Adam Nichol

Research interests

Adam’s research interests focus on the sociology of coaching and officiating. Specifically, his work explores how, what, when, why, and under which circumstances coaches influence others, why football referees dropout of their roles, and the application of critical realist philosophy. The practical application of his research couples with experience of coaching within educational, participation and performance environments through Northumberland Cricket Board and the FA Centre of Refereeing Excellence, for which he has received national awards.


Adam has previously worked with the Youth Sport Trust, assisting in pitches to the Children’s Minister pertaining to key PE and sport policy. A strong advocate of the power of sport, Adam led a successful campaign to prevent the closure of Ashington Leisure Centre in 2010. He is also an active semi-professional football referee and tutor.


The purpose of Adam’s doctoral research is to obtain a greater understanding of how, when, why, and under which circumstances coaches influence others (i.e., athletes). This is being investigated through the adoption of a complex multi-method qualitative ethnographic approach within a critical realist research philosophy. His research aims to assist and inform a range of coaching stakeholders in better understanding the (complex and often subtle) influence that coaches generate.


Adam combines his research with consultancy work for the Football Association, the Hilton Northern Universities Students Cricket Elite Programme, Northumberland Cricket Board Limited and the Northumberland Young Coaches Academy, advising, developing and delivering training.

Organisational affiliations