Dr Ian Cowburn, Senior Lecturer

Dr Ian Cowburn

Senior Lecturer

Prior to coming to Leeds Beckett University Ian completed his undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science at the University of Bath (UK), before heading to North America for his doctoral studies in Kinesiology at the Michigan State University (US), and postdoctoral fellowship at Queen's University (Canda). During this time he also served one year as Assistant Professor at Saginaw Valley State University.

Having spent time working at both the Institute for the Study of Youth Sport (Michigan State) and the Performance Lab for the Advancement of Youth in Sport (Queen's), Ian is interested in the development of youth through sport, both in terms of athletic talent and life-skill development. Key to the development of youth are the coaches and parents that surround the athletes, and therefore Ian also conducts research to examine parental involvement in sport and coach effectiveness.

Current Teaching

  • Research Methods in Sport Coaching (Level 5)
  • Participant Development 2 (Level 5)
  • Coaching Practice 2 (Level 5)
  • Coaching Pedagogy 3 (Level 6)

Research Interests

Ian's research interest is in conducting research with community partners to develop practically applicable outcomes. His overall aim is the development of coach-led optimal sport environments that lead to enhanced development and experiences for participants and their parents. This research falls into three interrelated strands:

  • The development of participant life-skills and athletic talent. Particularly the use of sport to enhance the development of life-skills.
  • Parental involvement in sport. Examining how we can create more effective and inclusive sporting environments for parents.
  • Coach effectiveness and development. As the creators of coaching environments, we need to understanding how can better develop coaches to be more effective in achieving optimal development for participants and parents.
Dr Ian Cowburn, Senior Lecturer

Selected Outputs

  • Pierce S; Gould D; Cowburn IHJ; Driska A (In press) Understanding the process of psychological development in youth athletes attending an intensive wrestling camp. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8 (4), pp. 332-351.


  • Thompson F; Rongen F; Cowburn I; Till K (2022) A case study of the features and holistic athlete impacts of a UK sports-friendly school: Student-athlete, coach and teacher perspectives. PLoS One, 17 (11), pp. 1-25.


  • Burton A; Eisenmann JC; Cowburn IHJ; Lloyd RS; Till K (2022) Youth motor competence across stages of maturity: Perceptions of physical education teachers and strength and conditioning coaches. PLoS One, 17 (11),


  • Thompson F; Rongen F; Cowburn I; Till K (2022) The Impacts of Sports Schools on Holistic Athlete Development: A Mixed Method Systematic Review. Sports Medicine


  • Burton A; Eisenmann J; Cowburn I; Lloyd R; Till K (2021) Developing motor competency in youths: Perceptions and practices of Strength and Conditioning coaches. Journal of Sports Sciences, 39 (23), pp. 2649-2657.


  • Till K; Eisenmann J; Emmonds S; Jones B; Mitchell TO; Cowburn IHJ; Tee JC; Holmes N; Lloyd R (2020) A coaching session framework to facilitate long-term athletic development. Strength and Conditioning Journal


  • Lefebvre J; Martin L; Côté J; Cowburn I (2019) Investigating the Process Through Which National Hockey League Player Development Coaches ‘Develop’ Athletes: An Exploratory Qualitative Analysis. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology


  • Lundy GI; Allan V; Cowburn I; Côté J (2019) Parental Support, Sibling Influences and Family Dynamics across the Development of Canadian Interuniversity Student-Athletes. Journal of Athlete Development and Experience, 1 (2),


  • Driska A; Gould D; Pierce S; Cowburn IHJ (2017) Understanding psychological changes in adolescent wrestlers participating in an intensive training camp: a mixed-methods investigation. International Journal of Sport Psychology


  • Martin E; Cowburn IHJ; Mac Intosh A (2017) Developing a Team Mission Statement: Who are we? Where are we going? How are we going to get there?. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action


  • Gould D; Pierce S; Cowburn IHJ; Driska A (2017) How Coaching Philosophy Drives Coaching Action : A Case Study of Renowned Wrestling Coach J Robinson. International Sport Coaching Journal / ISCJ, 4 (1), pp. 13-37.


  • Rongen F; Cowburn I; Lara-Bercial S; Mitchell T; Piggott D (2022) Psycho-Social Maturation and the Implications for Coaching Children. In: Routledge Handbook of Coaching Children in Sport.

  • Gould D; Cowburn I; Wright E (2020) Athletic Talent Development in Relation to Psychological Factors. In: Hackfort D; Schinke RJ ed. The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Volume 2: Applied and Practical Measures.. Routledge,