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In this episode of the David Grey Rehab Podcast, I welcome John Kiely, Senior Lecturer in Performance & Innovation at the University of Limerick.

John is a former competitive athlete, a long-time Coach/S&C/Rehab. Olympics; Paralympics; World Championships; Rugby & Soccer World Cups. PhD. And a self proclaimed Part-jock/Part-nerd.

More than anyone else, John has massively influenced the way I think and speak about movement, so we’re all in for a real treat with this episode!

Listen in as we discuss periodization training, coordination and reflexes, smoothness in running, and the benefits and dangers of using placebos and nocebos while training athletes.

You’ll learn our thoughts on how to instill confidence in rehab clients, the issue with technical models of movement, whether or not you can train coordination in athletes, the roles of the brain and spine in running, and much more!


“Belief isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’, it’s not just a feeling like it’s the right thing to do, it actually has a difference in outcomes. It has a difference in perception, in motion, in cognition, in athletes’ sense of trust with their coach, but also it will regulate how well they can perform.”        – John Kiely


Episode Timeline | What You’ll Learn:

00:00 – Introducing John Kiely & The topics of today’s episode.

06:10 – John’s background in sports, coaching, writing, and teaching.

09:51 – The power of questioning your biases and beliefs and evaluating your predictions and mistakes.

17:52 – How to instill confidence in rehab clients who are feeling uncertain about the rehab process.

20:07 – How coaches can leverage the benefits of the placebo and nocebo effects in athletes’ training and performance.

29:30 – When the athlete/coach relationship weakens, performance weakens.

33:45 – Can you be strategically inconsistent in coaching?

26:16 – Defining coordination and smoothness in running.

41:23 – Is more variability associated with more jerk?

43:54 – Can you avoid compromising efficiency and energy in running? Are there benefits to exposing runners to stress and fatigue?

49:31 – Given the variations in smoothness of running, is there a right way to run?

59:26 – The issue with technical models of movement & Is there a time we stop learning and developing our bodily movements?

1:10:49 – Why there’s no real framework for training coordination & John’s opinion of Frans Bosch.

1:16:12 – What roles do the brain and the spine have in running/sprinting?

1:23:55 – Which 3 people would you bring to a deserted island?


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John Kiely is a Senior Lecturer in Performance and Innovation at the University of Limerick. He is a former competitive athlete and has since worked with football/soccer, hurling, track and field, and rugby athletes of all levels. In his current role, he supervises Professional Doctoral and PhD candidates working within professional multi-disciplinary performance environments and pursuing practice-based post-graduate qualifications. His current research interests revolve around human performance, and include: The detrimental effects of fatigue on running coordination; the modernizing of Periodization planning paradigms; stress as it relates to performance and health; genetics and sports performance; and the link between fitness, movement, cognition and emotional health.