Credit points




Unit description and aim

An understanding of the key industries in which exercise science professionals and sporting coaches work, and the variety of roles they fulfil, is fundamental to providing context and clarity to students with respect to their studies in exercise science and high performance sport, and to their career decision-making. This unit explores the multifaceted, cross-disciplinary sectors in which exercise science professionals and coaches work, from the health sector to high performance sport. Contemporary knowledge, practices and recommendations in these fields of expertise are examined, from maintaining health and physical activity, through to athlete and team preparation and management, to meet the specific health, fitness and/or sporting performance goals of clients. There is particular emphasis on the roles of accredited professionals in exercise science, exercise physiology, sports science, strength and conditioning, and coaching. This unit aims to develop these knowledge and skills consistent with the professional standards for Exercise Scientist and Strength and Conditioning accreditation, providing an integrated understanding across the sub-disciplines of exercise science practice.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate knowledge of the Australian Health care system and the Australian high performance sport industry, and the scope of practice of exercise and sports professionals (GA5) 

LO2 - Compare and contrast the roles and contributions of exercise and sports professionals in the health and high performance sport sectors, with an emphasis on the value of interdisciplinary models (GA6)  

LO3 - Design and evaluate interventions at the community and population level for increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviours (GA3, GA4, GA5) 

LO4 - Reflect upon the ethical and social responsibilities of high performance sport and sports science practice with an international perspective, including communication, relationship and cultural challenges faced in these environments (GA1, GA4, GA6) 

LO5 - Design and implement a group exercise session (GA3, GA4, GA5)  

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account


Topics will include: 


  • Scope and ethical codes of practice for professionals in exercise science and athlete training 
  • The role of the exercise scientist and exercise physiologist in sedentary behaviour and physical activity in aetiology, prevention and management 
  • Prevention programs at the public health, primary, secondary and tertiary levels, including the structure of the Australian health care system 
  • Recommendations and guidelines for optimising physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviours 
  • The structure of the Australian high performance sport sector, from the National Institutes Network to professional sport 
  • The roles and responsibilities of specialists working in or servicing high performance departments (e.g., team coaches, strength and conditioning/performance coaches, sports scientists, dieticians, medical staff, physiotherapists, psychologists, etc.), including communication and relationship building in high performance cultures 
  • Contemporary principles and practices in coaching, athlete preparation and management, implemented in health and high performance settings 
  • Management of individual and group/team exercise sessions 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, authentic learning, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities, delivered across 12 weeks. These strategies will provide students with access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for application of this learning. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

To best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a written proposal to assess learning through application and written communication; a practical coaching task to assess learnings in individual and group instruction, management and communication; and an interview task to assess critical enquiry, understanding and application of learnings. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Proposal.  

Requires students to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills by developing a physical activity and health intervention. 


LO1, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5 

Coaching task 

Requires students to design and deliver an instructional session to peers, demonstrating their application of learning through planning and communication. 



GA1, GA4

Audio/Podcast Interview:  

Require students to demonstrate their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of exercise specialists and coaches employed in high performance sport settings 


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6 

Application of exercise to health 

Requires student to participate in an exercise program to develop their understanding of the application of exercise science knowledge and skills to exercise prescription and delivery. 




Representative texts and references

Australian Institute of SportTanner R, and Gore C (2013) Physiological tests for elite athletes (2nd ed.). Champaign IL: Human Kinetics. 

Australian Strength and Conditioning Association. 

Booth, FW, Laye, MJ, Lees, SJ, Rector, RS, Thyfault, JP (2008). Reduced physical activity and chronic disease: the biology behind the consequences. European journal of applied physiology. 102:381-309. 

Brown, WJ, Bauman, AE, Bull, FC, Burton, NW (2012). Development of evidence based physical activity recommendations for adults (18-64). (Unpublished) Final report for Department of Health and Ageing. 

Commonwealth of Australia (2014). Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behavioural guidelines, Adults. 

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (2008) Code of professional conduct and ethical practice. 

Lyle, J, Cushion, C. (2010) Sports Coaching: Professionalisation and Practice (1st Ed.). London UK: Churchill Livingstone. 

Robinson, PE. (2014). Foundations of Sports Coaching (2nd Ed.). London UK: Routledge. 

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