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John Morris

John Morris

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Morris is a Reader / Associate Professor in  Paediatric Sport and Exercise Science. Dr Morris’s discipline background is in exercise physiology and he is interested in the physiological responses of children and adolescents to exercise and physical activity, and in the characteristics associated with elite performance in young athletes. He is also interested in quantitative methodologies, and the graphical and figurative presentation of research data and findings. He is a module Leader for Child and Adolescent Growth, Health and Performance at the undergraduate level. He also sits on the School's Human Invasive Ethics Committee.

Career overview

After a career in recreation management, Dr Morris completed an MSc in Sports Science at Loughborough University (1994) and then a PhD in Exercise Physiology at the same institution in 1999. Following a lecturing role at University College Chichester (1999-2000) and a visiting scholar role at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2001-2002), he returned to Loughborough University as a Research Associate, then Research Fellow, at the Institute of Youth Sport. Since 2014 he has been at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), first as a Senior Lecturer and since 2016 as a Reader / Associate Professor.

Research areas

Dr Morris is interested in the growth, performance and health of children and adolescents.

His research interests include work in:

  • Talent identification in team sports.
  • Maximising performance in elite field hockey players.
  • The effect of training load and match load on injury in junior and senior team sports.
  • The effects of physical activity on cardio-metabolic health in young people.
  • Compression garments and recovery

Dr Morris has over 50 publications and has helped in the generation of research income exceeding £1.2 million.


Current students 

  • Jun. 2021 to present, Ph.D. Director of Studies– Mr. Alistair McBurnie (Part-time Ph.D.) – “Multi-Directional Speed Profiling of Elite Academy Footballers: Implications for Talent Identification and Development”.
  • Apr. 2021 to present, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Mr. Bradley Sprouse (Part-time Ph.D.) – “Injuries in Elite Football”.
  • Oct. 2019 to present, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Amy Parkinson – “Biomechanical asymmetry in normal and injury prone athletes across different sports”.
  • Apr. 2019 to present, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Elliot Lam – “Elite youth hockey player development during the transition into university”.
  • Apr. 2019 to present, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Ms. Sally Hilton – “Psychological safety, fear of failure and resilience in a national football organisation”.
  • Oct. 2015 to present, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Mr. Brett Biddulph (Part-time Ph.D.) – “The impact of compression garments on the physiological responses to exercise”.


  • Jun. 2018 to Apr. 2022, Ph.D. Director of Studies – Mr Jack Ashby – “The role of compression garments in optimising performance and / or recovery”.
  • Oct. 2016 to Nov. 2021, Ph.D. Director of Studies – Mr. Neval Grazzette – “An Evaluation of the Musculoskeletal Profile and Injury Epidemiology in Under-9 to Under-23 Elite Male Academy Soccer Players”.
  • Oct. 2017 to May 2021, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Mr Ryan Williams – “The health benefits of intermittent high-intensity exercise in young people: insights into the mechanism of adaptation to training”.
  • Jul. 2016 to Oct. 2020, Ph.D. co-supervisor – Mr. Ben Cousins – “The Optimisation of Performance and Prevention of Injury through Training Load Management in Elite Rugby Union Players”.
  • Sept. 2014 to Mar. 2020, Ph.D co-supervisor – Ms. Karah Dring (Part-time Ph.D.) – “Health markers and athletic performance in children from different sport disciplines”.
  • Sept. 2010 to Jul. 2016, Ph.D second supervisor – Mr. Chris Saward – “Physiological, Psychological and Technical Indicators of Talent in Elite Youth Football Players”.
  • Jul. 2007 to Nov. 2011, Ph.D. Director of Studies / Co-supervisor – Mr. Heita Goto – “Physical development and match analysis of elite youth soccer players” – Loughborough University.
  • Dec. 2005 to Jul. 2011, Ph.D. Director of Studies / Co-supervisor – Ms. Vikki Leslie – “A multi-disciplinary investigation of the characteristics of young, elite, male and female hockey players” – Loughborough University.
  • Oct. 2003 to June 2010, Ph.D. Director of Studies / Co-supervisor – Mr. Mark Hulse (Part-time Ph.D.) – “Physical development, and progression to professional soccer, of elite child and adolescent academy players” – Loughborough University.
  • Oct. 2004 to June 2009, Ph.D. Director of Studies / Co-supervisor – Ms. Persephone Wynn – “Physiological and psychological characteristics of elite female adolescent athletes” – Loughborough University.
  • Sept. 2001 to Aug. 2002, M.Phil. Co-supervisor – Mr Andy Lok - “Effect of pre-exercise carbohydrate meals on running performance” – The Chinese University of Hong Kong – Passed.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate study towards an MPhil/PhD exist and further information may be obtained from the NTU Graduate School.

External activity

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Morris has worked with a variety of funding bodies, including those from business (Coca-cola Company, Glaxo-SmithKline, NOVA International Limited), sport (England and Wales Cricket Board, England Hockey, The Football Association, Manchester City Football Club Academy) and charity (Youth Sport Trust, Equality Challenge Unit, British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health).

Examples of projects include:

  • The Football Association: Injury and Illness Surveillance Information Transfer Project (Extension), Dr I Varley, Dr JG Morris, and Dr S. Cooper, The Football Association, (2020), £194,000.
  • Fit4Life: a community-based sport programme to enhance health and reduce disease symptoms in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes, Prof. ME Nevill, Dr JG Morris, Dr M Turner, and Dr D Hindley, Community Sports Trust (Sport England), (2015), £40,160.
  • Ph.D. studentship (“The Optimisation of Performance and Prevention of Injury through Training Load Management in Elite Rugby Union Players”), Dr S.C. Cooper, Dr JG Morris, Dr. C Sunderland, and Prof. ME Nevill, Bristol Rugby Union Football Club, (2015), £75,000.
  • Ph.D. studentship (“An Evaluation of the Musculoskeletal Profile and Injury Epidemiology in Under-9 to Under-23 Elite Male Academy Soccer Players”), Dr JG Morris, Dr C Sunderland, and Dr ME Nevill, City Football Services Ltd., (2015), £72,158.
  • Young people's perceptions of KS3 Physical Education, Dr JG Morris, and Dr ME Nevill, TOP Foundation, (2012), £2,500.
  • Examining the Impact of Toys on Children's Physical Activity,  Dr JG Morris, Dr ME Nevill, Dr R Duncombe, Dr T Gorely and Dr R Sandford, The British Toy and Hobby Association, (2012), £14,128.
  • Talent Recognition in sport: a literature review, Dr ME Nevill, Dr JG Morris, The Youth Sport Trust, (2010), £10,000.
  • Evaluation of the Great Activity Programme (A major public health intervention), Dr ME Nevill, Dr T Gorely, Dr JG Morris and Prof SJH Biddle, The Coca-Cola Company, (2008), £247,904.
  • ‘Sportnation': Enhancing opportunities for high-level sporting performance: influence of relative age, Dr JG Morris, Dr ME Nevill, Blue Rubicon and GlaxoSmithKline, (2006), £12,000.
  • ECB Age Group Project, Dr JG Morris, Dr ME Nevill, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), (2006) £6,500.

Internal collaborators:

  • Professor Mary E. Nevill
  • Dr Caroline Sunderland
  • Dr Simon Cooper
  • Dr Chris Saward
  • Dr Jack Ashby

External collaborators:

  • Dr Laura A. Barrett, Loughborough University
  • Dr Keith Tolfrey, Loughborough University
  • Professor Stephen Wong, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Dr Ben Cousins, London Irish  Rugby Football Club


Williams, R.A., Cooper, S.B., Dring, K.J., Hatch, L., Morris, J.G., Sun, F-H. and Nevill, M.E. (2022). Physical fitness, physical activity and adiposity: associations with risk factors for cardiometabolic disease and cognitive function across adolescence. BMC Pediatrics. 22(1): 75.

Cousins, B.E.W., Morris, J.G., Sunderland, C., Bennett, A.M., Shahtahmassebi, G., Cooper, S.B. (2022). Training and match demands of elite Rugby Union. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Cousins, B.E.W., Morris, J.G., Sunderland, C., Bennett, A.M., Shahtahmassebi, G., Cooper, S.B. (2021). Synthetic playing surfaces increase the incidence of match injuries in an elite Rugby Union team. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2021.08.019

Hatch, L.M., Williams, R.A., Dring, K.J., Sunderland, C., Nevill, M.E., Sarkar, M., Morris, J.G. and Cooper, S.B. (2021) The Daily Mile™: Acute effects on children’s cognitive function and factors affecting their enjoyment.Psychology of Sport & Exercise. 57: 102047. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102047.

Lam, E.P., Sunderland, C., Morris, J.G., Furlong, L-A.M, Mason, B.S., and Barrett, L.A. (2021). Effect of changing match format from halves to quarters on the performance characteristics of male university field hockey players. Sensors. 21, 5490.

Parkinson, A.O., Apps, C.L., Morris, J.G., Barnett, C.T, and Lewis, M.G.C. (2021). The calculation, thresholds and reporting of inter-limb strength asymmetry: a systematic review. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 20: 594-617 DOI:

Ashby, J., Lewis, M., Sanchis-Sanchis, R., Sunderland, C., Barrett, L.A. and Morris J.G. (2021). Customised pressure profiles of made-to-measure sports compression garments. Sports Engineering.

Hartwig, T.B., Sanders, T., Vaconcellos, D., et al. (2021). School-based interventions modestly increase physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness but are least effective for youth who need them most: an individual participant pooled analysis of 20 controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine. Published Online First: 13 January 2021. DOI: 10.1136/bjsports-2020-102740.

Williams, R.A., Cooper, S.B., Dring, K.J., Hatch, L., Morris, J.G., Sunderland, C. and Nevill, M.E. (2021). Effect of acute football activity and physical fitness on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in adolescents. Journal of Sports Sciences. Published online 11th January 2021. DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2020.1860362.

Sprouse, B., Alty, J., Kemp, S., Cowie, C., Mehta, R., Tang, A., Morris, J., Cooper, S. and Varley, I. (2020). The Football Association Injury and Illness Surveillance Study: The Incidence, Burden and Severity of Injuries and Illness in Men's and Women's International Football. Sports Medicine. DOI: 10.1007/s40279-020-01411-8.

Williams, R.A., Dring, K.J., Cooper, S.B., Morris, J.G., Sunderland, C. and Nevill, M.E. (2020). Predictors of postprandial glycaemia, insulinaemia and insulin resistance in adolescents. British Journal of Nutrition. doi:10.1017/S0007114520003505.

Saward, C., Hulse, M., Morris, J.G., Goto, H., Sunderland, C., Nevill, M.E. (2020). Longitudinal physical development of future professional male soccer players: implications for talent identification and development? Frontiers in Sport and Active Living. 2: DOI: 10.3389/fspor.2020.578203

See all of John Morris's publications...