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Course content

If you are an experienced high performing coach working with children or adults and want to develop your expertise, or performance coach working with talent, this course enables you to further develop and apply your knowledge, skills and competencies in your sport coaching environment. The course allows you to utilise and apply cutting edge research and technologies to shape and inform your advancing sport coaching practice.

This course represents a close working partnership between British Judo, Sports Coach UK and Sheffield Hallam. The content, curriculum design, delivery and assessment methods have been developed collaboratively to ensure it meets the needs of coaches working at this level.

The course has been designed to help coaches to evidence how their developing sport coaching practice meets the expected competencies of the UKCC Level 4 master coach, working within performance coaching. Successfully completing it enables you to use this qualification to directly evidence the academic aspects of the UKCC Level 4 award.

The course equips you with the knowledge, skills and attributes to further enhance your professional career in sport context. It augments your ability to communicate, facilitate, solve complex problems and make effective decisions.

During the course you

  • develop your skills and knowledge to be a more confident user of digital technologies and resources
  • enhance your technical, problem solving and coaching skills
  • understand how to apply your learning to your coaching environment
  • develop your psychological, biomechanical, performance analysis and physiological understanding
  • improve your analysis of your athletes performance and your interventions

If you successfully gain the postgraduate diploma you then have the option to progress to a full MSc.

The Academy of Sport and Physical Activity brings together our sport courses and our world-renowned research centre's to offer a major centre of excellence for sport industry education, research and consultancy services. Our mission is to make a national and international contribution to the advancement of sport and physical activity. We have an enviable reputation of delivering a growing programme of sport-related courses, as well as providing, through our dedicated research centres, research and consultancy services to partners.

Collegiate Hall houses some of the finest sport science laboratories in the UK, whilst our sport campus at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield is home to many of Team GB's top athletes. Our sports research is ranked fourth in the UK and we provide market-leading commercial services to a wide range of organisations and athletes.

The Centre for Sport and Exercise Science boasts one of the largest physical activity and sport-related portfolios of research expertise in the UK. It focuses on physical activity, wellbeing and performance enhancement. The centre worked closely with GB Volleyball and GB Table Tennis as they prepared for London 2012.

The course is led by Michelle Vernon-Way, an expert in sport coaching with over 20 years industry experience of bespoke development for NGB coaches.

Professional recognition

Sheffield Hallam University is accredited by the UK Coaching Standards Group to work with National Governing Bodies of Sport to deliver a UKCC Level 4 coaching programme.

Course structure

The course comprises of four learning strands which have been identified as fundamental to the development of advanced sport coaching practice. Modules are designed within these overarching strands, which are developed throughout your studies.

These learning strands are

  • psychology of performance coaching
  • biomechanics and performance analysis
  • applied physiology, nutrition and conditioning
  • professional practice
  • research and independent project (this only studied if you complete a full MSc)

Completing the PgDip awards you 120 masters level credits. The MSc is completed by a project which is research-based or an applied support project, giving you the flexibility to tailor the project to your own strengths or needs.

The vast majority of teaching is in small groups of typically less than 20 allowing for bespoke delivery.

Year one modules

  • Developing professional practice
  • Psychology of performance coaching
  • Applied biomechanics and performance analysis
  • Applied physiology, nutrition and conditioning 1

Year two modules

  • Advanced professional practice
  • Advanced psychology of performance coaching
  • Advanced biomechanics and match analysis
  • Applied physiology, nutrition and conditioning 2

Year three modules - optional MSc

  • Research methods for practice
  • Project


  • case studies
  • reports
  • presentations
  • research project thesis
  • portfolio
  • interventions


This course has been developed in conjunction with a number of leading sports organisations to meet their requirements of a practicing UKCC Level 4 master coach. The sport coaching industry is driven by the UK Coaching Framework and this course provides the ideal springboard to gain employment in this dynamic area.

Graduates from this course are current national and Olympic coaches or high performing coaches working in a variety of coaching contexts.

Possible progression or career routes include • high performance coach • national coach • national governing body (NGB) performance director • national governing body (NGB) director of coaching or coach education • coach mentor • academic teaching or research careers in the UK or internationally • further study for example professional doctorate or a PhD.

Visit the Advanced Sport Coaching Practice MSc/PgDip page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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