Rainer Martens is a former Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois (1968-1984) and the founder and president of Human Kinetics, the world's largest publisher of sport, physical activity, and health resources as of 2020. Martens served as president of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education and the North American Society for Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity. He was a board member of many organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Association for Physical Education in Higher Education, and the American Academy of Physical Education. Over the course of his long career as coach, professor, researcher, and publisher, Rainer Martens received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Soccer Association for Youth Gold Ball Award (1985) and the Meritorious Service Award of the National Recreation and Park Association (1987). Rainer was inducted into the National Association of Sport and Physical Education Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Rainer Martens was born November 8, 1942 in Russelsheim, Germany. He earned a B.S.E. degree in Physical Education from Emporia State University in 1964 and an M.S. from the University of Montana in 1965. Martens received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1968 and became Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois. In 1984, Martens stepped down from his academic position at the University of Illinois in order to focus full-time on his publishing company, Human Kinetics, which he had founded in 1974. Rainer Martens is the author of more than eighty scholarly articles and seventeen books. In 1977, he published the Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT), the first instrument to assess sport-specific anxiety. His book Successful Coaching, first published in 1981, is the most widely adopted coaching textbook on college campuses, with more than a million copies sold. As an internationally recognized sport psychologist, Martens worked with athletes at all academic and professional levels. He served on the Executive Council of Kids Wrestling International (1977-1981) and the Boys Clubs of America National Advisory Council (1982-1984). He was also the Sports Medicine Director of USA Wrestling (1977-1982). Martens was the U.S. Nordic Ski Teams Sport Psychologist from 1978 until 1984 and accompanied the team to the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo.
As faculty, founder and president of Human Kinetics, Rainer Martens has published books, journals, videos and online courses in the sports, fitness, and physical activity fields. The company's headquarters are located in Champaign, Illinois, with subsidiary offices in Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1981, Martens founded the American Sport Education Program, a division of Human Kinetics. Currently known as Human Kinetics Coach Education, the organization has trained almost two million coaches through partnerships with state high school associations, state departments of education, and local school districts. In 2017, the Rainer and Julie S. Martens Foundation donated $4.4 million to the Champaign Park District for the establishment of a Community Center for recreational, athletic, educational, and community activities at the Human Kinetics Park in Champaign, IL.