Elite sport stars deliver guest lectures

Image of Mike Phelan delivering his guest lecture

Elite sports stars have been passing on tips of how to be the best in your field as part of a series of masterclasses for students at the School of Sports Studies, Leisure and Nutrition.

The guest lecturers included Premier League football coach Mike Phelan and England International netball player Sara Bayman.

Mike who is the former manager of Hull City, named FA Premier League manager of the month in September 2017, led the students in a theory and practical session.

He has more than 35 years experience in the football industry, beginning his career at Burnley FC before moving to Norwich. Mike joined Manchester United in 1989 as a player before moving into coaching in 2000 where he trained the team through multiple league championships.

In his theory session he asked the students to study the recent Liverpool vs Tottenham match, which resulted in a 2 – 2 score at the final whistle.

The group were asked to think about the technical, tactical and psychology aspects of the game and as a coach what strategies they would use to get the best from their team during the half-time talk.

These strategies were put into practice as the students took turns to coach each other during a practice match.

Mike said: “You will have your own idea of your game plan, you will discuss strengths and weaknesses and then plan your actions.

“A lot of it is about your personality, communication and what you do to get your message across. There’s a collective element, but then there’s also times when certain players require your attention.

“In Premier League there is no escape from analysis – it’s 24/7. If you have lots of coaches you get lots of ideas, but it creates confusion. The simplest way is always the best way.”

He added: “Believe in what you’re doing – prepare and train.

“Concentration is huge in the big games. There is no way a coach can affect the last five minutes of a game, but the players on the pitch can.”

The emotions and motivation behind individual athletes was something that Sara focused on in her masterclass about the psychology of sports coaching.

Image of Sara Bayman and LJMU's Dr Amy WhiteheadSara who has 84 caps for England, has played in two Commonwealth Games and four Superleague cups, now plays for the UWS Sirens in Glasgow.

She began her sporting career with Bath and spoke about the stresses of balancing training while studying at university.

At 17 she was told by the then England coach that she would never play for the team, but used this as motivation to turn up to training sessions and prove that she was capable.

She discussed her experiences on tour with the England team with students, including how expectations effect players and how to bounce back from defeat.

Sara said: “Be somebody that nobody thought you could be.

“Leaving a legacy in the game is about more than what you do on the court. I liked having the opportunity to shape the environment and culture of the sport. It’s also about what you do in the community and the reach of the club.”

The School will be developing their discussions with elite athletes around the key areas to developing the wellbeing of the nation by hosting The Power of Sport Conference.


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