Podcast Picks


Podcasts are a great way to challenge and develop your thinking and there are hundreds of great ones out there. If you haven’t got onboard yet with the world of pods, then here are 8 of my current favourites to tempt you in.

For me, one of the best thing about Podcasts is that I can tune into an episode whilst commuting or even better when training or trying to get off to sleep, so they are a really effective multi-tasking tool in addition to all those new ideas…. But make sure you have a pen and paper to hand as you are bound to want to capture a few notes or actions that listening instigates.

First on my list is the Real Science of Sport Podcast with Professor Ross Tucker and Mike Finch. I often refer to insight from this series with A level PE classes on deeper understanding about ATP, lactic acid and the like but Ross is also heavily involved with rugby and an avid follower of distance running and cycling so you will enjoy episodes about concussion, breaking the two hour marathon and more. For me, his ‘How to make a champion (part 1)’ episode is the one to start with as they delve into the nature versus nurture debate and importance of avoiding early specialisation if you want to make it to the elite level.

Next up is BBC broadcaster Simon Mundie who I was lucky enough to talk to back in the summer about my Wellbeing Curriculum which features themes and extracts from his Don’t Tell Me The Score Podcast series. Simon explores what ‘sport can teach us about life and how best to live it’ and has interviewed some amazing guests including Jonny Wilkinson, Sir Chris Hoy, Embony Rainford-Brent and many more household names. One of my favourites is the interview with Dave Alred MBE who has been performance coach for many of the world’s best athletes – give it a listen and I’d be shocked if you didn’t binge your way through his whole back catalogue.

Sports broadcaster Jake Humphrey and top psychologist Professor Damian Hughes co-host The High Performance Podcast which is another one I was able to feature in the Wellbeing Curriculum. Recent guests include Rio Ferdinand, Kelly Holmes, Tracey Neville and Ant Middleton. They are all great and end with a really nice quick-fire round but I particularly enjoyed the one with Dina Asher-Smith, so maybe start there!

If you are interested in academia and global perspectives around PE then look no further than Risto Martinen and team who, at time of writing, are up to episode 129 of Playing with Research in Health and Physical Education. These recordings hit a whole host of topical discussions with renowned names internationally who are able to talk in depth. For example, during lockdown Dr Kathy Armour contributed to an interesting discussion in episode 91 about Joe Wicks, the face of PE?

I would not be me if I didn’t also signpost to some of the great work by Youth Sport Trust. At time of writing there are 17 helpful episodes in the YST podcast club that draw insight from members of staff and the wider YST family whilst also inviting guests like Nigel Huddleston MP on to explore topical issues. The Covid-19 special editions are a must listen if you are considering what the future holds for PE and features our very own Liz Durden-Myers.

The PE Umbrella is created and hosted by Ryan Ellis who is a primary PE specialist who has also managed to rack up quite a back-catalogue of big names and must listens. In episode 169 he welcomes Martin Yelling and Doctor Vicky Randall to talk about Stormbreak and their ‘mentally healthy movement’.

Lessons I have learnt from reading Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed about the importance of diverse thinking and avoiding echo chambers has led me to subscribe to the Mr Barton Maths Podcast as he has interviewed and explored topics relating to broader aspects of education that I have found really helpful. Perhaps start with the episode with former English teacher David Didau who is clearly listened to by the likes of Ofsted around cognitive psychology and real research into how we learn.

Last but by no means least are two guys who smashed onto the radar of anyone who is really interested in the future of PE during the first covid lockdown in April with a fascinating blog on The Future of Physical Education after Covid-19. At the time, Alan Dunstan and Lewis Keens were based at British School Manila in the Philippines but they have both since gone on to new roles in Saudi Arabia and Kuala Lumpur respectively and I have had the pleasure of speaking to them a number of times. Somehow, amongst all that relocation and remote learning, they have managed to establish the Infinite Leaders Live podcast series and record 23 episodes to date with teachers, leaders and coaches who have inspired them across their careers. Again, plenty of great listens but you will particularly enjoy Professor Damian Hughes who carved out time to talk and reflect on how much he values teachers.

I hope that little list is enough to get you started and would love to hear your recommendations in return – please comment below to share your favourites!

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