Professor Steve Cooper



Professor of Applied Biostatistics

Graduate Studies Coordinator​

Telephone number: 029 2041 5817
Email address:​

Steve is a sport scientist with broad teaching and research interests and expertise in sport performance, physical fitness, Physical Education, coaching, measurement issues, research design, applied biostatistics and data analysis. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and he is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is also a Member of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics. Steve's teaching and research interests are broadly centred on investigating, analyzing and modelling data recorded in the sport, exercise, coaching and health sciences and include: i) investigating the relationships between physiological and sport performance data and body size (scaling), ii) scaling health and performance indices of adolescents and children, iii) auxology, as it related to sports performance and physical fitness, iv) androgyny of physique in sports men and women, v) fat-patterning in games players, and, vi) the relationships between genetics, body composition and power in games players. Steve has reviewed manuscripts submitted for publication in many high impact journals, and he also has extensive experience in terms of programme and module development as well as examining taught programmes and research degrees within and without Cardiff Metropolitan University. Steve is also a member of the Journal of Sport Sciences (Sport Performance Section) Editorial Advisory Panel and he is a member of the Statistics Advisory Panel for the British Medical Journal (Open).​

Research / Publications

Steve’s current primary research interests include the reliability, accuracy and precision of tests and measuring instruments used to assess aspects of an athlete’s physical fitness and sport performance. A key element of this is the critical examination of the most appropriate statistical approaches for method comparison and validity studies. He is also involved in investigating the influence of body size on sport performance and how best to adjust performance data to facilitate the correct comparison of individuals and groups. Steve also has a deep interest in promoting the exploration of data transforms and the wider consideration of non-parametric models in resolving some of the data analysis issues encountered in the sport, exercise, coaching and health sciences.

Publications in descending date order:

  1. Harcombe, Z., Baker, J.S., Davies, B., Cooper, S-M., Nicol, J.J.D., Sculthorpe, N. and Grace, F. (accepted for publication in early 2015).  Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Heart (ID: openhrt-2014-000196.R1)
  2. Lewis, J., Morgan, K. and Cooper, S-M. (2015).  Relative age effects in Welsh age grade rugby union. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching. Accepted for publication to appear in volume 10(5), September/October 2015.
  3. Buchan, D.S., Boddy, L.M., Young, J.D., Cooper, S-M., Noakes, T.D., Mahoney, C., Shield, J.P.H and Baker, J.S. (accepted for publication in early 2015).  Relationships between cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular power with cardiometabolic risk and inflammatory biomarkers in adolescents. Research in Sports Medicine.
  4. Baker, J.S., Davies, B., Cooper, S-M., Wong, D., Buchan, D.S. and Kilgore, L. (2013).  Strength and body composition changes in recreationally strength-trained individuals: Comparison of one versus three sets resistance-training programmes. BioMed Research International. (DOI:10.1155/2013/615901). PubMed ID: 24083231.
  5. Buchan, D.S., Ollis, S., Young, J.D., Cooper, S-M., Shield, J.H.P and Baker, J.S. (2013).  High intensity interval running enhances measures of physical fitness but not metabolic measures of cardiovascular disease risk in healthy adolescents. BioMed Central Public Health, 13(1), 498. (DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-498). PubMed ID: 23705968.
  6. Knox, G., Baker, J.S., Davies, B., Rees, A.M., Morgan, K., Cooper, S-M., Brophy, S. and Thomas, N.E. (2012).  Effects of a novel school-based cross-curricular physical activity intervention on cardiovascular disease risk factors in 11-14 year olds: The Activity Knowledge Circuit. The American Journal of Health Promotion, 27(2), 75 – 83. (DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.110617-QUAN-258). PubMed ID: 23113776.
  7. Buchan, D.S., Young, J.D., Cooper, S-M., Malina, R.M, Cockcroft, J.R. and Baker, J.S. (2012).  Relationships among indicators of fitness, fatness and cardiovascular disease risk factors in Scottish adolescents. Online Journal of Biological Sciences, 12(3), 89 – 95. (DOI: 10.3844/ojbsci.2012.89.95).
  8. Buchan, D.S., Young, J.D., Kilgore, L., Cooper, S-M., Malina, R.M. and Baker, J.S. (2012). Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among Scottish youth: A pilot study. Online Journal of Biological Sciences, 12(2), 72 - 79. (DOI: 10.3844/ojbsci.2012.72.79).
  9. Buchan, D.S., Young, J.D., Simpson, A.D., Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M. and Baker, J.S. (2012).  The effects of a novel high intensity exercise intervention on established markers of cardiovascular disease and health in Scottish adolescent youth. Journal of Public Health Research, 1(e24), 155 – 157.
  10. Buchan, D.S., Ollis, S., Thomas, N.E., Simpson, A., Young, J.D., Cooper S-M., Malina, R.M., Cockcroft, J.R. and Baker, J.S. (2012).  Prevalence of traditional and novel markers of cardiovascular disease risk in Scottish adolescents: Socioeconomic effects. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 37(5), 829 – 839. (DOI: 10.1139/h2012-052). PubMed ID: 22686348.
  1. Baker, J.S., Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Davies, B. and Robergs, R. (2012).  Exercise duration and blood lactate concentrations following high intensity cycle ergometry. Research in Sports Medicine, 20(2), 129 – 141. (DOI: 10.1080/15438627.2012.634723).
  2. Bell, W., Colley, J.P., Evans, W.D., Darlington, S.E. and Cooper, S-M. (2012). ACTN3 geneotypes in rugby union players: distribution, power output and body composition. The Annals of Human Biology, 39(1), 19 – 27. (DOI: 10.3109/03014460.2011.632648).
  3. Buchan, D.S., Ollis, S., Young, J., Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Tong, T.K., Nie, J., Malina, R.M. and Baker, J.S. (2011).  The effects of time and intensity of exercise on novel and established markers of CVD in adolescent youth. American Journal of Human Biology, 23(4), 517 – 526. (DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.21166). PubMed ID: 21465614.
  4. Graham M.R., Myers, T., Evans, P., Davies, B., Cooper, S-M., Bhattacharya, K., Grace, F.M. and Baker, J.S. (2011).  Direct hits to the head during amateur boxing induces a rise in serum biomarkers for brain injury. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, 24(1), 119 – 125. PubMed ID: 21496394.
  5. Buchan, D., Ollis, S., Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Buchanan, N., Malina, R.M. and Baker, J.S. (2011).  Physical activity interventions: Effects of duration and intensity. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 21(6), e341 – 350. (DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01303.x). PubMed ID: 21518010.
  6. Davies, V., Thompson, K.G. and Cooper, S-M. (2009).  The effect of compression garments on recovery. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(6), 1786 – 1794.
  7. Graham, M.R., Ryan, P., Baker, J.S., Davies, B., Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Evans, P.J., Easmon, S., Walker, C.J., Cowan, D.A. and Kicman, A.T. (2009). Counterfeiting in performance and image enhancing drugs. Drug Testing and Analysis, 1(3), 135 – 142. (DOI: 10.1002/dta.30). PubMed ID: 20355187.
  8. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Baker, J.S., Graham, M.R. and Davies, B. (2008).  Homocyst(e)ine, folate and vitamin B12 status in a cohort of Welsh young people aged 12-13 years old. Research in Sports Medicine: An International Journal, 16(4), 233 – 243.
  9. Thomas, N.E., Baker, J.S., Graham, M.R., Cooper, S-M. and Davies, B. (2008).  C-reactive protein in schoolchildren and its relation to adiposity, physical activity, aerobic fitness and habitual diet. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 42(5), 357-360. (DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2007.043604). PubMed ID:18178678.
  10. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Graham, M.R., Boobier, W., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. (2007).  School lunch menus and the dietary habits of Welsh 12–13 year olds. European Physical Education Review, 13(2), 247–257.
  11. Cooper, S-M., Hughes, M.D., O’Donoghue, P.G. and Nevill, A.M. (2007).  A simple statistical method for assessing the reliability of data entered into sport performance analysis systems. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 7(1), 87-109.
  12. McNamee, M.J., Jones, C.R., Cooper, S-M., Bingham, J., North, J. and Finley, V. (2007).  British spectators’ perceptions of the values and norms in selected professional sports: A comparative ethical survey. Leisure Studies, 26(1), 23-45.
  13. Nevill, A.M., Holder, R. and Cooper, S-M. (2007).  Statistics, certainty and truth in the sport and exercise sciences. European Journal of Sports Science. 7(1), 9-14.
  14. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Graham, M., Boobyer, W., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. Dietary habits of Welsh 12-13 year olds (2007).  European Physical Education Review, 13(2), 247-257.
  15. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Williams, S.R.P., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. (2007).  Relationship of fitness, fatness, and coronary-heart disease risk factors in 12- to 13-year olds. Pediatric Exercise Science, 19(1), 93-101.
  16. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. (2006).  Physical activity and diet relative to socio-economic status and gender in British young people. Health Education Journal 65(3), 223-235.
  17. Cooper, S-M., Baker, J.S., Tong, R.J., Hanford, M. and Roberts, E.T.H. (2005).  The repeatability and criterion-related validity of the 20m Multistage Fitness Test as a predictor of 2max in active young men. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(4), e19, 1-8.
  18. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Williams, S.P., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. (2005a).  Coronary heart disease risk factors in young people of differing socio-economic status. European Physical Education Review, 11(2), 171-187.
  19. Thomas, N.E., Cooper, S-M., Williams, S.P., Baker, J.S. and Davies, B. (2005b).  Fibrinogen, homocyst(e)ine and C-reactive protein concentrations relative to sex and socio-economic status in British young people. American Journal of Human Biology, 17, 809-813.
  20. Cooper, S-M. and Nevill, A.M. (2004).  Does statistical methodology replace reasoning in exercise science research? Some remarks on how to avoid statistical methods merely becoming solutions in search of problems. In M.J. McNamee (ed.), Philosophy and the Sciences of Exercise, Health and Sport. Chapter 6 pp 117- 132. London: Routledge.
  21. Baker J.S, Cooper, S-M. and Davies, B. (2004).  Strength training adaptations: one set vs three set training protocols. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 46(1), 1-14.
  22. Cooper, S-M., Baker, J.S., Eaton, Z. and Matthews, N. (2004).  A simple multistage field-test for the prediction of anaerobic capacity in female games players. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(6), 784-789.
  23. Hughes, M., Cooper, S-M. and Nevill, A.M. (2004).  Analysis of notation data: Reliability. In M.D. Hughes and I.M. Franks (eds.), Notational Analysis of Sport (2nd edition), pp. 189-204. London: Routledge.
  24. Cooper, S-M., Baker, J.S. and Callard, V. (2003). Differences in maximal exercise performance and leg morphology in female university standard field hockey players. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 45(4), 291-312.
  25. Hughes, M., Cooper, S-M., Nevill, A.M. and Brown, S. (2003).  An example of reliability testing and establishing performance profiles for non-parametric data from performance analysis. International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, 2(1), 34-56.
  26. Thompson, K.G. and Cooper, S-M. (2003).  Breaststroke performance, selected physiological variables and stroke rate. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 44(1), 1-17.
  27. Hughes, M.D., Cooper, S-M. and Nevill, A.M. (2002).  Analysis procedures for non-parametric data from performance analysis. Electronic International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, 2(1), 6-20.
  28. Nevill, A.M., Atkinson, G., Hughes, M.D. and Cooper, S-M. (2002).  Statistical methods for analysing discrete, categorical data recorded in sport performance analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 20, 829-844.
  29. Cooper, S-M. and Carlsen, E. (2001).  Maximal exercise performance and anthropometry in successful university netball players. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 40(3), 225-243.
  30. Glazier, P.S, Paradisis, G.P. and Cooper, S-M. (2000).  Anthropometric and kinematic influences on release speed in men’s fast bowling. Journal of Sports Sciences, 18(12), 1013-1021.
  31. Thompson, K.G., Haljand, R., Cooper, S-M. and Martin, L. (2000).  The relative importance of selected kinematic variables in relation to swimming performance in elite male and elite female 100 m and 200 m breaststroke swimmers. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 39, 15-32.
  32. Tong, R.J., Dobbins, T.D. and Cooper, S-M. (1995).  The effect of rear wheel hub design and chain alignment on cycling economy.  In G Atkinson and T Reilly (eds.) Sport, Leisure and Ergonomics. London: E. & F.N. Spon, pp 140-146.
  33. Bell, W., Cooper S-M, Cobner, D.E. and Longville, J.H.C. (1994).  Physiological changes arising from a training programme in U21 international netball players.  Ergonomics, 37(1) 149-157.
  34. Thornhill, P.M., Baker, J.S. and Cooper, S-M. (1993).  Interaction between tennis string type and tension and the subsequent effect upon ball rebound velocity. Journal of Human Movement Studies, 24(4), 157-167.
  35. Bell, W., Cooper S-M., Cobner, D.E. and Philips, S.J. (1993).  Anaerobic performance and body composition of international rugby union players.  In:  Reilly, T., Clarys, J. and Stibbe, A. (Eds.) Science and Football II.  E & F.N. Spon, London. pp.15-20.

    Teaching and Supervision

    Modules taught:

    • Research Methods (SSP7080 – module leader)
    • Research Methods (MSc Sport & Exercise Medicine)
    • Sport & Exercise Science (SSP6051)
    • Research Process (SSP5051)
    • Staff Development – Statistics Support

    Programmes taught on:

    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Physical Education
    • BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching
    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Sciences
    • BSc (Hons) Strength, Conditioning, Rehabilitation & Massage
    • MSc Sport & Exercise Sciences
    • MSc Coaching Science
    • MSc Sport Psychology
    • MSc Applied Sport Psychology
    • MSc Physical Activity & Health
    • MSc Sports Performance Analysis
    • MSc Strength & Conditioning
    • MSc Sports & Exercise Medicine

    Research supervisory experience:

    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Physical Education – DISSERTATION
    • BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching – DISSERTATION
    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science – DISSERTATION
    • BSc (Hons) Science of Health, Exercise & Sport – DISSERTATION
    • MSc Sport & Exercise Sciences – DISSERTATION
    • MSc Coaching Science – DISSERTATION
    • MSc Sports Performance Analysis – DISSERTATION
    • MSc Strength & Conditioning – DISSERTATION
    • MSc Sports Medicine – DISSERTATION
    • PhD Education – Zahedah Abdul Hafiz via Cardiff Met’s Cardiff School of Education – An investigation of the use of children’s literature in key stage 1 teaching in Cardiff with specific reference to its possible use in Malaysian primary English language classes (completed successfully in July 2002)
    • PhD Paediatric Exercise Science – Non Thomas via University of Glamorgan – Coronary heart disease risk factors in schoolchildren aged 12 – 13 years from different socio-economic backgrounds (completed successfully in July 2003)
    • PhD Health & Exercise – Duncan Buchan via the University of the West of Scotland – The prevalence of CVD risk factors in Scottish Adolescent youth (completed successfully September 2012)
    • PhD Health & Exercise – Ceinwen Sawyer, Cardiff School of Sport – Women and cardiovascular disease: Their knowledge, perceptions, absolute risk and response to exercise intervention (completed successfully in December 2012)
    • PhD Sport Physiology – Claire Deborah Mills via University of Gloucester – Development of a specific anthropometric regression equation to estimate body composition in professional football players (completed successfully May 2014)
    • PhD Sport & Culture – Alex McInch via University of Gloucester – Working-class adolescents' perceptions of higher education in the City of Cardiff (on-going)
    • PhD Sport Physiology – Paul Byrne – The development of ‘composite’ training guidelines to enhance sprint performance in hurlers (on-going)
    • PhD Health & Exercise – Zöe Harcombe via University of the West of Scotland – An examination of the evidence base for the introduction of dietary fat recommendations (on-going)
    • PhD Health & Exercise – Ryan Bell via University of the West of Scotland – Exercise intensity and immune function in multiple sclerosis (on-going)

    Qualifications and Awards

    PhD 2006 (University of Wales (Cardiff Metropolitan University))
    Title:  Statistical methods for resolving issues relevant to test and measurement reliability and validity in variables related to sport performance and physical fitness.

    Director of Studies: Professor Mike Hughes (Cardiff Met).
    Supervisors: Professor Alan Nevill (University of Wolverhampton) and Dr Peter O’Donoghue (Cardiff Met).

    External examiners: Professor Alan Batterham (University of Teesside) and Prof Derek Peters (University of Worcester).

    Higher degree MA Sport Science and Physical Education, 1982 (University of Birmingham). Steve won a full Research Council Scholarship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to read for this MA at Birmingham during 1981-1982.
    Major subjects: (i) Research Methods (ii) Statistics (iii) Physiology and Health
    Thesis: Body composition in young rugby players. Distinction
    First degree BEd (Hons.) 1981 (University of Wales (Cardiff Metropolitan University)). Steve was awarded the University of Wales’s Eric Evans Memorial Prize in Education as a result of his BEd studies in 1981.
    Major subjects: (i) Exercise Physiology (ii) Measurement & Evaluation (iii) Education Theory & Practice. First class with honours

    Teacher training Cert Ed 1980 (University of Wales (Cardiff Metropolitan University))

    Major subject: Physical Education & Sport Science. Distinction

    External Links

    External Examiner (taught programmes):

    • BA (Hons) Applied Golf Management Studies – University of Birmingham. 2005 - 2008
    • PgCert/PgDip Research Methods – Leeds Metropolitan University. 2007 - 2009
    • MSc Sport & Exercise Science – Leeds Metropolitan University. 2004 - 2008
    • MSc Physical Activity, Exercise & Health – Leeds Metropolitan University. 2004 - 2008
    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Sciences - South Bank University. 1998 - 2002
    • MSc Sports Coaching - South Bank University. 1998 - 2002
    • BSc (Hons) Sports Studies – University of Southampton. 1998 - 2002

    External Examiner (research programmes):

    • PhD – Leeds Metropolitan University – Paul Gately: An evaluation of a residential weight loss camp programme for overweight and obese children. September 2002
    • PhD – Leeds Metropolitan University – Nick Gilson: Adolescent physical activity guidelines: A multidisciplinary study of behavioural suitability. March 2003
    • PhD – Leeds Metropolitan University – Duncan Radley: Body composition analysis: Evaluation of methods in adolescents of varying levels of fatness. July 2007.
    • PhD – Leeds Metropolitan University – Kevin Till: Talent identification and selection within UK high performance junior rugby league. May 2011.
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Mohamed Ali Yousef: Evaluating the potential of mobile technology in tourism destination marketing. September 2011 (as chair)
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Anwen Rees: Prevalence and clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors in Welsh adolescents. February 2012.
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Gemma Robinson: Establishing agility requirements and injury risk in elite soccer from automatically captured time-motion data. February 2012
    • PhD – Leeds Metropolitan University – Claire Griffiths: Understanding childhood obesity in Leeds from a cross sectional and longitudinal perspective. June 2012
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Maria Galdes: Social exclusion and crime: A critical exploration of sport and its role in crime reduction among adults. December 2012 (as chair)
    • PhD – Plymouth University – Matthew Barlow: The effect of physiological and environmental factors on surfing performance. July 2013
    • PhD – University of the West of Scotland – Marie Clare McCormick: The role of the upper body in high intensity cycle ergometry. November 2013
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Gordon McGregor: The effect of cardiac rehabilitation exercise training on left ventricular remodelling in patients with recent myocardial infarction. November 2013 (as chair)
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Paul Renton: A model and pedagogy for the coaching of Rugby Union referees. January 2014 (as chair)
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Maria Kearney: The use of left ventricular deformation and arterial wave reflections in identification of sub-clinical cardiovascular dysfunction in patients at increased risk of heart failure. May 2014 (as chair)
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Salaheddin Jubran: Identifying the barriers to training in hotels in Tripoli, Libya using chefs as a case study. June 2014 (as chair)
    • PhD – Cardiff Metropolitan University – Harry Bowles: “Days in the Dirt”: An ethnography on cricket and self. July 2014 (as chair)
    • PhD – Leeds Becket University – Gareth Nicholson: The acute and chronic effects of manipulating set structure on maximal strength development. November 2014
    • PhD – Leeds Becket University – Alexander Dinsdale: Post-activation potential: The interaction between movement patterns, mechanical loading and training procedures. December 2014

    Internal (Cardiff Met) validations:

    • BSc (Hons) Sport and P.E.                                         Led the validation -
    • BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching                                                Undergraduate Scheme in
    • BSc (Hons) Sports Development                              Sports Studies (UGSSS)
    • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences               1998 & 1999
    • MA Sport & Leisure Studies                                       Led the validation -
    • MSc Sport & Exercise Science                                   Postgraduate Scheme in
    • MSc/MA Coaching Science                                         Sports Studies (PGSSS)
    • MA Therapeutic and Community Recreation          June 2000

    External (Cardiff Met) validation panel member:

    • BSc (Hons) Statistics and Computing
    • MSc Public Health

    External Panel Member/External Expert/Practitioner:

    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science – University of Gloucestershire. 1996
    • MSc Musculoskeletal Injury - Leeds Metropolitan University. 1998
    • MSc Ulstrasound Therapy - Leeds Metropolitan University. 1998
    • MSc Osteopathy & Sports Science – Leeds Metropolitan University, May 2003
    • MSc Sport & Exercise Sciences – University of the West of Scotland, February 2010
    • MSc Exercise & Health – University of the West of Scotland, March 2013

    Programme reviews:

    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science - Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education. 1999
    • BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science - South Bank University. 1999