Author Archives: Caroline Heaney

Join Our Team: Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Coaching

Salary: £40,792 – £48,677
Location: Milton Keynes
Reference: 15260
Closing date: 27 November 2018 (5pm)

 

We are seeking an enthusiastic Lecturer to join our vibrant team of nine academic staff involved in writing online/print materials, overseeing online teaching and engaging in research that connects with our growing BSc (Hons) in Sport, Fitness and Coaching (around 2,700 students). You will be able to teach a range of sport and exercise related topics and work collaboratively with colleagues to develop high impact text, video and audio resources for students and wider public engagement.

You will join a team which has created an innovative Sport, Exercise and Coaching curriculum. We would welcome applications from specialists in a particular field of sport and exercise, but you will be expected to write some teaching materials outside your subject area. You will contribute to our existing curriculum and potential new curriculum (e.g. new modules and qualifications).

You must have a higher degree in Sport and Exercise Science or a related field, some published research, and a detailed knowledge of teaching this in sport, exercise or coaching. You will have an understanding of distance learning; an ability to write clearly for a diverse student audience and have proven experience of teaching in higher education.

Job Related information (including person specification)

Information about Sport and Fitness qualifications at The Open University

Information about the Sport and Fitness team at The Open University

Click here for more information and to apply

 

Student Induction 2018/19: Student Hub Live

On 25th September 2018 the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport held an online induction event for Open University students in Student Hub Live. If you missed any of the sessions you can catch up with them below.

The School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport

In this opening video associate heads of school Eric Addae-Kyeremeh, Liz McCrystal and Tyrrell Golding welcome you to the induction event.

Beyond Trivial: What Does Studying Sport Reveal?

In this session OU sport and fitness academics Ben Oakley, Jessica Pinchbeck and Alex Twitchen explore why sport and fitness is worth studying.

Study like a World Class Athlete

In this session OU sport and fitness academics Ben Langdown, Simon Penn and Simon Rea look at how you can  apply the strategies of top athletes to your studies.

Other Sessions

In addition to the sessions above led by members of the OU sport and fitness team there were several other sessions run by colleagues which are relevant to sport and fitness students. These can be viewed below.

Using the OU Library

Tutors and Tutorials

The Student Support Team

Critical Thinking

Debate – The purpose of higher education is to provide knowledge

 

To view some of the other Student Hub Live sessions led by the Open University Sport and Fitness Team click on the link below:

Sport and Fitness Student Hub Live Sessions

 

 

 

Review of the Competing in the Dark: Mental Health in Sport Conference, March 2018

On 21st March 2018 we held our third annual sport and fitness conference, which explored the important topic of mental health in sport. By chance the conference coincided with the announcement that the government would be putting in place a mental health action plan for elite athletes. This timely event fuelled the enthusiasm for the topic before the day had even begun. We were joined by top class presenters and delegates from a wide range of backgrounds which led to some rich discussions on mental health.

MORNING SESSION

The morning session saw three diverse presentations from three of our keynote speakers. These presentations allowed us to examine mental health from the perspective of the athlete, researcher and professional body.

Keynote 1: Helen Richardson-Walsh, MBE
Reflections on a career in elite sport

The day kicked off with and inspiring and often emotional presentation from 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Helen Richardson-Walsh.

Keynote 2: Jessie Barr, University of Limerick
Mental health stigma within an Irish sport context

Next up was our our invited PhD student speaker Jessie Barr who shared her research exploring mental health in elite athletes. Jessie’s presentation saw her draw on her fairly unique position of being a both a researcher and an Olympian.

Keynote 3: Richard Bryan, Rugby Players’ Association
Lift the weight: A player association perspective on mental health in professional sport

In our final keynote presentation before lunch Richard Bryan shared some of the the positive work that is being done to support the mental well-being of rugby players.

 

AFTERNOON SESSION

The afternoon session started with the parallel sessions where a wealth of diverse and informative presentations took place. These were followed by the poster presentations. Congratulations to Emily Lake (Career ending injury experiences of professional rugby players: A loss perspective) for winning the prize for best poster (sponsored by Switch the Play).

The day ended with our final keynote session from Dr Kitrina Douglas and Dr David Carless ‘“I couldn’t be successful without it being the most important thing”: The impact of stories on mental health in sport‘. This innovative session explored mental health in sport using stories and narrative case studies. The session was highly impactful and a fitting end to what was excellent day thanks to all of our presenters and delegates.

Click on the links below to view other posts about the Competing in the Dark Conference.

Conference: Competing in the Dark – Mental Health in Sport, The Open University, Milton Keynes, 21st March 2018

Competing in the Dark Conference Flyer

 

Join our team: Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Salary: £39,992 – £47,722
Location: Milton Keynes
Reference: 14942
Closing date: 24th August 2018 (5pm)

We are seeking an enthusiastic Lecturer to join our vibrant team of nine academic staff involved in writing online/print materials, overseeing online teaching and engaging in research that connects with our growing BSc (Hons) in Sport, Fitness and Coaching. You will be a specialist in sport and exercise psychology, with a good knowledge of a range of other sport and exercise related topics, including coaching, and be willing to work collaboratively with colleagues to develop distinctive distance learning materials for students and wider public engagement.

You will join a team which has developed an innovative approach to Sport, Exercise and Coaching education based on our expertise in distance education and will contribute to the maintenance of our existing curriculum and potential new curriculum (e.g. new modules and qualifications).

You must have a higher degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology or a related field, an established research profile, and an excellent knowledge of approaches to studying this area. You will have an understanding of distance learning; an ability to write clearly, sometimes outside of your subject area, for a diverse student audience and have proven experience of teaching in higher education.

Job Related Information (including person specification)

Information about Sport and Fitness qualifications at The Open University

Information about the Sport and Fitness team at The Open University

Click here for more information and to apply

 

What do the Numbers Really Mean? Interpreting England’s Match Statistics at the World Cup

By Alex Twitchen

It won’t have escaped most people’s attention that the World Cup begins on Thursday 14th June with Russia, the tournament hosts, playing Saudi Arabia.  England begin their campaign on Monday 18th June against Tunisia with a more muted sense of expectation than before.  As in previous tournaments England’s matches will be dissected by an army of pundits ready to offer their expert verdict on the team’s performances, but during this World Cup every pass, movement and attempt on goal will be scrutinised and supplemented by an increasing array of statistics that try to provide a more insightful analysis of each game.  Whether on television, newspapers or through social media you will find England’s performances measured by such things as: time in possession of the ball, number of shots attempted, the quality of these shots, percentage of completed passes, number of corners and free-kicks awarded or conceded, distance covered by each player, and the types of passes between players.  But what do these statistics really mean, how, as spectators and fans, might we interpret these numbers and use them to inform our own verdict on England’s performances?  In this blog I will outline two of the most commonplace statistics and show why we should treat them with a degree of scepticism if we really want to know how well or badly England have played.

Time in possession of the ball

One of the most common metrics used is time in possession of the ball.  Since the inauguration of the Premier League in 1992 the title winning team have been in possession of the ball for an average of about 55% to 60% of the time across all their games during the entire season.  Leicester’s amazing 2015-16 title performance is the exception since they won the league averaging just 44% of possession.  During the 2017-18 season Manchester City averaged just under 72% of possession but Swansea were relegated despite averaging 45% of possession which was more possession than 7th placed Burnley (44%), 10th placed Newcastle (42%) and 15th placed Brighton (44%).  Putting this another way Swansea were relegated having had more possession during the season than Leicester had when they won the title two years earlier.

Whilst having more possession of the ball is important, it is not necessarily a reliable measure of success.   Arsenal fans might appreciate this observation when their team lost 3-1 at home to Manchester United last December with Utd being in possession of the ball for just 27% of the game (https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/arsenal-fc_manchester-united/statistik/spielbericht/2872256).

If we require a further lesson we should look back to the last European Championships when England lost to Iceland having had possession for 68% of the game and making twice the number of passes.  It is possible that England could, like Leicester, defy the numbers and win the World Cup having had less possession over the course of the tournament than their opponents.  This is unlikely, but we should exercise caution in assuming that having more possession of the ball is a straightforward indicator of a successful performance.

The number of successful passes completed

Another popular metric that you may see concerns the percentage of passes each player and the team successfully completes.  As with percentage possession time the number of successfully completed passes can be mis-leading because it does not identify the type of pass, where on the pitch the pass was made or the extent to which the pass helped to create, either directly or indirectly, a goal scoring chance.  Take this as an example, a Centre-Back has a pass completion rate of 85%, on face value this seems pretty good but when we look more closely at the passes we see that they are predominantly short passes played backwards and sideways when not under any pressure from an opponent and unlikely to help create a goal scoring chance.  Compare this to another Centre-Back whose pass completion rate is only 50% but many of these completed passes have helped to create a better attacking threat and led to more goal scoring attempts.  In this example you begin to wonder about the value of the metric since it tells us very little about the outcome of the actual passes completed.

Final thoughts

This World Cup and England’s performance, like no other previous tournament, will be dissected, analysed and examined through the application of statistical metrics.  Yet, as with any form of statistical analysis, we should ask important questions about what the numbers mean and how they might otherwise be interpreted.  What seems an impressive number could actually distort our understanding of what is really happening on the pitch.  The increasing use of statistics in football is certainly welcomed and provides some different insights into the game, but we should also view them from a critical and sceptical perspective and not let these numbers dominate our interpretation and understanding of the game.

Student Story: John Curd (part 2)

Back in 2016 we featured John Curd in one of our ‘student stories’. John has a truly inspirational story and shows how studying with the OU can really turn your life around. John has now completed his BSc (hons) in Sport, Fitness and Coaching and recently attended his graduation ceremony. As you can see from the photographs he had a great day. As one of our older graduates John is proof that’s it’s never to late to achieve your dreams. We are very proud John and all of our sport and fitness graduates. If you have recently graduated and would like to share your graduation photos and/or tell us what your graduation day was like please contact us at WELS-Sports@open.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read part 1 of John’s student story click here.

To read all of our student stories click here.

Join our Team: Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Coaching

We are seeking an enthusiastic Lecturer to join our vibrant team of nine academic staff involved in writing online/print materials, overseeing teaching activities and engaging in research/scholarship that connects with our growing BSc (Hons) in Sport, Fitness and Coaching. You will have good knowledge of a range of sport and exercise related topics and be willing to work collaboratively with colleagues to develop high quality distance learning materials for students and for wider public engagement.

You will join a team which has developed an innovative approach to Sport and Fitness education based on our expertise in distance education, and will contribute to the maintenance of our existing curriculum and potential new curriculum developments (e.g. new modules, Masters degree, higher/degree level Apprenticeship).

You must have a higher degree or equivalent professional knowledge in Sport and Fitness or a related field and a good understanding of approaches to studying this topic. You will have an understanding of distance learning; an ability to write clearly and cogently for a diverse student audience and have some experience of teaching in higher education.

Job Related Information (including person specification)

Information about Sport and Fitness qualifications at The Open University

Information about the Sport and Fitness team at The Open University

Click here to apply

Closing date: Thursday 16th April 2018 (5pm)

 

Competing in the Dark: Mental Health in Sport Conference

** Registration for the conference is now closed, but we are hoping to provide a live stream of keynote speakers for OU staff and students on the day here and we will share some videos from the conference on this blog after the event **

If you have already registered for the conference, don’t forget to make your payment!

For more information please click here

To register for the conference please click here

To view the conference booklet and programme please click here

To download an abstract submission form  click here (completed forms should be sent to WELS-Sports@open.ac.uk)

To download a copy of this flyer  click here

Conference: Competing in the Dark – Mental Health in Sport, The Open University, Milton Keynes, 21st March 2018

On Wednesday 21st March 2018 the Open University Sport and Fitness Team will be hosting their 3rd annual conference. This year’s conference will be exploring the contemporary issue of mental health in sport.

While top level athletes are often idolised and portrayed as figures of supreme physical and mental strength, more and more are speaking out about the mental health challenges they have faced. This conference seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues in sport and explore contemporary research in the field and strategies to support athletes.

Confirmed speakers

  • Olympic Gold Medallist (hockey) Helen Richardson-Walsh
  • Kitrina Douglas and David Carless (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Richard Bryan (Rugby Players’ Association)
  • Jessie Barr (University of Limerick)

Click here to view the conference booklet and programme

Registration

** Registration for the conference is now closed, but we are hoping to provide a live stream of keynote speakers for OU staff and students on the day here and we will share some videos from the conference on this blog after the event **

To register for the conference please complete the online registration form on the link below. Details on how to pay for the conference can be found here.

Online Registration Form

The delegate fees are listed below:

  • Standard = £110
  • Early bird = £100 (available up to Friday 12th January 2018)
  • Student = £50
  • OU Student = £20

(fee includes lunch and refreshments)

Oral and poster presentations

Academics, researchers, students and professionals are invited to submit abstracts for oral or poster presentations that relate to mental health in sport. We are particularly interested in submissions that relate to the negative impact of sport on mental health, rather than those that focus on sport and exercise as a strategy to improve mental health.

Please submit your abstract (maximum of 250 words) on the form below to:
WELS-Sports@open.ac.uk

Competing in the Dark Conference – Abstract Submission Form

  • Deadline for oral presentation abstracts = Friday 5th January 2018
  • Deadline for poster presentation abstracts = Sunday 4th February 2018

 

There is a prize worth £100 for the best poster presentation (sponsored by Switch the Play)

Advertising opportunities

Opportunities are available to advertise in the conference programme and abstracts booklet, which will be provided to all delegates. For more information on this please contact WELS-Sports@open.ac.uk

Conference updates

 

To keep up to date on conference developments please follow us on Twitter @OU_SportConf