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The PAPA Project


The PAPA project (Promoting Adolescent Physical Activity) recognises that the quality of the youth sport experience is critical in determining whether young people maintain and maximise their sport engagement.

The project also pulls from extensive research indicating that significant others, such as the coach, create the motivational climate that can promote or compromise children’s well-being, psychosocial development, and intentions to continue to participate in sport.  

Funded through a €3m grant from the European Commission (FP7 Health), the PAPA project entails the delivery and multi-method evaluation of the Empowering CoachingTM training programme for coaches in the UK, France, Greece, Norway and Spain.  This theoretically and empirically-grounded programme centres on working with coaches so that they can understand how (i.e., via the climate they create) and why (i.e., the motivational processes) to make sport more enjoyable, engaging and empowering for every child at every competitive level.  

Project PAPA is led by Professor Joan Duda (Project Director) and other researchers from the University of Birmingham (Drs. Eleanor Quested, Paul Appleton and Nikos Ntoumanis) and partnered by seven universities in the EU.

Given the high youth participation rates in Europe and worldwide, PAPA has centred on grassroots football.

The project main trial has entailed delivering the Empowering CoachingTM education approach to more than 500 coaches in the five European Countries. To date, PAPA has potentially had a positive impact on over 5,000 young players’ quality of motivation and desire to continue in their sport.