Keynote speakers

Biographies of the keynote speakers

Mick Rathbone, Football Association

The Sport Coaching Student Conference will open with a keynote address from an exceptional and unique individual: Mick Rathbone. Mick is a former professional footballer for Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, and Preston North End. Mick is also a qualified and practicing physiotherapist. Since his retirement from the game, this combination of medical training and elite football experience has enabled Mick to provide clinical and coaching services to high performance sport teams. These teams include Everton F.C., where he was Head of Sport Medicine until 2010, and the England under 20’s men’s football team whom he currently works with. Thus, over the course of his career, Mick has worked with some of the greats of English Football including Sir Alf Ramsay (manager of 1966 World Cup winning team) and modern day stars such as Wayne Rooney (current England Men’s Captain). During this time, Mick not only gathered an array of interesting and provocative insights on coaching, but he has also developed the craft of telling his exceptional story in a critical, evocative, and entertaining manner. This has made him a renowned speaker on topics such as motivation and performance anxiety, whilst also helping him to write his book; The Smell of Football. Indeed, Mick’s book was listed for the William Hill 2011 Sports Book of the Year. In sum, Mick will provide an engaging and relevant keynote to open the conference that will inspire students to further pursue their careers as coaches, coach educators and coach researchers.

Vinny Webb, British Cycling

Vinny Webb is the Coaching and Development Manager at British Cycling. As such, he brings great practical coaching insights to the keynote that will close the conference. Indeed, Vinny will draw upon and share his experiences of supporting high performance coaches who develop the Olympic and Tour de France stars of British Cycling. In addition, Vinny also supports participation coaches who work on British Cycling Sky Rides events, which have helped cycling to grow into one of the top four sports for participation in the UK. In this keynote, Vinny will provide advice and inspiration for those coaches who work with athletes across the participation pathway.

Dr Amy Whitehead, LJMU

Vinny will be joined by Dr Amy Whitehead from Liverpool John Moores University. Amy’s research has focused on athlete performance and coach education in a range of sports including golf, rugby league and cycling. Most recently, Amy has worked with members of Manchester United’s fabled ‘class of 92’ to explore talent development from a psychological perspective. Together Vinny and Amy will close the conference by considering how combining research and practice can aid coach researchers, coach educators, coaching practitioners and ultimately participants themselves.