The thing for me that is best about Ash is the science and time you you know has been put in behind the scenes. He often tries to come up with new ways to do the same sorts of exercises, keep them interesting yet still beneficial. Personally I have struggled with injuries in the past and this season which therefore restricts what I can and cannot do. Ash has been great in this aspect, looking into altering and changing exercises/session for me there and then as well as going home and looking into ways to adapt them in the future. He’s a decent bloke and joins in well with the lads, while maintaining a professional balance.

Ben Foley - Profesional Rugby Player

Winger - Rotherham Titans RUFC, Former England 7's International, Former Plymouth RFC 

I've worked with Ash since he became head of strength and conditioning at Rotherham at the start of the season. As soon as he came in I could see how determined he was to make us the best athletes that we could possibly be and would put the effort in with you to achieve your goals. What was refreshing was that he knew that it was a new role that he was taking on and would be keen to take advice where he felt he needed it. 

I was most impressed with how methodical and specific he had made the training for me on a personal level, understanding that positionally I would have different athletic needs as a prop forward. I believe that he's made me a better rugby player in the relatively short time we've worked together. He doesn't have a problem with being challenged over any training methods etc, and will always answer my questions whilst backing himself with facts. 

Most of all though he's a great bloke and is willing to have a laugh whilst you're training hard, this makes a difference when you're in the grind of training. He would definitely be an asset to anyone looking for a professional S&C coach and I would back him to make a huge difference to your training. 

Joe Rees - Professional Rugby Player

Prop Forward - Rotherham Titans RUFC, Former Worcester Warriors RUFC, Ospreys RUFC, and U20 Welsh International

I can highly recommend! Ash has worked and researched tirelessly to become not only a great S&C coach but a well educated and informed professional! Great coaching, great service and great results!

Paul Greaves

Olympic Medal Winning Coach, British Gymnastics Master Coach

I'm a UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning coach from Sheffield, working with championship boxers and national representatives in Golf. I've worked with Ash for several years, and have enjoyed seeing his passion and enthusiasm drive his development into a top S&C coach that gives 100% into every role he's been in.

Danny Wilson BSc MSc ASCC
Strength and Conditioning Coach at England Golf, Sheffield Hallam University and Boxing Science

For the last academic year, I have had the pleasure of having Ash as my strength and conditioning coach at Sheffield Hallam University for my field hockey team. Ash is very understanding, which has been vital for our team this year as Ash has tailored his sessions, sometimes instantaneously, to suit the needs of the team. 

He has impressed me particularly in his willingness to learn about the sport the athletes he coaches participate in, and applying his programmes to the specific sporting needs of these athletes. Most importantly this year Ash has completely changed my squat technique in order for me to become less injury-prone, stronger and more controlled throughout the lift, as a result allowing me to lift more weight.  

These improvements have translated into my hockey ability this season. Some noticeable improvements in my goalkeeping include me feeling more aerobically fit within training and games, leading to me feeling fresher mentally and therefore my concentration levels increasing, which have increased the consistency of my performances. I have become quicker over short distances and can change direction more effectively, leading me to be more efficient in covering my goal area and closing-down attackers. My power and jumping has improved allowing me to be more explosive in making saves, such as diving into the top corners of the goal or reaching balls travelling rapidly at a distance away from me. This has culminated in me winning both the player of the season awards for my club and university 1st team, whilst been voted the best goalkeeper in the National 2nd division. 

Simon Hujwan - Premier League Hockey Player

Goalkeeper - Beeston Hockey Club, Former England Under 21 International, Junior European Bronze Medallist, and Great Britain Development Athlete 

When I first met Ash, as a rugby league academy prospect you could tell how committed he was to developing his athletes. A few years later our paths crossed again, as my head strength and conditioning coach. Now after having Ash as my coach for the past two years, my performance in the gym and on the field have never been better.  

A highlight for me would be my squat rising from a 120kgx3 to a 170kgx1 in a 6 week period, I would have never achieved this accolade without the help and support of Ash. As an outside back in rugby speed and agility are key to my game, at 6’3 and 100kg my movement and first step quickness have continually improved under Ash’s guidance.  

However support out of the gym I have received is something you can’t ignore. He has helped me with opportunities I never thought I would be part of. I recently made my debut for Jamaica Rugby League putting in a man of the match performance. I picked up an injury 3 months from the game date but with Ash’s help I was able to rehab and get even stronger than previously. Outside of the gym Ash has helped with funding streams, physio and providing general life support. I can truthfully say I would not be in the place I am now without the help of Ash Downing.

Lewis Bowman

Winger - Jamaican Rugby League International, Stockport RUFC and Team Hallam RUFC

Ashley spoke with humility, captivating the students with his honesty about critical decisions and priorities that he had made to ensure that he achieved the goals that he had set himself.  He told the story of the key transitions, successes, failures and learning in his journey.


Ash's decisions and the process he has undergone to make them have left our students much the wiser in terms of decisions which they may need to make in the future.  It has also convinced me Ash's thought processes and critical thinking skills are well developed.


Ash has a clear vision of where he is going and what he wants to achieve.  His presentation today was professional, well prepared and excellently delivered.  It will leave a lasting impact.  I can highly recommend Ash for future presentations in teaching or conference situations.  


Janet Vickers

Senior Lecturer Sport Coaching and Physical Education

Sheffield Hallam University



Ash delivered a workshop to us as part of our graduate internship strength and conditioning programme, within this he covered everything from his own background, journey to securing a full-time position, coaching philosophy, process of programming, advice for undertaking the UKSCA accreditation and securing work within the S&C industry. The workshop provided a great insight in to how Ash developed himself as a strength and conditioning coach, and how he implemented his philosophy into the development of his programmes and his own coaching. As an aspiring coach who is going through the transition of completing an internship and looking to secure a full time position I found that he touched upon a lot of points that were very beneficial to me. Most importantly I felt Ash provided good insights into undertaking the UKSCA accreditation, and how best to prepare for the different assessment criteria. This was particularly key for us as we have our assessment days in the coming months. Ash combined his lecture with a very worthwhile practical session that looked at breaking down key lifts and their coaching points, providing invaluable advice and feedback. All in all it was a very enjoyable and professional workshop.

Chris Smithson-Connelly
Graduate Strength and Conditioning Intern
Sheffield Hallam University

Ash has proved himself to be a skilled coach – with training focused on the fitness, speed, sharpness and techniques required of an effective striker. A positive role model who has inspired a quiet teenager to work hard, improve his fitness and develop that fitness specific to his role.

Always approachable and professional, Ash has made this weekly training fun and a highlight of each week. Motivated, resolute and both seeing and enjoying the benefits of this training, we now have a fitter, more determined footballer who has asked to continue this training on a regular basis. 

Ash is an excellent coach and has achieved fantastic results with our son. 

Kevin and Diane Shaw



Ash was an incredible and extremely knowledgeable coach when he lead the S&C programme for me and the rest of the hockey 1st team at Sheffield Hallam University. Without a doubt, his dedication to improving our performance in the gym transpired to improving our performance on the field. I would highly recommend Ash to anyone who is looking for a professional, committed and knowledgeable strength and conditioning coach to work with an athlete or team. Thanks Ash for everything you did for me and the team!

Matt Anderson
Sheffield Hockey Club 1st Team, Sheffield Hallam University Men's Hockey 1st Team, England Hockey National League Player

Ash is a fantastic coach! He has the ability to understand an athlete not only physically but emotionally as well which is a great asset to carry as a coach. Ash helped me with my strength and conditioning and we seen massive improvements and lots of PB's throughout my time training with him, we seen improvements in my confidence lifting weights and pushing myself out of my comfort zone was no longer an issue! Ash is a great person to have around, he's understanding when you're having a bad day and highly motivating when you're having a good day! I can be fussy when it comes to S&C coaches but Ash is definitely a great coach and a great person to be around!

Tasha Wilson

Great Britain Javelin Athlete, Sheffield Hallam University Scholar


Ash has been great supporting with Science in Tennis and our youth athletes. He has strong coaching skills developing rapport with athletes with excellent knowledge.

Jonny Fraser BSc MSc CSCS
Strength and Conditioning Coach

I worked with Ash in a professional rugby union setting with Rotherham Titans. Throughout the time I was there he continuously provided support, enthusiasm and a breadth of knowledge. Especially when injured I was provided an individually specific programme that slowly but surely guided me back to full fitness. I am extremely grateful for all the time and advice he provided me with. His versatility to work across all sports and his continuous demonstration of commitment and work ethic would be asset to anyone who is to work with him.

Luke Cole - Professional Rugby Player

Hooker - Rotherham Titans RUFC, Former Gloucester RUFC, Former Yorkshire Carnegie RUFC


Ash was brilliant throughout my time working with him at the Hallam strength and conditioning gym. He helped me to improve both my strength and power which was highly beneficial to my on field performance. When I injured my shoulder, Ash developed innovative exercises which stopped me losing strength in other body parts whilst I recovered. He also gave me a range of exercises to

strengthen my shoulder once movement was possible. Not only is Ash a brilliant practitioner, he's a good person who gets to understand what interests his clients. I would highly recommend Ash to anyone looking to improve their physical performance or get an understanding of how elite strength and conditioning coaches operate.

David Knapton

Sheffield Hockey Club 1st Team, Sheffield Hallam University Men's Hockey 1st Team, England Hockey National League Player

Ash was a fantastic S&C Coach for the Sheffield Hallam men's hockey first team. Despite never having come into contact with the sport before, he managed to grasp key muscle groups and knew how to build upon these to really influence our game. On a personal level, he took my muscle strength to the next level whilst still keeping me mobile. He is a valuable asset and I would recommend him to any sports team who is looking for a strength and condition coach.

Will Blythe

Sheffield Hockey Club 1st Team, Sheffield Hallam University Men's Hockey 1st Team Captain, England Hockey National League Player, Former England U21 International

My son age 15 is a very keen tennis player. He started tennis at the age of 5 training 1 hour a week. He now trains between 8-10 hours on court each week with tournaments at weekends & in holidays. Part of his training has involved strength & conditioning sessions as well as fitness sessions. Ashley Downing has led these sessions for the past 3 years. They have improved his core strength & fitness levels as well as teaching him how to care for his body. Because of these sessions he better understands the demands & pressure sport can put on the body. During his rapid growth spurt & diagnosis of Osgood Sclatter's disease Ash was able to adapt his program to aid his recovery. The program also touched on nutrition which for growing children was very beneficial.

My daughter age 13 is an all round keen sports person. She is involved in 7 different sports in & outside of school & represents most of her school sports teams. She began S&C through tennis but it has been a fantastic resource for all her sports which demand high levels of fitness while using different muscles & parts of the body for each. It has been very useful in educating her about safety & caring for her body to enable her to perform to the best of her ability in whichever sport she is involved in.

Ash has a wonderful rapport with children of all ages. My children have loved his S&C sessions. We will really miss him & wish him luck in his new venture.

Di Cole


I worked with Ash in a professional environment - he threw himself into the role taking on a huge amount of responsibility from the onset. I received personal support throughout my injury and he always went the extra mile, working many more hours than he was required.

Cameron Hudson - Professional Rugby Player

Centre - Rotherham Titans RUFC, Former Wharfedale RUFC, Former England Counties U20's