Essex Sport

Performance Sport

Essex sports arena performance sport

Train smarter not harder

At Essex Sport we strive to provide innovative, athlete-centred programmes in our performance sports and focus teams: volleyball, basketball, rugby 7s, tennis and football.

We have a high ambition to become the leading sports institution in the East and our focus is all about you, the athlete.

And we also offer sports scholarships to ultra-talented athletes, providing coaching and support services, gym memberships and free kit.

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Performance sports


Basketball is the pinnacle sport at the University. Led by Head of Basketball Performance, Tom Sadler, and assistant coach, Ross Norfolk, the basketball programme at the University has dramatically transformed over the last couple of years.

The men’s and women’s first teams compete in the BUCS Premier Leagues.

The University of Essex is also home to the Essex Rebels, one of the country’s fastest growing basketball programmes for men and women, with teams in the WBBL, NBL Division 1 and 3, and the Essex Rebels Academy in the Basketball England Academy Basketball League, Essex Rebels Junior Club, and Basketball England Talent Hub.

The Rebels performance pathway is leading the way for universities as a fully integrated programme that provides:

  • Athlete profiling
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Mental Performance workshops/support
  • Physiotherapy support for training and games
  • Timetabled individual/small group workouts
  • 3 Team Training sessions

Accolades include:

  • iBasketball England National Cup Winners 2016
  • BUCS National Trophy Winners 2017
  • Basketball England National League Division 1 champions 2017
  • BUCS Premier League Winners 2018 – 2020

There are opportunities for Performance Analysis, coaching, officiating and several playing opportunities for men and women alike.

For more information on our performance basketball programme please contact or for information on our professional teams please contact alternatively please call 01206 87 3639/3016.

There isn’t a better time to #WeAreEssex


Led by Head Coach, Alex Porter, the volleyball programme here at Essex is one of the best in the country.

The University of Essex is a Volleyball England Senior Academy, and has a long-standing partnership with Tendring Volleyball Club, Women’s Super League Champions 2019, and Team Essex Volleyball Club, whose men’s team plays in the Volleyball England National League.

We have supported several athletes in achieving professional playing contracts at the end of their time at University, as well as several athletes representing their national team whilst studying at Essex.

Accolades include:

  • Volleyball England National Student Cup winners 2017 – 2019
  • BUCS Premier South Winners 2017 and 2019
  • BUCS Champions 2019

There are also opportunities for coaching, officiating, and Performance Analysis within our volleyball programme.

For more information about our volleyball programme, please contact Alex Porter on 01206 872841 or email

Rugby 7s

The University of Essex is a RFU Partner University, and we're committed to growing the game across all aspects, from Grass Roots to National League levels.

Our 7s programme is a unique scholarship programme offering support to talented men and women who wish to excel in 7s specifically. Players are encouraged to play in club teams and to represent the University at the BUCS trophy in April/May.

Accolades include

  • BUCS trophy quarter finalists
  • Dubai 7s International Open Quarter Finalists
  • Middlesex 7s Winners
  • Barking 7s Winners

Several of our students have been selected to represent England Students during their time studying at the University of Essex.

For more information about our rugby programme, please contact Ashley Cook via email on

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Head over to the Essex Rebels brand new website for the latest news, fixtures, player information, and more!

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Focus teams

In September 2019, the University launched Project 25, a University-wide strategy to achieve a top 25 overall position in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).

The new focus teams will have access to coaching, S&C coaching, equipment, playing and leisure kit, as well as sports bursaries for undergraduate students and one postgraduate fee-waiver per team.

Focus teams from September 2020

  • Tennis: men and women
  • Coached by Head Coach Chris Harris the men's and women's tennis focus teams take part in the BUCS tennis league and individual BUCS championships.

  • Football: men and women
  • Pedro Bruno was appointed Football Focus Team Coach in 2020. In September 2021 the University announced a new partnership with AFC Sudbury a local football club with an academy attached.

    The University also delivers support services to Ipswich Town Football Club Women's Superleague Academy through the TASS and FA Partnership as well as delivering specific Strength and Conditioning support to England Longlist players.

Sports scholarships and bursaries

Sports scholarships

We offer sports scholarships to talented athletes in our focus sports, providing coaching and support services, and free kit and use of facilities worth in excess of £1000.

An adapted scholarship package may be available to exceptional individual athletes outside these sports. Our package includes:

  • quality coach support
  • strength and conditioning coach support
  • physiotherapist conditioning screening
  • double bed, accommodation 100m from training venue
  • allocated lifestyle advisor
  • flexible academic provision (extended study, adapted exam times)

Additionally, we offer sports bursaries for undergraduate students worth up to £3000 per year, for dual-career athletes looking to combine their education with a route to playing professional sport upon graduation. We also offer a small number of fee waivers and fee reductions to post-graduate students who have already competed at the highest level.

We are also an accredited Sport England Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) centre, able to offer an annual package of support and funding worth £2750 for athletes nominated by their National Governing Body in around 25 sports.

How to apply

Please complete and submit the online application form.

If you have any queries please call 01206 873016 or email

Sports scholarship plus

Our sports scholarships plus package includes access to over £500 worth of additional services:

  • additional physiological testing and monitoring
  • additional physiotherapy access
  • access to medical support

Sports bursaries

We also offer a range of sports bursaries. Our sports bursaries are cash awards, paid on a termly basis dependent on adherence to sporting and academic targets following a review. Bursaries are available in three tiers:

  • tier 3 athletes up to £500 per year
  • tier 2 athletes £501 - £1500 per year
  • tier 1 athletes £1501 - £3000 per year

The University of Essex is also a TASS Delivery Site and a TASS Dual Career Accredited site.

TASS (Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme) is a Sport England funded partnership between talented athletes, education institutions, and national governing bodies of sport. We work together to bring out the best of our country’s most exciting young talents.

The TASS scheme helps athletes in education, aged 16 and over, to get the very best from their sporting and academic careers without having to choose between the two.

The TASS Dual Career Accreditation Scheme recognises an education institution’s commitment to dual career support for talented athletes who are in full time education. The Dual Career Accreditation Scheme acknowledges an enhanced level of academic flexibility and understanding within an institution, allowing talented athletes to balance their studies with a hectic sporting schedule.

TASS Dual Career


Essex Sport Arena, with 20 courts built to international sporting standards
Excellent indoor and outdoor sporting facilities
Essex Sport gym with 160 fitness stations, fully air-conditioned and a friendly team of personal trainers
Active sessions, a fun and easy way for beginners to learn a new sport
Dedicated top-class basketball, volleyball and rugby 7s coaches
Sports scholarships available to talented athletes
Essex Sport Arena
Tennis courts Essex Sport
Membership options Essex Sport
Squash Courts
Basketball Essex Sport-1000x1000
Take part in Essex Sport
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Get in touch
Performance Sport Manager Susy Davies
University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873016