Game play

Psychology and Development Research Group

Promoting positive change in identity, performance and wellbeing

We work with all people interested in sport, physical activity, and physical education including:

  • Olympic and Paralympic athletes and UK institutes of sport
  • Professional and competitive sports teams
  • Community sports and physical activity groups 
  • School and higher education institutions
  • Disabled and non-disabled athletes
  • Organisations supporting coaches, athletes, teachers, and professionals in the sports industry

Our vision is to be internationally recognised as leaders in generating and applying sociological and psychological knowledge in sport, physical activity, and physical education from grassroots to elite – as well as how this empowers the development of all people involved.

Our expertise

Our staff members are world-leading experts in innovative qualitative and quantitative research methods. We publish our work in peer reviewed journals and present at international conferences and national policy forums. Our research findings impact policy and practice in applied settings. Our main areas of expertise cover:

  • Study of the daily existence of athletes, physical activity participants, coaches and support staff and how they understand themselves and others within their environments using a wide range of cutting edge, multidisciplinary scientific approaches
  • Being able to develop, implement, and evaluate interventions promoting positive changes to player, physical activity participants, coach, support staff and sport science practitioner identity, performance and wellbeing, both during and after their sport-related careers
  • Exploring how the sport and physical activity culture informs effective coaching, teaching, sport science, and sport psychology service delivery and how people working in this context can be developed within their professional training
  • Critically exploring the conditions that constrain and various marginalised groups, such as disabled sports participants


Staff members have extensive networks with numerous national and international elite and professional sporting organisations, International and national Para sport agencies, local authorities, NHS and community organisations, schools, and professional bodies, providing our students with research and placement opportunities. Examples include professional UK and European professional football, cricket, and rugby teams, The Horseracing industry, Olympic sports, and UK institutes of sport. Our work and collaborations have led to successful research tenders, commissioned projects and international conference organisation.


Search through our selected publications:

Search for a research paper

20 papers found

  • Journal article

    Creating and disseminating coach education policy: a case of formal coach education in grassroots football

    Dempsey NM, Richardson DJ and Cope E and Cronin CJ

    Publish date:03/08/2020 00:00:00

  • Journal article

    Physical Literacy - A Journey of Individual Enrichment: An Ecological Dynamics Rationale for Enhancing Performance and Physical Activity in All

    Rudd JR, Pesce C and Strafford BW and Davids K

    Publish date:28/07/2020 00:00:00

  • Journal article

    Thinking Aloud: Stress and Coping in Junior Cricket Batsmen during Challenge and Threat States

    McGreary M, Eubank M and Morris R and Whitehead A

    Publish date:09/07/2020 00:00:00

  • Journal article

    Motivational differences between 5K, half marathon and full marathon participants in the UK and India.

    Whitehead A, Umeh F, Brockett C, Westerbeek H, Powling E and Fitton Davies K and Rudd J

    Publish date:08/07/2020 00:00:00

  • Journal article

    An exploratory investigation of junior-elite football coaches´’ behaviours during video-based feedback sessions

    Raya-Castellano PE, Reeves MJ and Littlewood M and McRobert AP

    Publish date:03/07/2020 00:00:00

  • Journal article

    Skill Acquisition Methods Fostering Physical Literacy in Early-Physical Education (SAMPLE-PE): Rationale and Study Protocol for a Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial in 5–6-Year-Old Children From Deprived Areas of North West England

    Rudd J, Crotti M, Fitton Davies K, O'Callaghan L, Bardid F, Utesh T, Roberts S, Boddy L, Knowles Z, Foulkes J, Watson P, Pesce C, Button C, Lubans D, Buszard T and Walsh B and Foweather L

    Publish date:17/06/2020 00:00:00


Meet the people working within this research group.