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Karl Wharton

Associate Professor

Department: Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation

Hls Karl Wharton Staffprofile 255

Karl Wharton is a Senior Lecturer within the School of Life Sciences. Karl joined the University as a full-time member of staff in September 2008 having previously worked as a National Coach for British Gymnastics.

Karl is a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Karl joined the University as a full-time member of staff in September 2008 having previously worked as a National Coach for British Gymnastics. Karl is the Programme Leader for the BSc Hons Sport Coaching and leads several modules on the programme at undergraduate level. Prior to entering into a career in full-time coaching and higher education Karl was a Teacher of Physical Education for 15 years and held a position as a Head of Department for a twelve year period.

Karl Wharton is a highly experienced coach and coach educator and has been involved with British Gymnastics for over thirty years as a National coach, tutor, tutor trainer, technical writer for the UK Coaching Certificate Level 1 to 5 and a member of several strategy groups including the Sport England 2012 High Performance Group. Karl's involvement in the strategic development of sport and coaching contributed to his appointment onto the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) Coaching Academy as a World Expert in coaching pedagogy which aims to raise standards of gymnastics coaching and support across the world. Just recently (November 2017) Karl was invited by the FIG to be part of a four strong working group that will have significant impact on the development of Acrobatic gymnastics at global level.  The aim of the group is to co-ordinate and merge with the FIG academy programme (a three-level coach education programme) for Acrobatic Gymnastics. The program will include a development portion that includes a progressive physical and technical testing programme for all aspects of the sport and a lower age and lower level competition program that will lead to the international age group rules.

Karl’s involvement in the group is said to be indispensable for these two programmes to be coordinated and integrated properly. His involvement in the development of the technical content and curriculum of the academy programme was instrumental, with his work forming the basis of the three levels of technical manuals and technical lectures that the FIG have been permitted to use.

This is not the first time Karl’s outstanding service to coaching gymnastics has been recognised both regionally and internationally. He received an MBE for his leading work in coaching gymnastics in 2016 being honoured in particular for the success of the Deerness Gymnastic Academy in Durham where he is a volunteer director as well as his role on the FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee, a position he has held since 2008.

Karl has coached at International level with the British Gymnastics Association and has produced more than one hundred international gymnasts, including World and European medallists including six World and seven European Champions. Karl has also had the role of a commentator for Eurosport at major gymnastic competitions. Consequently, Karl brings a wealth of experience into his role from both the coaching, education and the sports sector.

Karl has served as a consultant to the International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG), British Gymnastics, English Gymnastics, Scottish Gymnastics, the English Institute of Sport and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Karl has delivered presentations at four International Coaching Academies and these included presentations with some of the leading academics in coaching theory. In 2000, Karl was appointed by Sport England and British Gymnastics to lead and develop one of the World Class Start talent identification programmes which are now producing international performers for Great Britain.

Campus Address

Room 236, Northumberland Building
Northumbria University

Karl is a Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Karl joined the University as a full-time member of staff in September 2008 Karl is Head of Subject for Sport Management and Sport Coaching.


  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • The emergence of organisations conducting Community Asset Transfers of leisure facilities, Haw, S., Potrac, P., Wharton, K., Findlay-King, L. 22 Feb 2023, In: Managing Sport and Leisure
  • Undertaking the personal tutoring role with sports students at a United Kingdom university, Hayman, R., Coyles, A., Wharton, K., Borkoles, E., Polman, R. 16 Mar 2023, In: Journal of Further and Higher Education
  • Benefits and Motives for Peer Mentoring in Higher Education: An Exploration Through the Lens of Cultural Capital, Hayman, R., Wharton, K., Bruce-Martin, C., Allin, L. Mar 2022, In: Mentoring and Tutoring: Partnership in Learning
  • Supporting the integration of first-year undergraduate widening participation sport students into university: the role of online programme induction, Hayman, R., Wood, M., Wharton, K., Shotton, L. 6 Dec 2022, In: SN Social Sciences
  • Moving beyond unproblematic policy implementation: some micro-level reflections on social interaction, emotion, and the enactment of safeguarding policy in sport., Scott-Bell, A., Wharton, K., Potrac, P. 27 Oct 2020, Routledge Handbook of Athlete Welfare, London, Taylor & Francis
  • Role strain theory: applicability in understanding developmental experiences of international junior acrobatic gymnasts, Hayman, R., Polman, R., Wharton, K., Borkoles, E. 13 Jun 2020, In: Science of Gymnastics Journal
  • The role of personal tutoring in supporting the transition to university: experiences and views of widening participation sport students, Hayman, R., Coyles, A., Wharton, K., Mellor, A. 9 Oct 2020, In: Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education
  • Realities of Excellence in Sport Coaching through Experiences of Transformational Leadership, Bruce-Martin, C., Arthur, C., Wharton, K., Radley, R., Bruce-Martin, M., Caplan, N. 4 Jun 2019, The Canadian Association for Leisure Studies conference
  • Sensitivity to frame rate and optimisation of 3D markerfree motion analysis of gymnastic tumbling from a mobile single camera, Lawson, S., Wharton, K. Jul 2014, 7th World Congress of Biomechanics
  • Coaching the individual child athlete in performance sport, Wharton, K. 2011, Sports Coaching: A reference guide for students, coaches and competitors, Crowood press

  • Physical Education BEd (Hons) September 01 1981
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority SFHEA 2020

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