A/601/1740 Sport Performance Research Report Unit 1 UK CBC College Level 4


High performance sports also known as elite sport is a sport which posses highest level of competition between elite athletes. As per sports administration, high performance sports are those where the emphasis is more on winning prestigious competitions and are different from mass or recreational sports. In this context, the following assignment will helps in elaborating the concepts and relevance of elite sports policy from global high performance sports perspective. An overview of Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy will be provided that transforms sports perception in Australia since its inception. Furthermore, meticulous information regarding swimming (an ASC funded sport) is going to be evaluated in the assignment. Eventually, reflection on Australia‘s Winning Edge Strategy will be described in the assignment.

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Relevance of elite sport policy from global high performance sport perspective

High performance sport has arose as an umbrella term that captures the atrociousness, growth and universal nature of elite sports on the international platform (Gabbett and, 2017). After World War II, the government of Australia involved in sports through sporadic funding initiatives. In order to boost up the sports in Australia, the government develop sporting infrastructures such as grounds and facilities at public parks. The national government of Australia further provided funding for travelling of team to Olympics and Empire Games. Elite sport policy of Australia is relevant from global high performance sports. The National Elite Sports Council was established in 1993 which consists of Directors of Australia’s key State, territory and National Sports Institutes and Academies. The amount of investment is directly proportional to the performance of athletes in elite sports during the global and prestigious competitions (Gabbett and, 2016). Since the inception of elite sports policy and commission in Australia, the government had significantly increases the amount of budget in order to motivate and enhance the skills of athletes and sports man of the country.

According to SPLISS model, there are nine pillars of successful and efficient elite sports policy. These are financial support, governance and organisation structure, foundation and participation, talent development, athletic career support, training facilities, coaching provision and coach development, national completion and scientific research and innovation. Global elite sport policy greatly impacts upon the national Higher Performance sports system (Desbrow and, 2014). In order to represent the nation at global level, the sports commission of nation needs to focus on overall growth and development of athletes. Since the inception of elite sports policy in Australia, the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) has been focusing on the overall growth and development of skills and capabilities of Australian athletes. Other than this, commercial, political, social and cultural factors widely affect the high performance sports. The brief description of their impact is described below:

  • Political Factors: Political factors include the policy environment of the nation. This factor greatly influences the high performance sports and athletes associated with it (Mallett, Rynne and Billett, 2016). A robust elite sport policy with minimum flaws will aid in development of sportsman and athletes whereas weak sports policy and minimum investment will not able to thrive the athletes in the nation.
  • Social Factors: Social factors include that society in which the people live including economy, demography, geography, climate and urbanisation (Murphy and, 2015). These elements together influence the high performance sports greatly.
  • Cultural Factors: Cultural factors demonstrate the culture, values, behaviour and attitude of the people living in the society. Cultural factors influence the high performance sports and elite athletes greatly (Duhig and, 2016). These factors dominate the decision of a person regarding becoming the athlete or not.

An overview of Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy

Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy was a collaborative effort led by Australian Sports Commission with its key partners in the sport industry and established on the National Sport and Active Recreation Policy Framework (The Policy Framework) and National Institute System Intergovernmental Agreement (Millett and, 2015). The key priorities on which the Policy framework focused more is described below:

  • Investing for success: In order to achieve greater success at international level, ample amount of fund will be invested in elite sports.
  • Planning to perform:Planning and review processes are contemporary and provide for elevated accountability across the sector.
  • The right support:Right kind of support will be provided to the high performance athletes at right time along their pathways so that they can achieve success at international level (Hamlin, Lizamore and Hopkins, 2018).
  • Good governance and capabilities:With collaborative approach, high performance sports and sector partners have develop workforce and leadership capacity to initiate successful programs to attain competitive outcomes and to spend taxpayer funding effectively.
  • Evidence based decision:Robust evidence base has been posses by high performance sports and industry partners on which they develop high performance winning programs.

The illustration describes the goals which have been established by ASC for their winning edge strategy. Goals for major international competitions in priority sports will be used to assess the effectiveness of Australia’s high performance system (Hamlin, Lizamore and Hopkins, 2018). From the illustration it is clear that Australia determined to be top 5 in Olympics and Paralympics, Top 15 in Winter Olympics and Paralympics and number 1 in commonwealth games.

Elite Sports



Commonwealth Games (2014)



Rio Olympics (2016)



Winter Olympics (2018)



From the above table it can be understood that the objectives and goals has not been accomplished by the nation (Thorp, 2016). It implies that the authorities have to work on improving the strategies so that set goals and objectives can be accomplished.


Selecting ASC funded sport

Swimming is one of the most high performance sports in Australia. As majority of medals in Summer Olympics have been won in swimming, it has been chosen for further analysis. Swimming is considered as Level 1 sport in Australia with very high probability of getting gold in Olympics and commonwealth games (Brockett, 2017). A Pathway program has been established by Swimming Australia (SAL) in 2014 in order to develop Australia’s next generation of swimmers. It is the series of program which is funded by Australian Institute of Sports and Australian Commission of Sport.

Vision, mission and strategic direction of Swimming Australia

The vision, mission and strategic direction of Swimming Australia is described below:

Vision: The vision of Swimming is to be recognised as world leader in swimming sports. A vision statement is the first step in the strategic planning process followed closely by the development of mission statement (Schilsky, 2015). Through this statement, it can be understood that Swimming Australia with its initiative and developmental programmes desire to become the leading sporting organisation in the world.

Mission: Mission statement briefly describes the purpose of the Swimming Australia. The mission statement of Swimming Australia is “To develop and deliver effective services and support to our stakeholders”. From this mission statement it can be understood that the management of Swimming Australia deliver excellent services and supports to entities who are directly and indirectly associated with it.

Strategic Direction: Through new Pathway program, the management aims to enhance the capabilities and skills of Australia’s next generation swimmers so that they can represent their nation at national and international level effectively and efficiently (Gabbett and, 2017).

Funding history and international performance of Swimming 

Swimming comes under Level F1 category high performance sport which is funded enormously by Australian Sports Commission. As there is high probability of winning gold in swimming, the authorities prefer to invest it in more so that growth and development of swimmers can be made (Gabbett and, 2016).

Below is the table that describes the funding history of Swimming in Australia:

High performance sports

Funding (2012-2016)

Funding 2017


AU $37.9 million

AU $11.1 million

From the above table it can be understood that, huge amount of fund has been invested for swimming in order to enhance the performance of swimmers (Desbrow and, 2014). The budget is further segregated into four areas which are able athletes, para athletes, participation and other areas. The budget invested shows positive results.

Australia have won majority of medals in swimming at international sports competitions such as Olympics, commonwealth games, etc. In this context, the number of medals won by Australian’s swimmers in year 2000-2016 is provided below in the table:







Number of Medals





10 (Medal Tally & Team Lists. 2018)

The above table shows the number of medal won by athletes in swimming from 2000-2016 Olympics games. Swimming contributes major proportion of total medals. This implies that swimming plays crucial role in Australia high performance sports.

ASC contributes 44 per cent of its total income towards swimming in order to improve the infrastructure facilities, participant’s skills and competencies. The implementation of Swimming Australia review has had a positive impact, generating an improvement in results. Australia in Rio Olympics finished at second place as compared to its seventh position in London Olympics in swimming category (Mallett, Rynne and Billett, 2016). The management and Swimming Australia are focusing on developing skills and competencies of swimmers of Australia so that their motive to become leader in swimming category can be accomplished. In order to do that leadership staff has been appointed by the management for Tokyo cycle, providing stability and direction across nine podium centres in order to drive quality of coaching, embedded performance support and improved facility access.for swimming has been achieved as per the ACS report. Australian’s swimmers were able to won 3 gold medals effectively and efficiently. Despite of coming second at the tournament, the performance was below level and numerous opportunities has been missed by the swimmers. In order to obliterate the same issue in Tokyo cycle, the management and authorities are devising precise strategies so that the swimmers can enhance their skills, efficiencies and competencies (Murphy and, 2015). At the Paralympics, the total 29 medals was within the targeted total Australia’s Winning Edge performance range, with the nine gold medals inclusive of three new world records, just below the gold medal target of 11–15. This was the largest team ever sent to a Paralympic Games indicating significant depth of talent.

Overview of high performance development strategies

The management of Swimming Australia along with Australian Institute of Sport together determines to develop Australian’s next generation swimmers. High performance targets have been established and precise training has been provided by the staff and coaches. The government has determined to increase the funding for swimming in order to improve the infrastructure facilities for both able and para swimmers (Duhig and, 2016). This can helps in enhancing the level of skills and efficiency of swimmers. In this context, the high performance plan, facilities and programmes established for swimming is described below:

High Performance Plan: The high performance plan comprised four components which are Athlete Development plan, Coaches Development plan, Technical Officials Development Plan, Competition plan. By aligning these four components in effective and efficient manner, the high performance plan can be implemented (Millett and, 2015). Through education, experience, and environment, Swimming Australia aims to upgrade the existing skills of swimmers adequately.

Facilities: Facilities includes infrastructure and other basic facilities which swimmers required in order to increase his or her motivation (Hamlin, Lizamore and Hopkins, 2018). The facilities will be improved and enhanced so that the motivation of swimmers will always remain high and apex.

The pathway program develop by Swimming Australia and funded by Australian Institute of Sports provides pathway to become a professional swimmer. The beginning stage of the program will be talent program where coaches encourage swimmers to demonstrate their own swimming technique (Thorp, 2016). The second program will be youth program which focuses on mastering the fundamental swimming style. The third program will be youth transition program which aim at defining each swimmer key ingredients. The last program will be Dolphin where the swimmers become the professional swimmers (Orientation to High Performance. 2018).

FTEM framework: FTEM stands for Foundation, Talent, Elite and Mastery are the pathways that determine the sportsman personality. The framework has three key ingredients which are active lifestyle, sport participation and sport excellence (Brockett, 2017). The FTEM framework is a practical planning and review tool for a broad range of sporting stakeholders.

Relevance of sport science professionals

Sports science professionals are those entities who are concerned with testing and training of elite athletes. Sport scientist’s works where the athletes train and learn. Their aim is to analyse the potential strength of athlete, identify his or her weakness and determine the threats that impacts on his or her performance. Sport science professionals are very important for developing and nurturing the skills of elite athletes. These entities help in providing effective guidance, learning and educations to the athletes. These professionals include coaches, mentors, medicine sport staff, nutrition, and leadership staff. There role is very important for the growth and development of elite athletes performing in elite competitions. In this context, the sport science professionals require for swimming sport is described below:

Swimming Coach: Swimming coaches are those sports science professionals who teach the athlete from basic to professional swimming style. These are the people who support, guide and help the athlete to learn swimming effectively and efficiently. Coaches are professionally trained and qualified swimmers who help in providing guidance to the learner the type of swimming style he or she is preferable with.

Support Staff: Supporting staff includes physician, dietician, medic and other staff members whose involvement in swimming is rudimentary. Support staff aid in providing additional support to the athlete so that his or her performance won’t compromised.

Team Leaders: Team leaders are those sports professionals who provide lead to the particular swimming team participating in the specific event. There role is equivalent to the coach. They provide mentoring to the elite swimmers so that their morale and self-confidence can be enhanced.


Effectiveness of Swimming in five years after implementation of Australia’s Winning Edge strategy

From the above two parts, it can be concluded that swimming is considered as Level F1 Sport in terms of Australian Institute of Sports. Since the inception of Australia’s Winning Edge strategy, majority of elite sports have been enhanced and swimming outshines every other sport. As discussed in above part, most of the medals won by elite athletes of Australia, it was Australian’s swimmers who have won maximum number of medals (High performance sport in Australia. 2018). This is all because of effective funding by Australian Sports commission and training facilities provided by Australian Institute of Sports. Swimming Australia is the organisation which is responsible for nourishing and flourishing the talent of next generation swimmer. The Australia’s winning edge strategy proves to be successful. The strategy to increase the investment and providing effective support helps the sports entities to enhance their level of skills, efficiency and competencies. Through this strategy, the Australian’ s athletes able to acquire 10 medals in 2016 Rio Olympics. Since the inception of Australia Winning Edge Strategy, the athletes were able to enhance their level of skills and competencies. With effective infrastructure, efficient support and proper guidance, the elite athletes of Australia were able to improve their skills and efficiencies effectively and efficiently. With high performance plan, coaching and guidance, elite athletes of Australia were able educate themselves adequately. In this context, it can be concluded that Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy was successful and efficient in nurturing the skills, efficiencies, confidence, motivation and knowledge of swimmers.

Reflection on the relevance of Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy

Australia’s Winning Edge strategy was launched in 2012 in order to improve the high performance sports in Australia (High Performance Strategy. 2018). The strategy aim to develop the elite sports and athletes in a manner so that the nation becomes number one in every elite sports. The winning strategy focused on five key priorities areas in order to enhance the elite sports performance. These areas are investment, planning, support, governance and decisions. The winning edge strategy proves to be successful since its implementation and brought too many medals for the country. Though, there were many other elite sports in which the strategy fails to deliver the expectations. Many teams didn’t performs well in Rio Olympics 2016. Swimming, sailing, rowing was some of the elite sports in which major proportion of amount funded but the athletes fails to stand upon the expectations.  The strategy aims to position the nation rank in top 5 in medal list but in 2016 Rio Olympics, Australia ranks 10th with 29 medals. In this context, The Australian Sports Commission and Australian Institute of Sports proposed a decision for not using Winning Edge Strategy from December 2017 (Jeffery, 2017).


From the above report, it can be concluded that high performance sports also known as elite sport is a sport which posses highest level of competition between elite athletes. In this context, the relevance of elite sport policy from global high performance sport perspective has been discussed in the assignment. An overview of Australia’s winning edge strategy has been outlined in the report. It has been identified that high performance sports such as swimming, sailing, rowing, etc. has been significantly changed after its implementation. Swimming has been selected as ASC funded elite sport. It has been identified that Swimming Australia is responsible for developing and nurturing skills and competencies of next generation Australian swimmer. Detail discussion regarding Australia’s performance in swimming has been made in the report. The pathway program has been explained in the study. The pathway program develop by Swimming Australia and funded by Australian Institute of Sports provides pathway to become a professional swimmer. Eventually, reflection on Australia’s Winning Edge Strategy has been made in the report.


  • Brockett, C., 2017. Australia: Evolution and Motivators of National Sport Policy. In Sport Policy Systems and Sport Federations (pp. 19-40). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
  • Desbrow, B., and, 2014. Sports Dietitians Australia position statement: sports nutrition for the adolescent athlete. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 24(5), pp.570-584.
  • Duhig, S., and, 2016. Effect of high-speed running on hamstring strain injury risk. Br J Sports Med, pp.bjsports-2015.
  • Gabbett, T.J., and, 2016. High training workloads alone do not cause sports injuries: how you get there is the real issue.
  • Gabbett, T.J., and, 2017. Seven tips for developing and maintaining a high performance sports medicine team.
  • Hamlin, M.J., Lizamore, C.A. and Hopkins, W.G., 2018. Correction to: The Effect of Natural or Simulated Altitude Training on High-Intensity Intermittent Running Performance in Team-Sport Athletes: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(5), pp.1289-1291.
  • Mallett, C.J., Rynne, S.B. and Billett, S., 2016. Valued learning experiences of early career and experienced high-performance coaches. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 21(1), pp.89-104.
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