Explore our research

  • Institute of Coaching and Performance (ICaP)

    Rugby coaching

The Institute of Coaching and Performance (ICaP) at UCLan focuses on the enhancement of performance, either directly or by developing providers and systems to bespoke needs. As the predominant support profession, coaching (and its other variants such as instruction, teaching and leading) is the major focus. However, the Institute also works with other key providers, in particular science and medicine, both as single disciplines and as members of an integrated support team.

Expertise and Subject Areas

Our approach is interdisciplinary, but with an emphasis on practitioner decision making and the evolution of an optimum practice environment.

  • Work areas span performance support in high level performance, through adventure sport, to the development of both performers and support staff, particularly coaches.
  • Our research is published in a wide range of outputs, with a focus on application rather than fundamental work. This focus notwithstanding, several of our on-going initiatives are driving practice in both research and applied domains.
  • From a consultancy perspective, we look to develop client independence and autonomy, rather than trying to build dependency. Effective, practical and evidence-based application is a key objective of our work.
  • In achieving these goals, ICaP works with a wide range of individuals across the University and, through links to key stakeholder organisations and individuals, both nationally and internationally.


  • International consultancy in Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Thailand
  • National working relationships with Academies (e.g. Chelsea FC, Motor Sport Association), NGBs (e.g. English Golf, GAA, MSA, RFU, UK Athletics), national organisations (e.g. Rescue 3, Rugby Coaches Association)

Publications and Outputs

  1. Carson, H.J., & Collins, D. (in press) The fourth dimension: A motoric perspective on the anxiety–performance relationship. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
  2. Carson, H.J., Collins, D., & Richards, J. (in press) Initiating technical refinements in high-level golfers: Evidence for contradictory procedures. European Journal of Sport Science
  3. Carson, H.J., & Collins, D. (in press) Tracking technical refinement in elite performers: The good, the better and the ugly. International Journal of Golf Science
  4. Hill, A., MacNamara, Á., & Collins, D. (in press) Psycho-behaviourally based features of effective talent development in Rugby Union: A coach’s perspective. The Sport Psychologist
  5. Collins, D., Carson, H.J., and Cruickshank, A. (2015) Blaming Bill Gates AGAIN! Misuse, overuse and misunderstanding of performance data in sport. Sport, Education and Society, 20, 1088-1099
  6. Cruickshank, A., Giblin, S., & Collins, D. (2015) Mental skills training in sprinting. In: The Science of Sport: Sprinting (pp. 153-164). Crowood Press: Ramsbury, Wiltshire
  7. Taylor, R.D., & Collins, D. (2015) Reviewing the family unit as a stakeholder in talent development: Is it undervalued? Quest, 67, 330-343
  8. McCall, A., Davison, M., Andersen, T.E., Beasley, I., Bizzini, M., Dupont, G., Duffield, R., Carling, C. & Dvorak, J. (2015) Injury prevention strategies at the FIFA 2014 World Cup: perceptions and practices of the physicians from the 32 participating national teams. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49, 603-608
  9. Cruickshank, A., Collins, D., & Minten, S. (2015) Driving and sustaining culture change in professional sport performance teams: A grounded theory. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 20, 40-50
  10. Carling, C., Gregson, W., McCall, A., Moreira, A., Wong, D.P., & Bradley, P.S. (2015) Match running performance during fixture congestion in elite soccer: Research issues and future directions. Sports Medicine, 45, 605-613

View all our publications

Courses and Postgraduate Study

Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance

Professional Masters in Elite Performance (MProf)

Postgraduate Diploma in Elite Coaching Practice

Research Programmes (M Phil, MSc and PhD)

For more information about the Professional Doctorate and Masters in Elite Performance, contact:

Aine MacNamara PhD


Dave Collins is Professor and Director of the Institute. As an applied practitioner, he has worked with over 60 world or Olympic medallists, plus professional teams and organizations. Dave has an international record of consultancy in elite performance systems, coach development and applied research. His research interests include the development of expertise, performance enhancement and elite systems.

Howie Carson is an active researcher within the area of skill development and a member of the Institute of Coaching and Performance. His research broadly addresses the control of human movement in relation to different applied coaching outcomes; namely, skill acquisition, refinement and performing under pressure. One of his main goals is to provide comprehensive frameworks, measures and advice to coaches/practitioners which promote an increasingly integrated application of motor control (e.g., practice scheduling) and sport psychology (e.g., mental imagery) principles. In addition, he is interested in the development of, and expert, coach decision making processes which lead to intended coaching outcomes.

Loel Collins is a senior lecturer in The Division of the Outdoors. His research focuses on professional judgement and decision making in relation to Adventure sports coaching and rescue. Specifically, Loel is interested in the utilisation of risk as a pedagogic tool and the development and teaching of decision-making skills with a clear focus on application in the field by fellow coaches. Loel is published in the adventure sports field, his current research is published in peer reviewed journals as well as presenting at practitioner-focused conferences.

Andrew Cruickshank works on ICaP’s Professional Doctorate and Masters programmes and is also an active researcher. Current interests include leadership/management, culture change, coaching, expertise, and individual/team performance in elite level sport. On an applied level, Andrew is currently Senior Sport Psychologist for British Judo, a consultant for the Motor Sport Association, and involved with a range of other high performance clients. Previously a professional footballer with Hibernian FC, Andrew is also a UEFA licensed coach.

David Grecic joined UCLan in August 2008 having previously worked in a variety of sport and education settings for 15 years. In his career David has been instrumental in establishing a number of sports education academies. These include programmes for Lancashire County Cricket Club, Sale Sharks and Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Union Football Clubs, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Everton, Preston. David is still an active coach in a variety of sports including rugby union, swimming and golf. It is here that his specialist interest lies and that drives his academic research. His teaching activities include: strategic sports management, talent pathways, elite coaching practice.

Mark Hickman is a senior lecturer in the outdoors. His interests are: the role of reflective practice for developing personal and professional development in outdoor leaders; the sources of entry shock for leaders and participants on extended expeditions to remote environments; transfer values for leaders and participants of extended expeditions to remote environments. Expeditioning has been estimated at being worth some £2 billion per annum, and Mark has worked with British Exploring to help contribute to an understanding of the development, leadership and interpretation of this growing area.

John Kiely is currently senior lecturer in elite performance. Prior to moving to academic life my previous roles included; Head of Strength and Conditioning for UK Athletics, lead Strength and Conditioning provider for the Athletics Association of Ireland, the Paralympic Council of Ireland, and the Irish Amateur Rowing Association. He has also consulted in professional rugby as Power training specialist for the Munster rugby senior squad, and have provided consultancy service to leading professional soccer clubs in the UK.

Outside the sporting domain, John has consulted for both police and military services, and has performance managed science and conditioning support for elite polar expeditions. Within competitive sport he has experienced life as an international competitor, coach, sports scientist, and strength and conditioning specialist.

John’s primary current research and writing interests are; Importance of athletic coordination to performance and injury processes; Planning and periodisation of elite physical preparation programmes; Interplay between physical activity, cognitive ability, and emotional control in children.

Áine MacNamara is a senior lecturer in elite performance in the Institute of Coaching and Performance. Her research is focused on talent development across performance domains and she is particularly interested in the role that psychological characteristics play in the realization of potential. In collaboration with colleagues, this research has been published in peer reviewed journals as well as applied applications within different performance systems (e.g., education, sport).

John Stoszkowski is a lecturer in sports development and coaching and course leader for BA (Hons.) Sport (Development). He has significant industry experience, having worked in both development and coaching in a variety of applied roles at organisations including the English Golf Union and The Professional Golfers’ Association. John is committed to challenging conventional and traditional thinking and practice and his research is published in peer reviewed journals. His current research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of coach education and development.

Dr Chris Carling joined the University in 2013. He has spent several years in high-profile elite sport environments providing applied sports science support services. These environments include Lille OSC (French top-flight football club), an English Premier League Club, Clairefontaine National Football Development Centre (France), French National Institute for Elite Sports Performance and Sport-Universal Process (AMISCO Pro game analysis system, France). Currently, Chris provides match performance analysis services, perform injury audits as well as conducting medical and scientific research with the aim of enhancing performance in the elite player for two professional football clubs.

Robin Taylor studied at UCLan and now works across the Sports Coaching and Sports Coaching and Development degree programmes. He also has an active role on the MA Sport, Policy and Community development programme, as well as being a 1st year personal tutor. Robin is combining his teaching with his on-going academic development through his PhD in Talent Development and the role of the family – which is due to be completed by June 2017.

Dr Tim Holder


Additional Information

Contact details

For the Institute:

Dave Collins PhD CPsychol CSci FSMA AFBPsS FBASES
Director of ICaP and Professor of Coaching and Performance
07595 513540

In relation to the Professional Doctorate and Masters in Elite Performance:

Áine MacNamara PhD

In relation to the Post Graduate Diploma in Elite Coaching Practice:

Bryan Jones

Related Research Groups

ICaP works closely with the International Institute for Golf Education and Professor Jim Richards in the Allied Health Professions Research Unit.

We also work externally in a variety of domains and with a broad range of specialists. (PDF, 2.56MB)

Related Projects


  • Exploiting the social milieu for coach development
  • Optimising Talent Transfer systems
  • Expertise and evaluation systems in coaching – against competency-based models


  • Skill refinement in high level performers
  • Coordination in fundamental physical skills
  • Periodization in elite sport preparation
  • Optimising the rehabilitation system for wounded military personnel (in collaboration with Help 4 Heroes)


  • Why athletes DON’T use Performance Enhancing Drugs (in collaboration with WADA)
  • Optimising coach development for adult learners
  • Culture change in elite professional sport


  • Measuring levels of fundamental skills (in collaboration with University of Otago)
  • The development of the PCDEQ-2


  • Professional Judgment and decision making in Adventure Sports Coaching
  • Optimising transfer in expedition settings
  • Performance and improvements in Mountain and Swiftwater Rescue; (part funded) an ongoing project that explores the technical improvement of equipment, techniques, PJDM and tuition in rescue situations.(in collaboration with Recue 3)
  • Accessibility in Adventuresports; (Pending funding), a project that will explore the technical improvement of equipment, techniques, PJDM and tuition that will enable broader access for people who have a disability or injury to adventure sports.