Kirkland Coaching

My Vision

Welcome to Kirkland Coaching.

Welcome to the website of Andy Kirkland Ph.D. I am an expert in endurance sports performance, an active triathlon coach and Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling.

Over time, I’ll use this website to provide personal commentaries on coaching related subjects, promote my research and provide CPD content for coaches, athletes and students.

The initial aim of this Blog is for me to provide you, whether you are an athlete, coach, sports scientist and or student, with interesting and relevant articles that may help in your practice. Secondly, I wish to help break down the barriers to the sharing of knowledge between coaches, sports scientists and those involved in sport at an academic level through the sharing of my experiences.

I also offer one-to-one coaching to a very small number of athletes, so please feel free to contact me if you think I can help.

About Me

I’ve been involved in sport for many years firstly as a ‘recreational athlete’, then a student, sports scientist and a coach. For the last 10 years I’ve been working professionally in sport, initially as a sports scientist at the Scottish Institute of Sport, then British Cycling and now as a Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling. I’ve been involved at every level, ranging from teaching young children to swim, working with development and performance athletes, through to providing high-performance support to international level coaches and athletes.

As well as having a Ph.D. in Sport Science, I’m a British Association of Exercise Sciences accredited sport and exercise scientist with chartered scientist status. My academic background certainly influences the way I think and attempt to solve problems. However, my experiences at British Cycling have influenced me more and I understand that coaching is often far more of an art than a science. I also write the odd  article for 220 Triathlon Magazine and have recently provided technical guidance to a multi-IM world champion for a book.

I regularly update my Blipfoto with my journal. This tells you the interesting things I get up to away(ish) from sport.

My Philosophy

Every day, we wake up in a world of conscious experiences. The smell of coffee, the sights and sounds on the commute to work, the joy and pain of athletic performance. However, every single one of us experiences the world in subtly or even dramatically different ways. Some of us prefer tea, others coffee. Some of us love risky activity and perceive it as challenge; whereas, others may be scared stiff and feel threatened!! The bottom line is that everyone is different.

I believe that everyone has huge potential. If through providing a snippet of information or working closely with you, I can help you on your journey to being the best you can be, then I’ll have achieved what I want to. Fundamental to my coaching is that it’s always athlete-centred. That means that I will focus on your needs rather than simply giving you a generic training programme or being over-reliant on my own beliefs.

For those familiar with philosophy, I am a pragmatist, focusing my purposeful actions and thinking about what the consequences of these actions are. In my coaching this means I will always seek to understand the ‘whys’ of my coaching actions and how they will result in enhances performance. In all my research, I focus on making a difference as much as research outputs.

Summary of Qualifications and Experience

The biggest lesson I’ve learn through working in sport is that the more I learn and understand, the more I realise what I don’t know. That’s why it’s so exciting to be involved in coaching.

Dunning Kruger Chart
I thought I was brilliant, then I believed I was pathologically thick and now I feel comfortable calling myself an expert.


There are always new experiences to learn from and areas of knowledge to investigate. Therefore, an open-mind is a prerequisite to excellence in coaching.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Dalai Lama XIV

A balance between practical experience and formal qualifications has helped me reach the stage where I know the rules well, understand when to stick to them or when to try to innovate by breaking them effectively. A summary of my qualifications and experience are provided below:

  • Lecturer in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling
  • British Cycling Level 3 Road and Time Trial coach
  • British Triathlon Level 2 coach
  • British Cycling Coach Developer
  • BASES Accredited Sports Scientist (Scientific Support and Pedagogy)
  • Chartered Scientist 
  • Ph.D. in Sports Science (related to cycling performance)
  • BSc(Hons) Sport, Exercise and Coaching Science
  • Sport and Exercise Scientist at the Scottish Institute of Sport
  • Club-level triathlete and 2x Ironman finisher


Publications and Proceedings 

Ritchie, D., Allen, J.B. & Kirkland, A. (2017). Where science meets practice: Olympic coaches’ crafting of the tapering process. Journal of Sports Sciences, 0(0), pp.1–10. Available here

Kirkland, A. (2017). Coach learning and pragmatism: knowledge into practice. Proceedings of the 2nd International Congress of the International Society of Sports Sciences in the Arab World. April 2017, Stirling Scotland.

Kirkland, A. (2016) What is Knowledge? The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.

Kirkland, A. (2015). The map of performance excellence. Presentation at The 8th Oxford Colloquium on Medical Education.

Kirkland, A. and Webb, V.P. (2015) A coaching perspective of the sport and exercise sciencesThe Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.

Kirkland, A. (2014). The need for an awareness of psychosocial factors in addition to physical development The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.

Webb, V.P. and Kirkland, A. (2014). The dichotomy between applied sport science and coaching practice. Proceedings of the World Congress of Cycling Science, Leeds.

Kirkland, A. Hopker, J. and Jobson, S. (2013). Learning from the success of British Cycling. The Sport and Exercise Scientist. Leeds: BASES.

Kirkland, A. (2012) A Coaching Philosophy. In J. Hopker & S. Jobson (Eds.), Performance Cycling: The Science of Success. London: Bloomsbury Sport.

Kirkland, A. (2009-2015). British Cycling Handbook material for UKCC Level 1-3 coaching qualifications and other courses.

Kirkland, A. and Coleman, D.A. (2009) Physiological responses during cycle time trials: Variable versus constant power output. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26, s130.

Kirkland et al. (2008).  Validity and reliability of the Ergomo(R)pro powermeter. International Journal of Sports Medicine. (29) epub.

Kirkland, A. and Coleman, D.A. (2007). Reliability of ‘Time to Exhaustion’ trials and physiological responses at Critical Power in cycling exercise. Proceedings of the BASES Annual Conference, Wolverhampton.

Kirkland, A. and Coleman D.A. (2006) Reliability of time to exhaustion at Critical Power. Presentation at the BASES student conference. Heriot-Watt University.

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