Thomas Leeder

Thomas Leeder


  • 1.51 Lawrence Stenhouse Building

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Personal profile

Academic Background

I am a Lecturer in Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy within the School of Education & Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Prior to my appointment at UEA, I worked at the University of Essex as a Lecturer in Sports Coaching & Pedagogy (2020-2022), delivering across the BSc Sports Performance & Coaching and MSc Coaching Science programmes.

I hold the following qualifications and accreditations:

  • BA Physical Education (UEA, 2015)
  • MSc Sports Coaching (Loughborough University, 2016)
  • PhD - Understanding the learning and development of sports coach mentors (UEA, 2020)
  • PG Cert in Higher Educational Practice (University of Essex, 2022)
  • Fellowship (Higher Education Academy/AdvanceHE, 2022)

Alongside my academic positions, I have previously worked as a coach and coach developer across both participation and performance settings. Some of my previous employers include Leicester City FC, Norwich City FC, and the Football Association (FA). 

Key Research Interests

My research interests primarily focus on understanding the learning and development of sport coaches and PE teachers, with a particular emphasis on critically analysing coach education, CPD, and formal coach mentoring programmes. Furthermore, I am currently involved in several research projects exploring areas such as:

  • Understanding the coaching philosophies of grassroots sport coaches in the UK
  • Understanding the coaching journeys and biographical learning of British Orienteering coaches
  • Exploring the learning and development needs of lifestyle and adventure sport coaches
  • Investigating the pedagogies and practice of remote/online/virtual running coaches
  • Examining the coach developer role in grassroots sport

The majority of my research draws upon sociological frameworks and theories of learning, while utilising qualitative research methods. To date, I have worked on previous and current research projects with several national governing bodies in the UK, including: The FA, British Dodgeball, British Orienteering, Tchoukball UK, British Cycling, and Parkour UK. 

In June 2022, my edited book with Routledge entitled Coach education in football: Contemporary issues and global perspectives was published. Each chapter, organised via a central theme, highlights a contemporary issue affecting football coach education and development within a specific country, offering insights into the contextual opportunities and challenges. The book covers essential topics including the progression of female football coaches, coaches’ perspectives towards current provision, technological and pedagogical advances, and the historical development of formal coach education. Each chapter demonstrates the complexities associated with developing football coaches within grassroots and high-performance domains, while providing recommendations for national governing bodies, policy makers, and coach developers. This book is the first of its kind to explicitly investigate football coach education globally.

I am open to establishing both internal and external collaborations with colleagues at UEA and globally. 

External Activities

  • External Examiner for Plymouth Marjon University on their BA Football Coaching & Development programme (September 2021 to September 2025).
  • External Panel Member for Programme Revalidation – BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Development (Plymouth Marjon University, June 2021).
  • External Examiner for Mr Duncan McCormick – ‘Investigation into a Head of Coaching’s construction and implementation of a coach development program within an English youth football academy’ (MRes Viva, Edge Hill University, December 2020).

Book and journal reviewer positions:

  • Reviewer of book proposals for Routledge
  • Sports Coaching Review
  • Leisure Studies Journal
  • International Journal of Sport Psychology
  • Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy
  • International Sport Coaching Journal
  • International Journal of Sport Science & Coaching

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

I am open to supervising prospectus PhD students (qualitative) who have an interest in the following research areas/topics:

  • Professional learning and development of sport coaches/PE teachers
  • Reviewing/evaluating formal coach education/CPD provision 
  • Application of social/learning theory to critically analyse sport coaching practice
  • Coaching behaviours/pedagogies/philosophies
  • Exploring contemporary issues within lifestyle/adventure sport contexts


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