I received my B.Sc. in Psychology and Childhood Development from the University of Suffolk in 2011 and my Ph.D. from the the University of Birmingham in 2015. Currently, I am a lecturer in the School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Essex. I also head up the Developing Young People through Sport (DYPS) Research Group and am Director of the Team Research Lab.
My training lies at the intersection between Social and Developmental Psychology and my research examines ways we can use sport and team environments to positively affect the development of young people. I am particularly interested in the development of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and mechanisms. This includes research on values, virtues, norms, practices, identities, and the psychosocial mechanisms that combine to regulate behaviour. I have previously held Chartered status with the British Psychological Society (although I have let it slide this year) and am a current Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Before becoming a lecturer, I aspired to be a football coach and worked as a community and academy coach for more than a decade. As a coach, I worked for two professional football clubs, a range of semi-professional clubs, and in the United States for Major League Soccer. Although my primary focus is participation and grass roots, I do occasionally work in performance sport. This has primarily been around anti-doping education, leadership development, athlete well-being, and talent identification/development. As a researcher, I have been fortunate to work with two international football managers, English Premier League and Football League clubs, and to have my work funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency twice. My research has also been funded by the British Academy, Leadership Foundation for higher Education, and a range of other organisations. I have also had the privilege to work with organisations such as the League Managers Association, Kick It Out, Sports Interactive, and a host of other sport-based companies and charities. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of working with Football Beyond Borders, which is a UK-based football charity. I really enjoy this aspect of the job and am happy to work with organisations who do meaningful work or are seeking to rigorously test their ideas.
I am an avid supporter of Open Science and founded SportRχiv (The Open Access Subject Repository for Sport, Exercise, and Health Research) in 2017. I was also elected as the inaugural Executive Chair of the Society for Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology (STORK) between 2019-2020 and continue to serve on the Executive Board. I am the Co-Editor in Chief at Registered Reports in Kinesiology, a Section Editor at Communications in Kinesiology, and am on the Editorial Board of Science and Medicine in Football.
As a lecturer, I have worked at five UK-based Higher Education Institutions and developed somewhere in the region of 15 to 20 modules. I currently lead modules on Social Psychology in Sport and Exercise; and Masterclasses in Coaching (Level 7), and Teaching and Learning through Sport (Level 6). I also supervise eight postgraduate research students (including five PhD candidates), seven undergraduate dissertation students, and an as yet defined cohort of taught masters students – most of whom make up the members my lab.
Outside of work, I wrote a book for novice sports coaches in the summer of 2019 called ‘First-Time Sports Coach’. The book is now available on Amazon and through your local bookstore. I plan to make this open access once time permits. I also co-authored a charity fundraising children’s book for my late father called ‘Dipper the Duck’. I enjoy writing children’s stories for my own children and have a series that I have been working on since 2019 that combines my passions for psychology and sport. I hope to release the first of these books in 2021 – we will see!
Thanks for your interest and for making it this far. If you’d like to get in touch to discuss any aspect of what I have written here, please feel free to send me an email (JohnP.Mills[at]outlook[dot]com). Please also feel free to explore the rest of my website where you will find open access versions to nearly all my published research, podcast episodes, details of ongoing projects, and some free lectures I uploaded to support those searching for CPD opportunities during UK Lockdown in 2020.
PhD, Psychology of Sport, 2015
University of Birmingham
BSc, Psychology and Childhood Development, 2011
University of Suffolk
Funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency
Funded by BA/Leverhulme
Funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency
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