My research interests focus on the role of sport and physical activity as a vehicle for physical, psychological, and social development in the community, predominantly with disadvantaged populations. This research has two key strands.
The impact of sport for disadvantaged young people and young offenders
I have worked with the charity StreetGames to validate and test the Empowering CoachingTM education programme within StreetGames Doorstep sport settings. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/sport-exercise/research/showcase/street-games.aspx This project examined the role of sport and coaching for disadvantaged young people’s motivation, well-being, life skills and pro- and antisocial behaviours in the community.
I currently work with the Alliance of Sport on a funded research project designed to evaluate the impact of a ‘sports club’ delivery model in the secure estate. This project involves community sport partners delivering sports coaching (football and boxing) and mentoring support to young offenders in prison, and when released back into the community. The research aims to identify the role of community sports partners in delivering sport in prisons and how sport can best support people in desisting from crime after they are released. The objective of the research is to assess the effects of the sport club delivery on young offenders’ physical activity levels, life skill development, indices of social and psychological health, relationships with peers and staff, and levels of violence and aggression. The research also includes an assessment of the impact on the prison environment more widely.
Promoting the participation, training and employment of disabled people in the fitness industry
In collaboration with the spinal cord injury charity Aspire and their InstructAbility programme, and Professor Brett Smith at the University of Birmingham, I lead a project which aims to create a series of Best Practice Guidelines for the training and employment disabled people within the fitness industry. The research involves disabled people with a wide range of impairments, national private- and public-sector leisure operators, training and qualification providers, and sector-wide organisations such as CIMSPA and Activity Alliance.
I joined the Department of Sport and Exercise Science in April 2018, following several years as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and as a Lecturer at Middlesex University. I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Birmingham, and my Master’s degree and PhD from Loughborough University. My PhD research focused on the precursors of sport coaches’ interpersonal behaviours and their interactions with their athletes, with a particular focus on coaches’ and athletes’ motivation, and psychological well- and ill-being.
My current research assesses the motivational and psychological health benefits of community-based sport and physical activity for marginalised and disadvantaged populations such as disabled people, socio-economically disadvantaged young people, and young offenders.
I am part of the Empowering CoachingTMteam alongside colleagues at the University of Birmingham. Empowering CoachingTM comprises a series of theoretically-grounded and evidence-based training programmes which aim to help coaches and leaders foster quality motivation in their players and participants, and make sport and physical activity more engaging, empowering and enjoyable. I deliver empowering coaching-based training and research projects.
I also have strong interests and expertise in statistical data analysis techniques including structural equation modelling, and multilevel modelling.
I teach sport and exercise psychology on the undergraduate and postgraduate degree pathways and am the Unit Coordinator for the Level 6 Professional Practice in Sport Psychology module. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations and research projects. I currently supervise PhD students in the field of coaching and sport psychology, and welcome emails of interest from potential new students.
I am also an external reviewer for a number of journals, including the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, and the Journal of Sports Sciences.