Sport participation to performance

Investigating how to support learners of all ages to engage in meaningful, high quality movement experiences and to improve their performance.

Sport is a global cultural phenomenon and we study it from single- multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives. Our aim in this theme is to build new bridges between research, theory and practice to ensure maximum research impact.

See some of our case studies

With respect to sport performance, we do basic and translational work around optimising nutrition and training strategies to impact endurance training; and by using 3D motion analysis systems and force plates in the laboratory - or GPS and accelerometry in the field - we inform movement optimisation in athletes. In psychology, we investigate the impact of psychological and emotional factors (e.g., motivation, anxiety, and confidence) and psychological techniques (such as the work on imagery within our BRIO group) on the learning and performing of movement skills; and sport psychologists examine how the motivational characteristics of the coaching (and parental) environments and intra team behaviour affect participation in sport. We have developed the world-leading, evidence-based Empowering Coaching™ training programmes for coaches, teachers and participants. We possess the expertise to evaluate such training programmes using a variety of methods.

Our pedagogy and policy social science research group works with key stakeholders to challenge and influence policy and practice. Researchers in the School have sought to understand how politics has impacted on the delivery of sport in terms of its governance, why states invest heavily in elite sport – in particular through hosting sports mega-events – and how governments use sport as a tool for achieving non-sporting objectives. Researchers in the field of sport pedagogy conduct multi-method evaluations of the nature and impact of professional development initiatives for teachers, coaches, and exercise instructors; and focus on finding new ways to develop and deliver effective professional practice.

Research case studies: