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Putting together the puzzle pieces of human performance

At Leeds Beckett, we carry out research to explore the world of sport and improve performance: testing different variables, measuring the results, and relating them back to the real world. We’re revolutionising the way athletes train, compete and recover.

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Jamie French

Jamie French has inspired thousands of students through his teaching, shapes our degrees as a course director and influences the future of teaching as part of our Physical Education Leadership Group. In his spare time, you’ll find him coaching upcoming sports stars in the British Athletics Para-academy and supporting talented athletes as the North of England Regional Coach Jumps Lead, specialising in long jump.

Real-world research

Jamie dedicates every waking moment of his day to improving performance. A key part of achieving this is carrying out research and applying it to real life, striving to achieve better results on the track.

Jamie’s current work is exploring what athletes do between rounds of jumps in a competition. By controlling different things like what athletes drink or even what they wear, Jamie will help boost understanding of performance and reveal how different variables interact with each other.

Jamie’s research is just one of many projects taking place within the school. Working with elite sports people and professionals, our experts are helping athletes push through the perceived limits of performance and boost knowledge in the global sporting community.

Student opportunities and research in sport Jamie French, course leader for our physical education course at Leeds Beckett University and a qualified UK Athletics Coach Education Tutor, talks about the variety of subjects available to study within sport, the exciting facilities our students get to experience and how his research is helping athletes to get the most out of their performance.

Working with elite athletes

To improve performance, Jamie and other Leeds Beckett tutors work with athletes and coaches to understand all aspects of performance, including how to minimise injuries, how cyclists can improve endurance, and how extreme sports enthusiasts might best train for challenges like Expedition Ice Maiden. Our experts also join forces with professional sports clubs, national governing bodies and organisations to have impact regionally, nationally and internationally.

Not only does our research support individuals’ success, our expertise in this area of sport also shapes policy and practice too. For example, The Carnegie Applied Rugby Research centre carried out a performance analysis project evaluating the tackle demands across five countries for World Rugby. These findings have significantly changed policy and club practices for preparing players for the demands of match-play and player development.

With everything going on, you never know who you might bump into on our campus. We’ve supported people such as Jessica Ennis Hill and Leeds United in improving different aspects of their performance. There were also athletes flying the Leeds Beckett flag at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics including Alex Bell (800m finalist) and triathlon brothers Alistair and Johnny Brownlee. Not to forget Alex Yee who studies Sports Science and won gold and silver medals in the triathlon.

It’s really fantastic that young people can come and be part of this rich research environment where they’ll be taught by academics who are considered world leaders in their area of interest.

£45m new sports building

Top facilities are crucial for understanding human performance and carrying out research. In September 2020, the new Carnegie School of Sport building on our Headingley campus opened its doors.

Our facilities include a 60m indoor athletics track, nutrition teaching kitchen and environmental chambers. Recently the marketing team from Adidas even visited us to shoot material to advertise the next generation of running shoe.

We’ve invested £45m in this space to make it the best it can be for students and staff. It was important for us to connect our areas for physical activity, such as our athletics track, with our learning spaces. There isn’t really another School of Sport in the UK that can offer what we can. The breadth of what we offer is incredibly hard to beat and what we have at Leeds Beckett is truly unique.

Ready for rewarding careers

To make sure students can contribute to the world of sport like Jamie, we make sure the needs of the sporting industry are heavily reflected in our courses and students get lots of practical and lab-based experience. This means Leeds Beckett graduates are sought after by our partners because employers know they have the right set of personal and professional skills.

Every course has to demonstrate engagement with industry. For example, this might mean working with an accrediting body to make sure our students are learning the skills employers want.

Many students spend a significant amount of time with sporting communities, clubs and even school pupils. This might be with a football club like Huddersfield Town or a group like Active Schools who are on a mission to enrich the lives of children and young people through sport. Other courses within the school offer a placement year, which means students’ final year projects are much more informed by practice.

Our partners include the World Anti-Doping Agency, International Council for Coaching Excellence and British Athletics: Leeds Talent Hub. These relationships prepare students for the challenges of the workplace, but we also help their employees become more innovative and forward-thinking.

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Find out more about our courses.

Jamie French

Course Director / Carnegie School Of Sport
Jamie is a qualified UK Athletics Coach Education Tutor with 12 years experience. His research interests include measuring health behaviours of young people as well as measuring the affects of physical activity on both physical and psychological health.

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