Staffs Hold 2nd Performance Psychology Conference

The Sport and Performance Psychology Team at Staffordshire University hosted their Second Performance Psychology Conference on Wednesday 18th October 2017.

Following the success of the Inaugural event in October 2016, the conference brought together world-leading expert practitioners who shared their insights of applying evidence-based approaches to sport and performance psychology. The day started with a fantastic Keynote address from Andy Halliday (England and TeamGB Olympic Hockey manager) on “Developing Resilience in an Elite Sport Team Environment”.

The format of the day included an expert panel discussion on Performance Psychology in Practice, and a series of interactive workshops facilitated by Prof Marc Jones (Staffordshire University), Andy McCann (DNA Definitive), Joe Dixon (Stoke City Football Club), Prof Chris Shambrook (Planet K2 and Staffordshire University), Dr. Sarah Kelly (NHS), and Helen O’Connor (Private Practitioner). The themes of the workshops included “Thriving under Pressure”, “Doing Performance Psychology”, and “Recognising and Supporting Clinical Issues”.

The day concluded with an excellent Keynote by Dr. Pete Lindsay (Director of Mindflick) who gave an insightful overview of his “Problem Cleaning” approach to performance psychology.

The conference was attended by 75 delegates, including trainee psychologists, current students, academics from across the UK, and experienced practitioners. The delegates’ feedback suggested it had been an inspiring and enjoyable day:
“Thanks for the event, learnt a lot and hope you put on another next year.”
“Overall, great day, really enjoyed it, will certainly come again- thank you!”
“I will be looking out for next year’s event.”

For information about future Sports Psychology events and conferences to held by Staffordshire University, please contact Dr Matthew Slater.

Staffs Host Women in Sport and Exercise Conference 2018

The “Women in Sport and Exercise Conference 2018: Blood, Sweat and Fears” is being held on 13th-14th June 2018. The focus of the conference is on the exercising female, with themes on: how to make the most of being a woman to achieve athletic success, and issues and opportunities arising from women’s participation in sport and exercise.

Baroness Sue Campbell, who is Chairperson of the Women’s Football Association, will be giving the keynote address, and Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight at Sport England, will be sharing the story behind their ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. We have 15 academic speakers, who will be giving inspirational talks on a range of topics, including: nutrition for the exercising female; the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives; breast biomechanics; body image; bone health; differences in tactical decision making in sport between males and females; issues on women’s coaching; sources of confidence; disability female sport; exercise in pregnancy; postnatal depression; cardiovascular health and the female; homophobia; and diversity.

We are expecting a range of delegates to attend, including researchers, academics, athletes, coaches, students, and those involved in the governance of sport. The conference will provide an opportunity to share research, and to network with others.

The event forms part of our Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network, the aim of which is to grow, strengthen and promote research on women in sport and exercise, with the goal of optimising women’s athletic success and their participation.

For more information:

Sports Coaching Student Enjoys Gains Experience in America

My first experience coaching in America was working for Challenger Sports. My first role was assigned to coaching soccer to children (3-14yo) in summer camps across California. This gave me a great opportunity to gain real work experience across mixed ages and abilities whilst getting the chance to explore California. I stayed with different host families each week and managed to visit over 20 different town and cities (incl. Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Oakland) in a 2-month period.

We were provided with our own transport with gas and wages paid for weekly during this time. One of my host families also took me to a baseball game and sand-boarding to help me settle in and further enrich my stay. During the National Holiday period we were given a week off, where I spent time in San Diego and LA with 3 of the other coaches. 

Not only did I get to coach in various places but the children that I worked with were entertaining every day and no day was the same, and i feel far more equipped and skilled in my coaching abilities as result of this. My advice to anyone would be if you want to do something go and do it, it might not be America it might be a different location but don’t let it just become an idea in your head, else you will find yourself asking yourself what if. I look forward to using this experience to enhance my learning during the remaining time of my studies.

Liam Edwards- Sports Coaching and Development student level 5

STEM ambassador opportunities for Sport & Exercise students

As part of the opportunities at increasing Staffordshire University graduates employability, students from the school of Sport & Exercise are being encourage to become STEM Ambassadors. The STEM Ambassador programme is a national programme encouraging young people to take up STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with an increasing emphasis on the inclusion of Arts STEAM) and continue onto STEM careers.

Ambassadors will have the opportunity to get involved in classroom activities, mentoring, STEM clubs and societies, careers talks and speed networking, large science festivals and fairs and community groups.

We have a group of staff and students at the University who are current ambassadors and Sport & Exercise student are being encouraged to get involved. The commitment is to take part in activity within a month of joining the programme and then to undertake one activity a year. In practice this is easy to fulfil. An activity could be a talk at a schools or college or any of our outreach activities in the University involving younger people.

The next two hour induction session for Ambassadors is on Tuesday 12th December in R350, Science Centre from 2 to 4pm. To register email

“While at university, both my course and my part-time job required me to present in front of large numbers of people. As I became more confident at this, I began to enjoy it even more and by the time I had finished my first year, I considered following teaching as a career. I found the STEM Ambassador scheme through a taster day at university, and I was able to sign up to the scheme on the day. An incredible benefit I found taking part through university was that my DBS was free of charge as a student. The scheme allows you to be as active as you can, and you only get the experiences if you put the work in. For this reason, I was able to get some truly valuable experiences whilst managing my studies. If you have every considered teaching, or just fancy stepping in a classroom to see what it’s like, I couldn’t recommend the STEM ambassador program more!”

Sam Pillow

Vice President, Staffordshire University Student Union

Staffordshire Uni Postgraduate Student Shortlisted for National Sports Coaching Award

Katie Parker, who is studying for an online MSc in Applied Sport & Exercise Psychology at Stafforshire University has been nominated for the title ‘Talent Development Coach of the Year’ in the UK Coaching awards 2017. Winners of what are their 20th anniversary awards will be announced in London on 30th November.

Katie said: “I am beyond excited to have been selected as a finalist for Talent Development Coach of the year by UK Coaching.  I am the only Strength and Conditioning coach nominated, which in its self is a huge achievement”.

Katie, with 10 years’ experience coaching football, lacrosse, cricket and athletics, has a background in elite sport. She began her career coaching goalkeepers at MK Dons and went on to coach at Watford FC. She has coached elite athletes in the UK, USA and the Caribbean and teams have included the Welsh international lacrosse team and four county cricket clubs.

In 2015 she was awarded the UK Strength and Conditioning Association’s emerging coach of the year award.

Katie who is currently employed as a Performance Sport & Fitness Officer at the University of Brighton is the first year of her 2-year part time MSc. and said:

“The online MSc. so far has been excellent. It enables me to study where and when I like and further my coaching career in a fascinating area without having to sacrifice my commitments to my work and to those I coach. It’s a win-win situation”

To find out more about our postgraduate programmes click here.

Champions League and World Records – all part of the job for Staffs Sports Therapist

Staffordshire University 2016 graduate Gregg Jones has been discussing the experiences he has gained since embarking upon the early stages of his career as a Sports Therapist. Gregg emphasised the importance of his work placement requirements during his time at Staffs by reflecting how “it helped me massively because I got offered a full time job after! I completed my hours with The New Saints (TNS) FC in the League of Wales and continued to work for them on a voluntary basis for the rest of the season. The club were great with me and I impressed them enough to be offered a full time post.”

What Gregg didn’t anticipate when he started his time with the club was helping the team to become part of the footballing record books! During the course of his first full season TNS set a new world record for the most consecutive victories (27) breaking the 44-year old record set by the Dutch giants Ajax. Gregg stated “when you work in football there is no better feeling than when the team wins, and the form we were in was extraordinary. During this period I learnt how important it can be to keep players fit, and the importance the medical team are to ensure your best side can be picked week in week out.”


This record breaking run secured both the league title and a place in the Champions League qualifying stages for the club. “The most enjoyable part of the job so far has got to be working on the Champions League fixtures! Travelling around Europe, working pitch-side in some great stadiums and atmospheres is something that makes you realise that the hard work pays off!”

Gregg’s position working alongside the first team therapist as head sports therapist for the academy team further illustrates the growing recognition and importance of the role of Sports Therapists with football teams. Gregg’s day to day duties include the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injured players, developing strength and conditioning programmes and providing the match day pitchside support.
Reflecting back in this year in post Gregg stated “everyday has had its challenges, there is always something different that pops up whether you’ve been put in that situation before or not that makes you think. It’s made me realise that every aspect of the course has been, helpful some parts more than others, but I’ve been by surprised how much of the basics you use day to day, the course was very helpful but you can’t beat the hands on experience for finding out the therapist you want to be.”

The Sports Therapy team wish Gregg and TNS all the best for the remainder of 2017-18 season, and are delighted that successes of graduates such as this illustrate why Staffordshire University are currently ranked No.1 for employability .

To read more about our Sports Therapy success stories see the back copies of our SENSE newsletter. For more information about the Sports Therapy programme  click here, or contact programme leader Steve Bateman .

One year in the job – A sport therapist reflection

You’ve just crossed the graduation stage to receive the degree that you’ve spent the last 3-years working so hard for and are sharing a celebratory drink with your family, friends and (former) lecturers. What could make this moment any better? A phone call from the professional football club you had spent the last 6-months on placement with offering you a full time job!

This was the reality that 2016 Sports Therapy graduate Kyle Fairgrieve experienced just over 12 months ago. Having just completed his first year in employment, Kyle has taken some time consider how this year has gone, and offer his thoughts for any new graduates setting out on a similar path.

Who are you currently working for?

Port Vale FC



What are the typical duties you carry out on a day to day / week to week basis?

As the clubs Sport Therapist my daily duties include the assessment and treatment of injured players.  This ranging from the manual therapy work in the treatment room, the conditioning work in the gym or the more functional and return to play work out on the pitch – all depending on their stage of rehab.

Other duties include delivering soft tissue work for all of the first team squad, general monitoring of players fitness levels, match day pitch side cover for the first team and reserves. Then finally ensuring they get the right recovery in – so its pretty full on and varied, but its a challenging environment that I feel I’m thriving in.

What are the most enjoyable / satisfying / best parts about your job?
Winning! Its incredible how happy 3 points over a weekend makes the whole club.

Although seeing a player you have spent time rehabbing from an injury return to the pitch is almost as satisfying!

What has been the hardest thing / biggest learning curve you have faced so far?
The hardest thing I have found is the general demand of the professional game. I went from being a student where I had a lot of free time to now working 6/7 days a week at times and sometimes going 10 days straight!

The key to working effectively is most definitely preparation. The biggest learning thing I have had to learn has probably been to spin plates. I went from seeing 1 client a day to now seeing 5/6 players in the space of an hour or two so you have to be well prepared and learn to think outside the box. 

Now you are working, which parts of your course do you think were most helpful to you?
I think all of it, I don’t think there is something I haven’t used at some point over the last year. Even things I learnt in first year, some of the basics have come in handy!

Did your placement module / experience you gained during your studies help you, and if so how?
I got my job off the back of my placement so I’d be inclined to say yes! I was lucky to work with really a really supportive placement supervisor (the Port Vale Head Physio) on my placement who has since moved on to Cardiff FC, but he helped me immensely. To any student about to go out on placement my advice is to take the opportunity to learn as much as possible on placement, as you never know what it might lead to. Without the placement requirement of my course I wouldn’t have the position I do now.

What advice would you offer to current students due to graduate this year?
Read, read and read, and don’t stop learning. I read more journals in the first 2 months out of uni than I did in 3 years and if I’m being honest, I wish I had took my lecturers advise and done more while at uni. I learnt so much just from little pieces here and there and some of the knowledge I’ve picked up from this has been invaluable! Also, practice your practical skills! You can’t perfect your skills without practicing!

What are your ambitions?
To reach as high as i can within the sport. I am lucky enough to be in full time football at 22 so I’d like to think I’ve got the time to learn, gain the experience and get there. Should I ever decide to leave football though, lecturing is something I’m definitely interested in considering.

Whats next for you over the next 12 months? E.g. learning any new skills, taking on new courses?
In the next year the FA AREA course, learning manipulations techniques and dry needling are all on the horizon. I would also like to complete a masters degree at some point although part-time over 4 years is the most likely pathway in order for me to balance this with my continued work in football.


Kyle, graduated from the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy programme and Staffordshire. The course has received an National Student Survey Overall Satisfaction score between 94-100% in the last 3 years.  If interested and which to find out more about the programme, please contact the course leader Steve Bateman

Crewe Alexandra FC visit the Sport and Exercise Physiology Laboratories

Crewe Alexandra’s FC first team and under 18s recently visited the sport and exercise physiology laboratories at Staffordshire University as part of their pre-season preparations for the 2017-18 season. The ‘Railwaymen’ completed a series of physiological tests led by our sport and exercise science and strength and conditioning students.

Undergraduate students across all three levels of study were responsible for conducting fitness tests which comprised of measuring players’ body composition, muscular power, muscular strength, and aerobic capacity. The test results provided baseline data to establish players’ fitness having just started their pre-season schedules. With repeat testing likely to occur later on in the season to monitor changes in players’ fitness levels these baseline results support the clubs backroom staff to tailor their training programmes for the appropriate demands of each individual player.

Supervising students throughout this activity was sport and exercise technician, Dr Dean Burt who said, “the experience had provided students with a real insight into the physiology of football. The students who conducted the tests were fantastic and were able to put the skills learnt during their exercise physiology laboratory practicals into real world scenarios working with a group of professional athletes. It is experiences like these that you cannot learn in the classroom, they are vital for student development and their long-term career aspirations, and are part of the reason why Staffordshire University graduates are among the most employable in the UK ”.

We would like to thank Crewe Alexandra for visiting the sport and exercise physiology laboratories. We hope that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the football club and wish them all the very best for the season ahead.

For more information about the range of sports course available at Staffs click here           

Staffs Sports Coaching form partnership with Staffordshire F.A.

Staffordshire University would like to announce an agreement with Staffordshire Football Association (Staffordshire F.A.) to become the Football Coaching and Performance courses official partner. 

Staffordshire F.A. will be endorsing the course through their professional streams/networks, and directly supporting the delivery and development of the course commencing September 2018.

This exciting partnership will see Staffordshire University’s relationship with the regional F.A. develop significantly. Staffordshire F.A. will be supporting and delivering internships in community and academy settings, providing work placements for second year students, and providing opportunities for students to undertake significantly reduced CPD courses from The F.A.’s professional development pathway in both Year 1 and Year 2 of the Football Coaching and Performance course.

Course Leader Ashley Gill stated “This partnership with Staffordshire F.A. is excellent for the development of our students. Staffordshire F.A. are a not-for-profit organisation, who invest significant funds back into football at a grass-roots level to increase participation, with an added emphasis on developing women’s football. The opportunities that this partnership presents can only be of benefit to our students and make them that much more employable”

Kevin Staples, Head of Strategy and Investment at Staffordshire F.A., further aded “This is great news for Staffordshire F.A. and we look forward to seeing how we can support the Football Coaching and Performance degree at Staffordshire University”.

These are exciting times ahead at Staffordshire University with the introduction of a new course starting in September 2018, and new links with regional organisations, such as the Staffordshire F.A., and the recent announcement of the new Visiting Fellows that bring industry expertise, training and whole wealth of knowledge and understanding to our University.

For more information on the BSc Football Coaching and Performance accelerated degree, please click here

Staffs Sport & Exercise grows its expertise with two new Visiting Fellows

The School of Sport and Exercise has recently extended our team of industry experts to facilitate our teaching and learning team. We’re very excited to introduce you to two new Visiting Fellows from The Football Association (F.A.) who will be supporting the work within the department from September.

Jack Walton is joining us to provide expertise on grass roots development in sport, with a particular level of expertise in football. Jack has many years experience in designing and delivering coach education programmes, as well as actively coaching teams for both for performance and participation. Jack’s current role at The F.A. is leading and developing F.A. County Coach Developer’s in the North-West. Jack’s expertise and industry experience will be a real coup for the University and help improve the quality of our sport and exercise provision.

Click here to visit  Jack Walton‘s staff profile

In addition to the appointment of Jack, Nick Levett, the currentTalent Identification Manager at The F.A. is also joining us. Nick’s role is in the identification and development of talented athletes that have the potential to play for the England national team, from the senior men’s team to under-15’s in men’s and women’s football. Nick also had devised and delivers the Talent Identification courses for The F.A. Nick’s expertise and industry experience will help enhance the development and quality of a range of courses in the Department of Sport and Exercise   .

Click here to visit Nick Levett’s staff profile.

We are delighted to have both Nick and Jack join us and look forward to a productive and fruitful time here at Staffordshire University! There efforts will be very much appreciated by both students and staff.