Dr Simon Phelan

Senior Lecturer in Sport, Coaching, and Physical Education

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


I joined Oxford Brookes as a Senior Lecturer within the Sports Coaching and Physical Education team (SCaPE) in August of 2017. Prior to this I held lectureship and teaching posts at The University of Northampton, and the University of Birmingham, respectively. 


Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

My teaching interests link to both my academic specialism in the field of the coach education/development, and my experiences as an athlete and coach. I currently teach across a range of modules on the Sport, Coaching and Physical Education degree programme, including modules on coaching pedagogy sports development, and professional practice in sport.

Modules taught

  • U76116The Sport and Exercise Practitioner 
  • U76109 Sport Pedagogy
  • U76139 Professional Practice in Sport Coaching
  • U76143 Sports Development


Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Josh Eales Changing the rules of the game: A longitudinal investigation on the implementation of ecological dynamics within a Premier League football club Active


My research interests revolve around the development of professional coaching knowledges and the role of organisational culture in shaping learning engagements. I have a particular interest in:

  • The transient nature of the professional coaching workforce
  • Socially informed learning identities amongst elite coaches 
  • The marco-structures features of sport and their impact on coach development 
  • The theory of practice architectures as a lens through which to examine behaviour

Research group membership

  • Member of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity Research Group (SPEARG)
  • Member of Culture, Identities and Division Research Group (CID)

Research grants and awards

  • 2016 - Present, Youth Sport Trust – Project: PE2020 Active Healthy Minds Evaluation Project (PI: Prof Judith Sixsmith, Co-Pi Dr Simon Phelan, Co-Pi Dr Florence Kinnafick, Co-Pi Dr Nathan Smith. Value: £75000
  • 2015 - Research Grant Support Fund (University of Birmingham) - Project: ‘What is the ‘Value Added’ of Olympians in Society? A life-history approach to assessing the impact of Olympic Values’ (PI: Dr Jonathan Grix’ Co-PI: Dr Simon Phelan) Value: £2960
  • 2013 - Awarded U21 (Universitas 21) PhD scholarship to travel to Brisbane and work with leading academics at the University of Queensland and the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport).
  • 2010 - Awarded a 1+3 ESRC (Economic Social Research Council) PhD studentship with one year of research training.




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