Professor John Sproule

Personal Chair of Physical Education


John Sproule is a physical educator with an interest in applied sport, exercise & health sciences. John started his career teaching Physical Education (PE) in UK comprehensive schools.  He then worked on a British Council, Loughborough University and Nanyang Technological University project to introduce the specialist teaching of PE in Singapore, before moving to the University of Edinburgh. Examples of consultancies include: international education PE curriculum development & assessment (IBO); coach education; and heat acclimation consultant for elite sportspeople. He is an active researcher who teaches PE, Applied Sports Science & intercalating medical students, and supervises doctoral students. 


  • BEd (Hons) Physical Education & Human Movement (Scottish School of Physical Education, Jordanhill College of Education)
  • MSc Physical Education & Sports Science (Loughborough University; funded by the 'All Saints Educational Trust')
  • PhD Exercise Physiology (Loughborough University; sponsored by 'Nike Singapore Ltd' and 'Quaker Oats/Gatorade')

Undergraduate teaching

  • MA (Hons) PE practicum supervision
  • Edinburgh Medical School SSC5A research project supervision
  • Dissertation supervision for Sports Science Medicine  (BMedSci Hons Intercalated) SSC5A
  • PGDE PE 


Postgraduate teaching

  • Paediatric factors in sport
  • Coaching children
  • Environmental Physiology
  • Dissertation supervision (UG, PGT, PGR)
  • Practicum supervision

John would be very interested in supervising PE teachers  who may be considering studying for our MSc by Research whilst continuing to teach full time in schools.

Areas of interest for supervision

I will consider supervising PhD projects in: physical education curriculum; motivation & self-regulation; coach education.

Current PhD students supervised


  • John Widdowson- Transferring life experience in the sporting environment.
  • Nicholas Lam- Development, validity and reliability of a mental fatigue protocol.
  • Mathew Hillyer- Understanding the talent development environment in youth football of an emerging nation (Singapore).
  • Liron Blajwajs- Mentalization among people with hypermobility.
  • Vanessa Vidueira- Impact of chronotype on endurance performance in adolescents.
  • Emma Qu Meijun- Life skills and outdoor learning.
  • Noor Alshammari- Talent Pathways’ Development in Women’s High School Basketball: A case study of Kuwait.

Past PhD students supervised

  • Stewart Ollis- Constructivist Expertise: a critical ecological and micro developmental perspective on developing talent
  • Christine Nash- Relative practice as a tool for developing sport coaching expertise
  • Shirley Gray- Team invasion games within the Scottish PE curriculum: Rhetoric, reality and implications for practice
  • Rosemary Mulholland- Stress in trainee teachers
  • Neil Potts- An investigation into the influence of learning strategy on the acquisition of the Olympic weightlifting clean
  • Geoff Platt- Strength training as an intervention for children with DCD
  • Danielle Bryant- Teacher stress, learned optimism and coping strategies
  • Shaun Phillips- The influence of carbohydrate supplementation on endurance capacity, sprint performance, and physiological responses to adolescent team games players to prolonged, high-intensity intermittent exercise
  • Mike Jess- Complexity theory and curriculum development
  • Anne Martin- Cognitive skills in overweight/obese preschool children
  • Julie Moote- Self-regulated learning
  • Steve Banks- Contextual interference and learning to kayak
  • Edward Hall- The coaching process - ethnography of apex women's rugby union
  • Mark Sanderson- Whole body vibration: Stimulus Characteristics and Acute Neuromuscular Responses
  • Samir Qasan- The effect of martial arts practice on self-esteem in people with visual impairment
  • Ray Bobrownicki- The efficacy of alternative sources of information to promote gross motor function in adolescents: Options available to physical educators
  • Andrew Murray- Gait-related variability: a practical recovery marker in team sport athletes
  • Wendy Timmons- Dancing with hypermobility: an exploration of the health risk and experience of generalized joint hypermobility within a classical ballet narrative
  • Zhao Cam- Unilateral resistance training in an adolescent population.
  • Sadam Altwassi- Examination of the nature of talent development environment within a Jordanian context. In collaboration With Professor Russell Martindale and Dr George Andronikos (both at Napier University).

Research summary

  • PE curriculum
  • PE pedagogy
  • Motivation in PE
  • Coach Education

Examples of recent conference:

  • 2019 IADMS. The lived experience of hypermobility in the professional dance environment. Montreal, 24-27 October.
  • 2019 ECSS. Developing the Jordanian version of the talent development environment questionnaire questionnaire for sport. Prague, 3-6 July. 
  • 2018 International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA).Physical  activity, diet and other behavioural interventions for improving cognition and school achievement in children and adolescents with obesity or overweight. Hong Kong, 3-6 June.
  • 2018 International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP). Transformational Teaching: Do student teachers in Scotland have an effect on the pupils they teach? Edinburgh, 25-28 July.
  • 2018 European College of Sport Science (ECSS). The influence of external loading on acceleration and electromyography activity during whole body vibration of varying frequencies. Dublin, 4-7 July.
  • 2016 What do sport coaches know about recovery? Symposium: Recovery and Performance, 21st-23rdSeptember, Burghausen, Bavaria, Germany.
  • 2016 Self-regulated learning in Physical Education. ASEAN Council of Physical Education and Sport (ACPES) Conference, 2nd-5thSeptember, Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.
  • 2016 Self-regulated learning in PE and Sport Pedagogy. International Sports Teaching Symposium (ISTS), 2nd-5thAugust, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • 2015 Attitudes & practices of recovery in adolescent Asian athletes. ECSS Malmo 20th annual congress of the European College of Sport Science, 24-27th June, Malmo, Sweden.
  • 2015 "In class I'm ignored and I think it is to do with my body weight". Experiences of obese adolescent girls at school. 1st Leipzig International Meeting for Interdisciplinary Obesity Research, 6-10th September, Lepzig, Germany.
  • 2015 External focus distance and level of expertise in kayak sprinting. NASPSPA, June 4-7th, Portland, Oregon, USA.
  • 2013 The effect of karate practice on self-esteem in blind adolescents: a case study. 19th InternationalSymposium of Adapted Physical Activity, 19-23 July Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 2013 The microstructure of coaching practice: what "game sense" and "athlete centeredness" actually looks like. Sport Leadership sportif 7-9th November, Calgary, Canada.
  • 2012 Investigating the development of self-regulation and motivation in young science students. International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology, Geneva, Switzerland, May 25-26.

John is a member of the Human Performance Science Research Group.

View all 92 publications on Research Explorer