Thomas Leeder


  • 1.51 Lawrence Stenhouse Building

  • EDU

Accepting PhD Students

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), where I am also the lead for the Sport, Health, & Education research group. 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, and British Orienteering.

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. 

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

Media Expertise

  • Sport
  • Exercise
  • Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or