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

Dr Martin R. Toms

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Head of Global Engagement & PGA Partnership Lead
Associate Professor in Sport Pedagogy

Contact details

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Martin Toms is an expert in youth sport and talent identification from a socio-cultural perspective. He works on a national and international perspective with federations and governing bodies (most notably the PGA of GB&I and also government agencies in India) and is the school lead for International development.


  • BA (Hons) Sport Science and English Literature (University of Surrey)
  • MPhil Youth Sport (University of Brighton)
  • Cert Ed -post secondary education (University of Plymouth)
  • PhD Youth Sport/developmental Socialisation (Loughborough University)


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, as well as other sports and countries (most notably India).

Dr Toms is a trained QAA Subject Reviewer (Sport & Leisure); an External Examiner. 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”).

He sits on a number of bodies internally and externally and with a remit to develop Transnational Education, and is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Regina, Canada.

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!).


Undergraduate modules – Sport Development; Global Challenges; Introduction to Sport Business; Developing Professional Practice; Dissertations

Postgraduate Taught: Player and Participant Development; Interdisciplinary Research and Impact; thesis supervision

Postgraduate supervision

Current supervision projects:

  • Talent identification in elite Indian sport (MRes)
  • A Bourdieu/Goffman exploration of performance self-management in elite golfers (PhD)
  • The concept of expertise in elite level street dance (PhD)
  • Talent development journeys of elite US female footballers (Prof Doc)
  • The professional journey of female PGA Pros (Prof Doc)
  • Retention of female golfers in grass roots programmes (Prof Doc)


Research interests:

Youth sport; talent identification; socio-cultural contexts; family involvement & youth sport; interrupted childhoods and sport; grass roots sport; cricket; football

Other activities

  • External examiner and assessor for programmes in the UK and abroad (current)
  • Roles within professional sports organisations (e.g. PGA) (current)
  • Advisor for sport education programmes and developments in India (current)
  • Adjunct Professor in Sports Science (University of Regina, Canada) (current)
  • Consultancy in China and Europe around young people, golf and education (2019)


Recent publications


Toms, M 2016, 'Can Sport Be ‘un-political’?', European Journal for Sport and Society, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 253-255. https://doi.org/10.1080/16138171.2016.1253322

Bridge, MW & Toms, MR 2013, 'The specialising or sampling debate: a retrospective analysis of adolescent sports participation in the UK', Journal of Sports Sciences, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 87-96. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2012.721560

Collins, D, Bailey, R, Ford, PA, MacNamara, A, Toms, M & Pearce, G 2012, 'Three Worlds: new directions in participant development in sport and physical activity', Sport Education and Society, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 225-243. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2011.607951

Ford, P, Collins, D, Bailey, R, Macnamara, ÁN, Pearce, G & Toms, M 2011, 'Participant development in sport and physical activity: The impact of biological maturation', European Journal of Sport Science, pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/17461391.2011.577241

Ford, P, Collins, D, MacNamara, A, Toms, M & Pearce, G 2010, 'Participant Development in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity: the Impact of Biological Maturation', Paediatric Exercise Science.

Toms, M, Bailey, R, Collins, D, Ford, P, MacNamara, A & Pearce, G 2010, 'Participant Development: a Review of Key Social Variables Affecting Sports Participation and Performance', Leisure Studies.

Ford, P, Collins, D, Bailey, R, MacNamara, A, Toms, M & Pearce, G 2010, 'Promoting Lifelong Physical Activity AND High Level Performance: Realising an Achievable Aim for Physical Education', Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 254-278.


Collins, D, Bailey, R, Toms, M, Pearce, G, Macnamara, A, Ford, P, Holt, N & Talbot, M 2011, Rethinking Participant Development in Sport and Physical Activity. in Lifelong Engagement in Sport and Physical Activity: Participation and Performance Across the Lifespan.

Bailey, R, Toms, M, Bailey, R & Holt, N 2010, Models of Participant Development. in Models of Engagement in Sport.

Toms, M, Bailey, R, Collins, D, Ford, P, MacNamara, A, Pearce, G, Bailey, R & Stafford, I 2010, Models of Young Player Development in Sport. in Coaching Children in Sport.

Collins, D, Bailey, R, Ford, P, MacNamara, A, Toms, M, Pearce, G, Holt, N & Bailey, R 2010, New Directions in Participant Development. in Lifelong Engagement in Sport.

Toms, M, Bailey, R, Collins, D, Ford, P, MacNamara, A, Pearce, G, Holt, N & Bailey, R 2010, Social and Environmental Influences on Participation in Sport. in Lifelong Engagement in Sport.

Toms, M, Bailey, R, Hardman, A & Jones, R 2010, Youth Talent Development in Sport – Rethinking Luck and Justice. in The Ethics of Sports Coaching.

Toms, M, Bailey, R, Hardman, A & Jones, R 2009, Coaching & The Ethics of Talent Identification. in The Ethics of Sports Coaching.

Other report

Bailey, R, Collins, D, Ford, R, Macnamara, A, Pearce, G & Toms, M 2010, Participant Development in Sport; An Academic Review. SportsCoachUK.

View all publications in research portal