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Strategy, Policies and Frameworks

Best Practice Principles for AW&E Providers

Best practice principles for high performance sports

The National High Performance Sport Strategy (NHPSS) was developed in support of one of the identified priorities in the Australian Government’s “Sport 2030”, namely the achievement of sporting excellence.

Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement (AW&E) is widely recognised as essential to the fostering and retention of talent in the Australian high performance (HP) sport system. In encompassing the mental, physical, and emotional health of HP athletes, AW&E supports sustained excellence in high performance as well as success in all other major aspects of life.

The increased prominence of AW&E in the HP system requires continued progress to be based on a foundation of shared and mutually agreed understandings. For this reason the Australian Institute of Sport(AIS), in collaboration with its National Institute Network (NIN) partners, National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), and professional sporting bodies, has developed Best Practice Principles for AW&E Providers.

These Best Practice Principles will develop as AW&E continues to evolve, and will be revised from time to time to remain contemporary and relevant to the changing HP landscape.

These Best Practice Principles have been developed to:

To facilitate successful integration of AW&E services in the HP environment for the benefit of AW&E providers and HP sport.

To support AW&E providers in HP sport in the pursuit of a nationally consistent approach.

To communicate the aspirational best practice for AW&E providers.

The role of AW&E providers

AW&E providers support elite athletes as they navigate HP programs, empowering them to find a balance between wellbeing, engagement in activities outside of training and competition, and the requirements of elite sport. This includes providing athletes with opportunities for personal and professional development, as well as ready access to tailored mental health (MH) servicing and meaningful community engagement initiatives. Effective delivery of this support requires sophisticated understandings, both of an athlete’s individual needs and the HP environment in which they operate. Underpinning all ‘operational’ considerations is a cultural foundation that ensures that an athlete’s experience of a HP program is affirmative, encouraged, and supported, and that athletes are able to talk positively about their time in sport.

It is acknowledged that the capacity to form authentic interpersonal connections stands at the heart of the AW&E provider role. It is therefore incumbent upon AW&E providers and their NSOs or NINs to foster positive relationships, demonstrate uncompromising standards of respectful and ethical behaviour, and ensure procedural transparency.

The Principles

Guidelines for Australian Sporting Organisations


For further information

For more information please contact the relevant AW&E staff member.

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