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Institute of Coaching and Performance (ICaP)

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.

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.

The Professional Masters (MProf) or Professional Doctorate (DProf) in Elite Performance are high level programmes of study open to active professionals within their area(s) of experience and expertise. Both programmes enable professionals with or without undergraduate/postgraduate degrees to apply and be credited with their experience and skills, allowing direct entry on to the courses.

The MProf or DProf in Elite Performance both provide an opportunity for those working in performance related roles to complete a programme of study focused on career-based needs and aspirations.

This is an exciting and original initiative, capable of providing a high level, vocationally focused award to a broad range of professionals. The studying is designed specifically around your professional work, with the aim of enhancing your practice or progression in your chosen performance environment.

Professionals working as coaches and performance specialists across all disciplines in sport are welcomed. The course welcomes, for example:

  • Scientists
  • Strength and conditioners
  • Psychologists
  • Analysts
  • Medical practitioners
  • Military personnel
  • Police
  • Fire service

Our aim is to support experienced professionals working in performance environments to develop evidenced based solutions to ‘real world’ workplace problems. The MProf and DProf are carefully designed with shared modules providing learners with a seamless transition between the two programmes.

At Master’s level (MProf) or at Doctoral level (DProf), each programme provides an opportunity for those working in elite performance to complete a study programme based on individual needs.

The approaches taken in each of the programmes reflects current thinking on this type of award, being more a matter of guidance and mentoring than a didactic transfer process, closer in many respects to the relationship between supervisor and research student, than that of lecturer and undergraduate student. The aim is to provide a flexible and individualised learning experience that allows the programme and content to tailor learning around their professional work.

The majority of student learning is achieved through guided reading, with subsequent supported synthesis and discussion through formal (with your supervisor) and informal (with peers) methods.

Assessments vary, are agreed with your supervisor and can be via professional and academic reports, case studies, a personal development plan, a learning diary, presentation and a final piece of research, at MProf a dissertation, at DProf a thesis.

  • Innovative course delivery, taught by academics with extensive research and industry experience 
  • Access to state-of-the-art resources and facilities
  • Strong links to professional bodies and organisations regionally, nationally and internationally
  • All courses are vocationally relevant and career enhancing
  • Bespoke teaching disciplines underpinned by continuing staff research
  • Steadfast support and guidance
  • International consultancy in the USA, China, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Netherlands, Singapore, and Thailand
  • National working relationships with professional sports Academies, National Governing Bodies (e.g. English Golf, England Hockey, EFA, GAA, BJA, RFU, UK Athletics), national organisations (e.g. MoD, DfE, UK Coaching)

Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance

Professional Masters in Elite Performance (MProf)

Research Programmes (M Phil, MSc and PhD)

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

David Rhodes PhD

David Grecic

David Grecic is the Director of ICaP. Having previously worked in a variety of sport and education settings for 15 years. 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 football, rugby union, basketball, cricket and golf. David is still an active coach in a variety of sports including rugby union and golf. It is here that his specialist interest lies and that drives his academic research. In particular David is interested in how sports coaches, leaders and performance teams align epistemologies. His current focus is based around the amateur to professional transition stage of talent development.

David Rhodes

David Rhodes is the Course Leader and Senior Lecturer on the DProf in Elite Performance, also teaching on the MProf in Elite Performance and MSc Football Rehabilitation and Science. With expertise in leading within elite performance environments, football, injury risk, performance monitoring, conditioning and physical development. David has numerous publications within this area and consults within elite football, with focus on developing the performance department. David has published work in injury risk, recovery, performance monitoring, development of performance departments, all within elite sports environments.

Damian Harper

Damian is currently a lecturer in coaching and performance and a member of the Institute of Coaching and Performance. Damian has vast experience both lecturing and leading undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in sports and exercise sciences. He is an accredited sport and exercise scientist (BASES) and strength and conditioning coach (UKSCA) and has a wide range of applied experiences working with clients in exercise, health and sports performance settings. Most recently Damian has consulted with the English Football Association around the preparation of international football players for competition demands.

John Kiely

John Kiely is a senior lecturer in elite performance. Prior to moving to academic life his 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 for the Ireland national team at the last Rugby World Cup. John also provides a bespoke 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.

Pamela Richards 

Pamela has worked in both academic contexts and external organisations. Pam’s research specialism is in high pressurised team decision-making. Specifically, Pam focuses on the development and operationalisation of shared mental models in high pressurised naturalistic settings, exploring both the psychomotor and psychosocial aspects. Pam’s research has centred on high pressurised team decision-making in several elite sports and she works as a consultant with the English Institute of Sport and UK Coaching in the area of decision-making. In addition, Pam also researches decision-making in other applied environments including the police, military, extreme outdoor environments and the emergency services. Pam approaches research from both a multi and interdisciplinary perspective.

In addition to her academic career Pam is dual qualified and has previously worked as a sport scientist to the Welsh National Hockey team for five years (Physiology, preparation for the European Tournaments and the Commonwealth Games, 1998) and as an international coach. Pam has coached internationally for over 19 years including performing the role of National Team Coach. Pam qualified the National Team for a World Cup Qualifier and Commonwealth Games (2010). Pam is world qualified as a coach (FIH High Performance Coach hockey coach) and is a UKCC Level 4 Coach.

For the Institute:

David Grecic, PhD, MBA, FHEA, PGCE

In relation to the Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance:

David Rhodes PhD, MSc, PGCTHE PGCE

In relation to the Professional Masters in Elite Performance:

John Kiely

ICaP works within the centre for applied sport, physical activity and performance, in particular with strand 4.

ICaP works closely with the Professor Jim Richards in the Allied Health Research Unit

  • Athletic preparation management
  • Talent identification and development
  • Decision making in high performance environments