Online ExpertTrack in Healthcare & Medicine

Sports Performance: The Mind, Body, and Coaching

4.8 (6 reviews)

Explore key principles and current approaches in athlete training, mental preparation, and coaching to support sports performance.

Created by

The Open UniversityThe Open University

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Discover the latest thinking in athlete preparation and sports performance

Supporting athletes to thrive is the aim of most professionals and volunteers involved in sport.

This 12-week ExpertTrack will enable you to better understand key components of sports performance such as physical fitness, psychology, behaviour, and training environment design so you can develop and support athletes more effectively.

Created by leading sports and fitness academics from The Open University who are experienced athletes and coaches themselves, the course materials combine their extensive expertise with the lived experiences of current sportspeople.

Learning will be brought to life with insightful video case studies to help you understand the role you can play in holistically supporting athletes of all ages across a range of sports and fitness contexts.

Explore the changing sporting landscape

You’ll examine how the physical, psychological, and coaching perspectives of sport are changing to reflect a heavier emphasis on effective coaching while balancing athletes’ training demands, growth, and wellbeing.

You’ll discover how science-informed training environments can help transform athletes’ experiences, which will provide you with the crucial knowledge to design better training and practices that optimise athlete performance and welfare.

Learn to focus on individual athlete needs

Through a better understanding of the different mental and physical needs of athletes, you’ll learn and appreciate the different ways these can be met. This will help to harness motivation and maintain a sustainable engagement in sport.

Importantly, you’ll also learn to recognise and challenge some common assumptions in sports coaching.

Apply sports performance principles to your own life

By the end of this ExpertTrack, you’ll have a new outlook on sports performance and be armed with practical skills and scientific support principles that you can apply to achieve the best for both those you support and yourself.

Key skills you will learn

  • Evaluating performance variables
  • Identifying athletes’ needs
  • Supporting mental fitness
  • Developing rapport
  • Mental techniques and strategies
  • Person-centred coaching
  • Designing effective learning environments
  • Interpreting wellbeing and fitness data
  • Creating a motivational climate
  • Taking a multidisciplinary approach to training

Learning outcomes

By the end of the ExpertTrack, you’ll be able to...

  • Evaluate how multi-disciplinary expertise contributes to coaching and athlete welfare
  • Explore what modern coaching, sport psychology, and strength and conditioning are and how each is changing
  • Apply insights from sport psychology, training and coaching to your own life
  • Identify key aspects of athletes’ physical, psychological and learning needs
  • Apply the principles of mental fitness to athlete training environments and programmes

Experience required

You don’t need any prior sporting or coaching experience to join this ExpertTrack.

Each course is delivered and explained in a way that’s suitable for beginners or those with some experience in sports performance or coaching.

Getting started

This ExpertTrack is ideal for those who are interested in increasing their awareness and understanding of sports performance and work that supports athletes, as well as those who want to learn how to develop their own sporting practice.

The courses are particularly suitable for coaches, athletes, parents, teachers of all age groups, fitness instructors, sports enthusiasts, and those looking for a career or volunteer role in athlete support.

ExpertTrack course overview

Prove you're job ready

Highlight the new, job-relevant skills you’ve gained and supplement existing qualifications with a hard-earned, industry-specific digital certificate – plus one for every course within your ExpertTrack.

  • Learn the latest in your chosen industry or subject.
  • Complete each course and pass assessments.
  • Receive certificates validated by the educating organisation.
  • Impress employers with learning outcomes you can add to your CV.
  • Make your career dreams a reality.

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How ExpertTracks work

Join an ExpertTrack to master new skills in your chosen specialist area. Work through a series of topic-focused courses at your own pace, and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate award which proves your expertise.

Join a free 7-day trial

Decide if the ExpertTrack is right for you with free access to the full suite of courses and assessments for a week.

Keep learning for $39/month

Pay a monthly subscription fee of $39 for as long as it takes you to complete the ExpertTrack. You can learn at your own pace and cancel at any time.

Earn digital certificates

Receive a certificate for every completed course and pass the final assessment to earn a digital certificate.

Become an expert

Use your specialist training to progress further in your career or build expertise in areas you’re passionate about.

World-class learning with The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Meet your instructors

I am a Professor of Sport Education with a deep interest in learning, teaching & coaching. I have worked in educational environments all my life & love seeing both young and old improve & develop.

Dr Alex Twitchen is a Senior Lecturer at The Open University and has written module content on coaching and learning. He is a football coach and has an interest in coach eduction and development.

Ben lectures in Sports Coaching at The Open University. His research focuses on youth sport, athlete monitoring and golf. He is also a strength and conditioning coach to junior and adult golfers.

Simon lectures in Sport, Fitness and Coaching at The Open University. His research focuses on the optimal methods of providing feedback to students to maximise their success.

Simon is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Fitness at the Open University. He researches employability skills and careers in sports science. He is also the author of several sports science text books.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
  • Keep access to the content of courses you complete even after your subscription ends


ExpertTracks are a series of online courses designed to help you master new skills in specialist areas. You pay a monthly subscription fee which includes access to all courses within the ExpertTrack, as well as assessments and the final digital certificate.

Each ExpertTrack comes with a 7-day free trial period. You may cancel your subscription at any time and your subscription will automatically cancel when you finish the courses and assessments in your chosen ExpertTrack.

Yes. All of our ExpertTracks come with a 7-day free trial. You may claim one free trial period per ExpertTrack.

You have seven days before you will be charged your first monthly subscription fee. When you join an ExpertTrack you automatically receive a 7-day free trial period. You can cancel at any time during the trial period and no payment will be taken from your account.

Please see our full refund policy here.

No, all of our ExpertTracks consist of fully online courses. This means you can take an ExpertTrack from anywhere in the world.

No. ExpertTracks are designed for you to master new skills in a specialist area. You will earn a digital certificate that proves your learning, but it does not carry accreditation.

If you’re looking for certified or accredited courses, many of our microcredentials offer university credit or professional certification.

Have more questions about ExpertTracks? Read the ExpertTracks FAQs, or contact us.