Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Skill acquisition and athlete development
  • Decision-making and technical skills in Team Sports
  • Coach development and expertise
  • Talent Identification and Development

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Paul Larkin

Paul holds the joint positions of Research Associate at Victoria University and Senior Sports Scientist at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy. He has worked on research projects involving the Australian Football League (Player Development and Umpire Development), Professional Footballer’s Association and Football Federation Australia.

Paul has an internationally recognised research track record exploring talent identification and development in team sports (Football/Soccer; Australian Football), and also investigating the development of decision-making skills in sports officials, mainly Australian Football umpires.

In his role at Maribyrnong Sports Academy, Paul is responsible for the both athlete and coach development. In particular, Paul develops programs and projects to support athlete-performance monitoring, talent-identification processes, coach evaluation, and coaches' facilitation of athlete learning.  



  • PhD (Skill Acquisition), The University of Ballarat, Australia, 2013
  • BSc (Exercise and Health Science) (Hons), University of Western Australia, Australia, 2006

Key publications

Year Citation
2018 Larkin, P., & Reeves, M. J. (181117). Junior-elite football: time to re-position talent identification?. Soccer and Society, 19(8), (1183-1192).

doi: 10.1080/14660970.2018.1432389

2018 O Connor, D., Wardak, D., Goodyear, P., Larkin, P., & Williams, M. (181002). Conceptualising decision-making and its development: a phenomenographic analysis. Science and Medicine in Football, 2(4), (261-271).

doi: 10.1080/24733938.2018.1472388

2018 Murr, D., Feichtinger, P., Larkin, P., O'Connor, D., & Honer, O. (181001). Psychological talent predictors in youth soccer: A systematic review of the prognostic relevance of psychomotor, perceptual-cognitive and personality-related factors. PLoS ONE, 13(10),

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205337

2018 Haycraft, J. AZ., Kovalchik, S., Pyne, D. B., Larkin, P., & Robertson, S. (181001). The influence of age-policy changes on the relative age effect across the Australian Rules football talent pathway. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 21(10), (1106-1111).

doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.03.008

2018 Larkin, P., Mesagno, C., Berry, J., Spittle, M., & Harvey, J. (180201). Video-based training to improve perceptual-cognitive decision-making performance of Australian football umpires. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(3), (239-246).

doi: 10.1080/02640414.2017.1298827

2018 O Connor, D., Larkin, P., & Williams, A. M. (180102). Observations of youth football training: How do coaches structure training sessions for player development?. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(1), (39-47).

doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1277034

2017 O Connor, D., Larkin, P., & Williams, A. M. (171102). What learning environments help improve decision-making?. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 22(6), (647-660).

doi: 10.1080/17408989.2017.1294678

2016 O'Connor, D., Larkin, P., & Mark, Williams. (161002). Talent identification and selection in elite youth football: An Australian context. European Journal of Sport Science, 16(7), (837-844).

doi: 10.1080/17461391.2016.1151945

2015 Larkin, P., Mesagno, C., Spittle, M., & Berry, J. (150101). An evaluation of video-based training programs for perceptual-cognitive skill development. A systematic review of current sport-based knowledge. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORT PSYCHOLOGY, 46(6), (555-586).

doi: 10.7352/IJSP.2015.46.555

Larkin, P., & O Connor, D. (700101). Talent identification and recruitment in youth soccer: Recruiter s perceptions of the key attributes for player recruitment. PLOS ONE, 12(4), (e0175716-e0175716).

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175716

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

Maribyrnong Sports Academy - Sport Scientist
From: Maribyrnong College - Maribyrnong Sports Academy
Investigators: Prof Michael Mckenna, Dr Damian Farrow
For period: 2015-2020

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
3 PhD Associate supervisor
1 PhD Principal supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (3) Associate supervisor
PhD (1) Principal supervisor

Other supervision of research students

Paul has been an associate supervisor to 1 Masters student and 1 PhD student to completion at the University of Sydney. He is currently an associate supervisor to 1 PhD student at the University of Sydney.

Teaching activities & experience

At Victoria University, Paul has taught several units, including:

He has been the unit coordinator for Talent Identification and Development (SSC 3002)

Prior to commencing at Victoria University, Paul taught extensively in the Sport Science and Physical Education area.

This included coordinating units at:

  • The University of Sydney (Training for Performance; Sports Medicine; Pedogogy in Physical Education 4)
  • The University of Ballarat– now Federation University Australia (Anatomical and Physiological Bases of Human Movement).

In addition, Paul has experience teaching in a range of units, including:

  • Motor Control
  • Biomechanics
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Measurement and Evaluation
  • Sport Psychology
  • Applied Movement Science.

Key academic roles

Dates Role Department / Organisation
Feb 2016 - Feb 2019
Research Associate
Victoria University
Jun 2013 - Feb 2016
Post-Doctoral Researcher
The University of Sydney
Jul 2010 - Jun 2013
Lecturer / Tutor
The University of Ballarat
Jan 2010 - Dec 2012
Deakin University
Show more academic roles
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Feb 2016 -
Feb 2019
Research Associate
Victoria University
Jun 2013 -
Feb 2016
Post-Doctoral Researcher
The University of Sydney
Jul 2010 -
Jun 2013
Lecturer / Tutor
The University of Ballarat
Jan 2010 -
Dec 2012
Deakin University
Show more academic roles


Year Award

5 Minute Research Pitch - Winner - Victoria University


Post-Graduate (Doctoral) Award of Distinction - ACHPER Victoria

Media appearances

30th October 2014

Fit and Well: Umpire Skill Development

SEN 1116am Sports Radio

02nd October 2014

Umpire Decision-making Development

2HC 639am National Radio

22nd May 2013

Umpire Decision-Making Training

107.9 ABC Radio Ballarat