Elite Coaching Practice MSc

Elite Coaching Practice MSc

School of Sport and Health Sciences


Post- graduate





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Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400
Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

  • Duration:

    Two years part-time

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Mixed Mode, Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The Postgraduate Elite Coaching Practice programme is an exciting collaboration between UCLan and Pentagon Sport (the Rugby Football League, English Hockey Board, English Table Tennis Association, English Basketball Association). This successful partnership has seen this postgraduate diploma course recognised as the first endorsed level 4 UK Coaching Certificate. If you hold responsibility or interest in developing and improving your team’s performance, as either a coach or manager, the Elite Coaching Practice course is for you.

There are two possible pathways that you can choose. The first is elite performance, and focuses on the development of the very best performers and maximising their potential in competition. The second pathway, talent development is focused on maximising the development of athlete throughout the talent pathway, from children to elite athletes.

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Entry Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree or equivalent
  • Working towards /completed a UKCC level 3
  • Applicants where English is not the first language need to demonstrate their ability in the English language through obtaining an IELTS score of 6.5 or above across all competencies, or equivalent.

Programme at a Glance

The modules that feature on the programme have been carefully devised using several industry partners to develop cognitive skills in a number of areas relevant to Sports Coaching and ensure a blend of theoretical and practical issues designed to increase awareness of, and enhance and improve application to population specific environments. Furthermore, the curriculum has been designed to meet the needs of the UK Coaching Framework and aligns closely with the skills and knowledge required for UKCC level 4.

Modules include:

  • The Sporting Environment
  • Issues in Performer Development
  • Coaching Practice
  • Planning for Development
  • Planning for Competition
  • Coaching Analysis
  • Work based learning

Further Information

The MSc Elite Coaching Practice is a dynamic course that aims to develop your critical understanding of the theories and practice of Sports Coaching. The UK Coaching Framework is well underway and the predominant aim of this strategy is to become the number one coaching system in the World by 2016. One feature of the implementation plan is the development of the UK Coaching Certificate. In order to achieve the high standards expected of such a system, it will require highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals to develop it over the next 5-6 years. Consequently the main emphasis of this programme is placed on developing a range of intellectual, professional, managerial and transferable attributes that are essential for the modern sports coach.

The underpinning philosophy of the Elite Coaching Practice programme is to create an education which is intellectually and academically challenging but is also clearly focused on the vocational needs of the sports coaching industry, generating practitioners who can challenge and develop existing systems and processes. It aims to challenge current practice and provide a platform to experiment and innovate. The Elite Coaching Practice programme has been designed to provide a high quality educational experience for existing UKCC level 3 coaches within the sports sector. Emphasis throughout the programme is therefore placed on developing your critical reflective and analytical skills from both a theoretical and applied perspective.

This course has been designed to thoroughly prepare you for a diverse range of career opportunities, from leading international expeditions, coaching and performance enhancement to sports management, public services and a wide range of roles within the outdoor leadership industry. Students and graduates have gone on to work in New Zealand, the Himalayas, USA and India, while others have opted to continue their studies at postgraduate and master’s level.

You will have a wealth of opportunities to work both at home and overseas during your time at UCLan. Each autumn, major employers such as PGL, Acorn, Camp America and CCUSA recruit directly from the cohort offering students the opportunity to have summer experience guaranteed by late February. CCUSA offer students the chance to sign up for skill specific placements with incremental responsibilities and the opportunity to apply for internships upon graduation.

At UCLan, there are well-defined postgraduate progression routes for our students:

There is a Master’s degree in Sports Coaching with a specialisation in Adventure Sports. This gives you the opportunity to develop your coaching in a specific area, such as climbing or kayaking, while at the same time studying coaching within a community of peers from others sports. This is designed to emphasise coaching as a discipline and allow for networking beyond the outdoor sector.

There are also two doctoral routes - one is a traditional PhD and the other a professional doctorate or DProf within the Institute of Coaching and Performance. The latter is an innovative approach to Level 8 study with an emphasis on practice-based expertise.

The highlight for me was the cross sport observation of my coaching which gave a real insight into the sport of athletics into the training of my players.

Mark Lloyd

Coaching Practice

This module aims to enable the students to identify their own coaching behaviours, critically self-reflect upon their current coaching practice, and critique their own coaching philosophy in order to develop more effective coaching practice. They will study aspects of sports psychology in order to allow them to explore ways of developing successful coach-athlete relationships.

Planning for Development

This module will focus more on the issues of planning and preparation to meet the individualised needs of participants in a talent development programme. This will range from session development through to global training systems. A focus will be on how people learn and the associated pedagogical approaches as well as the integration of lifestyle factors into performance development plans.

Planning for Competition

This module examines the range of factors that a coach needs to consider in order to plan successfully for his participants, embracing a thorough understanding of the theory and practice of periodisation. It takes this further to the examination of competition preparation to ensure that all performers maximise their potential in games and competition.

Coaching Analysis

To enable students to apply theory to practice via a sustained period of analysis of their coaching delivery, and to demonstrate a creative and innovative approach to coaching which leads to effective coaching programmes. Students should demonstrate the ability to adjust programmes in response to this analysis, and to develop successful working relationships with other related professions.

Work based learning

To give the coaches the opportunity to utilise theoretical and practical knowledge developed within their programme and to apply techniques of reflective learning to the work experience in order to ensure that learning is based upon both a sound theoretical basis and a robust practical application.

The Sporting Environment

This module examines a number of contemporary issues in coaching and sport, eg the impact of government policy and legislation, sport and the media, sport and the law; equity in sport, talent identification and development and the use of ergogenic aids in sport. Students will study issues relevant to all sports within the group but will also experience interventions with specific relevance to their own sport. They will analyse the structures and policies of their own sport and identify potential constraints / opportunities for their own practice.

Issues in Performer Development

This module will focus on the systems and environments created to maximise performer development. It will consider the relationships between the coach, performer and other influential stakeholders involved in the development process. Moreover, the key factors that occur during a performer’s development will be discussed from a physiological, psycho-social and skill development perspective.

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

Fees 2020/21

Full-time: N/A
Part-time: TBC

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Professional Accreditation

Pentagon Sports is made up on 4 national Governing Bodies (formerly five) Rugby League, Table Tennis, Hockey and Basketball. In enrolling on the MSc there is an option for you to works towards your UKCC level 4. For further information regarding this award please contact Arvinder.

Learning Environment and Assessment

Please note that all modules will be assessed. You are expected to attempt all required assessments for each module for which you are registered, and to do so at the times scheduled unless authorised extensions, special arrangements for disability, or extenuating circumstances allow you to defer your assessment. The timing of submission for the assessments undertaken as part of this award will be agreed through mutual negotiation between you and your director of studies. Once this has been agreed, you are urged to manage your time effectively so that you are able to meet the deadlines.

The benefits of this course so far is that it stimulates your mind and makes you think about your own coaching practice and gets you to evaluate what you are doing.

Kieron Purtill