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Physical and psychological preparation of elite athletes: sharing learning across elite sailing, road cycling and football

PhD project title

Physical and psychological preparation of elite athletes: sharing learning across elite sailing, road cycling and football

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions


Athletes use different methods to optimise their physical and psychological preparation for sport participation and performance. These methods and approaches can involve nutritional supplementation, altitude training, sleep optimisation and weight management, to name but a few. How do these methods compare between the sports of sailing (America’s Cup), road cycling (Team Ineos professional cycling team) and football (OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport) and is there shared learning which can take place between the sports?


The first part of this PhD project will involve describing current practice across the three sports (all within the umbrella of Ineos Sport), then undertaking a systematic review of the literature to develop best practice guidelines for physical and psychological preparation within sport. This review will be used to share learnings, including their implementation, across the three sports of Team Ineos and develop physical and psychological preparation guidelines for the athletes across the sporting disciplines. This review will also consider monitoring for relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) and how this can be prevented and then managed in elite sport.


This project is being supported by the international brand of Team Ineos and is truly interdisciplinary (involving medical, nutrition, psychological, coaching and therapy departments), intersectoral (working between professional sport teams, Universities and sport manufacturers) and international (working with the sporting teams of sailing, road cycling and football, which are based and compete around the world).    

Key words/descriptors



Physical and psychological preparation for sport; RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport); road cycling; sailing; America’s Cup; football; soccer; multi-disciplinary.

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

  • Information Technology,
  • Life Sciences

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor:        Dr Neil Heron                                                                      School: Medicine, Centre for Public Health

Second Supervisor:   Professor Michael Donnelly                                             School: Medicine, CPH

Third Supervisor:                                                                                                   Company:

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

Team Ineos

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:



Team Ineos will provide access to their sport teams of sailing (America’s Cup), road cycling (Team Ineos professional road cycling team) and football teams (OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport). This will include access to the different professionals and departments, including external partners such as sport equipment manufacturers, involved in supporting the physical and psychological preparation of these sports.


Profile of the non-HEI partner and the nature of the relationship.    


Team Ineos are an international company and the PhD candidate will have a placement opportunity with the different sporting teams involved in this brand. Indeed this project will involve working closely with the different sporting teams of Team Ineos and the project has the opportunity to change the teams’ current practise in terms of physical and psychological preparation for their athletes.

Research centre / School

Centre for Public Health

Subject area

Medicine (sport medicine and science)