Sport and Exercise Sciences: Fully funded Swansea University and Millfield School PhD Scholarship: Optimising sport-specific training practices for youth development in football
Designing training practices that provide an age and playing level appropriate, engaging bio-psycho-physical stimulus is central to the successful development and retention of youth talent and long-term retention in sport. Despite the importance of practice design, and the considerable hours invested by players and coaches in the implementation of such practices, little is known about the relative effectiveness of different practices for developing youth talent. This collaborative PhD will examine the bio-psycho-social responses to typical practice designs and their long-term implications for the development of physical characteristics, technical execution and decision-making in youth football. The PhD will comprise three themes:
- Development of a library of practices classified according to bio-psycho-social responses and their translation to the longer-term development of technical execution, decision-making, and game-related performance in youth footballers.
- Design and validation of a series of bio-psycho-social measures that are sufficiently sensitive and reliable to quantify responses to the practices identification.
- Implementation of a series of training practice interventions to assess their real-world effectiveness on youth athlete development. Each intervention will involve an 8–10 week training period (36-40 practices) and include multiple competitive games (10-12) to allow the development of technical execution and decision making to be monitored.
In summary, this PhD seeks to systematically understand the impact of modern coaching practices on long term development in youth football. It is expected that the tools and knowledge generated through this PhD will significantly advance an under-developed area of research, and have significant impacts on training practice and policies in youth talent development academies across sports on a national and international scale.
Other Important Information:
- The successful candidate will be based at Millfield School for the majority of the PhD, but will also be expected to spend blocks of time at Swansea University for academic training/development purposes.
- There will be support to work towards formal coaching qualifications up to UEFA B as part of the programme.
- Millfield School can offer accommodation and food on site during term times depending on availability.