Preparation, delivery and recovery

Understanding and supporting the optimal preparation for, delivery of, and recovery from sport performance.

We investigate how athletes’ physical, technical, mental, tactical, and nutritional preparation can be optimised to enhance their performance.

Drawing on multiple scientific disciplines and methods, we seek to better understand the factors associated with delivering performance and use this knowledge to support athletes, teams, coaches, and organisations. We also focus on how to maximise athletes’ recovery from training and competition.

If you would like to learn more about our sport performance work, collaborate on a project, or complete a research degree, please contact Professor Mark King.


Our research and enterprise projects include:

  • Strength and power sport
  • Endurance sport
  • Team sport
  • Talent identification and development
  • Facilities, clothing, equipment, and technology
  • Extreme environments
  • Leadership, coaching, and consulting
  • Multidisciplinary performance support teams
  • Fatigue and pain
  • Sleep.

Real-world impact

Examples of how our work has had an impact include:

  • The coach-athlete relationship – Professor Sophia Jowett’s ground-breaking research into the interpersonal dynamics between coaches and athletes provides gold-standard methods for understanding and measuring the quality of the coach-athlete relationship.
  • Harnessing the therapeutic potential of environmental extremes – Dr Lee Taylor specialises in environmental extremes (heat, cold and hypoxia), his research focuses on harnessing their therapeutic potential to enhance rehabilitation or preparing elite athletes to compete in them.
  • The use of Heat suits to simulate exercise benefits – We are testing a heated suit which replicates some benefits of exercise without the need for physical activity. Just an hour of passive heating encourages the body to produce inflammatory proteins, while blood flow can also be increased, helping to maintain oxygen flow through the body and muscles. Passive heating could also control insulin production and boost the body’s ability to process sugar – reducing the risk of diabetes.
  • Faster, healthier, longer – Our biomechanics research – conducted in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) – focuses on players’ fast bowling techniques with a view to enhancing individual performance whilst reducing the likelihood of injury.


If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Staff in this subtheme include:

  • Dr Sam Allen – Understanding technique in sporting activities using experimental biomechanics and computer simulation.
  • Donald Barron – Performance analysis; talent identification and player recruitment in elite sport; sports analytics; and artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Dr Laura Barrett – Development of the physical and performance characteristics of youth athletes.
  • Dr Stephen Bailey – Influence of exercise and nutritional interventions on exercise performance and cardiometabolic physiology.
  • Dr Jamie Barker – Developing effective performance under pressure.
  • Dr Richard Blagrove – Strategies to enhance performance and maintain health in endurance athletes.
  • Dr Dave Burke – Employing experimental and simulation techniques to explore and understand the biomechanics of sporting techniques, with focus on throwing and hitting.
  • Dr Mark Burnley - Kinetics of pulmonary oxygen uptake and the related concepts of exercise intensity domains and the power-duration relationship.
  • Dr Andrew Butterworth – Tactical and technical performance profiling; implementation and effectiveness of performance analysis in the coaching process.
  • Dr Tom Clifford – Nutrition for performance and recovery from exercise induced muscle damage.
  • Dr Ed Cope – Coaching behaviour, coach learning, and educational learning design.
  • Dr Richard Ferguson – Improving human performance and health through exercise training and the use of novel interventions; with a particular interest in skeletal muscle and peripheral vascular adaptations.
  • Dr David Fletcher – The psychology of performance excellence in sport, business and other performance domains.
  • Professor Jonathan Folland – Physical performance, fitness and training, and especially neuromuscular function (strength and power) and the underlying physiology and biomechanics that explains function.
  • Dr Michael Grey – Acquired brain injury and the assessment of sport-related concussion with respect to pitch side assessment, development of better return to play/work protocols, and the assessment of prodromal dementia associated with sport-related neurodegeneration.
  • Professor George Havenith – Environmental physiology.
  • Dr Liam Heaney – The application of mass spectrometry-based techniques for biomarker measurements in sports performance, nutrition and anti-doping.
  • Dr Michael Hiley – Maximising consistency and performance in sporting activities through probabilistic optimisations (computer simulation).
  • Dr Robin Jackson – Deception; visual behaviour; anticipation and decision making; choking and thriving under pressure.
  • Professor Sophia Jowett – Coaching, coach-athlete relationship, coach leadership and the impact on performance and wellbeing.
  • Professor Mark King – Maximising performance and minimising injuries in sport.
  • Dr Danny Longman – Using athletes and sport to study human adaptability and evolution.
  • Dr Stephen Mears – Optimising fluid and carbohydrate intake for endurance performance.
  • Dr Stuart McErlain-Naylor – Quantifying the human body’s response to sporting impacts, via wearable technology and computer simulation, for training and rehabilitation monitoring/prescription.
  • Dr Matthew Pain – The biomechanics, motor control and neuromuscular mechanics underpinning performance and injury mechanisms in combat, contact and power-based sports.
  • Dr Anthony Papathomas – Exploring experiences of mental illness and poor mental health within elite performance settings.
  • Donghyun Ryu – Anticipation and deception, decision-making in team ball sport, and perceptual training.
  • Dr Ian Taylor – Motivational processes that optimise health (e.g. adherence to activity or rehabilitation) and performance (e.g. the capacity to endure discomfort).
  • Dr Lee Taylor – Optimising elite athlete training, competition and recovery for/from exercise in the heat – including heat acclimation and body cooling interventions.

Current PhD projects

Doctoral Researchers in this subtheme include:

  • Nuha Alkhalaf – Kinematics and motor organisation of the layup shot in basketball task.
  • Katherine (Kat) Allott – The development of a subject-specific musculoskeletal forward dynamics model to accurately determine muscle loads to analyse maximal effort performance.
  • Phillipa Bailey – Determinants of wheelchair basketball performance: Implications for developing players.
  • Thaleia Basmatzoglou – Assessing the biomechanical risk factors for hamstring injury during maximal velocity sprinting.
  • Kurt Bergin-Taylor – Hydration and exercise performance.
  • Shruti Bhandurge – Identifying biomechanical movement patterns associated with pace bowling performance using machine learning.
  • Jack Bond – The effect of KYMIRA infra-red products on skeletal muscle adaptation.
  • Tracy Bye – Postural control and balance in equestrian riders.
  • Thomas Cable – Hydration and nutrition interventions to optimise performance in and adaptation to exercise in the heat.
  • Lewis Chapman – Optimum performance in the tennis serve.
  • Ross Corbett – Sports coaching in competition environments.
  • Cristina D'Angeli – The biomechanics of wheelchair tennis: an integrated approach to optimise performance.
  • Yash Deshpande – Studying anticipation and deception to improve the quality of serve returns in wheelchair tennis.
  • Carlie Ede – The mechanics of hamstring muscle function during maximal velocity sprinting: enhancing performance and improving injury prediction, prevention, and recovery strategies
  • Christopher Esh – Manipulations of PGE2 and COX to augment in vivo cooling within humans.
  • Kerry Glendon – Impact of sports related concussion on neurocognitive performance.
  • Jyoti Gosai – The effect of coaches gender and different leadership styles on coach-athlete relationships.
  • Christopher Green – Effect of manipulating gut microbial activity on exercise performance and recovery.
  • Christopher Gunn – Self-control and endurance sport performance. Investigating the processes underpinning successful athletic performance.
  • Emily Hansell – Plant-based dietary supplements and recovery from exercise induced muscle damage in male and female athletes.
  • Joanna Harper – Transgender athletes and participation in sport: Effects of hormonal intervention on cardiovascular and muscular biomarkers of athletic performance.
  • Patrick Harrison – Optimising skeletal muscle adaptations to endurance training.
  • Michael Higgins – Leadership development in elite sport.
  • Ross Hill – Thriving in elite sport's performers - the temporal variability and relationship with resilience.
  • Bangda (Bond) Hu – The emerging leadership behavior in elite sport.
  • Mark Hutson – Physiological consequences and prevention of low energy availability in male and female endurance athletes.
  • Loris Juett – Optimising hydration status for athlete health and performance – a focus on the risk, mechanisms and prevalence of exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH).
  • Ben Jerome – Football data analytics. Understanding football player and team performance through the combination and relationship of technical i.e. event and ball, and physical i.e. player, tracking data.
  • Hannah Jowitt – Biomechanics of female cricket players.
  • Tanuj Kohli – The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) based interventions on performance under pressure.
  • Elliot Lam – Elite youth hockey player development during the transition into university.
  • Stefan Ljutzkanov – Development of badminton athletes through maturity based coaching educational system.
  • Matthew Lamb – Computer simulation modelling of fast bowling to minimise lumbar stress fractures in cricket.
  • Joseph Montemurro – Maintaining team performance and cultures.
  • Heather MaCrae – Developing the coach developer: Leading pedagogical practice in swimming environments.
  • Kaushal Manawadu – Optimum techniques for cricket fast bowling with regard to strength variations in upper and lower body muscles.
  • Katharine Midwood – Optimising hydration and fluid balance for athlete health and performance.
  • Paul Miller – The study of thriving in sports coaches, teams and sporting organisations.
  • Christopher Mark Newman – Optimising the benefits strength training for endurance runners.
  • Anna Martin – Evidence-based classification for athletes with vision impairment.
  • Conor Murphy – Post exercise recovery in wheelchair rugby.
  • Thomas O'Brien – Optimising training strategies for wheelchair rugby players.
  • Cormac Nolan – Performance outcomes in golf: The effect of experience, combination slopes and club selection on techniques and performance outcomes in golf.
  • Laura Obeng-Frimpong – Biomechanical difference in jump landing in those with and without chronic ankle instability.
  • Kieran Phillips – Performance deviations in professional cricket in reflection of their coach-athlete relationship quality and maintenance strategies.
  • Parichad Plangtaisong – The effects of progressive balance training program in athletes with chronic ankle instability on injury prevention.
  • Donald Peden – Exploring the effects of acute and chronic training interventions on mitochondrial respiration and exercise performance.
  • Nicola Rawlinson – The effect of ovarian hormones on athletic performance in elite/high level female athletes.
  • Kirsty Reynolds – Nutrition for endurance performance: optimising carbohydrate and fluid intake during exercise.
  • George Robinson – Nutrition interventions to enhance performance and recovery in track and field athletes.
  • Robert Rogers – The applied physiology of W’ and W’ reconstruction.
  • Tomos Rosser – Muscles to molecules using mass spec: Skeletal muscle metabolic profiling using portable mass spec analysis of VOC's.
  • Siôn Rowlands – Understanding and developing coach behaviour in elite youth football.
  • Imogen Shepherd – Identifying key kinetic and kinematic determinants of the start and turn phases on swimming performance.
  • Tom Short – Performance psychology and management.
  • Ian Stonebridge – Professional identity and working relationships in youth football coaching.
  • Sara Svoboda – The effects of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) based interventions on performance under pressure.
  • Sajjal Syed – Understanding the role of reinforcement sensitivity theory as a marker of performance in pressured situations; and understanding the role of pressure in the game of cricket.
  • Lauren Turner – Parent-child relationships in elite youth sport.
  • Wenyuting Wang – High performance teams in sport: Working with experts in diverse spheres.
  • Michael Webb – Computer modelling of the Snatch in weightlifting.
  • Alexander Welburn – The mechanics and determination of the recovery of W’ in trained cyclists during intermittent exercise
  • Yuehang (Harry) Wang – Forensic analysis of lateral ankle ligamentous sprain injury in badminton.
  • Andrew Wilkinson – Evaluating pressure inurement training: An examination of the relationship between challenge and threat states, athlete performance and wellbeing.
  • Ella Williams – Understanding effective parent-coach relationships across developmental stages of youth tennis.
  • Chen Zhao – Effect of coach leadership style on coach-athlete relationship.

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

Research spotlight: The coach-athlete relationship

Find out more about Professor Sophia Jowett’s ground-breaking research into the coach-athlete relationship, and its impact on coaching, sport policy and raising standards.


Find out more