Australian Sport: The pathway to success

Chapter 3: Strengthening sporting pathways

Page last updated: 31 October 2013

3.1 Supporting our volunteers and community coaches and officials

According to the ABS report on Volunteers in Sport (2006), over 1.7 million adult Australians volunteered their time to enable community sport to operate 8 at an estimated input value to our economy of around $4 billion. 9

Our volunteers support almost every part of the sporting pathway in roles as diverse as coaches, officials, team managers, administrators, and board and committee members, with many filling multiple roles.

Coaches and officials are also critical to ensuring a strong development pathway, one that supports our future champions’ progress from the grassroots through to high performance sport with the skills and confidence they need to achieve success.

The Australian Government will support sport volunteers and our community coaches and officials by:
  • Providing additional coaching and officiating training opportunities for up to 45,000 community coaches and officials and subsidising the costs associated with training for 5,000 new community coaches and officials
  • Providing funding support to NSOs to deliver coaching and officiating education programs, especially in regional areas
  • Providing funding and resources to support mentoring to community coaches and officials
  • Introducing a National Sports Volunteer award program – to reward volunteers and promote their contribution to sport and the wider community
  • Providing additional funding to targeted national sporting organisations to enable them to employ development staff where required to drive volunteer programs and initiatives through their sport at a grassroots level
  • Delivering a National Sport Volunteer Strategy to better engage, support, train and recognise our sport volunteers. The Strategy will support and contribute to the Government’s National Volunteering Strategy currently being developed in the leadup to 2011, the 10th anniversary of the United Nations International Year of Volunteering.

3.2 Maximising the contribution of our athletes to community sport and participation

The Australian Government believes that athletes not only have the potential to make valuable contributions on the international sporting stage, but also to local sporting communities.

In recognition of the unique and inspirational role that athletes play in our community, especially with our kids, the Government will implement two new initiatives:
  • Require AIS scholarship-holders to volunteer at local community sporting clubs or junior sport programs in the capacity of coach, official or administrator to support grassroots sport development.
  • Establish resources within the ASC to connect retired and current athletes with charity, government or non-government organisations delivering a range of initiatives that aim to strengthen our community. Under the initiative the ASC will provide a mechanism for athletes to register their interest and provide a matchmaking service with relevant programs.

3.3 Talent identification

Talent identification is the starting point for the development, case management and fast tracking of athletes towards success in sports in which they are suited. It is the all important bridge that fills the gap between grassroots sport and the development pathway.

Australia has a relatively small population of around 20 million people, when compared with the USA which has approximately 300 million people, and China which has almost 1,300 million people. In raw numbers this means that the odds are against us, with our high performance talent pool estimated at 200,000 people, compared with the United States’ 2 million and China’s 20 million.

In a world where high performance sport is becoming increasingly competitive, Australia needs to be doing more to unearth talented individuals with the potential to represent Australia and succeed on the world stage. The Australian Government will support talent identification by:
  • Doubling the national talent identification network, to provide talent identification and development opportunities for up to 5,000 additional young aspiring athletes
  • Funding the expansion of talent scouts and talent identification programs, particularly in regional Australia
  • Funding resources to support NSOs to bridge gaps in their talent development pathways and form links with local sporting clubs and schools to find talent and strengthen their links with key system partners, including institutes and academies of sport and universities.

3.4 Boosting the development pathway

Opportunities for our high performance athletes to compete are critical in the development of athletes, and also in sustaining and improving the form of our world champions.

Strengthening the quality and frequency of domestic competitions in Australia is crucial to bridging the widening gap between grassroots and high performance sport.

The Australian Government values the role that competition plays in ensuring a strong development pathway for our aspiring and current world-class athletes. We will:
  • Increase funding for the development pathway, through the expansion of the number of domestic competitions open to Australian athletes
  • Double the Local Sporting Champions program to provide financial support to 4,000 more young Australians and theirfamilies to help our junior athletes attend competitions across Australia.


8 Volunteers in Sport, Australia, 2006, ABS
9 The economic contribution of sport to Australia, Frontier Economics, Nov 2009