Insight and Learning team

Beth Thompson

Name: Beth Thompson

What I do: Head of Insight and Learning

How I got here: I joined sports coach UK as Head of Insight in July 2016 after several years working in government social research, for NHS England and for the Department for Work and Pensions. Prior to that I worked in the private sector as a Management Consultant and as a Research Fellow and Lecturer for Huddersfield University. Outside of sports coach UK I am a dance teacher and fitness instructor. I have danced all of my life, starting classes at the age of 2 and teaching from the age of 16. I opened my own dance studio in 2015.

Greatest Coaching Achievements: Teaching musical movement to a little boy with autism. He had been refused entry to other local dance schools, due to his special needs. He was an inspiration and joy to teach.

People I have enjoyed working with: Anyone who is positive and passionate about what they do and who wants to make a difference.

Sporting Hero: I have several dance hero’s. My first dance teacher who never revealed her age but I guess she was well over retirement age. She was an amazing dancer and could kick her leg higher than any of her students! Also, the dance legend Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance, who challenged the status quo and revolutionized the dance world.

John McIlroy

Name: John McIlroy

What I do: Information Manager. I conduct research with coaches and participants and am a regular blogger of all things coaching and research.

How I got here: I’ve worked in the Research Team at sports coach UK for last eight years and before that had spells conducting research in the public, private and academic sectors. Among all of this was slight detour into horseracing form.

People I have enjoyed working with: Anyone who is curious and open-minded.

Sporting Hero: Joannie Rochette

Michael Hopkinson

Name: Michael Hopkinson

What I do: Research Consultant

How I got here: Like most graduates I spent a bit of time building up my life experience after leaving University (i.e. working in a call centre). I then spent seven years with a private research consultancy before moving to sports coach UK. Good timing and a little bit of luck probably.

Greatest coaching achievement: I’m not a ‘proper’ coach so I’d have to say coaching my son Harry (4) into supporting the greatest football team the world has ever seen (LIVERPOOL) while other members of my family try to turn him over to one of many dark sides (Burnley, Blackburn, Middlesbrough, Leeds….)

People I have enjoyed working with: Too many to mention specific names, but the ones who like to have a laugh and not take themselves too seriously are my favourites.

Sporting Hero: I always thought it would be Robbie Fowler but Steven Gerrard outdid him in the end. The Gerrard FA Cup Final will probably always be the best football match I’ll ever go to, and he was at my wedding so it has to be him (well, his name was on my top table at least).

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