the Minnesota PLAYS™ (Parents Learning About Youth Sports), co-developed the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Parents And Coaches Together (PACT™) program with colleagues at the University of Notre Dame, and helped produce and develop the Emmy nominated “Concussion & Female Athletes: The Untold Story” in conjunction with Twin Cities Public Television. As a public scholar she maintains a social media presence through LinkedIn, Twitter (@DrSportPsych), a personal blog One Sport Voice, and contributes to the Women in Coaching blog.

Dr. LaVoi has published and presented on the many facets of her research and outreach in a variety of contexts across the country—most frequently delivering research-based educational workshops to coaches at all levels of competition and youth sport parents. Currently she serves on the National Advisory Boards for Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics, espnW, and the Alliance of Women Coaches which provides professional development and networking opportunities for female coaches, and is part of the teaching faculty for the NCAA Women Coaches Academy.

LaVoi played four years of intercollegiate tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College where her team placed 4th (’89), 2nd (’91) and won the NCAA-III National Championships in 1990. She is a two time NCAA Academic All-American.

She has authored and collaborated on numerous research reports, scholarly journal articles, and book chapters.

For a full curriculum vitae or list of publications, please contact Dr. LaVoi at