Episodes

  • Tom Farrow is a Physical Performance Specialist and is the Founder & Co-Director of Areté Performance, He was the Head of Physical Performance for England & Team GB 7s Men’s teams Until August, when the programme was unfortunately cut due to losing funding during Coronavirus. Tom was also a Contact Skills Specialist with the Men’s 7s programme and has worked in this capacity with the 2016 Team GB Women’s 7s team, Tokyo Toshiba Brave, Fulham FC Academy and Richmond Rugby Club. He has previously worked as a strength and conditioning coach with the English Institute of Sport, GB Canoe, & Speedworks. Until Sept 2014, Tom was a Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach with Wasps Rugby and co-led their First XV programme. After starting his own business Tom also spent time working with the Wasps Academy programme as both a Strength & Conditioning Coach and Contact Skills Specialist.

    In this episode he covers:

    How the skill of coaching, mastery and potential drives him. How Bruce Lee was a big influence. Some unorthodox coaching influences. "Developing heroes". Chaos and order and antifragility in coaching. Learning from great coaches.

    You can keep up to date with Tom's work via the Areté Performance Instagram: @areteperform_hq  or via their website www.arete-performance.com .

    As always you can keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our website, Instagram and Twitter.

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  • Andy is an Athletic Development and Physical Well-being coach at Merchant Taylors' school and leads the UKSCA Special interest group for Strength and conditioning in schools. Steven studied maths at oxford and computer science at UCL and has a background coaching and competing in long-distance triathlon. After many races, and many hours of talking (mainly nonsense), eventually they came up with an idea, and that idea was Statera. Through his work as a Strength and Conditioning coach, Andy often remarked on  how difficult it was to accurately track the training of the youth and team athletes he was working with. He thought how great it would be to get all the information he needed on his athletes, all in one place, in a time efficient way. As luck would have it, through a blend of personal interests and software development skills, Steven had spent considerable time developing his own training diary. So, after some more talking, and a few more races, Steven began to develop a web application to solve Andy’s puzzle. And so Statera was born. 

    In this episode, Andy discusses: 

    Why there's a need to manage workload in youth athletes.  The challenges of managing youth athletes who are involved in multiple activities.  Why he didn't just use one of systems designed for senior professional sport.  Why Statera was created to solve his problem and how it can help other coaches.  The features and functionality of Statera for coaches and parents. How you can get involved in helping Statera innovate and improve. 

    You can keep up to date with Andy & Steven's work with Statera via their Facebook page Statera TSB , Twitter: @StateraTSB and their website www.statera.uk . 

    As always you can keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our website, Instagram and Twitter.

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  • Lana Skeldon is a current International Rugby Player recently earning her 40th Cap for Scotland against France in the Women’s Six Nations.  

     In this episode Lana discusses: 

    Overcoming limited opportunities locally to play rugby. The psychological challenge of changing position. Being inspired by coaches and fellow players.  Her take on training with "the boys". Balancing work/study with being a full time rugby players. How getting her first contract allowed for drastic changes in her day to day schedule.

    You can keep up to date with Lana via her Instagram: @skelpers6 as well as her Twitter: @skeldonlana.  

    As always you can keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our website, Instagram and Twitter.

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  • Ben Pullen is a PhD student in the Youth Physical Development Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University. His research focuses on the impact of strength and conditioning on the athletic motor skill competencies and the psychological attributes of youths. His PhD is a joint project with the Welsh Institute of Performance Science, Sport Wales and Swansea University.

    In this episode Ben discusses:

    Taking performance out of the athletic development equation. How S&C can be an activity that benefits children in a way sport doesn't The misconception that talented youth athletes already possess movement competency. An overview of his PhD research investigating the effect of S&C on both physical and psychological factors. Understanding the constraints led approach to coaching. The grey area of competition in children and how to manage it to get desired coaching outcomes.

    You can keep up with Ben's work via his Research Gate profile, Twitter: @Ben_Pullen and Instagram: @bpullen_coach .

    As always you can keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Facebook and Instagram.

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  • Trevor Ragan is the founder of The Learner Lab - an educational website designed to unpack and share the science of learning and development. He spends his time with thought leaders and researchers from the worlds of psychology and developmental science, consumes their research, connects the dots, and shares it with anyone that will listen. He's worked with professional, college, and olympic sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, prisons, and in hundreds of schools across the country. These workshops are designed to help people understand and apply important principles of development, in order to become better, more resilient learners. 

    In this episode Trevor discusses: 

    The pain of missing out on a basketball spot at Duke University fuelling hunger to learn about learning!  How research gets misinterpreted and misdirected in practice.  How we often practice in the zoo but compete in the jungle.  Why research is crystal clear that we can all improve.  What we can learn from stand up comedy.  Running small "experiments" in our practice and training of athletes. 

    You can keep up to date with Trevor's work via www.learnerlab.com

    As always you can keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Facebook and Instagram.

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  • Dr John Radnor is a Lecturer and researcher in Strength and Conditioning at Cardiff Metropolitan University. His research interests surround youth S&C, and he has recently completed his PhD in Paediatric Exercise Science. John has previously worked with Welsh Rowing and the GB Start Programme, as well as previously being an academy S&C coach at Exeter Chiefs and Exeter City. Taking a step back from coaching at the moment, one of John’s main roles at the University is as the work-based learning lead for the SCRAM UG programme, developing links with NGB’s, pro teams, and local clubs for placement students. Within this role, John looks to develop research links ensuring that research is helping to answer “performance problems” for the clubs.

    In this episode John discusses:

    His difficult decision to leave Exeter Chiefs Academy to take up a PhD position. Why all coaches should Educate, Enthuse and Enhance. How his research his helping understand whether performance improvements are down to Maturation or Training. Some of the main findings of his PhD research. What this means for coaches in evaluating their programs.

    You can keep up to date with John via his Research Gate profile, or via Twitter: @John_Radnor .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. 

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  • Amanda Johnson has worked as a physiotherapist in several sports at a high level including Great Britain Aquatic teams particularly swimming, synchro swimming and 10 years with the GB diving team. She has also travelled with the England Athletics Team to international camps and competitions. Mandy served for 5 years as the England Women’s Football team physio and as a senior lecturer for the Football Association. She spent 10 years as the senior physiotherapist at the Academy of Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson before becoming the lead physiotherapist at Aspire Academy for 8 years. Amanda's PhD and research interests a  are related to issues and injuries suffered by developing youth athletes in all sports. She has lectured at many international conferences on youth development, maturity and injury. 

    In this episode Amanda discusses: 

    Being specifically hired by Sir Alex Ferguson to discover why young athletes were getting injured.  The forward thinking approach of the Manchester United Academy using biological assessment 20 years ago.  The wide span of biological ages she found within each age group team at the Academy.  Why some injuries are specific to young athletes.  What exactly is happening during Sever's, Osgood-Schlatter's and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disease.  What sort of ages these injuries present and how they are often treated. 

    You can follow Amanda's work more closely via her Research Gate Profile here. 

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Brett Klika, founder of SPIDERfit Kids is regarded as an international expert in the field of inspiring kids to be active for life, He is also an  IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year award winner, author, and international motivational speaker inspiring men, women, and children around the world to create a culture of wellness in their home and live the best version of their life.

    In this episode Brett discusses:

    How his fitness journey got started earning a pair of Nike Air trainers. His journey from development to the US Olympic training centre, then back to development. How the birth of his daughter was a catalyst for SPIDERfit kids. How exercise is a gateway for personal growth and identity. His focus on "Powerful Play" Why movement is so important in holistic human development. His approach manipulating "movement variables". The impact and future of SPIDERfit kids program.

    You can keep up to date with Brett via the SPIDERfit Facebook page , Instagram: @spiderfitkids and SPIDERfit Kids Youtube Channel and on the website: www.spiderfitkids.com .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Jamie Salter has worked in professional football and rugby league with both youth and adult athletes in a physical preparation role at Barnsley FC, Middlesbrough FC and York Knights RLFC whilst working with various athletes on an ad-hoc basis for many years. Alongside applied experience, he has spent most of my career in education as a lecturer in further and higher education environments. He is currently a Lecturer at York St John University delivering to under- and post-graduate students in areas of injury prevention, rehabilitation and strength and conditioning. He has presented at several major international conferences and is a current PhD candidate researching the associations between biological maturation and training loads in youth football.

    In this episode Jamie discusses:

    His unique method of getting work experience in professional football. An influential experience coaching for Everton FC's disability group. His strength of building rapport and relationships with students and athletes. His research on training load and maturation monitoring at professional football academies. His research on the perceptions of training load in athletes of different maturity status. His current thought on the relationship between accelerations, decelerations and change of direction on growth related injuries.

    You can keep up to date with Jamie via his Twitter: @jay_salter and @AthleteDiscov , via Instagram: @athletediscovery and via the website www.athletediscovery.co.uk .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Helen Collins is a Sport & Exercise Scientist at the Institute of Sport and Exercise, University of Dundee.  She is currently undertaking a PhD through the University of Edinburgh, investigating resistance training as a strategy to encourage less active and/or overweight children to become more active and healthier.  During her 17 years at the University of Dundee she has lectured extensively on the University’s Sports Biomedicine degree, and more recently has become module co-ordinator for a student selected module on Exercise Deficit Disorder within the Medical Curriculum. As a BASES Accredited Sport & Exercise Scientist (physiology) and a UKSCA Accredited S&C Coach, she has delivered applied sports science in performance sport for a variety of sports and athletes. In more recent years, Helen’s interest and work programme has though re-focussed on health, specifically on the benefits of resistance training and this has led her to her current research topic.

    In this episode Helen discusses:

    How Avery Faigenbaum was key influence in her moving from performance sport to health. The incredible retention rate of her afterschool S&C program for inactive/overweight children. How the feeling of success and growing confidence drives participation in her group of children. Her PhD research on the benefits of resistance training on psychology, movement skills and body fat in children. The powerful feedback from both children and parents that reinforce the benefits of resistance training in children.

    You can keep up to date with Helen via her ResearchGate profile , or via Twitter @helen_collins1 .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Andy Taylor was a professional footballer for nearly 10 years starting at Manchester United and then moving on to Exeter City. He completed a Foundation Degree in Sports Performance at the University of Bath in Sports Performance and a First Class honours degree in Strength and Conditioning at the University of Plymouth St Mark & St John. This combined with his practical work with young athletes over the last 6 years based at Ivybridge Community College has allowed him to put this knowledge in to action.

    In this episode Andy discusses:

    Signing for Manchester United during their famous treble season and being in the environment with David Beckham, Peter Schmeichel and Ryan Gigg. The high training standards set by Sir Alex Ferguson & Eric Harrison. The introduction of a coach specifically responsible for strength & conditioning in Mick Clegg. Getting advice from Roy Keane about injury. Moving to Exeter CIty and a famous FA Cup draw. Transitioning into S&C coaching. and his role at Ivybridge College coaching both secondary and primary students. The holistic benefits of strength & conditioning for students.

    You can follow Andy's work via his website www.taylormaderehab.com/ and via his Twitter @taylormaderehab , and follow Ivybridge S&C on @ivybridgeSaC .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Andy Kirkland has been working professionally in sport for the last 10 years, initially as a sports scientist at the Scottish Institute of Sport, then British Cycling and now as a Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling. He’s been involved at every level, ranging from teaching young children to swim, working with development and performance athletes, through to providing high-performance support to international level coaches and athletes.

    As well as having a Ph.D. in Sport Science, Andy is a British Association of Exercise Sciences accredited sport and exercise scientist with chartered scientist status. His academic background, exploring mental health and wellbeing, influences the way he  think’s and attempts to solve problems. However, his experiences at the ‘coal-face’  are important to what he does. His developing expertise in behavioural change science helps him make sense of highly complex coaching environments.

    In this episode Andy discusses:

    How his experiences on council estates and in techno clubs influenced his coaching philosophy. Why health, mental health and performance should all be the same thing. Why wellbeing should not be sacrificed for performance. How High Performance sport is ruthless. Why parents are more important than coaches in the athlete's sporting journey. His 3 rules for dealing with the world of High Performance. How to decide if a training/competition environment is right or not.

    You can read Andy's article "A warts and all guide to being an athlete in a "High Performance" environment here. You can keep up to date with Andy via his Twitter account: @andykirkland71

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  • Niall MacSweeney completed his MSc at St Mary’s University. Whilst studying, he secured a position as an S&C coach at White Lodge, which houses The Royal Ballet School students aged 11-16. Niall has previously worked with a variety of sports including the University of Liverpool sports teams, London Broncos, and GB Sitting Volleyball. Niall also has a private coaching business called Energia Performance. Matt Lamarque is an S&C working with The Royal Ballet School for the last three and a half years. He completed a Masters by Research in quantifying training loads in elite adolescent ballet in a collaboration between The Royal Ballet School and St Mary’s University. He has previously worked within both male and female rugby at Richmond Rugby and male football at Leyton Orient FC, as well as a short stint in academy level cricket. 

    In this episode they discuss: 

    Their context delivering S&C to ballet students aged 11-19 and their normal weekly training load.  The evolution of ballet performance  from a delicate to a more explosive endurance performance.  The extreme number of jumps dancers complete on a daily basis and the typical injuries reported in ballet dancers.  How S&C can provide the capacity to underpin the artistry in ballet.  The barriers they had to overcome to implement S&C in a ballet setting. and the gradual change in culture. 

    You can find keep up to date with Niall via his Twitter: @NiallMacSweeney and via his Instagram: @energia_performance

    You can keep up to date with Matt via his Twitter: @mlamarqueSC and Instagram: @matt_lamarqueperformance

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Wendy Glover is a Health and Physical Education Teacher and Coach. She has dedicated her 22+ year career to approaching teen athletes as future contributors to sport through education, community involvement, and mentorship. She has written Health and Wellness, and Sport Management courses for the Ontario Ministry of Education, and many programs to support the holistic development of the athlete.

    Wendy wanted to improve the sport community experience all, this led to her creating an innovative #AthLeadership program to recruit and train teen athletes to be future coaches in the province of Ontario. Through this program AthLeaders gain many industry certifications (e.g. coaching, ethics, sport management), and dozens of volunteer community service hours in areas of sport, individualized for them. Over 400+ athletes have been through this program and have been empowered to contribute to sport in Canada.

    In this episode Wendy discusses:

    How the lack of age appropriate sporting experiences for her own children inspired her to action. Why the Win/Loss record isn't a good tool for measuring coaches. The idea and creation of the Athleadership program. What the Athleadership program entails for those involved. Giving youth a taste of different experiences to find their aptitudes and enthusiasm. Why we should be encouraging young athletes to "pay it forward" to the community and Why "You're not special" Why negative or positive perceptions of youth can become a self fulfilling prophecy. Being an "Athleader for life" and the importance of developing an identity outside of being an athlete.

    You can find keep up to date with Wendy via her Twitter account: @developathletes .

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  • Stuart Edwards or “Eddo” is the Head of Rugby at Stewarts Melville College recently winning the Scottish Schools Cup in 2019. He is also the Backs coach for the Scotland U18 National Team, as well as a current player for Heriots in the Super 6 league in Scotland.

    In this episode He discusses:

    His experiences in the National Age Grade system in Scotland at U18, 19 and 20 National Squads. How some of the negative experiences shaped his approach as a coach. Defining "success" at School and National level of the game. Why fun is the underpinning component of player progress. Why relationships supercede everything else. Teaching athletes about the on/off switch.

    You can keep up to date with Stuart via his Twitter account: @stuarted10 .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Sam's coaching background includes multiple coaching roles for AFL New Zealand, however, he has primarily been a skills coach in Rugby Union and League, specialising in kicking and high ball catching. He has worked across the youth, community and professional ranks, including the Auckland Rugby Academy and the New Zealand Warriors NRL team.

    Sam completed a Masters of Sport & Exercise at AUT University researching 1st XV rugby players’ perceptions of their coaching environment. He also worked for Auckland Rugby and was influential in changing their structure of youth sport, shifting the focus to the player experience rather than performance. In March 2020, he relocated to Melbourne becoming Coaching Content & Learning Lead for the AFL, leading the design and delivery of the coach learning content across Australia.

    Sam is passionate about the humanistic approach to sport and coaching, spending the last decade in national and regional sporting organisations across both player and coach development. As a coach, coach developer, and researcher, he brings academic research on coaching pedagogy to practitioners through adult learning strategies.

    In this episode Sam discusses:

    How negative experiences in sport shaped his own sporting journey. Remembering who you're there for. “The reason adults should look as though they are having fun, is to give kids a reason to want to grow up." The bias of coaching pathways towards senior level coaching as a measure of success. The rising professionalism in NZ Schoolboy Rugby and it's impact on the player experience. His research on the perceptions of 1st XV schoolboy rugby players in terms of environment, culture and coaching. The demands and pressure this places on the on kids' time, schooling and other commitments.

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Nathan Parnham is an Athletic Development Coach based in Sydney Australia. He has worked in various roles throughout his career in the development and professional space across both genders for close to two decades. He has recently taken up a role as head of athletic development for St Augustine’s College. He has played role in the development of a range of state, national, and professional athletes currently plying their trade in the Australian Netball League, A/W-league's, NRL, Super Rugby, Rugby7s, and the ITF Tennis Circuit.

    In this episode Nathan discusses:

    His career at the Australian Women's Rugby 7's, Paramatta Eels and 3 different schools. His mindset shift from building the physical to having an impact on individuals for life. How you will learn the most skills from the most uncomfortable environments. His new role delivering an Athleic Development framework from year 5 - 12 at St Augustine's College. The need for long term stability in Coaching staff for effective LTAD programs. Creating "The Sporting Parent" to provide a credible resource to educate and empower parents. The difference between coaching a 10 year veteran and a aspiring athlete.

    You can keep up to date with Nathan via his personal Instagram: @nathan_parnham as well as The Sporting Parent on @thesportingparent and via the website www.thesportingparent.com .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Shayne qualified with a first- class honours degree in Sports and Exercise Sciences from University of Limerick in 2010, completing his MSc in Sport Science in 2012, certifying as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in 2013. Shayne has been working in elite football for over 11 years across first team and academy squads in the Premier League, including Manchester City, Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City. He also spent several years with the Wales National Squads during international campaigns at U21 level. As the founder and director of SDM Performance, Shayne currently works with sports people independently as well as remaining a consultant for City Football Group, which is a global football organisation. As part of his role with City Football Group, he recently led the sport science department at New York City FC in the US for their pre-season. He also works with the Scottish FA as a Football Scientist and Setanta College as a Masters Lecturer. 

    In this episode Shane discusses:

    His career at Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool and Manchester City The importance of running based movement skills in football. The rise of athletes having their own personal performance staff. Being selective over what CPD resources you use and when.

    You can keep up to date with Shayne via his Instagram: @sdmperformance .

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  • Robin is currently the Men’s Pathways Athletic Performance Manager at England Rugby, having worked with the Under-20s team for 6 seasons now. Having previously held roles in the Academies at both Gloucester Rugby and Leicester Tigers, Robin has good experience working with the developing Rugby Player.

    In this episode Robin discusses:

    His involvement with England's Senior squad at the 2015 World Cup and 2016 6 Nations Grand Slam. His unique situation to experience the 14 Premiership Academies. Using the simplest method to get the biggest output with the smallest input. His philosophy of How well, How much and How fast. The importance of understanding the athlete's why, background and family situation. Bringing all the stakeholders together through clarity and transparency. Why "What you see isn't what you get" with young athletes. How every training session is a complex social interaction.

    You can keep up to date with Robin via his Twitter: @psrve and email him via robineager@rfu.com .

    Keep up to date with Athletic Evolution via our Website, Twitter and Instagram. You can leave us feedback or submit a question for future episodes here.

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  • Amy Spencer is an Accredited Sports Psychologist at Southampton FC. She has worked at the club for the last eight years ranging from 1st team players to U9’s, covering various aspects of performance to well-being. She is also currently completing a PhD in mindfulness in football. Megan Hill is a final year PhD Student at the University of Bath in collaboration with Southampton Football Club, studying age group coaches perceptions, experiences and management of male adolescent football players.

    In this episode they discuss:


    The player centred and holistic approach at Southampton.



    How the club focusses on the Psychological factors of Cohesion, Resilience and Flow.



    The initial bias for Relative Age and Maturation state at the club.



    The influence of the maturation process on match grades and coach perception of Academy football players



    The psychological demands and experiences of playing by maturation bands.



    How the club utilises Maturation monitoring to inform the timing of selection decisions.



    Integrating mindfulness practice into the Academy.


    You can keep up to date with Amy via her Twitter: @AmySportPsych and Megan via her Twitter: @Meg_Hill13 .

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