Coaching and Performance

The Coaching and Performance Research Group is a multidisciplinary body of researchers and practitioners seeking to aid the advancement of the human performance from a wide range of perspectives.

About the group


Through collaborative research with some of the UK's most influential sporting bodies such as UK Sport, UK Coaching and The Football Association, we seek to help better understand how coaches, sport scientists and other practitioners might help athletes to learn, develop and perform to their best.

Research themes

Professional learning journeys of coaches and Coach Developers

Research within this theme explores value creation in coaches' and Coach Developers' Landscapes of Practice.  Group members work with a wide range of external partners to explore the planning, delivery and evaluation of formal, informal and non-formal experiences. Recent research has included the continuous evaluation of UK Sport's Coach Leader programme which sort to enhance the practice of some of Great Britain's leading coaches as they prepare for Tokyo 2021 and Beijing 2022.   


Over the last five years, we have also planned, delivered, and evaluated a learning programme for Coach Developers within the Football Association.

In both of these projects we have sought to utilize the latest (fourth) iteration of Wenger-Trayner and Wenger-Trayner’s (2020) social theory of learning, drawing explicitly on the concepts of identity and boundary interactions. 

By exploring the concepts of framing and learning loops within the Value Creation Framework we are privileged to help facilitate the ongoing professional development and practice of a wide range of coaches and Coach Developers across the UK.

Regulation of exercise performance

This work encompasses both internal regulatory process and the influence of other athletes during competition. Optimisation of exercise performance requires regulation of biological systems in a manner that realises physiological potential whilst avoiding catastrophic failure. 

This is reliant on continual decision-making, whereby exercise participants must continually select between all available exercise intensities. This work explores the mechanisms informing this process from both internal physiological and psychological perspectives, and also through examination of the influence of environmental factors. As well as study of acute (single bout) doses of exercise, we aim to better understand longer term regulation linked to the training process.

Exercise performance, sports nutrition and muscle damage

This theme examines physiological responses and interventions to improve exercise performance and recovery. This includes thermoregulation and 'functional foods' in Sport and Exercise Science. Recent studies have examined physiological responses following intake of New Zealand blackcurrant and Matcha green tea.


Recent research has examined how we can use different strategies to alleviate and acclimate to undertaking exercise within hot environments to promote exercise performance. This is important when considering that recent and upcoming elite competitions are hosted in countries with hot climate (i.e., Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 and the Olympics in Tokyo 20/21).

We are also interested in using nutrition to influence exercise performance and recovery, with studies examining the effects of New Zealand blackcurrant and Matcha green tea.

Upcoming research is also examined the effects of different interventions to promote recovery following muscle damaging exercise which could have implications for training advice and recovery for athletes. 

Performance analysis

This theme explores an array of applied research in performance analysis with elite able-bodied and disabled sports teams.  

Track runners getting ready to run

Group members have provided support to a variety of teams across the English Football League and during six European Championships, three World Championships, one World Cup and a Paralympic Games.

Our research in performance analysis falls into two themes: “Profiling and Predicting Performance” and “Application of Performance Analysis into Practice”. Over the last five years, we have looked to profile and predict a range of performances in both able-bodied and disability sports. The knowledge gained, regarding the key technical and tactical determinants of success, has directly impacted on how teams prepare strategically for competition on the world stage.

More recently, we have also turned our attention to how the objective data and information gained from performance analysis is perceived and used by coaches, athletes, and member of the wider support team. This work has explored the importance of relationships, trust, micro-politics, and power in delivering an effective performance analysis provision that enhances learning and decision-making. By connecting these two broad themes, we have helped strengthen the awareness of performance analysis and lead to strategic changes at both national and international level.

Key Publications

Professional learning journeys of coaches and Coach Developers

 Regulation of exercise performance

 Exercise performance, sports nutrition and muscle damage

Performance analysis


Current opportunities 

  • Fully-funded PhD studentships with the Coaching and Performance Research Group will be advertised here.

    Approaches from self-supporting PhD students are accepted all year round. Please contact Dr Matthew Cook for an informal discussion.

 Get in touch

For more information on our research or opportunities please get in touch with Don at: