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Issued:21/05/14

A new sport coaching course is helping Team GB's Olympic coaches prepare for Rio 2016, by teaching them to apply the latest research and giving them hands-on experience of the latest technology.

The MSc Advanced Sport Coaching Practice course has been developed by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with British Judo and Sportscoach UK. It is being delivered by sport coaching experts and sport and exercise scientists at the University.

Michelle Vernon-Way, senior lecturer in sport coaching at Sheffield Hallam, is course leader for the new MSc. She said: “This course is an excellent example of a university working with a professional body to make British sport the best it can be. We’re using the latest technology, research and academic theory to make sure that all of the professional coaches on this course are equipped to deliver the next generation of British athletes on the world stage.

"But we're also working closely with British Judo to make sure that we have a clear understanding of the issues facing coaches, and we're getting a great insight into their professional practices and needs.

"We're giving them the skills and knowledge to design, deliver and evaluate specialist coaching programmes, make critical decisions in a highly complex environment and be outstanding, visionary and knowledgeable coaches in their field."

The course is being run over two years, initially as a post-graduate diploma, with the option of staying on to do a third year to complete the full Masters in Advanced Sports Coaching Practice.

Students on the course include former chairman of Judo Scotland Jim Feenan and Olympic silver medallist Kate Howey MBE. Testament to the quality of the course, Toni Minichiello, Jess Ennis-Hill’s coach, is also studying the programme.

Toni Minichiello said "Coaching is all about learning and being able to apply it to your sport. Most of my learning has been throughcoaching courses,and what I've read or picked up along the way. Once you qualify as a coach you're pretty much left to your own devices. The masters at Sheffield Hallam gives me an opportunity for structured continued learning, an opportunity to match experience with the academic and scientific to improve my coaching, and to gain a recognised qualification that adds credibility and objectivity to my experiential learning.

Coaches from British Judo are joined by Jess Ennis-Hill
Olympic silver medallist Kate Howey with fellow British Judo coaches
Toni Minichiello, in the University
The course has a hands-on, practical approach to sport science

Click to view the images

"The added advantage of working alongside the nation's best judo coaches for me just adds to the learning experience. An opportunity to learn from other sports in a formal environment and gain the benefit of their experience also adds massive value to the whole learning process, that would be difficult to find anywhere else.

"The timing and structure of the timetable means I can easily mix my full-time coaching and continued development in the build up to all the forthcoming championships."

Kate Howey, Olympic silver medallist, said: “As a coach you are always looking to learn and in doing this I am investing in my future in top-level judo coaching.

“The UKCC Level 4 that runs alongside this is a great coaching qualification, and I hope that what I learn can help me to become an even better coach and to inspire the next generation of coaches.”

The two year course includes psychology for performance coaching, bio mechanics and performance analysis, applied sport science and advanced professional practice. Running alongside the academic qualification coaches will have the opportunity to develop and evidence their competencies as a UKCC Level 4 coach. This means that coaches who successfully graduate will receive a PG Diploma or full Masters and a UKCC Level 4 Qualification.

For press information: contact Joe Field in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2074 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk