Skip to page content

Sami Yli-Piipari

  • Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology (Physical Education Programs)

Portrait of Sami Yli-Piipari

Contact Information

  • 706-542-4462 (office)
  • 901-233-1019 (mobile)
View/Download CV

Office Location

349 Ramsey Center
330 River Road
Athens, Georgia 30602

Social Media

Affiliated Units

Areas of Expertise

  • serious physical activity games
  • physical education instruction
  • self-determination theory
  • autonomy
  • achievement goal theory
  • structural equation modeling

Research Interests

  • physical activity
  • motivation
  • exercise
  • physical education
  • serious games
  • wellness

Programs of Study


Research Summary

Dr. Sami Yli-Piipari is a children and adolescent physical activity specialist with an academic interest in motivational processes impacting sustainable physical activity and exercise behaviors.Specifically, he is examining how educational physical activity experiences, such as school physical education or community programs, and psychological need-supportive instruction facilitate sustainable physical activity. As an outcome of his study, it is possible to design more effective interventions to impact children's and adolescents' lifelong healthy behaviors. In his health promotion efforts, he applies the latest technological innovations to examine the role of virtual experiences, such as active video games, in motivating, educating, and engaging children and adolescents' in health-enhancing physical activity.


Dr. Sami Yli-Piipari is an associate professor in Children's Physical Activity, Fitness, and School Health Promotion at the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia. He directs Children's Physical Activity and Fitness Laboratory specializing on children's physical activity and motivation issues. Dr. Yli-Piipari earned his PhD in 2011 from the University of Jyväskylä, Finland in Sport Pedagogy with concentration on exercise psychology. After working in a junior faculty position at the University of Jyvaskyla, Dr. Yli-Piipari spent two postdoc years at the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, and three years as an assistant professor at the University of Memphis. Dr. Yli-Piipari has published 60+ book chapters and research articles in peer-reviewed journals and he has been able to secure more than $700,000 in external funding. He is a research fellow of the Society for Health and Physical Educators and an editorial board member of the Journal of Teaching, Research, and Media in Kinesiology.


Degree Concentration Institution Year
PhD Sport Pedagogy University of Jyvaskyla, Finland 2011

Awards and Accolades

Year Award From
2015 Research Fellow Society of Physical and Health Educators
2013 Department Chair's Award for Outstanding Research Contribution University of Memphis
2010 Fulbright Graduate Grant Scholarship Award Fulbright