Thursday, 10 August 2017

Blackpool Football Club Season Review by Callum Barlow

Callum Barlow, a second year Sports Coaching student shares his experience working with Blackpool Football Club for the 2016/17 season. Callum is one of many students who has used UCLan's industry links to gain valuable experience working in professional sport.

 Early July 2016 my journey with Blackpool first team started. I met up with Head of Performance Analysis Adam Whiteside at Bloomfield Road, we had a meeting in one of the boxes overlooking the pitch and discussed the infrastructure of the up and coming season. One of the key things he discussed with me was to get bright enthusiastic and committed analysis student[s] to assist with the aim of getting the team promoted.

I was assigned to the role of an Opposition Analyst, this is where my primary focus was to scrutinise Blackpool’s opponents and to gain evidence on
- Minutes of goals scored and conceded
- Key players
- Strengths playing home and away
Throughout the season I was to attend every home game and this was to video and code the match as a whole as well as taking into account individual player characteristics, and also key performance indicators which the manager highlighted as the reasoning behind success.

As well as attending home games, there was also the opportunity to assist in a couple of away games as the season prolonged. I feel as though this was a taster for the future. With attending away games it made me feel apart of the team due to being involved in every aspect. From being included in team meetings at the hotel where I was able to take onboard the managers thoughts and add it to my knowledge. I was also able to go and set up changing rooms, and with this stick up pictures with positive phrases that I had created for motivation. This technique was adopted by the team for the rest of the season. When it came to the game itself away from home, a lot of the gantries were in the home teams allocated area, so if Blackpool scored we as analysts had to remain professional.

Other duties which I undertook included:
Filming goal keeping and the main training sessions
 Piecing together the match day schedule
 Composing motivational videos
Completing post match reports
- Analysing opponent’s penalty takers – to discuss with the goal keeper.

All the hard work from the staff and the players paid off, as Blackpool booked a place in the Play Off Final after beating fourth place Luton Town Football Club. With this it meant a lot of preparation had to take place in order to maxamise the plan to beat Exeter. On the day of the final it was a very early start as I had to be setting off from Bolton at 5:00am. I was assisted on the coach by Owen who had also supported Blackpool since the start of the season, who is also a UCLAN student. During the journey we gathered data on Exeter and discussed how we thought they were going to play. We did this by looking at InStat Analysis and Wyscout Analysis before sending the evidence over to Adam. Once we arrived at Wembley we took in our surroundings before going in to analyse the game. Blackpool were not on the front foot at the start of the game, but still managed to go in at 1-1. I was in contact with Adam, passing on information that I though was reliable in order to go and win the game. In the end the game finished Blackpool 2 Exeter 1.

In my first season within professional football I have helped Blackpool get promoted from League 2 to League 1. I feel as though this shows that students who help out within teams really can bring a lot to the everyday running of the club. Hopefully from this Blackpool go on to create a hierarchy where more students can get involved in order for them to keep building.

Friday, 16 June 2017

New Links with Chorley RUFC proves valuable to the club

Christopher Neil Gunn Lecturer in the School of Sport and Wellbeing has recently set up links with Chorley RUFC for UCLan students to complete projects with them.

Chorley RUFC are an ambitious club moving to new facilities in the near future and our students have recently carried out recommendations for the club regarding school links, club strategy and policies and social media opportunities. The club was grateful for their research, input and recommendations from the students.

David Martin a member of the committee who is knowledgeable about business and management aspects and holds a significant role at Specsavers gave feedback to the results and how the club is finding their partnership with the University to be beneficial.

"The results from these recommendations and proposals from the students was extremely insightful and useful. As a result we have shifted our recruitment strategy, implemented a new mission statement, club value proposition and are bringing in a non-executive committee role as "community ambassador". These mission and values will be incorporated into our recruitment marketing. Our eye's have been opened to the opportunity of social media in terms of player recruitment and community engagement and we have appointed a social media manager to oversee all online presence, website management and social content."

"Overall, our collaboration with UCLan has been hugely valuable. The student's project has provided the raw research and data to give us a real insight into the opportunities we can exploit as an organisation. Furthermore, the practical nature of the recommendations enable us to make tangible differences in the way we work and ultimately, will support our future growth and development as a club. It is testament to the student's hard work that their recommendations have not only been taken on board but have also been turned into job appointments and key strategies. We wholeheartedly recommend any amateur sports club to work with UCLan and look forward to our continued relationship to help build our club's future."

A big well done to the student's involved Matt Davies, Catherine Savva, Andy Harrision and Chris Lane who all gained some excellent experience and enjoyed the challenge

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

UPEC Link Continues to Grow

The international connection with the University of Paris-Est Creteil (UPEC) continues to provide valuable learning opportunities for UCLan students.

Last October, we were visited by staff and students from UPEC. During their visit, our lecturers here at UCLan delivered sessions relating to PE and coaching for both our current students as well as our friends from Paris. This was a great opportunity for students to meet one another and share ideas, discussing the cultural and pedagogical differences between coaching and PE in France and the UK.

Additionally, in April 2016, some of our students were given the opportunity to visit UPEC. Students and staff spent 6 days in Paris where they visited the French Institute of Sport, observed training in a professional football club setting, participated in various practical sessions as well as exploring some of Paris’ landmarks. Our students were delighted as none of them had previously visited Paris!


Day One: Staff and students were given a warm welcome by staff and students at UPEC who outlined the plans for the trip. They showcased their facilities and explained their programmes of study. There was also the opportunity to observe and participate in some undergraduate and postgraduate classes.

Day Two: Use of UPEC’s performance analysis lab, giving our students the opportunity to use new technology and explore how performance analysis is used in French sport. In the afternoon, UCLan staff delivered sessions on fundamental movement skills.

Day Three: Observation of professional football club training.

Day Four: Visit to the French Institute of Sport to observe the French Olympic Team preparing for the Rio Olympics hosted by the Head of Sports Science.

Day Five: Staff and students from both institutions spent the day on a cultural visit to Paris city centre. This involved visits to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral.

Day Six: Unfortunately, it was time to fly home…

Sports Studies student Mia Frew, who recently started her Masters in Sports Coaching gave her thoughts on the experience:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the recent trip to Paris. The opportunity to look at a number of schools in Paris was extremely interesting as it gave an alternative approach to PE teaching in comparison to the UK. The trip also gave us the chance to visit the French Institute of Sport, this was a definite highlight of the trip as I was able to see a number of top class facilities in a wide variety of sports ranging from gymnastics to diving." 

"Whilst at the French Institute we also had the chance to look at the performance analysis and sports science labs. The opportunity to work with another University in Paris allowed me to widen my knowledge and experience of PE studies and sports coaching and allowed me to gain confidence when starting my Sports Coaching Masters this September.”

Mia Frew (front left) with staff Craig Wright, Andy Sprake and Andy Procter

Monday, 6 February 2017

UCLan wins funding from HEFECE Catalyst Fund for new project

Academics from UCLan and St Mary's University have successfully won £22,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council of England’s (HEFCE) Catalyst Fund.

They plan to launch a 18-month project, designed by John Stoszkowski (Sports Coaching) from UCLan, Liam McCarthy and Joana Fonseca (Physical and Sport Education) from St Mary’s University. It will see students across both institutions engage in peer teaching, critical conversation and collaborative reflection connected to their existing modules during the next academic year.

This process will use the latest technology and software for recording, analyzing and feeding back on applied coaching practice. Creating a supervised environment where students will be challenged to comment, critique and share ideas about theirs and their peers’ applied professional practice.

Dr John Stoszkowski commented, "We're delighted to have secured HEFCE funding to deliver what should be quite a unique project in the sector. The initiative is perfectly aligned with the values and ambition of both educational institutions and provides a fantastic opportunity for staff and students to work collaboratively to enhance their learning experience. The students involved will get the opportunity to explore and reshape their understanding from different contexts of coaching practice, while developing highly values professional skills such as self and peer- reflection, critical analysis and effective communication with mentors and peers. We also hope any research findings emanating from the project will go some way to informing and enhancing the development of formal coach education programmes more generally too."

They also hope the project will contribute evidence-based pedagogical strategies to coach education in both the higher education sector and formal national governing body qualifications, leading to the development of more auto-critical coaches capable of better adapting to the complexity of effective coaching practice.

For more enquires please contact

Friday, 3 February 2017

UCLan BA (Hons) Sports Coaching & Development student making a difference as a Community Trust Coach at FTFC

Matt Chadwich is a 2nd year BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development student who has been working part time as a Community Trust coach alongside his studies. He began his coaching journey by volunteering at a summer camp in 2016, after 200 hours of volunteering work he got a offered a job as a part time Community Trust Coach at Fleetwood Town FC.

Matt says "There's two sides to Community Trusts, there's the school side and the community side. I go into primary schools and take P.E. lessons, I do lunch time activities and after school clubs. I have recently started going into high schools as well."

"The community side of things is about making a difference to people's lives within the Fleetwood area. I take football development sessions at the training ground for kids. I go into areas at night time  and set up football matches to help get kids off the street, I also go into care homes to spend time with the elderly."

Monday, 26 September 2016

Sports Coaching and Development Expo

Last week we welcomed our new 1st years and 3rd year top-ups as well as welcoming back our returning 2nd and 3rd years for the 2016/17 academic year. Tuesday saw the launch of the Sports Coaching and Development Expo where students were able to learn about their course, register their module choices, meet the teaching team and start to settle into life as a UCLan student. They also played some table tennis, badminton and basketball as they met fellow students, building new friendships as they embark on an exciting new chapter here at UCLan. The day was a great success - here's to an exciting year ahead!

Monday, 19 September 2016

MA Sports Coaching

Are you thinking of studying a Masters in Sports Coaching at UCLan? There are still places available for students looking to start this September.

For more information, check out this video featuring one of our former students Chris Brammall. Chris currently works for the Football Association (FA) as Regional PE and Coaching in Education Co-ordinator. 

For all enquiries, please contact Craig Wright at

Or for more information: