Professor Neil Eckersley

Neil has been involved in Judo ever since the age of 9. Neil competed in 2 Olympic Games for Great Britain in 1984 and 1988. At just 19 years of age he won a bronze medal at the Los Angeles Games in 1984, an achievement far beyond anybody’s expectations.



Coaching Background

Neil has a wealth of experience in what it takes to be both an elite competitor and the complexity involved within performance coaching.

From 1999-2005 Neil was employed as BJA Junior Men’s National Coach/team manager for the potential squad. During this time there was significant success within the team gaining medals in the Junior A class tournaments at both the European and World Championships.

Neil’s talents and expertise that he offered was to identify specific areas to keep young athletes engaged, motivated and focused. He planned individual training programmes, technical support and arranged and negotiated additional support from outside agencies such as English Institute of Sport. Neil believes his main talent is to work with multi-agencies, as he is approachable, dedicated and understanding. He has a specific way of nurturing individuals who lack motivation and can deliver motivational workshops/ speeches and one to one needs led sessions, which can be private and confidential. This needs led approach can be applied to all sports. This can involve individual and group assessment.

Many of the players Neil has worked with have gone on to gain senior success for example Craig Fallon who became European and World Champion, Peter Cousins – European and World Silver medallist. Both these athletes represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympic Games. Neil takes great pride in these players and keeps in regular contact to offer advice, guidance and support.

Neil has also been involved with players at all levels ranging from cadets to elite performance. He is able to relate to the players, and is passionate about players reaching their full potential. Neil believes that each athlete should be given every opportunity by all those involved to gain success. Remembering at all times that these players are individuals and can not all be treated in the same way with the same training programme.

Advisory and Developmental Roles

Neil has been a key figure in the growth of Judo in the UK, responsible for and involved in many sought after initiatives focusing on supporting those in the sport.

As a member of the BJA Performance Directorate, Neil helped to implement government strategies by working closely with key partners that involved innovative thinking and developing a multi-agency partnership at county, regional and national levels. He recruited and led a team of support coaches and managed their coach development programmes and as a consequence, one of the coaches (Jim Fennan) went on to become the chairman of the Scottish Judo Federation.

Neil is involved in Judo and its development as much now as ever before as he is currently Assistant Area Technical Director for the North West Judo Association, whereby he updates and modifies coaching standards. He is also a member of the British Schools Judo commission where his role is to contribute to the strategic direction of Schools Judo.

Neil is currently employed as a Parent Support Adviser based in Cumbria. Within his role as a PSA, Neil initiated an exciting Judo project. This was to introduce the sport of Judo as a preventative tool to support young people, as Neil believes that Judo can help all people focus, improve confidence and raise self-esteem.

Teaching Background

Neil has a Diploma in Sports Coaching from Herriott Watt University, Edinburgh and in 2005 he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Studies at St Martins College Lancaster now known as Cumbria University.

Neil has also been a Lecturer in Performance Coaching at Cumbria University. He devised and implemented coaching packages for talented sports students who were keen to develop a career in performance coaching. The coaching and curriculum development package included sports development, sports management, talent identification, addressing and understanding the challenges and needs of developing exceptional young sports people, taking into consideration the ever-changing sporting environment with up to-date coaching practices and methodology.

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