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Framework Toolkit

This Framework Toolkit and the related Training Program Toolkit are guides designed to help national sporting organisations (NSOs) develop their coaches and officials. 

Coaches and officials framework

What is a coaches and officials framework? At its simplest, it is the homework you do before you design products for your participants, or develop training for your coaches and officials. It is what you do to ensure that they have the training and support they need to do their jobs well.

A framework will:

  • draw from and align with your NSO’s Strategic Plan and supporting Participation and High Performance Plans
  • enable NSOs to make strategic decisions about the allocation of resources for coach and official training
  • enable NSOs to design coach / official training to meet participant needs
  • enable NSOs to ensure training meets the needs of coaches and officials
  • provide coaches and officials with a clear map of training opportunities, professional development and career progression.

Overarching principles and values

Start by clarifying the overarching principles relating to participation in your sport. The table below shows things to consider:

Framework development principles

 Participant needs

The framework should be based on what you know about your participants. Think about ages, experience and capabilities, stage of development and the motivations and barriers for participating.
Pathways and participation options should be developed for each of the different categories of participant. Ensure the options are challenging but within the reach of every participant.

Example principle: Programs are delivered in a manner that is challenging to every participant, while ensuring participant welfare and enjoyment is maintained.  

Participants before courses

The participant pathway map underpins and informs the training available, helping illustrate how coaches and officials can best meet the needs of participants.

Example principle: Training ensures coaches and officials are well equipped to work with participants.

Design for multiple types of participation

For any group, be prepared to accommodate a range of participants by offering activities tailored for different abilities.
Flexible participation means multiple points of entry and cross-overs, as well as participation options that are an end in themselves and not part of a pathway.

Example principle: Flexible options are offered to provide participants with choices that meet their needs. 

The workforce mirrors participation needs

Understanding the nature, distribution and number of participants is key to workforce planning.

Example principle: Resources are allocated to coach/official training and support according to evidence based needs.

Access an equity It is important that sport needs to be accessible for all participants, including coaches/officials. This includes providing participation experiences accessible to all participants, and providing learning and educational experiences accessible to all who wish to be coaches and officials.
Continuous improvement

Rather than developing a framework and leaving it on a shelf until the next registration is required, NSOs are encouraged to review the framework annually and make changes, additions and deletions as required.

Example principle: The national coach/official committee will complete an annual review of coach/official statistics, course evaluations from participants and feedback from course presenters, and make any necessary changes to the frameworks and programs.


Using the Toolkit

The toolkit represents a culmination of knowledge and best practice in coach / official education.  There are six steps to help you design a framework., Templates, case studies and other information to assist you have been included at the end of each step. Remember that all sports have different start and finish points, so these six steps might not work for your sport, or might work better in a different order. Remember that these are guides only, and are not compulsory. Use them as you see fit to meet the needs of your sport.

Step 1: Get started


To develop a project plan that will guide you through the framework development process.

Possible actions to prepare a project plan

  • Understand the roles of relevant committees and key stakeholders
  • Review key planning documents
  • Review current training offerings
  • Get everyone on board
  • Develop a project plan
  • Secure and allocate resources

The project plan will outline what has to be done, who does it, what resources are required to do it and when it will be completed. Some groundwork is required – collating and analysing existing systems and programs will inform the content.

Understand the roles of relevant committees

Your sport may have a committee structure responsible for coaching and/or officiating. People on these committees will have specific expertise that you can draw on and they will have some corporate knowledge and contacts that will be useful. Consider that some individuals probably were key players in the development of existing programs.
Committee(s) will (or should) have Terms of Reference. Review these Terms; it may be that the development of a new framework is a role specified for the committee for example. An understanding of the committee and what it does will guide you in the way you engage it.
There may be similar committees in your state bodies. It is wise to understand their roles and how they relate to each other and the national committee so that they can be appropriately engaged.
Note that changes to frameworks and training programs will impact on the work of committees and might necessitate changes to individuals’ roles. This will need to be managed with sensitivity.

Review key planning documents

Your sport will have a strategic plan, an operational/business plan and possibly plans for participation and high performance.  All will (or should) have sections on coaching and officiating. Ideally, these documents will contain actions to review your frameworks, with timelines and allocation of responsibilities and resources. If this is not the case and the job needs to be done now, you will need to get support from management before starting this framework review.

Review current training offerings

Understanding what is currently on offer is important before any considerations are made on future plans. To do this you will need to review what is happening at national, state, regional and local levels:
  • Consider not only the accredited training programs but also other training and learning offerings, such as mentoring, online learning, conferences and seminars etc.
  • How the training is currently delivered is important to understand, along with the key people and their roles.
  • How are your coaches / officials keeping up to date?  Do your coaches and officials feel part of a ‘community’ in your sport? Are you using technology or other means to build a community?
  • Any international federation courses or accreditations.
  • Use any evaluations you have, e.g. surveys, course evaluations, course enrolments and completions etc.

Get everyone on board

Your sport has many layers: clubs, regions and states, various committees, a Board, a CEO and other staff. New frameworks and training programs will impact everyone, so getting buy-in from as many stakeholders as possible is essential. This will ensure

  • broad stakeholder agreement from start to finish
  • smooth implementation to all levels of your sport
  • the results of any analysis are clarified and followed up as required.

When planning for any change, organisations should ensure that there is broad consultation and communication with all stakeholders at all stages. The communication needs to be succinct, with options for more information. Stakeholders also need to have the chance to ask questions and have them answered. Here are some key points to consider when planning for change:

  • The need for change should be clearly articulated and supported with research: why do we need to change? What’s the problem that the current situation isn’t addressing?
  • When examining solutions and options to solve the problem, the more stakeholders are engaged and encouraged to contribute, the more ownership they will have in the process.
  • Members will need time to process and adjust to any proposed changes.
  • There should be feedback mechanisms in place for each stage of the change process and all stakeholders should be asked, encouraged and asked again to give feedback.
  • Use the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) principle. Put yourself in the shoes of your stakeholders – try and see the product and its implementation through their eyes. Will it make their job easier or harder? Will it diminish or augment their revenue? Will they have to change? Will the change cause people to lose power or status?

Develop the project plan

Once you have everyone on board, a project plan needs to be developed.

  • The big picture concepts should be easily described. A simple statement of where are now, where you want to go and why you need to change is critical.
  • Consider your timelines, you may need to progress in phases, particularly if resources are a limiting factor or stakeholders need to managed sensitively.

Secure resources

If resources have not been allocated in your sport’s operational plan, or your initial analysis suggests more or different resources, you will need to secure them before you start. There is reputational risk for yourself and the organisation if a project is started and is delayed or abandoned due to lack of resources.
Some things to consider:

  • Committees: Do you need a new project-specific working party that has broad representation and expertise? Or will existing committee(s) be able to handle the job? Do the terms of reference or make up of existing committees need to change?
  • Your time: Do you have sufficient time to undertake the project, given your range of other duties? Note that if your analysis suggests significant changes to the current system, this will increase your stakeholder engagement and time commitments.
  • Financial: Make sure you budget for meetings, travel, software licencing and resource production.
  • IT: Consider what format the resulting resources will be in. Do you have the IT capability to put things online? If you are putting programs online, how do people register and how does this link with your other IT capabilities such as your membership database
  • Workforce: What skills do you need for the job? What are the implications – immediate and long term – for the upskilling of your workforce? How will training be delivered, by whom and what upskilling will they require?
  • External expertise: sport doesn’t always have the expertise or the capacity to undertake projects such as this themselves. In some instances, it is more cost effective for sports to engage an external consultant who can complete the project.

Step 2: Know your participants

Purpose: To understand your sport’s participants in sufficient detail so that coach and official training can be designed to meet their needs. Aim to develop a participation map showing the different types of participation in your sport.


  • Refer to sport plans (e.g. participation and high performance plans)
  • Identify participation segments and numbers
  • Bring it together

Refer to sport high performance and participation plans

If your sport has an existing participation plan or a high performance plan, they will most likely include a participation map and you can move straight on to Step 3 Know your Workforce. However, you may need to revisit some parts of this step to determine current and targeted participant numbers, including breakdowns by state, gender or other factor.
If your sport does not have participation or high performance plans in place, or those plans don’t have a participation map, then you will need to work through the following actions.

Identify participation segments and numbers

Gather information from a number of sources to get a good idea of who your sport participants are, including numbers of participants, and their particulars (location, gender and age). At this stage, you should check for new programs and any targeted increases in numbers, gender or location. These potential changes will need to be considered in terms of coaching / officiating needs and capacity. For example, a modified sport program aiming to attract 5,000 new members, with an average of 8 members will need 625 community coaches who need to be recruited and trained.

The most common sources of information will be:

  • internal membership databases
  • internal documents or reports
  • annual reports
  • ASC’s overview of sport participation in Australia
  • ASC’s AusPlay survey and previous sport participation research
  • ASC’s Market Segmentation research
  • ASC’s Athlete Development Pathways
  • ASC’s FTEM (Foundation-Talent-Elite-Mastery) Framework

With participation numbers, there are some issues that should be considered:

  • All sporting programs and competitions. Gather information about your NSO’s and SSO’s products, programs and competitions. Consider any other organisations (e.g.schools, social comps) that may be delivering products, programs and competitions for your sport.
  • The characteristics of your participants, such as:
    • Target age range
    • Name of level, grade or program and competition where relevant
    • Focus of the program, e.g. social, high performance, talent development
    • Typical weekly time commitment or number of sessions
    • Different developmental stages, capabilities or behavioural factors
  • All participants, including those in schools and social leagues should be included. Broadening the participation base is a key challenge
  • for NSOs. Look beyond traditional sports participation, and understand the motivations of people of all ages participating in sport, as well as people who have dropped out or who are less inclined to participate.

Many sports identify their segments around:

  • types of programs (social, high performance, talent identification): the participation map diagram that we have included shows these kind of programs.
  • the ages of participants: note that age doesn’t allow for differences in ability between those of the same age group.
  • developmental stages of participants
  • the capabilities of their participants
  • barriers and motivations: the ASC’s market segmentation research highlights what people like and dislike about sport participation. This has very important implications for training coaches and officials working with different participant segments.

The nature of participation in each sport varies considerably and so each sport’s participation map will look different. Use the information gathered in the previous task to identify, at a high level, the different ways people participate in your sport. These broad categories can be called participation segments. Identifying participation segments will help you to develop training for coaches and officials that is based on the needs of these participants. Further reading on participant development pathways might assist you in this process. Identifying your NSO’s key physical, technical and tactical development benchmarks for each segment will ensure that training for coaches and officials match participant needs.

Bring it together

Consider the implications for coaches and officials within each participation segment. What coaching / officiating support does the participation segment need? What are the differences and similarities? The participation map will help you develop training that is developmentally appropriate and matches the needs of your participants.

The primary objective is to ensure coaches / officials are trained to respond to the needs of the participants they are working with.

Understanding the capabilities and motivations of the participants in each segment will define the type of coaching / officiating required for particular segments and the training that they need.

If your NSO has a participant development model consider the training implications for coaches / officials. Such a model will inform the skills required for coaches / officials working with the defined participant segments.

Skills required of coaches / officials will most likely cover more than one participant segment, so consider directly matching your training levels to the participant map.

Step 3: Know your workforce

Purpose: To build on the participant map to ensure you have a framework that develops the quantity and quality of coaches and officials to meet the needs of your sport’s participants.

Understanding your coaches and officials is critical to appropriately target their training to meet their wants and needs.


  • Describe the characteristics of current coaches / officials
  • Analyse current data on your workforce and identify any gaps
  • Identify the coaching / officiating support required to meet participant needs
  • Consider the people in the roles and their learning needs

Describe the characteristics of current coaches / officials

Who are your current coaches / officials? We have already had a quick look at this in Step 1, but now we need some more details. To get more in-depth, you will need to:

  • Access internal databases or annual reports. The numbers should cover gender, state and age for:
    • Course attendance / enrolments / completions
    • Accreditation
    • Re-accreditation
    • Lapsed accreditation
  • A survey of your coach/official workforce can easily be done through the ASC online ‘Coach Workforce Survey’ and ‘Officials Workforce Survey’.  A generic survey question set has been prepared in Survey Monkey that can be readily adapted to your needs.  Guidelines and tips for use are at the ASC Clearinghouse for Sport.
  • Parents and participants can also be surveyed. Ask them about what they value in their coaches and officials, as well as any issues that may be present.
  • Consider contacting lapsed or unaccredited coaches or officials.
  • Sector wide research including the ASC’s Market Segmentation for Volunteers and ‘Half Million Coaches’ reports
  • The ASCs Clearinghouse for Sport has links to useful sources of information on community sport coaching and community sport officiating.

Analyse the data

Once you have this information, it is important to understand what these numbers mean.  Think about:

  • What trends are there (e.g.demographics, gender, numbers, retention)?
  • How long do they stay active in their roles?
  • Are there issues in particular areas?
  • We can see the numbers, but how good is the quality?
  • Are there untapped sources of potential coaches and officials?

Identify the coaching / officiating support required for the participants

By understanding your current coaches / officials and considering your sport’s future needs, you will be able to decide whether you have the number of coaches / officials necessary to meet your participants’ needs, and if they have the right skills to do the job.

It is useful at this stage to guesstimate how many coaches / officials your sport needs – if it is difficult to do this for each participation segment, break it into states and add these up.  You might find that you already have enough coaches / officials, or it may start you thinking about how you might attract and retain more coaches / officials.

Develop a table like the table below for each participation segment you identified in Step 2.

Participation Segment
Training environment
Number required
Number required
5-7 year olds in a team sport. One training session per week and weekend competition. Children may range from entry level up to two years of experience
Typical community ovals for training and competition

Community Official

Accredited or non-accredited working alongside an accredited referee. The ability to manage a game that is conducted safely and flows freely. The ability to provide some latitude with decisions such as off-side and advantage is important. The ability to give encouraging feedback is important.

Nil. Community coaches can cover the management of the game, as well as providing supportive coaching

Community Coach

Accredited or non-accredited, generally working in a team coaching situation. The coach will develop participant skills and ensure a fun, safe and inclusive environment. Coach will need to plan training sessions for skill development and fun, and be able to manage the demands of competition (player rotations, rules of the game, parents, spectators).

One per team, there are 2,000 of these members nationally, with an average of 8 participants per team, so 250 required
8–10 year olds in a team sport. One training session per week and weekend competition. Children may range from entry level up to two years of experience
Typical community ovals for training and competition

Community Official

Accredited or non-accredited working alongside an accredited referee. The ability to manage a game that is conducted safely and flows freely. The ability to provide some latitude with decisions such as off-side and advantage is important. The ability to give encouraging feedback is important.

One for every two teams, or less if they cover more than one game.

Community Coach

Accredited or non-accredited, generally working in a team coaching situation. The coach will develop participant skills and ensure a fun, safe and inclusive environment. Coach will need to plan training sessions for skill development and fun, and be able to manage the demands of competition (player rotations, rules of the game, parents, spectators).

One per team
18-25 year old adults playing at a competitive level team sport. Two training sessions per week, two strength and conditioning sessions per week and competition
Intermediate Official
Paid. The ability to manage a game that is conducted safely.
Manage the game in accordance with the international rules
One referee for every two games.
Two assistant referees.
Time keeper

Accredited. Most likely paid. Needs an understanding of the technical and physiological needs of a performance player. Needs an understanding of how to coach players at a high technical level of the game.
1-2 per team

Consider the people in the roles and define their learning needs

Taking into consideration steps, you will be able to answer these questions:

  • Are there too few, enough, or too many adequately trained coaches / officials?
  • Does our current training provide coaches / officials the right skill sets, or do we have some training gaps?
  • Does our current training deliver any unnecessary information to coaches / officials?
  • Is there a system for recognising and rewarding prior learning / experience?
  • Are there mechanisms for maintaining ongoing contact with coaches / officials?
  • Is there a need to target particular coach / official demographics? Does your sport need more female coaches, younger officials, or more officials in a particular state?

Consider how your sport will meet the learning needs

After analysing the data and idetifiying the coaching / officiating support requred for the participants, consider:

  • Who will deliver any programs designed to meet your training gaps? Do you have a group of coach / official educators who can do this? This might be paid staff at a regional / state / national level, or it might need to be higher level coaches / officials.
  • What training and support will your course facilitators need? Remember, these facilitators are the “face” of your program. A large part of the quality of a program will depend on their capacity to facilitate.
  • If face to face training is difficult in some regions, consider other options. This could be working with another sport, working with State Departments of Sport and Recreation, or moving some of the learning online.
  • What is our capacity for training and development? If we are delivering at maximum capacity now, what else can we do to best use our resources?

Step 4: Design your learning and development overview

Purpose: To provide an overview of the learning and development needs of coaches / officials.

Possible actions:

  • Determine minimum requirements
  • Consider formal and informal learning experiences
  • Put together your learning and development overview
  • Construct a matrix showing the training and development options (formal, informal, registration) available to your coaches and officials, noting the link back to participants
  • Identify resource requirements

Before you get started developing your training plan, give some thought to the following concepts.

Determine minimum requirements

For every coach / official there are some ‘must haves’.  Consider:

  • Children
    If coaching / officiating children, clearance to work with children is required by law.  The minimum requirements vary between states. Individuals must undertake the clearance process themselves, so make this clear.
  • Minimum age for coaching / officiating
    Different levels of coaching may require different minimum ages. For example, an under 8s sports team might have minimum coaching / officiating age of 16. However, this might not be an appropriate coaching / officiating age for an under 13s team, who would require someone over 18 years of age.
  • First aid
    In many circumstances, particularly at training sessions, there may be no-one around capable of administering first aid. Coaches and officials have a duty of care for the people they are working with so in all sports it would be prudent to make some kind of basic first aid training mandatory.  In high risk sports, more thorough training and/or information specific to the sport should be considered.
  • Injury prevention
    Similarly, duty of care includes taking measures to prevent injury.  Injury prevention should be either incorporated into the various training programs or provided as a stand-alone.
  • Safety and risk management
    All sport should be conducted in an environment that is safe for their participants, coaches, officials and spectators. All coach / official programs should assist coaches / officials in managing the risk in their sporting environment.
  • Code of conduct
    Requiring signup to a code of conduct or similar is a useful way to set standards of behaviour and provides a useful reference point on the rare occasions when coach / official behaviour becomes a problem and action needs to be taken.  There are examples here
  • Complaints Handling
    All coaches / officials should be made aware of the complaints handling process when they enrol in a course, and if they receive registration. This doesn’t require a new process to developed – it is just a matter of providing the coach / official with the relevant section of your sport’s Member Protection Policy.

Consider formal and informal learning experiences

  • Formal and informal learning
    Learning is not limited to a classroom, a computer or the playing field. Learning might be through a webinar, watching someone else coach / officiate,  through reading, or self-reflecting on coaching / officiating performance. Put simply, formal learning is assessed, informal learning is not. You may attend a workshop, take notes and learn a lot but not be assessed. In this case the learning is informal. You may attend a workshop, take notes, learn a lot and may be assessed as a coach / official based on the course content. In this case the learning is formal. Research recommends that developers of coach / official education programs should consider a range of learning opportunities, and that both informal and formal training has their mertis.
  • Accreditation / registration
    Accreditation is what has been traditionally considered by NSOs. However this language has evolved to be similar to professional bodies, where many NSOs now refer to registration. Formal learning (such as assessed course, assessed on the job learning or post course assessment) and other requirements (such as working with children checks) will lead to a coach or official to being registered. Registration has minimum standards that a coach/official is required to meet in order to perform at a particular level. Registration has also has an expiry.
  • Continuing professional development
    Just as teachers, accountants and other professionals need to undertake continuing professional development to maintain the currency of registration, so too do coaches and officials. This varies between sports, but it is often a mix between formal and informal learning.

Put together your learning and development overview

Your learning and development overview is a logical extension of your NSO’s participation map.  When developing your plan, consider:

  • Creating an outline
    This could be a graphic, table or statement that outlines the development for coaches / officials in your sport. A useful strategy is to prepare a high-level ‘conceptual’ graphic (or statement or table) and then add supplementary information for more detail.
  • Coach / official pathways
    There is no requirement for a progressive pathway to training, rather the training should address the sport’s workforce needs and be presented in a way that encourages lifelong learning and continuing professional development.
  • Registration versus further development
    Deciding what training will lead to registration is something for the NSO to consider based on the sport’s needs. Avoid learning plans where the only option for greater coach and official development and recognition is to work with participants at a higher performance level. Many coaches / officials have no ambition to coach / officiate participants beyond their current level, but many will want to improve how they do their current job. Providing a range of formal and informal learning experiences can meet this need.
  • Recognition of prior learning (RPL)
    Recognition of prior learning is what it says: recognising that someone already has the knowledge, skills and experience to be a coach. In the past, sport has borrowed from the industry training method of RPL. This has made the progress onerous and often harder than completing a course. It is a matter of finding a balance between a cumbersome process and maintaining the integrity of standards. If a qualified coach from another sport can be observed safely and successfully coaching a practical session in your sport, consider if they need to undertake any further training to be recognised.
  • Resources and courses
    Use a mixture of formal and informal learning. Decide what areas of training you would like to use as part of an accreditation and how that could be integrated into an overall approach. Also consider training or support that can be provided to coaches aimed at improving the quality of coaching that may not lead to accreditation. Don’t forget: not everything needs to be a course! If you have some content that would be helpful for coaches / officials, consider making it freely available for them to access in their own time.
    Your international federation may also have coach / official courses and resources that can be integrated into your framework.
    There’s no need for sports to do all the training themselves. You might also consider courses from other providers, e.g. Australian Sports Commission, Play for Life, Sports Medicine Australia, or even other NSOs to be part of your coach / official training.
  • The details
    Add to your overall learning plan (on the graphic or in an attachment) a clear set of statements about pre-requisites, the commitment required, whether up-dating is required, who the coach or official will be able to work with, frequency of courses, location of courses, RPL etc. Think of all the questions you would want answered if you were setting out to do some training.

Preparing an NSO overall training plan

There is no silver bullet when it comes to participation maps and overall training plan graphics; each NSO's map will be different.
A high-level shell for an overall training plan is shown. Notice in the second column that coaches and officials are grouped to match the participation communities. Also note that some detail has been added to this hypothetical example showing that the foundation coaches have one accreditation level and two formal non-accreditation training program options as well as signalling that there are other informal options (see the ‘other’ box in the last column). Your NSO plan will probably look different.

Tips for developing your overall training plan

Participation segment
Coach / Official group
Overall role requirements (from Step 3)
Minimum requirements
Formal learning
Informal learning
5-7 year olds in a team sport. One training session per week and weekend competition. Children may range from entry level up to two years of experience
Community coach
  • The ability to conduct a session that is safe and flows freely.
  • The ability to work with another community coach to ensure the game is safe and flows freely.
  • The ability to give encouraging feedback is important.

  • 16 years of age
  • Meeting working with children check requirements
  • Nil
  • Introductory workshop or induction session
  • 1 page of basic rules
  • Coaching tips online
  • 12 weeks of session plans
8-10 year olds in a team sport. One training session per week and weekend competition. Children may range from entry level up to two years of experience
Community coach
  • Accredited or non-accredited working alongside an accredited coach/game manager.
  • The ability to conduct a session that is safe and flows freely.
  • The ability to provide some latitude with decisions such as off-side and advantage is important.
  • 16 years of age
  • Meeting working with children check requirements
  • Nil
  • Introductory workshop or induction session
  • Mentoring with accredited coach
  • 1 page of basic rules
  • Coaching tips online
  • 12 weeks of session plans
  • Practical coaching workshop
18-25 year old adults playing a team sport at a competitive level
Intermediate Performance Official
  • Paid role
  • The ability to manage a game that is conducted safe environment
  • The ability to manage players’.
  • Manage the game in accordance with the international rules
  • 18 years of age
  • Play by the Rules online course: Child Protection, Harassment & Discrimination course
  • Introductory Level Officiating General Principles (ASC online course)
  • International Rules Online Quiz
  • Mentoring with current official – a chance to practice
  • International Rules website, videos and discussion
  • Officiating tips online
  • Fitness session plans for officials
  • Access to officiating discussion boards

Identify resource requirements

Frameworks and training programs are only as good as the system used to implement them. Below are some reminders of the practical things you may need to consider and Table 3 shows an example of how you might work through this process.


  • to manage the process at different levels
  • to train the deliverers
  • to attract, retain and reward personnel
  • to develop resources
  • to maintain quality throughout the system
  • to develop partnerships (sport, government, other)
  • think about the workforce that you currently have, and if this is sufficient to meet your identified goals

Learning resources

  • technology requirements and strategies
  • venue / facility / equipment requirements
  • hard-copy resources


  • These will flow out of planning documents where strategies are linked to personnel, time-frames and resources
  • Do you have a Board champion?
  • Do you have strategies to generate ongoing revenue for continuous improvement?
  • Is training a revenue raiser or a way of developing your sport?


Coach / Official group
Learning experiences
People requirements
Learning resources
Community Coach

Formal learning

  • n/a

Formal learning

  • n/a

Formal learning

  • n/a

Formal learning

  • n/a 
Informal learning
  • Introductory workshop or induction session

Informal learning

  • 1 person for 1 hour  
 Informal learning
  • Workshop handout and lesson plan
Informal learning
  • to be conducted by club level volunteer
  • Mentoring with accredited referee
  • Mentor to watch 1 full game per month, 10 minute debrief
  • Mentor “tick and flick” sheet with criteria, and questioning
  • Fill in the blank sheet, or summary sheet to print  
  • to be conducted by club level volunteer
  • Coaching tips online
  • 8 hour of site development initially, 2 hours update per year
  • Content developed by external consultant @ $80/hour
  • 12 weeks of session plans with
  • 40 hours initially, 2 hours update per year
  •  PDF of session plan
  • To be developed by existing employee


Step 5: Develop your learning strategy

Purpose: To develop some overarching learning strategies for your courses

Possible actions:

  • Consider how adults learn and the implications
  • Consider a range of delivery options

With your training plan established, it is time to identify training approaches within your budget.
Develop a high-level overview of the delivery options for the training plan. This overview will provide a snapshot of the learning experiences for your NSO’s training. If this is something that you are still developing, show your best realistic guess. When you develop your training programs using the Training Program Toolkit you will be able to fill in any gaps. Think of this overview as a summary of what you are already doing and a wish-list of future learning strategies.

How adults learn and the options for delivering learning to them

You may hear people talking about coaching or officiating and using the term pedagogy. If you are about coaching children or officiating a game played by children, this term is correct. However, when we are talking about the education of the coaches and officials themselves, where the learners are mostly adults, the correct term is andragogy. This requires a different mindset.

For example, adult learners:

  • are independent people and independent learners:
    So training should have minimal instruction and allow for autonomy wherever possible
  • bring extensive knowledge, skills and experiences that can be applied to coaching or officiating:
    Don’t assume the learners are blank slates. Facilitated discussion can allow the content to be covered through the contribution of learners is more powerful than
  • prefer to learn about problem solving, rather than content accumulation:
    Develop a range of activities that allow learners to draw on existing experiences and solve problems that are meaningful to them.
  • are intrinsically motivated to learn:
    BUT! They need a valid reason. Let them know why they need to complete formal training, or continuing professional development.

Delivery options: face to face, online, blended

Coach and official education has traditionally been delivered face to face, but this is changing with the increasing prevalence and ease of use with technology. Due to the very practical nature of coaching and officiating, it is unlikely that NSOs could run a completely online training program, but it is possible to offer both online and face to face training in a blended program. Many NSOs are already doing this through the use of the ASC’s online learning portal to access the Community Coaching General Principles or the Community Officiating General Principles online.

If you want to deliver some of your own content online, there are a range of options. Two important points to consider:
you don’t need to invest in expensive technology to develop online learning. Here have some suggestions and examples that demonstrate this.
Just putting all of your content online is not online learning. It needs to be delivered in a way that encourages user engagement.

Integrating learning experiences


Technology assisted learning

  • Online training* (desktop or mobile)
  • Web-based video
  • Webinars
  • Wiki, blog, photo-sharing etc
  • Lots of interactivity to promote higher order thinking
  • Provide adequate scaffolding (tips, examples, help, layered information)
  • Design technology-based learning experiences so that they are revisited in face-to-face and practical experience options. This link is critical to successful online training
  • Avoid ‘theory’ that is not revisited (that means it should be practised and applied later
  • Examples of effective online learning: - activities guide learners as they develop session plans which are later put into practice in face-to-face learning - understand coaching or officiating processes by looking at videos of coaches and officials in action responding to challenging questions and then demonstrating the key principles in a hands-on setting.

Face-to-face (F2F)

  • Interactive class-room sessions
  • Field-based sessions
  • Probe prior knowledge and don’t assume learners are blank slates
  • Promote collaborative learning
  • Mix and match facilitating and more formal ‘teaching’
  • Use micro-teaching exercises and encourage peer feedback
  • Field-based activities should strongly reinforce class and online learning (NOTE: think of online learning and classroom activity as setting up a powerful hands-on learning activity)

Practical experience

  • Placements
  • Mentored or guided experiences
  • Internships
  • Observations of experts
  • You should be able to draw a connecting line between online, face-to-face, and practical experience learning activities. Earlier learning is reinforced and refined in the hands-on settings
  • Emphasis on putting plans into action with a focus on:
    - the plan and suitability of the content for the target group
    - the delivery (including group or game management)
    - effectiveness of the communication (how was it received by participants?)

KEY: Clear agreed objectives and clear feedback with an indication to the learner about where to go next is critical to creating an effective learning experience. Learning is about practising and reflecting.

Informal learning
See the tips for developing your overall training plan in step 3 above

By definition these learning experiences are initiated by the individual coach or official. Your organisation may provide circumstances to encourage informal learning.
There are two implications to consider:

  • Ensure that your formal learning programs acknowledge, respect and recognise prior learning including that which is a result of informal learning
  • Recognising prior learning, including informal learning, requires processes to gather evidence and review learning that has occurred outside of formal channels. e-Portfolios are useful in this regard (for more information on creating and using e-portfolios see the Training Program Toolkit)

* The online delivery option may be the ASC’s Community Coaching or the Officiating General Principles course, sport-specific online courseware, or a third party resource.

Step 6: Implement and review

Purpose: To implement the new framework

Possible actions:

  • Establish a continuous improvement process
  • Future proof the framework
  • Next steps

Establish continuous improvement processes

How effective are your training programs? You won’t be able to answer this question unless you have systems in place to gather information about the effectiveness of your training. But for your courses to be effective in the first place, it is important to have a quality assurance program in place. This will help to prevent things becoming dated. Ongoing reviews and a system of gathering user feedback are keys to continuous improvement.
The ASC strongly recommends that sports undertake an ongoing, continuous improvement process with the framework, reviewing it annually.
Some tips:

  • Get immediate feedback from individuals or groups working in the new framework. There may be tweaks that need to be made immediately before they become significant issues.
  • Schedule an evaluation of the new framework. This may be after a period of time or after a certain number of people have accessed the training.
  • Establish a structure for ongoing oversight. This may be the responsibility of a committee, or individuals within the organisation, including yourself. Oversight may mean review and evaluation and may include ongoing communication to stakeholders – answering FAQs, promoting the benefits of training programs, etc.
  • Finally, work to ensure that there are relevant ongoing strategies in the organisations strategic planning documents and appropriate resources committed in operational plans.

An expanded section dealing with quality assurance is included in the Training Program Toolkit.

Future proofing

Succession planning

Keeping records of what was done and how it was done is important for the next time a review is undertaken. Make sure that anyone who picks up the baton in the future, be it yourself or someone else, can quickly find relevant documents and understand the process. Make succinct recommendations for doing it better next time.
If and when you leave the organisation or take on a different role, it will be your responsibility to do a handover to the next person. You want to leave a legacy of your good work, and part of this is ensuring that the good work is continued. Make it easy on yourself by keeping good records. It is also good business practice to make sure that another person in the organisation is fully briefed and has preferably been involved in the project.

Organisational planning

Finally, work to ensure that there are relevant ongoing strategies in the organisations strategic planning documents and appropriate resources committed in operational plans.

Next steps

With some preliminary thinking about the development and implementation challenges behind you, it is time to move onto the Training Program Toolkit. This will be your next port of call as you contemplate the fine detail of developing a suite of quality training programs for your coaches and officials.

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Quick numbers

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650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.