High Performance Coaching situates the student in the context of the professional coach who is responsible for the strategic management of successful elite and professional athletes and teams. This unit focuses on the coach-athlete relationship and the complex planning and decision making processes required of coaches working in high performance settings where they collaborate with athletes and support staff to deliver world standard training programs within professional sports clubs and national sport organisations.

This unit brings together the knowledge, principles and practice of the other units in the Master of Sport and Exercise Science, as well as the Football Performance Specialisation, through the experiences of Australian and international high performance coaches and the examination of detailed real-life coaching case studies.

By the end of this unit students will be able to confidently engage in the complex program planning and decision making that is required of successful high performance coaches.

In this unit students will participate in interactive on-line workshops where they will be challenged to apply high performance coaching theory to real-life coaching case studies that require advanced communication, planning and decision making skills. To help facilitate their development students will also learn from high performance coaches themselves who will contribute to this unit as guest presenters and on-line forum panellists. Throughout this unit students will also develop the reflective practice skills required to be a successful high performance coach through regular contributions to their community of practice and reflection portfolio's. 

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Conceptually map coaching practice within athlete-centred coaching philosophy;  
  2. Critically reflect on the high performance athlete/coach relationship;  
  3. Analyse complex systems theories that apply to planning in high performance coaching; and,  
  4. Propose a long-term training plan that incorporates medium and short-term training and competition progressions for athletes and teams.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Case Study High Performance Case Study - critically respond to a case study of a current issue in coaching a high performance athlete or team. 30%
Journal Personal reflections - about the application of coaching theory to student’s own sport setting in response to unit themes, issues and discussions. 40%
Presentation Create a long-term coaching plan - design a strategically aligned long, medium and short-term training plan for your athlete/team. 30%

Required reading

Coaching better every season: A year-round system for athlete development and program success.
Gilbert, W. (2016).
Human Kinetics.

Where to next?

Study a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree. Learn more about single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.