John Brierley

MSc, B.Ed (Hons)

Deputy Programme Lead / Senior Lecturer

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

John Brierley


I am part of the management team which oversees the work of the Sport programmes across study disciplines within Sport & Exercise Science as well as Sport, Coaching and Physical Education and provide support for the overall vision of our programme lead and staff team. Within that specific role I act as Subject Examination Committee Chair for our undergraduate degrees as well as being heavily involved with student admissions, student mentorship, student academic progression, visits day coordination, staff recruitment and associate lecturer management. On behalf of the programme, I also investigate student appeals, complaints and disputes across all subject disciplines at the university.

My lecturing responsibilities for our undergraduate students are within the domain of sport psychology, health motivation and sport expertise.  I lead an introductory module in sport and exercise psychology at level 4, team teach an applied module in the same domain at level 5 and co-teach our Advanced Practice in Sport and Exercise Psychology class for our Honours level students.

I also lead the Level 5 module in Talent Identification and Development and contribute to the teaching of Motivating Health Behaviour which is also for our second year students. In addition I supervise independent study projects and dissertations in sport and exercise psychology with topics covering emotional resilience, relative age effects, sport expertise and psychological preparation for competition.  

I joined Oxford Brookes University in November 2009 as a Senior Lecturer in Sport, Coaching and Physical Education (SCaPE) following six years of running my own sports science business in Europe. Prior to this I had worked in secondary schools in Greater London for six years and then taught at Baylor (Texas) and Brunel Universities for one and eighteen years respectively. My former roles at Oxford Brookes include responsibilitities as Subject Coordinator for SCaPE (2010-14) and Programme Lead for Sport (2014-16). 

Areas of expertise

Sport and Exercsie Psychology with a particular expertise in the following areas:

  • Relative Age Effects
  • Emotional Resilience
  • Psychological Coping in Competitive Performance Environments

Teaching and supervision

Modules taught

Level 4

  • Human Movement and Skill in Sport (Technical development within Running and Jumping)
  • An Introduction to the Psychology of Sport and Exercise 

Level 5

  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Motivating Health Behaviour (Adversity, Stress and Adaptive Resilience within Exercise Settings)

Level 6

  • Advanced Practice in Sport and Exercise Psychology 
  • Independent Study 2
  • Dissertation

My teaching interests link to my subject specialisation with sport and exercise psychology, my experiences within sport and exercise science in professional sport and my former leadership roles within the teaching of physical education.


I supervise postgraduate candidate dissertations in organisational leadership and  management for our healthcare programmes based in Hong Kong


My research interests revolve around the psychology of competitive sport at the elite and age-related, elite "bound" levels. I have a particular interest in:

  • Emotional resilience, adversity, explanatory style and psychological wellbeing for life and sport
  • Psychological skills training, sport-specific interventions and transferable outcomes
  • Relative age effects in sport
  • Talent development and sport expertise
  • The psychology of international team management in sport 
  • Personality effects on selection, development and achievement in sport


Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

I have provided Team Leadership and Management for the following organisations and cited events:

Team Management:

  • Great Britain University Sports Assoction (World Student Games - Sheffield, UK 1991; Buffalo,USA 1993; Fukuoaka, Japan 1995: Sicily, Italy 1997; Marjorca, Spain 1999; Beijing, China 2001)
  • British Athletics (European Under 23 Championships - Turku, Finland 1999)

Overall Team Leadership:

  • England Athletics (Athletics Team, Commonwealth Games - Manchester, UK 2002; Delhi, India 2010 winning a total of 55 medals 18 of which were Gold) 


I have provided Sport and Exercise Scientist support for the following teams and organisations:

  • England Women's Hockey (1990)
  • England Under 21 Rugby (1999)
  • London Irish R.F.C. First team squad (1997 - 99)
  • Crystal Palace F.C. First team squad (1995-96, 2000-01)
  • Queens Park Rangers F.C. First team squad (1997 - 2000)
  • West Ham United F.C. First team squad (1988-89)
  • Birmingham City F.C. First team squad (2002 - 2006)

Further details

External Examiner responsibilities have been undertaken at the following universities:

  • University Wales Institute, Cardif
  • University of Wales
  • EADE University (Malaga, Spain)
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Validation Panel member responsibilities have been undertaken at the following universities:
  • EADE (Malaga, Spain)
  • Brunel University
  • Edge Hill University

Other experience

  • Head of Department of Physical Education (Arnold House School, London: 1982-85)
  • International athlete (Scotland: 1981 - 1986)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (Baylor University, USA: 1985 - 86)
  • Lecturer in Sport Sciences (Brunel University, London: 1986 - 2004)
  • Director, National Sports Development Centre (London 1991- 1994)
  • CEO, Will2Win Consultancy (Andalucia, Spain: 2004 - 2009)

Press, publicity and reviews


  • I have been interviewed by BBC lunchtime news (Talent Identification with Daley Thompson and Commonwealth Games in Manchester), Look North (World Student Games in Sheffield) as well as by Reuters and Channel 7 News Australia (Commonwealth Games in Delhi).


  • Interviews given for Talk Sport, LBC, BBC Radio Oxford and local radio in Marbella Spain on topics ranging from home field advantage, coping with competitive stress, return to competition following injury, attribution and performing successfully when the favourite to win in sport.

Other publicity

Students taught on Sport and Exercise Science courses include:

  • Richard Hill (England Rugby team, World Champions 2003)
  • Philips Idowu (Great Britain, Olympic Silver, 2008)
  • Tim Foster (GB Rowing, Olympic Gold, 2000)
  • Kate Richardson-Walsh (GB Hockey, Olympic Gold, 2016)
  • Olivia Carnegie-Brown (GB Rowing, Olympic Silver, 2016)

Players coached whilst a sport and exercise scientist:


  • Gareth Southgate, Ray Wilkins, Nicky Butt, Emile Heskey, Darren Anderton, Trevor Sinclair, Mark Hateley (England)
  • Chris Coleman, Robbie Savage (Wales)
  • Ray Stewart, David Hopkin, Dougie Freedman (Scotland)
  • Maik Taylor (Northern Ireland)
  • David Kelly, Ray Houghton (Republic of Ireland)
  • Muzzy Izzet (Turkey)
  • Christophe Dugarry (France)
  • Mikael Forsell (Finland)
  • Jesper Gronkjaer (Denmark)
  • Mario Melchiot (Netherlands)
  • Walter Pandiani (Uruguay)


  • Conor O'Shea, Malcolm O'Kelley, Justin Bishop, David Humphries, Rob Henderson (Ireland)

Managers and Coaches supported:

  • Football: John Lyall, Alan Smith, Steve Coppell, Ray Lewington, Dave Bassett, Stewart Houston, Bruce Rioch, Ray Wilkins, Gerry Francis, Trevor Francis, Steve Bruce
  • Rugby: Sir Clive Woodward, Willie Anderson, Dick Best.