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Damian Harper

Lecturer in Coaching and Performance
School of Sport and Health Sciences
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Damian is a Lecturer is Coaching and Performance. His research is focused on factors that influence the health and performance of human movement, with a particular focus on understanding high-intensity actions, such as acceleration, deceleration and change of direction. Damian has consulted with numerous sporting organisations and governing bodies and is internationally recognised for the impact his research has had on enhancing applied “real-world” sports performance practices.

Damian is a member of the Institute of Coaching and Performance (ICaP) where he supervises students on the Professional Masters and Doctorate programmes in Elite Performance. Currently, Damian’s research is examining factors that influence human movement, in which he has a particular interest in deceleration and braking performance. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles around the assessment and development of human movement and pioneered some of the first approaches to enable the assessment of human deceleration (braking) performance.

Alongside Damian’s academic duties, he occupies an external examiner role for an other higher education establishment, is a supervisor/reviewer for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) accreditation scheme, undertakes peer-review for many highly reputable journals within the field of sports and exercise sciences and is a physical performance coach on the English Football Associations girls talent development programme.

Damian has extensive experience of leading undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in sport and exercise sciences. He started his career in education has a tutor/assessor delivering sport, health and fitness programmes for fitness professionals and youth football scholars at professional football clubs across the UK.

Damian has provided sport science and strength and conditioning support to a variety of athletes across a range of sports and development stages. He has led the physical performance conditioning for one of the English Football Associations girls Tier 1 regional talent clubs (RTCs) and been a physical performance consultant on the England girls national football development programme. He has collaborated and consulted with many sporting organisations, including, the development of the ‘braking strength’ framework for the English Football Association, which was part of a training solutions project which aimed to optimally prepare international football players for competition demands.

Damian’s previous research was focused on enhancing speed in team sport athletes, where he worked on a project with elite Super League rugby players, and as part of this developed the 10-to-5 repeated jump test to profile a player’s reactive strength capabilities. This test is now used extensively by many practitioners across the world and is built into many contemporary sports performance assessment technologies.

  • PhD, ‘Neuromuscular determinants of deceleration ability in team sport athletes: Performance and health implications’, University of Central Lancashire, 2021 (exam pending)
  • MSc, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, 2012
  • BSc, Sports Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2007
  • Certificate in Education, University of Central Lancashire, 2005
  • CSci Chartered Scientist, Science Council, 2013
  • FHEA, Fellow of Higher Education Academy, 2013
  • BASES, Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist, BASES, 2012
  • ASCC, Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach, UKSCA, 2012