School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


a football match

Youth sport

Recent projects:

Parenting experiences, stress and coping in elite youth football

Loughborough University collaborators: Chris Harwood, Chris Cushion

Project Description

This project focuses on developing an enhanced understanding of parents in their support roles to elite youth academy football players. Tt consists of a number of project strands including: parenting experiences as they develop through the academy system and their interactions with coaches; and self-reported stressors, emotions and coping strategies applied by parents when navigating their roles as a football parent.

Collaborators: Nicola Clarke, Leeds Beckett; Faye Didymus, Leeds Beckett

Sponsor: The Football Association supported elements of ths project

Parent education and support in British Tennis

Loughborough University collaborators: Chris Harwood, Chris Spray, Ian Taylor

Project Description

This project focuses on the developmental needs and perceptions of British tennis parents and the implementation of the Loughborough Tennis Parent Education Programme (LTPEP). This is an educational programme, grounded in research on tennis parents, designed to be delivered through interactive workshops or online webinars. Current research is investigating the effectiveness of interventions upon mini-tennis stage parents in high performance centres in the UK.

PhD student: Sam Thrower

Collaborators: Julie Johnston, Nottingham Trent University

Supporting the psychological health and development of youth athletes through coaches: Developing the 5Cs

Loughborough University collaborators: Chris Harwood

Project Description

This project currently targets youth football and is focused on helping coaches integrate psychological strategies and behaviour into their coaching sessions that nurture psychological development in youth players. The project applies a 5Cs model of Commitment, Communication, Concentration, Control and Confidence as valued psychosocial attributes that are targeted by coaches. The research may extend to other sports and stakeholders in due course.

Relationship and Leadership: their role to athletes' performance and wellbeing

Loughborough University collaborators: Sophia Jowett

Project Description

Transformational leadership is manifested when leader’s behaviours aim at elevating followers’ self-worth and confidence, helping them to develop skills, as well as achieving high standards of performance. Such leaders are inspiring, visionary and engaging, and they focus on developing followers’ potentials, not only for their own benefit, but primarily for the followers’ benefit (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Transformational leaders who help their athletes develop skills necessary to achieve their full potential and motivate them to persist in a pursuit of their sporting dreams, take special interest and devote time and energy to build close and positive relationships with their athletes. Coaching is a complex process and effective C-A-R has the capacity to increase team collaboration or team cohesion (Jowett & Chaundy, 2004). It is hypothesised that the environment embracing an interplay between coach-athlete relationship and transformational coaching has a capacity to influence athletes’ well-being and performance.

PhD student: Aleksandra Krukowska

Sponsor: Funded by Student

What personal characteristics performance coaches look for in their athletes?

Loughborough University collaborators: Sophia Jowett, David Fletcher

Project Description

The purpose of this study is to explore what characteristics coaches look for in athletes. The study will aim to delve into coach’s perspectives on how individual characteristics of athletes affect the coach-athlete relationship and communication as they work together to bring about performance success. This study will then explore how coaches work with athletes whom they might describe as having “challenging” personalities. Overall, the study will aim to understand personal characteristics that can potentially be trained to allow the development of purposeful working relationships that are successful.

PhD student: Rendy Marican

Sponsor: Funded by Student