I am Dr John Mills and I work as a Lecturer in Sport Psychology and Coaching at the University of Essex, UK. I achieved a PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2015 and a degree in Psychology and Childhood Studies from the University of Suffolk in 2011. I am a British Psychological Society Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and member of the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology. I am also an avid campaigner for changes in the academic publishing industry and in 2017, I founded SportRχiv: the World’s first open access subject repository for Sport, Exercise, Performance, and Health Research.
My research interests revolve around four overlapping themes: (1) Leadership, (2) Coaching, (3) Group Dynamics, and (4) Moral Development and Character. Beyond the broad themes, I am interested in the following topics (see figure).
My primary methodological expertise lies in the indirect assessment of bias (i.e., Implicit Social Cognition). My research currently focuses on how to best support coaches and sports organisations to develop their players both as athletes and people. However, I also conduct research that examines attitudes towards prohibited forms of performance enhancement, how biases affect the selection and recruitment of both athletes and coaches, and how identity influences behaviour.
Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to receive support from a range of funding agencies and charitable organisations. These include the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the British Academy/Leverhulme, Make It Happen Foundation, The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and others. In addition to financial support, the following organisations have supported my research by providing access to members or data: The League Managers Association (LMA), Sports Interactive Games, and Kick it Out.
The manuscripts generated through this support and my publications more broadly can be found here and a full list of my publications can be found at the bottom of this page. Some of the work I am proudest of can be found here (Development and initial validation of an indirect measure of transformational leadership integrity) and here (Advancing leadership in sport: Time to ‘actually’ take the blinkers off?). My work has also been featured by a range of media outlets including The Times, iNews, BBC News, BBC World Service, and ITV News. You can access my University of Essex profile here, which has access to more of my publications, teaching experience, and public engagement work.
Potential collaborators and PhD candidates looking to join either the research group I lead (i.e., Youth Development Through Sport at the University of Essex) or the Lab I Co-Founded with Dr Ian Boardley at the University of Birmingham (i.e., the Performance Enhancement Lab) can contact me here or on Twitter (@jpmillsphd). I am also happy to put potential PhD candidates in contact with my current/former postgraduate students so you can get an idea of how I work.
Outside of academia, I have worked for a range of Premier League and professional football clubs, sports organisations, charities, schools and colleges. During my ten plus years of working as an academy, community, and schools football coach, player development officer, multi-sports coach, and teaching assistant I have always followed the basic mantra that our role as coaches is to maximise the potential of our athletes in terms of their development both inside and outside of sport. I currently work with the players and coaching staff at three English Football League academies and one charity examining everything from talent identification, leadership in sport and coaching efficacy, through to character and life skill development. However, I would like to do more. I am passionate about improving the lives and opportunities of children, adolescents and young people, so if you work for an organisation that shares my mission — be it in sport or elsewhere — please get in touch. I often have resources available (e.g., access to money, students, or both) and if I believe I can support your organisation or project, I will do my utmost to find a way to make time to help.
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 40 , pp. 14-15, 2018.
Development and initial validation of an indirect measure of automatic transformational leader integrity Inproceedings
JOURNAL OF SPORT & EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY, pp. S17–S18, HUMAN KINETICS PUBL INC 1607 N MARKET ST, PO BOX 5076, CHAMPAIGN, IL 61820-2200 USA 2018.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 13 (3), pp. 398-404, 2018.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 36 , pp. 57–70, 2018.
Sports Medicine, 47 (3), pp. 565–570, 2017.
Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 32 , pp. 34–46, 2017.
Empathic and Self-Regulatory Processes Governing Doping Behavior Journal Article
Frontiers in psychology, 8 , pp. 1495, 2017.
‘Hey, look at me’: An auto ethnographic account of experiencing ADHD symptoms within sport Journal Article
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, pp. 1–10, 2017.
International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 11 (3), pp. 382–394, 2016.
Qualitative research in sport, exercise and health, 7 (5), pp. 606–619, 2015.
A Review of “Social Psychology in Sport & Exercise: Linking Theory to Practice” Journal Article
Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 6 (2), pp. 121–122, 2015.
University of Birmingham, 2015.