Come On, Ref!!

Ever watched a game of football and thought the ref got it wrong? Think you could do a better job? If you fancy yourself as the new Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver or Phil Dowd, perhaps you should get your hands on the bestselling referee manual, The Soccer Referee’s Manual. Now in its sixth edition, it contains FIFA’s most recent Laws of the Game, and has over 100 questions and answers on the laws and interpretations, and contains invaluable insights in to the FA’s referee training and advice.

So what are you still doing sitting on your sofa? Get yourself a copy and get out there on the pitch…

And don’t forget your whistle!


Reproduction of ‘FIFA – Laws of the Game 2015/2016’ – The official Laws of the International Football Association Board (IFAB). Source:
© Copyright 1994-2015 FIFA. All rights reserved.

The Rugby World Cup – a history in photos. Out now!

Unless you’ve been stuck in a blizzard in Siberia, you’ll know that one of the world’s greatest sports events is happening right now!

The Rugby World Cup 2015 has already been pronounced as the greatest edition of the tournament, breaking records in ticket sales, TV audiences, commercial revenue and social media interaction. (I even got to be part of the record-breaking 89,267-strong crowd at Sunday’s Ireland-Romania clash – woo!) And RWC 2015 has also featured a plethora of the world’s most magnificent beards – even Prince Harry was sporting one at the opening ceremony!


Winners South Africa celebrating, 2007

But what do you know about the history of this great test of human strength, aggression, speed and endurance? Starting with the inaugural competition in 1987 – in which New Zealand confirmed their status as the world’s top rugby nation – to the historical 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa after the end of apartheid and the international sports boycott through England’s fantastic win in 2003 breaking the southern hemisphere’s dominance, up to this year’s qualifiers, The Rugby World Cup is a unique photographic journey through each tournament. So why not get your hands on a copy.

9781472912626 (1)

It isn’t just the All Blacks who do the haka. Come on Tonga!

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Jonny kicking with precision.

9781472912626 (3) The Rugby World Cup: The Definitive Photographic History by Brendan Gallagher.   Get 30% this book and all our other rugby titles on our website.

Rugby World Cup kicks off tomorrow! #theworldisoval

Great to see rugby fever at Stanfords in London. IMG_7097 (2)

The Job: Commissioning Editor, Sports and Fitness

The Opportunity
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc are looking for an experienced Commissioning Editor to work on our fantastic Sports and Fitness list. Working with the Head of Department you will commission sports and fitness titles across the market, including gift titles, narratives, reference books, coffee table titles and training manuals. 

Bloomsbury Sport publishes the best in sport, health and fitness books, covering a wide range of subjects, from the history of cycling through to the practicalities of foam rolling. This is a challenging and exciting role for someone able to manage their own projects with plenty of drive and enthusiasm.

The Role
• Commission new products and manage backlist to ensure your list meets identified market needs
• Maintain solid market awareness in order to identify publishing opportunities
• Monitor market trends and competitor activity; undertake market research
• Develop and maintain a network of external contacts; attend conferences/events as required
• Draw up and negotiate contracts with authors / agents
• Manage initial budget and schedule for commissioned projects

Skills, knowledge, experience
• Must have experience in trade book publishing
• Track record of commissioning books, ideally developing a list
• Excellent knowledge of the editorial and commissioning process
• Relevant market knowledge advantageous / interest in the sports and fitness sector
• Good awareness / experience of ebooks/digital opportunities

This role is based at Bloomsbury’s London office, 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP. To apply, please send a CV, covering letter, including current salary details and notice period, to Julia Thomson, HR Advisor.

The closing date for this role is Monday, 28th September 2015.

Rugby Books Sale Now On!


30% off all rugby books! Visit our website to see what’s on offer.

Basketball Coaching: Out Now

Basketball is one of the most spectacular, dynamic and popular team sports on the planet, requiring a high level of fitness and skill. And success in basketball comes from a player’s ability to consistently execute the fundamental skills of the game and also from the coach’s ability to coach and incorporate these skills into their training programmes.

Baske9781472901880tball Coaching by Alexandru Radu is therefore a vital resource for current and aspiring coaches, covering the essential skills needed to successfully coach and develop players.

The book starts from the basics, providing guidance on skills and techniques training, tactical training and physical and psychological preparation for each individual position. It also covers elite level coaching skills, such as performance analysis and talent identification, which can be used at all levels of the game.

Illustrated throughout with diagrams to explain all drills and amazing photographs of basketball in action, it’s  the ideal tool for coaches wanting to develop a better understanding of this dynamic sport and how to coach it effectively.

To get your hands on a copy, click here.

The Other Giant Leap for Mankind

How Jonathan Edwards set a world record that’s still standing 20 years later

Ben Oakley
The Open University

In the late evening Scandinavian sun at the 1995 World Athletics Championship, Jonathan Edwards, a British triple jumper, was the tenth to jump out of of 12 finalists. He took a minute to collect himself, then sped down the runway to jump 18.16m, breaking his own world record by 18 centimetres.

Edwards wandered around in a contented daze, waiting for the distance to be displayed when he heard the crowd roar as they saw the scoreboard before he did. The jump was valid. Then, 25 minutes later Edwards went again; he looked incredibly relaxed before he sprinted for his second celebratory jump, whose rhythm and smoothness produced a further distance of 18.29m. The stadium exploded in a tumult of shared joy of witnessing something very special.

And very special it was – that record has stood for 20 years now. In a world where athletes constantly shave millimetres, seconds and nano-seconds off previous bests, that jump in 1995 is assuming the status of a mythical feat. The closest anyone else has got is 20cm away – Kenny Harrison (USA) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. More recently, Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo’s steady annual improvements have seen him come within 21cm.

How did Edwards do it? He described it as a magic combination of timing and speed, power and touch. And studying his 2001 authorised biography, A Time to Jump, and his subsequent public comments can give us more insight.

Early years

A key ingredient in Edwards’s success was a genetic blueprint that meant he had raw speed on the track (according to his biography, his best 100m time is 10.48 sec). Speed as you approach take-off in triple and long jump is one of the key pre-requisites of success, since it translates into horizontal distance when jumping. But genetic potential is the relatively easy part; the rest is a blend of multiple factors.

Growing up in Ilfracoumbe, a modest town in Devon, South West England, helped. Where you grow up influences the likelihood of sporting success with small towns enabling a more supportive developmental climate. It’s often better to be a big fish in a small pond. West Buckland private school also allowed Edwards to thrive in a diverse range of sports including rugby, basketball, tennis, athletics, cricket and gym.

Participating in a rich mix of different sports in childhood is the optimal preparation for future success in most sports. Learning to move in varied ways is the best foundation, rather than specialising in one sport from an early age which might be called “extreme nurture”. Edwards eventually concentrated on jumping at the age of 21.

At school, his diminutive stature earned the nickname of “Titch” and a birthdate in May magnified his late physical development in comparison with others in his school year. A concerned PE teacher was frightened to select him for inter-school rugby fearing for his safety. Children born in May, June, July and August, the youngest in their school year, are less likely to get selected for squads in adolescence, but are more likely to achieve senior professional status: a reversal of the relative age effect. The additional challenge experienced by these initially disadvantaged younger athletes is thought to build resilience – a key component for success.

18 metre man.
John Giles/PA

Faith and training

To succeed, champions need to learn their craft. After graduating in Physics from Durham University, the 1988 Olympics was his first major event at the start of his elite development. Fortunately his body responded well to training and he mostly stayed injury-free, both of which are starting to be recognised as having genetic components.

An international athlete’s craft involves refining diet, responding to coaching analysis, conditioning in the gym and making wise travel arrangements. While in the arena, optimising the warm-up, saving energy for competition and coping with pressure all need to be incrementally developed through experience.

After six years of full-time training, aged 27, following disappointment at both the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, Edwards made the World Championships podium (bronze) having leapt 17.44 metres. Jumping a whole metre further seemed impossible at that time.

Athletes need to be fascinated with this process of improving. The paradox is that they need to be able to make sense of this seemingly selfish pursuit; a need to be content with the purpose of their lives. At times Edwards battled with realising his talent and fulfilling his strong Christian obligations which until 1993 meant he would not compete on Sundays. His evangelical faith helped make sense of optimising his jumping talent: it was in service to God. Many years later, in retirement and after losing his faith, he said that looking back “faith gave me more perspective on success or failure, it was my sport psychology in a way”.

A further ingredient of success is rest and recovery. Edwards was forced to recuperate after contracting Epsterin Barr virus in 1994; it meant he was revived as he eased his way back into training. It also gave him time to think deeply about his jumping technique including a new two-arm swing skywards.

The big jump

The final ingredient in the mix is supreme confidence. Edwards’s 1995 season started well. A national record in his first contest, he was on his way. Then in June he achieved the longest leap of all time, 18.43m in Lille. Unfortunately the jump was only a hair’s breath, 0.4m/sec, over the legal wind threshold. But he had re-defined the parameters of the sport.

He first broke the world record properly weeks later in Salamanca with 17.98m. Then came Gothenberg and his place in history. Watching the footage of his second, record-breaking jump, you can see that on the runway he is relishing the moment having just broken the world record again minutes previously. He knows he might do it again and is supremely confident and relaxed.

Later, he admitted that if he could combine the physicality of Gothenberg with the technical perfection of Lille he believed 18.60m was possible. He never achieved such a distance, but five years later he won gold in the 2000 Olympics, aged 34.

Jonathan Edwards’ path from a cherubic vicarage schoolboy to the 20th anniversary of his enduring triple jump world record reveals rich insights about the complex jigsaw of podium success.

Often discussions of elite athletics all too easily fall into a facile nature-nurture debate. Probing athlete’s biographies alongside research can reveal fascinating and varied routes to the top. And there are few higher (or further) athletic achievements than that great leap in 1995.

Ben Oakley is Head of Childhood, Youth and Sport at The Open University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Strength and Conditioning for Football

The new season kicked off last Saturday, but it’s strength and conditioning (S&C) in pre-season preparation and training that will keep the majority of players injury-free as they return to play. But the work doesn’t stop there. S&C is now an integral part of any professional footballer’s training schedule throughout the season. It helps make them more robust, more efficient and more explosive.

Strength and Conditioning for Football by Mark Jarvis is the ground-breaking text on S&C and its application in the professional game. Mark is Director of Performance Solutions at the English Institute of Sport and is an Elite S&C Coach, and has used his experiences of working with first team squads in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues to write the book.

This comprehensive manual covers all aspects that contribute to successful practice so that training and playing time lost to injury is reduced. Click here to browse inside.

‘An excellent book … from someone who obviously gets it in reference to real life S&C at an elite level in soccer’ – Simon Bitcon, Head of S&C at Manchester City FC

The bible for football S&C.

This book is a unique resource for existing and aspiring football S&C coaches as well as sports science graduates and any footballer serious about their sport. This pioneering text will help shape and define the role of the S&C coach within football to help players at all levels of the game. And to get your hands on it, all you have to do is click here.

The Pain Free Cyclist

Maybe you’ve been watching the Tour and feeling inspired to get out on your bike again after a crash? Or maybe you were in the Tour and had to abandon due to injury? (Fabian, Tony, Simon, et al. – we wish you speedy recoveries.)

Well, The Pain Free Cyclist: Conquer Injury and Find Cycling Nirvana is the book for you.


If you’re going to buy one cycling book this summer…

Written by the awesome duo of Team Chiropractor and Nutritional Strategist for Team Cannondale-Garmin, Matt Rabin and Robert Hicks, Health and Fitness Deputy Editor of Cycling Weekly, this is the ultimate guide for all cyclists on all things cycling health-related. The book takes you through the most common cycling injuries, let you know what exactly they are, why you get them and what you can do to get rid of them and get you back on the bike pain free.

And if you don’t believe me, why not listen to the cycling legend that is Sir Bradley Wiggins:

If you do need to seek help, for me it’s about trusting that the person you are seeing can help you, going with this approach has always worked for me. I believe in this book, and you’ll find out the best ways to deal with injury and the bad pain you can have on your bike. By reading this book you will be able to short cut some of the information it has taken me years and a career as a pro-cyclist to find out. Feeling strong on the bike and riding pain-free regardless of your level, from amateur to pro, is what we’re all looking for. This book will help you to beat your injuries and prevent them returning, allowing you to slot back into riding your bike as the pain-free cyclist.
See you out on the road,

Save a 1/3 off Cycling Books

Save, save, save!

It may be the first rest day of the Tour, but there’s no time to waste – Grab yourself a bargain with our summer cycling offer!!


Click on the picture above to see our fantastic offer.


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