A review of 2016 cannot start anywhere other than with birth of my son, John ‘Maxwell’ Mills. Watching him grow over the first three months of his life has been a pleasure like no other and I have to thank the University of Chichester in supporting my leave and facilitating this experience. Although only three-months old, he should also receive some of the credit to my successful transition into parenthood, as he’s been an exceptionally contented little boy and frankly the best office mate I have ever had.
I have worked harder this year than ever before in order to continue my education, improve the standard of my research, and establish myself as a researcher of international repute. In terms of publications, this year has been somewhat hampered by a ridiculously high teaching load (more on that later). However, despite this, I have still managed to publish two manuscripts: (1) Expert Premier League soccer managers’ use of transformational leadership behaviours, and attitude towards sport integrity: An intrinsic case-study, and (2) Advancing leadership in sport: Time to actually take the blinkers off? Although the latter has only been available for a few weeks it has already generated a reasonable amount of interest and I am looking forward to hearing how others interpret the arguments raised. My first publication ‘An [AUTO]ethnographic account of constructing, deconstructing, and partially reconstructing a coaching identity’ has been steadily read throughout the year too (the fact that it made the journal’s ‘Editor’s choice collection‘ for 2015 and is open access definitely helped!) and I am hopeful that it may make the journal’s top ten most read articles in 2017. Based on the success of this manuscript, a well known publisher has approached me to write a book, but as the book hasn’t been approved yet I will refrain from going into any great detail — not least because it may not happen. I am also heartened to hear that both my [auto]ethnography and advancing leadership papers have been adopted as recommended readings by various academic departments across the UK.
I also developed some fantastic academic and industry partnerships in 2016, not least with the ever accommodating folks over at Sports Interactive. We have been working together on a number of very interesting projects and the first publication from this collaboration should be accessible early in 2017. I have also been fortunate to receive funding (as a Co-Investigator) on a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) funded project examining student athlete’s attitudes towards illicit performance enhancing drug use. Between these projects, and the research I had previously completed as part of my PhD, I have five manuscripts in review or revision that should hopefully be published shortly. I also have data collection finished for a further four manuscripts that I’ll look to finish, submit and share in the first quarter of 2017. There is most definitely more to come!
As mentioned earlier, my colleagues and I were fortunate to be awarded $67,500 from the World Anti-Doping Agency earlier this year. Helping with the submission of this grant application was great experience and I am looking to build on this and that of my other successful Leadership Foundation in Higher Education application in 2014 to generate further research funds in 2017. I have already identified two calls that are due in quarter one and have made securing research funding my primary focus for the coming year.
As previously eluded to, my teaching load was tough in 2016 and quality undoubtedly suffered at times. I wouldn’t wish any first full-time position lecturer be placed in the situation I found myself (i.e., lecturing for between 14-21 hours per week — exc. prep., marking, tutorials, and everything else that goes with the role), but lessons have been learned and I won’t allow myself to be spread so thin again in future. Despite the challenges I was able to redesign an existing module (i.e., Psychology in the Coaching Process) and introduce a new stats component to our 40-credit level five research methods module. It terms of the latter, recording the videos was incredibly time consuming, but with the support of a valued colleague, we managed to create interactive content that I hope addresses a stark gap in our student’s education and helps to support them into level six.
I was recently appointed to the editorial board of Frontiers in Psychology (Sport Psychology and Movement Science) and look forward to contributing there in 2017. Beyond Frontiers, I mainly conducted reviews for: (1) The Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, (2) Psychology of Sport and Exercise, and (3) Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health this year and look forward to working with these journals and others in 2017.
Looking back at this review, I can see that my memory has been influenced by serial position effect. That said, I think most of the ‘big’ stuff has been covered. Thanks to the family, friends, and colleagues who made 2016 a memorable year. Lastly, if in the unlikely event that you follow both myself and Tom Stafford on Twitter, you will have noticed that I have unashamedly ripped off the format here. I don’t deny it and encourage you to view his review too — just don’t compare our research outputs (spoiler, I currently suck, but am hoping my publication record will improve in 2017!).