Commitment to excellence

The university has a diverse array of sports teams and clubs to explore, and we're proud to announce our aspiration to become the leading sporting institution in the Eastern region within the next three years.

This vision is reflected in our commitment to excellence in every aspect of university life, including sports. One of the significant ways we measure our success is through the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league. Our performance on the field contributes directly to our BUCS ranking. Each of you will play a crucial role in securing points for your team and, by extension, helping us climb the ladder toward our Top 25 goal.

Experience student-athlete life at Essex

Our Performance Sport program fosters growth with expert coaching, cutting-edge facilities and a community of passionate athletes. As a welcoming and supportive community, we encourage you to thrive in your sport whilst also supporting you to succeed in your academic studies. 

We offer undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships and bursaries for regional, national, or international-level players in our focus sports and other disciplines. Elevate your game and studies with the opportunities we offer for personal and athletic development.

Expert coaching

Our performance sport coaches are experienced and skilled in working with talented athletes within national pathways.  Each of our performance sports are supported by a head coach and assistant coach alongside a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) specialising in strength and conditioning, performance analysis, lifestyle support, sports therapy, sport science and physiotherapy.

Our coaching and MDT team provide an elite daily training environment, encompassing individual and team training sessions both on and off the court/pitch.  Our mission to provide an athlete centred model allows for individual growth as well as accomplishing a shared vision and goal within our performance programmes.


High performance facilities

Essex boasts modern sports facilities equipped with the latest technology to support your training and development, including;

  • Essex Sports Arena – home of our Essex Rebels basketball and volleyball teams, the £12 million Arena is built to international sporting standards with seating for 1,655 spectators, new men’s and women’s locker rooms, state-of-the-art Performance Analysis Conference Room, and includes 23 courts for basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton and futsal.
  • Essex Sports Centre - home to our spacious Essex Sport gym, fitness studios, squash courts, climbing wall, and large sports hall housing a full-size basketball court, badminton, volleyball, netball and other court space. The centre is also headquarters for our Performance Sport Department.
  • Outdoor facilities - Renowned for our research on the benefits of Green Exercise, we use 40 acres of university grounds dedicated to outdoor sports activities. Colchester campus includes 2 rugby pitches, also marked out for American Football, 5 full-size 11 a-side football pitches, junior football and lacrosse pitches, cricket pitch and batting nets, a sand-based artificial pitch for hockey and football, 3 undulating parkland jogging routes ranging from 1.2 miles to 3.2 miles long, an 18-hole disc golf course and 4 hard court tennis courts with floodlighting for evening use, covered by a bubble during winter allowing year-round play.
  • FA Women's Football High Performance Centre - we are one of just a handful of locations throughout the UK in partnership with the Football Association (FA) with the aim to improve the quality and quantity of coaches working in the women's and girl's game, especially those working in the FA Talent Pathway and Women's National League. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on football coaching experience, including work placements in coaching sport science and sports therapy to boost employability, laying the groundwork for careers in women's football. 

Personalised support 

We understand the unique challenges of balancing academics and sports. Our dedicated support staff will assist you in managing your commitments and maintaining a healthy balance plus you will have access to a comprehensive support system designed to help you reach your peak performance. Here's an overview of what our program includes;

  • Athlete Workshops - we believe in holistic development. Throughout the year, we offer workshops on topics such as nutrition, mental resilience, time management, and more. These workshops are aimed at enhancing not only your athletic skills but also your overall well-being and academic success.
  • Lifestyle Practitioner - our dedicated Lifestyle Practitioner is here to provide guidance on balancing your academic responsibilities with your athletic pursuits. They can help you develop strategies for managing stress, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and optimizing your performance.
  • Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coaching - our S&C coaches are committed to helping you build strength, endurance, and agility tailored to your specific sport. They will work with you to develop personalized training plans that align with your athletic goals. Read a bit more about our head coach Justin Mills
  • Sports Therapy - we understand the physical demands of high-performance sports. Our onsite Sports Therapy Clinic, as well as our partnership with an external physiotherapy provider, ensures that you receive the best care for injury prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation.
  • XPS Performance Tracking App - we are rolling out a cutting-edge XPS Performance Tracking App. This powerful tool will centralize your daily training schedules, S&C training programs, performance analysis, RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scores, and injury monitoring all in one place. Moreover, it features a messaging function for seamless communication within your team and with your coaches. This innovative app is designed to streamline your training and enhance your overall performance.
  • Academic Flexibility - we understand balancing the demands of your sport and academics can sometimes lead to challenges, such as coursework deadlines or exam clashes, as a sports scholar within our Performance Sport program, you benefit from this policy, which has been designed to ensure you have the flexibility needed to excel both in the classroom and on the court / field.

Competitive opportunities

You'll have the chance to compete at various levels, from university leagues to national and international tournaments, subject to selection. Most recent successes:

Women's Basketball

  • 2023 WBBL Betty Codona Trophy Finalists
  • 2023 BUCS National Championship Finalists   
  • 2022 & 2023 BUCS Premier South League Champions  
  • WBBL 9-3 League Record 
  • 2021 University of Essex Team of the Year 

Men's Basketball

  • 2023 Basketball England National Cup Semi-Finalists
  • 2023 BUCS Premier South League Champions
  • 2023 BUCS National Championship Semi Finalists 
  • 2023 BUCS 2nd Team promoted to Tier 1
  • 2023 D3 Team unbeaten all season, National Playoff Champions 

Women's Volleyball

  • 2023 Volleyball England Super League Final 4 
  • 2023 BUCS National Championship Finalists
  • 2023 BUCS Premier South League Champions
  • 2023 University of Essex Team of the Year 
  • 2022 BUCS National Championship Quarter Finalists

Men's Volleyball

  • 2023 Volleyball England Super League Final 4 - bronze medallists
  • 2023 BUCS National Championship Semi Finalists
  • 2023 BUCS Premier South League Champions
  • 2022 BUCS National Championship Finalists
  • 2022 Volleyball England National Cup Finalists 

Women's Football

Men's Football

  • 2022 BUCS South Eastern Tier 1 Runners-Up
  • 2022 BUCS National Trophy Quarter Finalists

Women's Tennis

  • 2023 BUCS South Eastern Tier 1 League Champions 
  • 2023 Playoff success to Premier South
  • 2022 BUCS South Eastern Tier 1 Runners Up
  • 2022 & 2023 Abby Fung competed in  BUCS Individual National Championships

Men's Tennis

  • 2023 BUCS South Eastern Tier 1 League Champions 
  • 2022 BUCS South Eastern Tier 1 Third Place
  • 2023 Carlos Corser competed in BUCS Individual National Championships
  • 2023 Carlos Corser University of Essex Newcomer of the Year
  • 2022 Rittik Anand competed in BUCS Individual National Championships
  • 20223 PCU Games in Rome – Rittik Anand crowned Champion  


Join a vibrant community of student-athletes who share your passion for sports. Connect, learn, and grow together.

We take great pride in fostering a strong sense of community and support, not only among our student-athletes but also with our dedicated supporters. The Tribe is a prime example of this commitment. As the proudest, loudest, and most inclusive supporters club in the UK, The Tribe was launched just last academic year and has already garnered significant recognition, winning the prestigious CUBO (College and University Business Officers) award in the 'Innovation in Student Experience' category.

This growing community, added to a progressive desire to make our Essex Rebels game day experiences memorable for all, has resulted in back to back wins over the last two seasons of the prestigious National Basketball League for 'Best Gameday Experience', this year following our most successful season to date. Last year the ‘Best Gameday Experience Award’ came off the back of the incredible International Women’s Day WBBL event.

History makers
  • All four of our performance volleyball and basketball teams have won the 2023 season's BUCS Premier League South title for the first time in University history.
  • We are continuing to make history as we build on the success of past seasons. We are officially the first UK volleyball club to use an international visa to draft top-class professional players from across the globe.
  • For the 2023-24 season we financially supported over 100 sports scholars with either fee waivers or cash bursaries to achieve their potential within our performance sports programs.

Sports programme and scholarships

Read our blog

Inspiring stories, real accounts and what to expect at Essex; this is a space dedicated to the talented staff, teams, athletes and coaches part of the University of Essex Performance Sports and Scholarship programmes. 

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Performance Sport at Essex

Thomas Jefferson Volleyball Player
"The scholarship has allowed me to develop and further improve my game to compete at the highest level in the UK and compete within the National team. One-to-one interactions with S&C and on court coaches has been pivotal in my successes over the last two years as we aim for success in BUCS, the Cup and the Super League."
Thomas Jefferson Essex Rebels volleyball player, england volleyball men's team
TASS Dual Career
Essex Sport staff member, Susy standing with her arms folded and looking into the distance
Get in touch
Performance Sport Manager Susy Davies
University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873016
Schools and Academies Looking to advance your students onto elite athlete programmes? 
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