Dr Martin Toms BA (Hons), MPhil, Cert Ed, PhD, FHEA

Dr Martin R. Toms

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 415 8392
Telephone (2)
+44 (0) 121 415 8285
+44 (0) 121 414 4848
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Martin Toms is a senior lecturer in Sports Coaching in the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences. 

Dr Toms has been involved in sport coaching and development for a number of years, and has experience of teaching in schools, as well as coaching (Professionally) prior to undertaking posts at University. He has researched, presented and published in the area of the sports experiences of young people, and talent and participant development. As a sports ethnographer, he has experience in educational, coaching and club settings.

As well as working on an European and International scale with sports organisations (currently leading the UoB partnership with the Sports Authority of India), as well as having worked alongside the PGA for the past 18 years in golf education and development. Dr Toms has maintained his links with grass roots sports clubs in the UK as well. As well as playing, officiating and coaching, he is also active in youth sport at a local level.


  • BA (Hons) Sport Science and English Literature (Surrey)
  • MPhil Youth Sport (Brighton)
  • Cert Ed (post 16) (Plymouth)
  • PhD Developmental Socialisation of Young People in Sport (Loughborough)


Following his appointment in 2000, Dr Toms established and set up the Applied Golf Management Studies degree course in partnership with the PGA and also helped develop the PGA’s Foundation Degree in Professional Golf. He was also involved in setting up the MPhil programme in Sports Coaching and now currently the MSc in Sports Coaching, again in partnership with the PGA. He is currently working on collaborative projects involving the PGA across the world, and with the Football Association (amongst others) on developing and AGMS style model to further help professionalise coaching.

Dr Toms is a trained QAA Subject Reviewer (Sport & Leisure); an External Examiner (currently at Chester & LJMU). He has examined Masters and Doctoral theses around the UK, and has also advised and been on validation panels for programme developments at Universities in the UK and abroad, and regularly presents at National and International conferences.

Dr Toms is currently involved in the development of sport and sports science in India, working very closely with the Sports Authority of India, part of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport. This work is alongside the University of Birmingham India Institute as well as organisations in India. This follows work undertaken with Skills Active and consortia of Universities in India (which he led), and has developed into a number of streams of activity, consultancy, delivery and support.

He has been involved in projects at a European level (as co-editor of the "European Journal for Sport & Society" and on the Europe-wide Golfstand project), as well as International level as (a board member of the World Scientific Congress of Golf and Editor in Chief of the “International Journal of Golf Science”).

As a coach he has spent time with Club, County and Regional junior cricket squads (his main focus of study being grass roots participation and development). As a player he had a wide and long “sampling” experience of sports (athletics, cricket, golf, rugby and soccer) at various levels, before “investing” in cricket until injury curtailed his participation in 2010 (he is now trying to swap his most recent batting average for his golf handicap!). 

In 2010 Dr Toms was one of four finalists from across the University in the University’s inaugural “Founders’ Awards”. He was proposed by the College of Social Sciences for “The Josiah Mason Award for Business Advancement”. The awards recognise the very best academic work in the university which has significantly contributed to the advancement of the University’s reputation both nationally and internationally.

The commendation reads as follows:

“Dr Martin Toms has been responsible for leading and developing an innovative and world-leading partnership with the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) in the development of golf coaches. It has brought the University an income of £2.2 million since the inception of the programme in 2002. The BA (Hons) Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS) degree programme has been identified as an exemplar programme in its multi-disciplinary approach to sports coaching and the relationship is well recognised nationally and internationally. The partnership has linked business with the PGA in very successful ways and has allowed the development of a postgraduate award that is intended to be a requirement for coaches in their career progression. The relationship is highly significant not only for the golf industry in the UK and Internationally, but it is also leading the professionalisation of the entire coaching industry. This kudos, partnership and business arrangement is what makes this such an innovative and world-leading enterprise.

The European White Paper for sport cites the partnership between the PGA and the University in the development of professional coaching qualifications in golf, highlighting the national profile that the partnership and degree have gained”



  • The Golf Industry in the 21st Century
  • Applied Golf Coaching
  • Research Methods
  • Sociology of Sport: Participation and Performance


  • Research Methods
  • Integrated Coaching
  • Player and Participant Development
  • Applied Professional Practice in Sport

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision includes work with MSc students around athlete’s developmental journeys across a number of sports/scenarios

Current doctoral supervision includes students engaged in the following areas of work:

  • The development of Talent within Chinese Youth Soccer
  • Experiences of elite disabled golfers’ from across Europe
  • The performance mask(s) of tournament performance in elite golf
  • Pathways to elite performance in golf: towards a clearer understanding of the critical developmental processes


Research interests:

Developmental socialisation; talent identification and detection; athlete journeys and drop out.

Other activities

  • QAA Subject Reviewer (Sport & Leisure)
  • External Examiner – Chester and Liverpool John Moores  
  • Member of the Board of the "World Scientific Congress for Golf" (www.golfscience.org)
  • Editor in Chief of the “International Journal of Golf Science”
  • Co-editor of the “European Journal for Sport and Society”
  • Consultant to Ian Peek Performance & Transition Ltd


Edited Books:

1.            Toms, M. (Ed) (2017) Routledge International Handbook of Golf Science, Routledge, London. ISBN: 978-1-138-18912-6

Co-Authored Works:

1.            Bailey, R.; Collins, D.; Ford, R.; MacNamara, A,; Toms, M. & Pearce, G. (2010) "Participant Development in Sport: An Academic Review", SportsCoach UK, Leeds.

Contribution to Edited Works:

1.            Toms, M. (2017) “Young People and Golf”, In: Toms, M. (Ed.) (2017) Routledge International Handbook of Golf Science, London: Routledge.

2.            Wright, J. & Toms, M. (2017) “The Move from Coach Centred to Participant Centred Golf Coaching”, In: Toms, M. (Ed.) (2017) Routledge International Handbook of Golf Science, London: Routledge.

3.            Collins, D.; Bailey, R.; Toms, M.; Pearce, G.; MacNamara, A.; & Ford, P. (2011) “Rethinking Participant Development in Sport and Physical Activity”. In Holt, N. and Talbot, M. (Eds) Lifelong Engagement in Sport and Physical Activity: Participation and Performance Across the Lifespan. ICSSPE / Routledge, London, pp. 45-62. ISBN: 978-0-415-67589-5.

4.            Bailey, R.; Toms, M.; Collins, D.; Ford, P.; MacNamara, A. & Pearce, G. (2011) “Models of Young Player Development in Sport”. In Stafford, I. (Ed) Coaching Children in Sport, Routledge, London, pp 38-56. ISBN 978-0-415-49391-8.

5.            Bailey, R. & Toms, M. (2010) "Youth Talent Development in Sport – Rethinking Luck and Justice”, in Hardman, A. & Jones, R. (Eds) The Ethics of Sports Coaching, Routledge, London, pp 149-164. ISBN: 978-0-415-55775-7.

6.            Toms, M.; Kirk, D. & Juntumaa, B. (2008) ““It’s Like a Family Here….” The ‘Family Club’ in Junior Sport: A Case Study Analysis”, in Quinn, J.K. & Zambini, I.G. (Eds) Family Relations: 21st Century Issues and Challenges, Nova Publishers, USA, pp 169-185. ISBN: 978-1-60456-092-3.

7.            Juntumaa, B.; Toms, M.; Keskivaara, P. & Elovainio, M. (2007) “Coaching and Cohesion: The Perceptions of Adolescents, Coaches, and Team Leaders in Finnish Junior Ice Hockey”, in Vargios, E.M. (Ed) Educational Psychology Research Focus, Nova Publishers, USA, pp 121-132. ISBN: 1-60021-785-0.

8.            Juntumaa, J.; Toms, M. & Elovainio, M. (2007) "Parenting stress, coaching and cohesion in ice hockey". In Itkonen, H.;  Salmikangas, A. K. and McEvoy, E. (Eds) (2007) The Changing Role of Public, Civic and Private Sectors in Sport Culture, University of Jyväskylä, Research Reports, No. 3, pp 228-237. ISBN: 978-951-39-2828-5.

9.            Toms, M. & Kirk, D. (2006) "The Researcher and Positionality in Youth Sport: Moving from 'Role Theory' to 'Social Positioning' in Ethnography" in Fleming, S. & Jordan, F. (Eds) (2006) Ethical Issues in Leisure Research, LSA, Brighton, pp 99 - 112. ISBN: 1-905369-01-8

Papers in Refereed Journals:

1.            Thiel, A.; Vilaanova, A.; Toms, M.; Friis-Thing, L. & Dolan, P. (2017) Can Sport Be ‘un-political’?, European Journal for Sport & Society, 13 (4), 253-255. DOI: 10.1080/16138171.2016.1253322

2.            Bridge, M. & Toms, M. (2012) “The Specialising or Sampling Debate: A Retrospective Analysis of Adolescent Sports Participation in the UK”, Journal of Sports Sciences DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2012.721560  

3.            Ford, P.; Collins, D.; Bailey, R.; MacNamara, A.; Pearce, G. & Toms, M (2011) “Participant Development in Sport and Physical Activity: The Impact of Biological Maturation”, European Journal of Sport Science, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2011.577241

4.            Collins, D.; Bailey, R.; Ford, P.; MacNamara, A.; Toms, M. & Pearce, G. (2010) “The Three Worlds Continuum: New Directions in Participant Development in Sport and Physical Activity”. Sport, Education & Society, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2011.607951

5.            MacNamara, A.; Collins, D.; Bailey, R.; Ford, P.; Toms, M & Pearce, G. (2010) “Promoting Lifelong Physical Activity AND High Level Performance: Realising an Achievable Aim for Physical Education”, Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, DOI: 10.1080/17408989.2010.535200

6.            Toms, M. & Fleming, S. (1995) "Why Play Cricket...?" A Preliminary Analysis of Participation by Young Males, The Sports Historian, No.15; May 1995, pp 89 - 106.

Published Abstracts:

1.            Pitkänen, J. & Toms, M. (2017) Elite Irish Golfer’s Experiences Of Transition From Amateur To Professional, International Journal of Golf Science, 5 (Supplement), S 59-60.

2.            Wright, J. & Toms, M. (2015) Dazzling Dreams And Dawning Reality: The Unholy Alliance Of Sports Performance And Education For Apprentice Golfers Within An Academy Structure, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S104-105.

3.            Shao, X.; Xiaochun, Z. & Toms, M. (2015) The Development Of Golf Programmes In Colleges And Universities: A Case Study Of China, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S84-85

4.            Shao, X. & Toms, M. (2015) Developing A Participant Behavior Model For Golf Participants In China, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S82-83.

5.            Jenkins, J.; Bridge, M. & Toms, M. (2015) The Critical Parameters To Elite Performance In Golf: The Modern Need To Specialise?, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S7-8.

6.            Cafaro, V. & Toms, M. (2015) Early Developmental Experiences Of Elite Golfers: A Case Study From The UK, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S105-107.

7.            Branton, B. & Toms, M. (2015) Understanding The Relationships Between Parents, Coach And Golfer And Their Role In Talent Development, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S102-103.

8.            Toms, M. (2015) From 'Back Garden Basics' And 'Quality Golf Time' To 'Strategic Introductions': The Importance (& Achilles Heel) Of The Family In The Development Of PGA Golf Professionals In The UK, International Journal of Golf Science, 3 (Supplement), S100-102.

9.            Bridge, M. & Toms, M. (2008) Club Sport & the Developmental Model of Sports Participation: a Pilot Study of the UK Perspective. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26 (S2) ppS86-87

10.          Toms, M. (1995) "The Sporting Family: A case study of Cricket", British Sociological Association, Conference Proceedings, April 1995.

Professional Papers/Publications:

1.            Toms, M. (2017) “It’s Just Not Cricket! Sports Science and International Collaboration”, Association of Commonwealth Universities Bulletin, 191, pp21-23.

2.            Toms, M. (2015) “Where you grow up matters for sporting success – that’s why Yorkshire cricketers are so good”, The Conversation, July 8th, 2015, https://theconversation.com/where-you-grow-up-matters-for-sporting-success-thats-why-yorkshire-cricketers-are-so-good-44157

3.            Toms, M. (2014) “The Family Club & the Club as Family: Positive Futures for English Cricket”, ECB Hitting the Seam, Issue 31, London pp 25-6.

4.            Toms, M. (2013) “What does Good Look like in Participant Development”, ECB Coaching Insight (Annual publication), ECB Coaches Association, London pp 47-49. 

5.            Busafi, M.; Benn, T. & Toms, M. (2009) “Coach Education Programmes”, New Studies in Athletics, (International Association of Athletics Federations - IAAF).

6.            Toms, M. (2006) Golf For Dummies, John Wiley, London [Technical Editor]

7.            Toms, M. (2003) “Grass Roots Club Cricket and Young People: Matching Micro-expectations to Macro-experiences”, in England and Wales Cricket Board Coaches Association (ECBCA) (2003) Yearbook 2003, ECBCA, London, 5-7.

8.            Toms, M. (1997) "Runs in the Family", The Cricketer International, No. 10 Vol 77, p12

9.            Toms, M. & Burrell, I. (1996) “Stereotypes Hit for Six by Young Asian Cricketers”, The Independent, Saturday 30th November, P6.

Publications from Funded Projects:

1.            Golf Stand (2012a) Guide to Qualifications and Learning Outcomes for the Education of Golf Professionals in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU.

2.            Golf Stand (2012b) European LMI Research in Golf – Key Findings, PGAs of Europe, EU.

3.            Golf Stand (2012c) Occupational Map for the Golf Sector in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU.

4.            Golf Stand (2012d) Occupational Descriptors for the Golf sector in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU.

5.            Golf Stand (2012e) Functional Map for the Golf Industry in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU

6.            Golf Stand (2012f) Functional Map for Golf Professionals in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU.

7.            Golf Stand (2012g) Occupational Standards for Golf Professionals - short version (summary), PGAs of Europe, EU.

8.            Golf Stand (2012h) Guide to Qualifications and Learning Outcomes for the Education of Golf Pros in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU. [Sole author]

9.            Golf Stand (2012i) Quality Assurance Strategies and Guidelines for VET in Golf in Europe, PGAs of Europe, EU.

10.          Bridge, M.; Jones, D & Toms, M. (2002) Energy Drinks and Elite Golf Performance: A Pilot Study, University of Birmingham for AWAKE Ltd.

11.          Bennett, J.; Lang, B.; Nash, J.; Thomas, M. & Toms, M. (1998) New Start - Phase 1 Report, PROSPER Report for DfEE, PROSPER, Plymouth. (Unpublished Phase 1 Report) – also cited in: Mackie, I. & Siora, G. (2000) New Start – Round 1 Evaluation Final Report, DfEE, Suffolk (ISBN 1 84185 251 1)