High Performance Sport Coaching

High Performance Sport Coaching
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission
Last updated  Last updated: 23 October 2017
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Community Sport Coaching
Australian Sports Commission


High performance sport coaching is perceived to be a complex collection of practices that align with the preparation and competition requirements of athletes or teams engaged at the highest level of competition. Peak performance by athletes and teams is achieved by optimising multiple factors across many disciplines (e.g. psychology, physical therapies, skill development, mechanics, tactics and strategies, physical preparation, recovery, nutrition, etc.). The coach is the central figure who must link multiple sources of support and decision making to help produce the best possible athlete or team performance.

Key Messages 


High performance sport coaching requires a different skill-set to community sport coaching.


A coach’s response to stressors encountered in high performance sport is important for the personal health and wellbeing of the coach, as well as the best performance outcome from athletes and teams.


Coaching excellence is independent of the developmental level of the athletes being coached.


High performance coaches may come from different sporting backgrounds and progress through different career developmental pathways.


Many characteristics (e.g. personal attributes), skills (e.g. knowledge, proficiency) and significant experiences (i.e. sports background, mentoring) are common among high performance coaches; although agreement on an ideal set of factors and the relative weight of each factor has yet to be determined.

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