Every season, we see the young people in sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs come into their own on the field, the court, and the rink. The personal skills that develop through being part of a SBYD program can stay with a person forever. However, until now, they have been tough to measure!

In 2016, with the support of The New York Community Trust, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and Vita Sports Partners, we piloted Hello Insight: Sports, a new tool within the Hello Insight platform that measures the social and emotional learning (SEL) capacities best nurtured by SBYD programs. After collecting and analyzing thousands of survey responses to ensure reliability, we are excited to share that Hello Insight: Sports is now fully automated and available to the broader SBYD field.

HI Sports addresses the critical questions every sports-based youth development program has as they work to enhance their impact:

  • What are young people’s assets and greatest areas of challenge when they enter our programs?
  • How can we help them grow?
  • Do young people develop SEL in our programs?
  • Are they having high quality program experiences?
  • How can we improve our program next season?
  • How can we make meaning of our data, share our findings with funders and key stakeholders, and celebrate our success?

Mark Griffin, Founder of Vita Sports Partners, stated:

We are incredibly excited about the launch of Hello Insight: Sports and in the outcomes from the pilot that we worked on collaboratively for the last 18 months. In addition to Laureus and Algorhythm, I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the New York Community Trust for their core support of Vita, and Up2Us Sports, who as a lead provider nationally in SBYD coach training, played a pivotal role in the design of the surveys.

The ability for us all to use research-based, validated tools to assess our impact not only enables each of our organizations to individually increase opportunities available to the young people we serve, but also collectively for us to demonstrate the impact of our sector. In doing so, we aspire for every young person to thrive through sports.

HI Sports was piloted with more than 4,000 young peoples’ responses across 24 organizations nationwide. The pre/post SBYD tool measures nine social and emotional learning outcomes including self management, social capital, social skills, academic self-efficacy, positive identity, contribution, self confidence, goal orientation, and social connection.

These specific SEL capacities were important to our pilot partners because they aligned well with Up2Us and UNICEF’s High Impact Attributes frameworks and resonated with the work being done in SBYD. Mounting research also shows that, as SBYD programs promote these capacities, longer-term outcomes will occur, including increased academic skills, positive behaviors, reduced risky behaviors, improved career readiness, and, ultimately thriving, happy, and healthy young people.[1] Each of these capacities is a research-based, valid measure — with no bias across age, grade, gender, or ethnicity.

HI Sports uses complex machine-learning algorithms to provide recommendations about what types of experiences will work best for each group of young people served, enabling both coaches and program managers to continuously improve their programs.

During the pilot, several SBYD programs were outperforming the more than 300 youth development programs in the Hello Insight platform. These organizations received our annual HI Impact Award which puts a spotlight on high-performing organizations.

Our HI Impact analysis has shown that prioritizing young people was a critical feature of SBYD programs.

This data-driven insight is backed by staff perception:

The players are the center. The players can feel this and appreciate it. They know that the coaches have their best interests. If winning is the top priority, you can’t have the player be the top priority.
Coach/Youth Development Mentor, Play Rugby USA

Peer-to-peer team work was another key feature driving SEL outcomes:

It is not about winning, it’s not about earning as many points as possible, it is about how we get to those points — together.
Kip O’Rourke, Play Rugby USA

Debriefing is more powerful when it comes from the team – when they rely on and learn from one another.
Kalila Hoggard, Dream

We also learned that not all young people were interested in sports when they began SBYD programs. Instead, they were interested in a sense of belonging, engaging with peers, and working on a team. Each of these organizations did an amazing job tapping into youth interest and finding the right position for each young person, both--on and off the field.

Ready to Bring HI Sports to Your Organization?

Through cost-effective annual subscriptions, Hello Insight: Sports is now available to all sports organizations across the country. Hello Insight makes continuous improvement a key part of your practice.
Schedule a demo today!

  1. Payton, J. W., Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J.A., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., Schellinger, K.B., & Pachan, M. (2008). The positive impact of social and emotional learning for kindergarten to eighth-grade students: Findings from three scientific reviews. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Afterschool Alliance. (2009). Taking a deeper dive into afterschool: Positive outcomes and promising practices. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://ins.gt/88V4a8. Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.) (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say? New York, NY: Teachers College Press. ↩︎