To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

Sport Coaching and Physical Education

The Centre conducts high quality research that seeks to further our understanding of the dynamic processes involved in sport coaching, physical education and outdoor contexts. We do this in order to improve participant and professional experience, and inform national and international policy and practice.

Research Themes

Young People's Experiences of Physical Education and Sport

This theme focuses young people’s experiences of physical education and sport, and the impact of gender, disability, class, ethnicity, race and religion. We are particularly interested in exploring the experiences of those previously marginalised through current practice, including disabled youth; girls and young women; minority ethnic; looked-after children; gay, lesbian and trans young people.

Outdoor and Adventure Studies

Bringing together researchers from a wide set of disciplines, this theme has the aim of exploring interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches to understanding the human-environment relationship as it relates to health and wellbeing, performance, pedagogy, sustainability, conservation and leadership.

Teaching and Learning in Physical Education and Sport 

Researchers interested in teaching and learning (pedagogy) within physical education and sport in schools and higher education work within this theme. We are particularly interested in how contemporary practice is experienced by pupils, students and practitioners (e.g. teachers, support staff and sport coaches). Our research encompasses critical analyses of curricula; inclusive and innovative pedagogies; models-based practice; and the use of new technologies.

Sport Coaching Effectiveness and Professional Practice 

This theme embraces research and scholarly writing that explores the crucial issue of what constitutes effective coaching practice. The focus ranges from conceptual debate about effectiveness as a construct, to the coaching behaviours that underpin effective planning and delivery. Our aim is to contribute to a greater understanding of coaching expertise, and to disseminate and translate research that will facilitate and complement an emerging realisation of ‘professionalism’ as a valuable descriptor of coaches’ practice. Research centres on issues such as development versus performance outcomes; the influence of role and domain expectations; means of evaluating effectiveness; mechanisms for the alignment of goals and context; the cognitive process that enable micromanagement of coach interventions (models, decision making); and the particularity of context in coaching practice.

Participant and Performer Development in Context 

We aim to provide interdisciplinary research on individuals and groups who participate in sport, and those that perform at a higher level within sport (e.g. talent development, performance sport). This involves examining and evaluating system and programme outcomes; characteristics (e.g. bio-psycho-social) and processes of participant and performer development; and how these can be applied within participation and performance sporting environments. The end goal is to inform policy and practice within a range of local, national and international sports programmes.

Coach Learning, Development and Education 

Drawing together researchers and practitioners who are interested in developing coaches, work within this theme draws upon varied philosophical, theoretical and methodological approaches to describe and critique the existing practice of coach education. This then generates more effective and novel approaches to developing coaches at all levels. The aim of the work undertaken within this theme is to have a strong practical impact in the world of coach education and development.


  • Union of European Football Associations
  • International Council for Coaching Excellence
  • English Football Association
  • UK Sport
  • Sport England
  • Sport Coach UK
  • Sport Wales
  • British Athletics
  • European Coaching Council
  • English Rugby Football Union
  • Rugby Football League
  • British Cycling
  • The Royal British Legion (Battle Back Centre at Lilleshall)
  • BUPA Start to Move
  • Adventures Beyond Barriers
  • Carnegie Great Outdoors
  • Bradford SILC
  • Become Charity (formerly The Who Cares? Trust)
  • Active Leeds
  • Leeds Rhinos RLFC
  • Yorkshire Carnegie RUFC
  • Natural England
  • Active Leeds
  • Cheshire Wildlife Trust
  • South Pennine Local Nature
  • England and Wales Cricket Board
  • Project CoachLearn
  • International Council for Sporting Excellence
  • Your Backyard