Dr Christine Nash

Head of Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences (ISPEHS)


My first qualification was in Physical Education; however I emigrated to the United States shortly after graduation. My MSc., which I undertook on a scholarship in the USA, concentrated more on sport coaching, and gave me the opportunity to apply the theory with the university swim team. I found the opportunity to integrate my educational background with sport coaching has been invaluable. I have also been a National Coach, as well as a university coach, within the sport of swimming.

Since then I have been heavily involved in sport coaching and as a result my career has not always followed a ‘traditional’ route in higher education. Much of my credibility and understanding of the coaching process has been developed during my time as a national coach and this immersion within the profession has informed my subsequent career and research interests. I have worked within a number of Higher Education institutions worldwide, most recently as a Visiting Professor at Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany.

I have immersed myself in applied research, hoping to make a difference to coaches and their coaching practice. My interests are in developing coaches, through a variety of methods, encouraging them to develop expertise. I am on the research committee of the ICCE and the USCCE, both organisations committed to developing sport coaches. I have considerable experience of working with sporting organisations worldwide. I am an accredited Coach Developer.


Undergraduate teaching

Much of my undergraduate teaching centres around the coaching process

Postgraduate teaching

I am responsible for delivering postgraduate courses in Sport Coaching

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Mark Pace (started January 2018) Talent Development in Male Ballet Dancers

Chris Duncan (started January 2018) The Use of Space in Invasion Games

John Widdowson (started October 2018) Philosophy & Culture within the RFU

Amy Price (started October 2019) Learning and performance returns from using digital game design principles in sport coaching

Andrew Burns  (started June 2020) Interdisciplinary Practice in Performance Sport

Andy Grech (started October 2019) The fairy tale of professional Maltese sport:  Exploring obstacles and hindrances in local elite sport development

Jen Harris (started January 2020) A parental educational programme for parents of child athlete

Erin Sanchez (started January 2020) Developing Talent in Dance: What is needed and how are young dancers best prepared?

Past PhD students supervised

Jacki Thow (completed 2015) Asymmetries in strength & power related to swimming technique and injury

Cedric English (completed 2016) Removing the Grey – An Examination of Coaching within South African Cricket

Murray Craig (completed June 2019) Understanding the messy realities of teaching with technology in secondary school physical education in Scotland - An examination of the habits and practices of lead users

Graeme Thompson (completed September 2020) Leadership in Schools. 

Jamie Taylor (completed September 2020)) The Evolution of Excellence: Investigating progression through a talent pathway

Research summary

My current research focuses on developing sport coaches, aimed at increasing their knowledge, and subsequently the impact on their coaching practice.  I am particularly interested in the application of educational theory and practice to the field of sport coaching, and am currently involved in evaluating the Coach Developer Framework for the ICCE. I am also involved in the writing and dissemination of coach development strategies for the USCCE. The end goal of these endeavours is to create a developmental pathway for sport coaches and coach developers.

Current research interests

- Developing autonomous sport coaches - Development of expertise in sport coaching - Role of mentoring within the development of expertise initially for sport coaches but there are clear links to other domains, for example, teaching) - Communities of Practice as a Learning Environment (initially for sport coaches but there are clear links to other domains, for example, teaching) - Use of Technology in Sport Coaching

Past research interests

- Role Models in Sport (developed as a result of my research with Winning Scotland Foundation which includes Champions in Schools, Positive Coaching and Long Term Development)

View all 54 publications on Research Explorer