Moving from multidisciplinary to interdisciplinary support teams in high performance sport : a strength and conditioning perspective

  • James Windsor Youngson

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    Collaboration between coaches, athletes, support staff and administrators to achieve performance outcome goals in international sporting competition is deemed important when designing and delivering athlete development programs. In this process, the coach needs to show leadership by clarifying roles, standards, values, and ideals, as well as establishing how the sports program should operate. Importantly, every stakeholder must align to these aspects for team effectiveness to be established and maintained. The aim of this thesis was to examine the relationships between coaches, athletes and support staff, and how they influence the quality of task execution within and between services and domains. Two qualitative studies were conducted to respond to this aim. Factors relating to coaching, organisation, servicing and athlete management were investigated to understand how athletes can perform at a consistently high-level in training and for competition. Participants in Study 1 were expert coaches (n=6),high performance managers (n=6),strength and conditioning coaches (n=4),and elite athletes (n=3). All had experienced success in Olympic or in professional sport. Semi-structured open-ended interviews were conducted at the Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia. Results indicated five key themes relating to effective interdisciplinary practice, namely,(a) High Performance Coaching Attributes,(b) Planning,(c) Managing Multidisciplinary Teams,(d) Managing the Athlete, and (e) Sport Governance. Using an inductive analysis process, these components were developed into a model (High Performance Team Model) conceptualising how coaches, multidisciplinary staff and athletes can achieve optimal performance through effective collaboration and cooperation. In line with capturing the expert view, an autoethnographic exploration of the interdependency between leadership and the effectiveness of strength and conditioning support in high performance sport was carried out as Study 2. The author’s reflections, built upon socio-cultural work in order to illuminate the complex and dynamic relationship that existed between me, the author as a strength and conditioning coach, and sports coaches. I have worked with during my time spent in high performance sport were explored. Data were drawn from episodic memories, emails (received and sent),and past reports during my thirteen years as a high performance strength and conditioning coach. The narrative presented here hinges on my perceptions of the coach as leader, and my expectations that clear direction is required for effective strength and conditioning servicing. Specifically, failing to establish a plan, and define roles and responsibilities can result in confusion and conflict, and can be detrimental to the athlete’s performance. I present the case for a deliberate focus on coherent and integrated planning and programing in high performance sport. I conclude the thesis with a consideration of interdisciplinary support teams.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKeith Lyons (Supervisor), Richard Keegan (Supervisor) & Kevin Thompson (Supervisor)

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