Rhys Pritchard


Dr Rhys Pritchard joined Birmingham Newman University in April 2024 as Head of Subject for Sport. Previously, Rhys a qualified primary school teacher, worked as a Senior Lecturer and subject lead for Primary Physical Education at University of Worcester for 6 years where he was part of a primary ITE team that were rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in March 2023, with PE being one of the subject areas of interest. Aside from leading the PE provision across Primary, Rhys delivered on the Masters in Sports Coaching programme and delivered many undergraduate lectures on game-based coaching and teaching. Prior to working at the University of Worcester, Rhys was a Lecturer in Sport Pedagogy at Cardiff Metropolitan University following a varied teaching career that included roles in the UK, Dubai and Australia.

After completing a Masters in Sports Coaching, Rhys was one of the first graduates of the Doctorate in Sports Coaching programme at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Rhys thesis titled ‘Vygotsky in Practice: Applying Vygotskian notions to improve coach education in rugby union’ aimed to show how Rhys used Vygotskian notions to improve coaches conceptual understanding of game principles and how to apply them in practice. Using an Action Research approach enabled Rhys to develop coaches practice over a 10-week programme which highlighted the use of language, importance of the more capable other, embedding learning in context and providing time to internalise ideas as being key to the learning process. Findings have been used to support the development of junior rugby programmes.

Rhys is a Level 4 Welsh Rugby Union certified coach. He has coached across many levels of the game and has coached semi-professionally since 2019 and has coached Wales Women’s u20s and the WRU Development XV in the inaugural Celtic Challenge in 2023. In addition to teaching in Australia, Rhys was the Rugby Coaching Co-Ordinator at Brisbane Grammar School and still supports the rugby programme from afar.

Rhys is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is an External Examiner for Sheffield Hallam University.


Research Interests

Rhys’s research interests are broad, however primary centre around primary physical education, athlete centred coaching approaches, coach development and how Vygotskian learning theory can be used in coaching and coach education. Furthermore, Rhys takes a great interest in the development of rugby coaching practice.


Rhys oversees the academic programmes in the subject area for sport. He also contributes to teaching around Sports Development, Teaching and Coaching pedagogy, whilst also supervising dissertations.

Membership of Professional Organisations

Rhys is a member of the Cluster for Research into Coaching (CriC). The group aims to promote and support research concerning the socio-pedagogic considerations of sport coaching.


Other Activities

Conferences Presentations

Pritchard, R. (2019). ‘Rethinking the delivery of Game Centred Approaches: A focus on understanding’ Conference presentation, 4th International Coaching Conference, University of Worcester, United Kingdom.

Pritchard, R. (2017). ‘Coach and player development through action research: developing game sense pedagogy by implementing Vygotsky’s theory of concept formation in the coaching of rugby union.’ Conference presentation, 3rd International Coaching Conference, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom.

Other Scholarship

Pritchard, R. (2023) ‘Unlocking Player Learning Through Game-Based Coaching.’ Coach development presentation, North Midlands RFU Coach Development Group, Birmingham Newman University, United Kingdom


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Pritchard, R. & Dockerty, F. (2024) Game on! Enhancing primary physical education through a Rosenshine-inspired approach, Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education, DOI: 10.1080/25742981.2024.2314057

Dockerty, F. and Pritchard, R. (2023) Reconsidering models-based practice in primary physical education, Education 3-13, https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2023.2263470

Pritchard, R. and Morgan, K. (2022) Developing coach education to enhance rugby coaches’ understanding and application of game centred approaches— The importance of questioning, International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, pp 1-10

Chapter in Books

Pritchard, R. (2019). Marrying theory to practice: Using Vygotsky to underpin game sense pedagogy. In C. Corsby & C. Edwards (Eds.), Context and Contingency: Exploring research in sports coaching pedagogy. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Non-refereed Journal Articles

Pritchard, R. (2017). Developing Physical Literacy: A Reflective Case Study. Physical Education Matters, 12(2), pp.40-42.

Pritchard, R. (2017). Improving Physical Education by Mentoring Primary Teachers. Physical Education Matters, 12(2), pp.63-64.