Dr Alexander Blackett

Head Of Department-Sport & Science

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

I am a Senior Lecturer in Sport Coaching at Staffordshire University, acting as the undergraduate course leader for the BSc (Hons) Physical Education and Sports Coaching degree as well as the postgraduate online MSc Sport Coaching degree. I am also an active researcher within the subject area, conducting and publishing research. I am the founder and lead for the Staffs Uni-Fied Sports Research Alliance (SUSRA), co-ordinating research projects that are designed to cover interdisciplinary research that celebrate the unifying power sport has across all communities

I was awarded a PhD by the University of Lincoln in 2017 after researching the fast-tracked career pathways of elite men’s association football and rugby union and players transitioning into high-performance coaching roles. I continue to research this area and have worked numerous organisations to assist their provision in former athlete transitions into coaching.

I am primarily a football coach, having previously been coach of Stoke City Ladies FC whilst also having experience of coaching football in New Zealand on their International Player Development Programme and across the Midwest States of the USA. Whilst retaining an interest in football, I have recently become more involved in delivering multi-skills and fundamental movement skills coaching along with delivering inclusive physical activity sessions to vulnerable groups.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Football Association Coaches Association (FACA), Member
  • International Sociology of Sport Association, Member
  • British Academy Early Career Network, Member

Academic qualifications

  • PhD - Understanding the ‘fast-track’ transition between elite athlete and high-performance coach in men’s association football and rugby union: A grounded theory – University of Lincoln (2017).

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2014).

  • First Class BA (Hons) Sports Coaching and Development. Manchester Metropolitan University – (2009).


  • Sports coaching and pedagogy
  • Sociology of sport
  • Qualitative research methods

Research interests

  1. Sport coaching education, learning and development
  2. Coach well-being and welfare
  3. Sport-related concussion management and diagnosis
  4. Under-represented groups in sport and sport coaching
  5. Sports media reporting
  6. Qualitative research methodologies

Enterprise and commercial interests

I have and continue to co-ordinate the gifted and talented multi-skills programmes for young gifted and talented athletes. I have also acted as a consultant on various national governing body of sport’s coach education programmes, particularly in the area of educating current and/or former professional athletes transitioning into post-athletic coaching careers.

I have worked with the English Premier League, British Hockey and the Australian Institute for Sport on their former athlete to coach pathway programmes.

I have offered consultancy to football academies to help them reflect on their coaching methodologies, so these reflect their stated academy philosophies and identities.

Currently, I am co-instigator on a pan-European research project investigating the advancement of women’s football, working in conjunction with European partners based in France, Spain, Finland, Poland and Bulgaria. This project examines best practice in the governance, visibility and performance aspects of women and girls’ football.

Other research projects and publications that I have supported has also contributed to various international lobby groups for improving sports-related concussion management, diagnosis and return to paly protocols.



Coaching Pedagogy

Sport and Culture

Research Methods



Effective coaching strategies

Reflective practice

Qualitative research methodologies


Daly, E., Blackett, A.D., Pearce, A.J., & Ryan, L. (2022). Protect the player, protect the game: Reflections from ex-professional rugby union players on law changes, protective equipment, and duty of care in the professional game. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 7(4). Doi:10.3390/jfmk7040091 

Forsyth, J.J., Sams, L., Blackett, A.D., Ellis, N., & Abouna, M-S. (2022). Menstrual cycle, hormone-based contraception and pregnancy in women’s European football: Awareness and understanding among players, coaches and managers. Sport in Society. Advanced online publication. Doi:10.1080/17430437.2022.2125385

Blackett, A.D. (2022). Malign and covert nationalism within British newspapers reporting of Eddie Jones’ appointment as head coach of the men’s England national rugby union team. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 57(5), 715-733. Doi:10.1177/10126902211037842

Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2022). The next logical step: An examination of elite athletes’ transitions into post-athletic high-performance coaching roles. In D. Agnew (Ed.), Athlete Transitions in Sport: Experiences in Elite Sport (pp. 129-144). Routledge. Doi:10.4324/9781003020189

Daly, E., Pearce, A.J., Blackett, A.D., & Ryan, L. (2022). Injury as an occupational hazard in professional rugby: A qualitative analysis of interviews with ex-professional rugby players. The Journal of Sport and Exercise Science, 6(1), 22-30. Doi:10.36905/jses.2022.01.04

Blackett, A.D. (2021). ‘Do you have to walk it to talk it?’: The significance of an elite athletic career in becoming a high-performance coach in men’s football and rugby union. In A. Whitehead & J. Coe (Eds.), Myths of Coaching (pp.154-166). Sequoia Books.

Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2021). Negotiating a high-performance coach identity: A critical sociological analysis of elite athletes’ transitions into post-athletic high-performance coaching careers. Sport, Education and Society, 26(6), 663-675. Doi:10.1080/13573322.2020.1787371

Barrett, G.M., Sherwin, I., & Blackett, A.D. (2021). Women rugby union coaches’ experiences of formal coach education in Ireland and the United Kingdom: A qualitative study. Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 29(1), 29-37. Doi:10.1123/wspaj.2020-0056

Daly, E., White, A.J., Blackett, A.D., & Ryan, L. (2021). Pressure: A qualitative analysis of the perception of concussion and injury risk in retired professional rugby players. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. Doi:10.3390/jfmk6030078

Graham, L., & Blackett, A.D. (2021). “Coach, or female coach?” And does it matter?: An autoethnography of playing the gendered game over a twenty-year elite swim coaching career. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. Doi:10.1080/2159676X.2021.1969998

Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2019). ‘They have to toe the line’: A Foucauldian analysis of the socialisation of former elite athletes into academy coaching roles. Sports Coaching Review, 8(1), 83-102. Doi:10.1080/21640629.2018.1436502

Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2018). “Active” and “passive” coach pathways: Elite athletes’ entry routes into high-performance coaching roles. International Sports Coaching Journal, 5(3), 213-226. Doi:10.1123/iscj.2017-0053

Blackett, A.D., Evans, A.B., & Piggott, D. (2017). Why ‘the best way of learning to coach the game is playing the game’: Conceptualising high-performance coaching pathways. Sport, Education and Society, 22(6), 744-758. Doi:10.1080/13573322.2015.1075494

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021