Sport Performance Research

Sport Performance is a research strand of the Sport and Exercise Research Centre.

Through an interdisciplinary research approach, we aim to examine and provide interventions to enhance the sporting performance of athletes and teams.

Using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, ongoing research avenues include:

  • Psychological climate of team sport practice
  • Representative learning designs within sport coaching environments
  • Developmental experiences of elite youth athletes

Strand leader

Dr Steve Smith

Academic researchers

Dr Matt Smith

Dr Jo Batey

Dr Tim Holder

Richard Cheetham


Findings from the publications above (and others) have been disseminated to researchers and various other stakeholders. Additional impact work involves:

  • Evaluating Hampshire FAs interventions for parent and fan behaviour
  • Considering those factors that might impact the team environment and coaching practice
  • Implementation of a psychological climate digital app in team sports

Press releases, e.g. Tokio 2021: How Covid risks taking the fun out of the Games.

Key publications

Lally, A., Smith, M.J., & Parry, K. (2021). Exploring migration experiences of foreign footballers to England through the use of autobiographies. Soccer in Society. 

Smith, M., & Arthur, C. (2021). Understanding coach-athlete conflict: an ethnodrama to illustrate conflict in elite sport. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health.

Smith, S.M., Brown, H., & Cotterill, S.T. (2021). Implementing and evaluating the practice environment model using action research. International Sport Coaching Journal.

Szedlak, C., Batey, J., Smith, M.J., & Church, M. (2021). Examining experienced S&C coaches’ reflections of psychosocial behaviours in coaching. International Sport Coaching Journal.

Postgraduate research

PhD opportunities

  • Developing a digitalised psychological climate app for team sports
  • Considering the developmental experiences of talented junior athletes

Current research students

  • Dominic Irvine: A comparison of mental fatigue between ultra-endurance cyclists and Senior Business Leaders
  • Anna Soares: The psychology of turning points in tennis
  • Matt McInnes-Watson: A structure, classification, and system for plyometrics and dynamic movements
  • Amy Spencer: Mindful versus mindless: a mindfulness-based programme for injury rehabilitation within elite environments