David Dunne is a Performance Nutritionist at Harlequins Rugby Union Club, as well as a consultant to a range of Professional and Olympic athletes. He is a visiting lecturer at St Mary’s University, Surrey University and Liverpool John Moores University and is currently completing a PhD in Digital Health and Behaviour Change.
1)What has led you into youth sport?
To be honest, I’ve never specifically tried to get into youth sport specifically. With nutrition being mostly a consultancy role, it was very much part of the job from the start to work with youth athletes as well as senior and try to grow a positive nutrition culture throughout a whole club/organisation.
2) What has been your biggest influence in your practice in youth sport?
I like to read a lot and keep up to date with the literature, but speaking to the athletes themselves and their parents has been the most powerful exercise so far. They tell you as it is and provide insights into the barriers, enablers and how best to deliver the information you want to get across. This short but effective co-creation process influences my practice.
3) What is your particular area of interest?
Digital health and behaviour change. Making the human coach more scalable and understanding how best to deliver behavioural interventions, not just information and education.
4) How do you think this particular area applies to youth athletes?
Youth athletes often suffer infrequent nutrition support and generic resources as a result of reduced budgets. Hopefully this solution will provide a more continuous and scalable service.
5) What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Big question! Its tough, I’ve received lots of good and bad advice but generally generate my lessons from experiences and exposure in different environments. If I had to pick one it would be being told to collaborate with other fields, even outside of sport completely, that’s when the best work happens.
6) What advice would you give to coaches working with youth athletes?
Think about the big picture.
7) Can you recommend any particular resources for youth sport coaches?
Not one particular resources to be honest, just go and see as many environments and setups as you can. You’ll learn more with experience and exposure to different sports and contexts.
8) Where can people find out more about you and your work? (Social media links, websites etc.)
It’s definitely worth checking out the Facebook page as he regularly posts great content like those images shared below and throughout this article!
Thanks to David Dunne for his time and knowledge!
Are you a grassroots youth sport coach or PE teacher who wants to improve the athleticism of your athletes?? Check out our Fundamental series athletic development programs here.
For more great content, follow us on Facebook!