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Professor Ben Oakley

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Profile summary

Professional biography

Ben is Professor in Sports Performance Education. He originally established the Sport and Fitness qualifications at the Open University in 2007 including innovative practices, having previously lectured at Portsmouth and Southampton Solent Universities. Formerly he worked for a national governing body, the RYA, for 8 years as National Coach in windsurfing including attending the Seoul and Barcelona Olympic Games. His teaching expertise is in online learning including developing 100+ hours of badged and MOOC (FutureLearn) courses. These have been integrated into the development of the subject area at the OU including a distinctive approach to work-related learning.

His academic research originally focused on sport policy and in particular the development of elite sport systems in different countries. More recently he has supported coach CPD workshops and free badged open courses Exploring sport coaching and psychology and Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness. His latest 2019 project has been co-authoring a National Lottery/Sport England funded Coaching others to coach  badged course for the coach developer workforce. Another digital course 'Learning from athlete and coach burnout' is being launced this year. He sits on the Advisory board for the Applied Coaching Research Journal.

A further aspect of his roles was working across the Faculty as Media fellow in developing links between education, childhood, languages and linguistics academics and media output. He has been an academic consultant with the BBC Olympic Dreams programmes and Channel 4's Chasing Perfection. Ben has been interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, numerous regional programmes and contributed to the BBC website. 

In 2014 he pulled together existing research and the patterns of 25 sporting autobiographies into a book, Podium: What shapes a sporting champion? published by Bloomsbury - see here.




How might online distance learning contribute to coach development (2018-10)
Oakley, Ben and Twitchen, Alex
Applied Coaching Research Journal, 2 (pp. 24-31)

What do Champions’ Autobiographical Accounts tell us About Athletes’ Learning? (2015-07-01)
Oakley, Ben
Olympic Coach, 26(2) (pp. 20-30)

Oral examination assessment practices: effectiveness and change within a first year undergraduate cohort (2005-04)
Oakley, Ben and Hencken, Clare
Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 4(1) (pp. 3-14)

Still playing the game at arms length? The selective re-investment in British sport 1994-1999 (2001)
Oakley, Ben and Green, Michael
Managing Leisure, 6(2) (pp. 74-94)

The production of Olympic champions: international perspectives on elite sport development systems (2001)
Oakley, Ben and Green, Michael
European Journal for Sports Management (pp. 83-105)

What makes successful sessions? (2009-07-17)
Oakley, Ben
In: Heaney, Caroline; Oakley, Ben and Rea, Simon eds. Exploring Sport and Fitness: Work-based practice (pp. 243-255)
ISBN : 978-0-415-49156-3 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Learning how to coach: the different learning situations reported by coaches (2009-07-17)
Wright, Trevor; Trudel, Pierre; Culver, Diane and Oakley, Ben
In: Heaney, Caroline; Oakley, Ben and Rea, Simon eds. Exploring Sport and Fitness: Work-based practice (pp. 219-229)
ISBN : 978-0-415-49155-6. | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Athletic Development: A Psychological Perspective (2021-07-14)
Heaney, Caroline; Kentzer, Nichola and Oakley, Ben eds.
ISBN : 9780367721022 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Exploring Sport and Fitness: Work-based Practice (2009-07-17)
Heaney, Caroline; Oakley, Ben and Rea, Simon eds.
ISBN : 978-0-415-49155-6 | Publisher : Routledge/The Open University | Published : Abingdon

The Sport and Fitness Sector: an Introduction (2008-04-02)
Oakley, Ben and Rhys, Martin eds.
ISBN : 978-0-415-45404-9 | Publisher : Open University/Routledge | Published : Abingdon