Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.

For nearly two decades, Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. has been intimately involved in sports management education, sports media, and coaching. He achieved the rank of Clinical Professor of Sports Management and served as an Academic Chair. McDonnell was a Co-Director, Program Development and Special Initiatives for New York University’s Sports and Society. McDonnell is a Forbes Sports Money contributor with a focus on the business of baseball. He has also written for other baseball-related periodicals such as Maple Street Press’ Yankees Annual 2010, Yankees Yearly 2012, 2013, and Bleacher Report. He was awarded the NYU School of Professional Studies Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011 as well as an Award for Outstanding Service in 2008. McDonnell’s research on the game of baseball has been consistently featured at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture.

Recent Posts

Why Are So Many Teen Athletes Struggling With Depression?

Oct 18, 2019 4:45:00 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents, youth sports, teen athletes


We all value the positive effects that playing sports can have on our kids – improved social skills, higher self-esteem, better mental and physical health, for starters. However it’s not all fun and games. Toxic and/or too-intense sports experiences have also been found to contribute to depression and anxiety in young athletes. 

Read More

PROJECT PLAY Summit Spotlights Urgency of Solving The Problems Plaguing Youth Sports

Oct 3, 2019 1:00:00 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents, youth sports, Project Play, The Aspen Institute




The Aspen Institute held its fifth annual Project Play Summit earlier this month in Detroit, Michigan. I was lucky to join more than 500 thought leaders in the worlds of sports and health for two days of thought-provoking panels and breakout sessions. Panelists addressed many of the key issues in youth sports while also offering suggestions about how all of us can work to eliminate the negativity in our culture.

Read More

Parent-Coach Relationships Don't Have To Be Nightmarish. We Promise.

Sep 13, 2019 3:06:00 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents


Highlight Reel: Rather than seeing each other as competition, parents and coaches can work together to build a positive sports culture that benefits everyone on the team.

“Sorry, I’ve got to go deal with this parent.”

“I’ll be late – I have to handle this situation with the coach.”


Many parent/coach interactions fall under the label of “handling” or “dealing with” each other. And those word choices say a lot: These aren’t the words you use when you’re talking about something you’re excited to do. It’s a chore, it’s an annoyance, and the person you’re interacting with is a nuisance at best and the bane of your existence at worst. Luckily, the parent/coach relationship doesn’t have to be this way. It can be a productive, even positive, partnership if both sides are willing to consider their attitudes and behaviors toward each other.

Read More

This Time, It’s Personal: Is Private Instruction a Good Choice for Your Sport Specialized Child?

Aug 29, 2019 7:11:33 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in Insider, coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents, personal coach, personal trainer


Highlight reel:  Some personal coaches are exceptional in every sense of the word, but some are toxic and untrained. Keeping the right perspective and setting realistic expectations are critical when choosing the right instruction. Follow these tips to find the person or group who will enhance -- not destroy -- your child's love of a sport.

Read More

The Kids Are NOT Alright. When Sports Injuries In Youth Threaten Their Future, Sampling Can Help.

Jul 16, 2019 8:43:10 AM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A.


When I think back on my experience as a kid playing sports, there were pickup games, the start of lifelong friendships, and wins and losses (of course), but mainly I remember how much fun I had. Watching my kids now — and talking to my friends and the other team parents — I’m blown away by how different things are for our children; they are directed to hyper focus their skills on a single sport and are under a ton of pressure to succeed. And it seems like the pressure just keeps growing. But does focusing on one sport, to the exclusion of everything else (including fun), really make an impact? And is that impact positive enough to outweigh the negatives?

Highlight reel: Overuse injuries are a growing concern with the increase in sports specialization. By encouraging sports sampling and meaningful periods of rest, parents and coaches can help keep our kids happy, healthy and in the game.

Read More

Coaches, Prepping For the New Season? Use These Tips to Prep For Problem Parents

Jun 30, 2019 12:41:25 PM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, parents



Fundamental to the AD’s role is supporting and empowering our coaches, and part of that is to help them build healthy, cooperative relationships with parents based on trust and mutual respect. But in an environment where little league fields have to post signs reminding the adults (not the kids) to keep their behavior in check, what does a healthy parent-coach relationship look like? And more urgently, how do AD's and coaches work best with parents to build them?

Read More

Myths & Misconceptions of Youth Sports Specialization

Jun 24, 2019 10:46:20 AM / by Wayne G. McDonnell, Jr., M.B.A. posted in coaches, athletic directors, athletes, parents

1 Comment

Participating in youth sports provides many benefits — developing a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity, socializing with peers, building teamwork and leadership skills, improving self-esteem, and, maybe most importantly, having fun. But youth sports have evolved significantly over the past couple of decades. The days of pickup games and free play are long gone, now replaced with year-round, sport-specific skill development, driven by the commercialization of youth sports.

But does this adult-driven, highly structured, deliberate practice actually help kids meet their goals? Or does trying a variety of different sports actually present a greater benefit?

Read More