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Sport management and policy

Watch this video to learn how sport organisations help support and manage athletes and read how governments create sport policy and strategies.

While the athlete/para athlete dedicates their time to training and their preparation involves sports coaching, sports science and sports medicine (SSSM), we must also look at the sport management that is used to coordinate and support this whole system.

Importance of sport management

What drives sport management and how do they drive the development of high performance sport? Let’s look at sport management in Australia as an example to find out.

Sport management in Australia

Since the 1970s, all levels of Australian government have contributed to the management of sport by setting policies and committing resources to ensure the Australian society experiences the benefits of sport, either directly or indirectly.

At the national level, we saw the establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) in the 1980s. The AIS was established in 1981 in response to Australia’s falling international success and other countries catching up to our athletes’ natural ability. There was public outcry when the Australian Olympic team returned home from the Montreal Olympics in 1976 with no gold medals! The AIS continues to be a leading contributor to the development and management of high performance sport in Australia.

Later, in 1985, the ASC was established in recognition that a successful sporting nation needs to support sport at all levels, from the grassroots community level, through to high performance. The ASC oversees policy making and funding of sports at the national level in Australia, and the AIS is incorporated under this body.

It is an exciting time for our national sport agencies, as we witnessed changes in leadership of both organisations in 2017, and a change in our national approach to sport in Australia has been flagged.

You can read a commentary of the current policy landscape here. You may also like to read more in the ‘See also’ section below.

Managing for better outcomes

As more of our peer-countries acquire skills and resources in sports coaching, sports science and sports medicine, the job of the AIS to develop Australia’s competitive edge becomes more challenging. Their recent developments have highlighted that rather than investing more money in new sciences, approaches or technologies, that there is perhaps more to gain from better managing what we already have on hand.

As a result of their inquiries in this space, the AIS has developed the ‘FTEM framework’, which stands for ‘Foundations, Talent, Elite and Mastery – Pathways’. The purpose of the FTEM is to assist sport organisations, coaches and athletes in understanding what phase of development the athlete is at and identify the best mix of support for an athlete to reach their potential.

Not only does the FTEM help in the effective and efficient distribution of sporting resources for our talented athletes, but it also acknowledges the importance of balancing support at all levels of participation. You can’t have an elite sport system without a well-functioning grassroots system – where young participants are encouraged into participation and given opportunities to excel and where non-elite athletes can continue to participate throughout their lives.

Hear more about how the FTEM works by listening to the podcast and watching the video on the AIS webpage.

The importance of organisational support

Earlier, we heard from Monique and her coach, Harley, in the video about the organisational support provided by the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and the Griffith Sports College. The QAS is a state-based organisation and Griffith Sports College is part of Griffith University. They provide local opportunities for talented athletes to train, develop and prepare for performance in their sports. Importantly, these organisations provide a network of communication among coaches, athletes, educators, and support staff that is an important component of the success of an elite athlete.

Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS)

For example, the purpose of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) is to maintain a holistic view of athlete performance that includes: Coaching, Strength & Conditioning, Sports Science, Personal Development (Education and Employment), Athlete Health, and Financial Support (e.g., Scholarships, Travel costs). Each unit uses their expertise to provide athletes with the best chance of reaching their potential on the sporting field as well as personally and professionally, while reinforcing good health and well-being.

Griffith Sports College

The Griffith Sports College supports athletes who are combining study (education) with elite sport and has helped Monique and many other athletes find a balance between both. They provide support by liaising with lecturers about the best approach to classes and assessment, particularly around the time of important competitions and events. They can also provide the administration support elite athletes need to fulfil their academic goals while remaining focused on their sport.

Listen to the Manager of the Griffith Sports College, Duncan Free, talk about the support he provides elite athletes.

You may also wish to watch this video to get a better idea of the Griffith Sports College.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Your Task

Take a look at the following websites and answer the questions below:


  • In what ways do these organisations provide support for talented athletes?
  • Can you see areas of alignment between the FTEM and these two organisations?

You may also like to read the article linked in the ‘See also’ section below.

This article is from the free online

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