Credit points


Campus offering

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Unit rationale, description and aim

Sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches working with high performance athletes require the ability to prescribe and deliver safe and effective exercise programs with an evidence-based, best practice approach, to meet specific performance goals. This unit develops an in-depth understanding of the theoretical concepts and practical application of capacity assessment and program design as they relate to high performance athletes. Specifically, the aim of this unit is to develop students knowledge and skills relating to the use of contemporary methods of field and laboratory based testing in a number of areas including aerobic/anaerobic capacity, repeated sprint ability, and strength and power. In addition, this unit will explore innovative practices in training program design across the spectrum of capacities required for performance in various athletic events.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

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

LO1 - Deliver athlete assessment protocols in field and laboratory settings, displaying appropriate standards of technical conduct (GA5) 

LO2 - Analyse and interpret data from appropriately selected athlete assessment protocols  (GA5, GA7, GA8) 

LO3 - Report the outcomes of athlete assessment protocols and their application, for dissemination in written and/or oral forms to individuals and groups and to specialist and non-specialist audiences (e.g. athlete; coaching staff; medical/rehabilitation staff) (GA5, GA9) 

LO4 - Plan and deliver meaningful interventions for athletes, directed at enhancing performance and reducing the likelihood of injury or illness (GA5, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Biological basis of adaptation 
  • Contemporary sports nutrition 
  • Physiological testing for high performance athletes 
  • Strength & Power profiling 
  • Periodisation 
  • Contemporary exercise prescription for high performance 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group-based activities, 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 knowledge and understanding for skill development in sports science and strength & conditioning practice. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit. 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 in the online environment.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies have been purposefully designed for the assessment of learning outcomes reflecting the principles of authentic assessment design and include:

  • Assessment task 1: a video-based practical task to assess student learning of unit content and its application in regard to their ability to set-up and run an athlete through a physical assessment; (LO1 and LO2);
  • Assessment task 2 an individual task requiring students demonstrate their understanding of a variety of tests, as well as their ability to interpret results of testing and how this influences training prescription. (LO2, LO3 and LO4);


  • Assessment task 3 scaffolds on assessment task 2 and requires a student to design and present a 12-week period of physical training program including a justification of the training plan in order to assess depth and breadth of understanding and application of unit content (LO3 and LO4). 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1 - Video Based Competency Assessment

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to conduct a test of physical capacity in a scientifically valid and reliable manner


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA7, GA8

Assessment 2 - Interpretation of a Testing Battery Assessment

Enables students to critically evaluate data from a selection of physical assessments to inform the training program


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Assessment 3 - Training Program 

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to use contemporary evidence in the design of a realistic training program. 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Austrailan Institute of Sport, Tanner, R. and Gore, C. (2013). Physiological tests for elite athletes (2nd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

Buchheit M, Laursen P.B. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle: Part I: cardiopulmonary emphasis. Sports Med. 2013;43(5):313-338.

Buchheit M, Laursen P.B. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle. Part II: anaerobic energy, neuromuscular load and practical applications. Sports Med. 2013;43(10):927-954.

Cardinale, M., Newton, R., & Nosaka, K. (2011). Strength and conditioning biological principles and practical applications. Wiley.

García-Pinillos F., Soto-Hermoso V.M., and Latorre-Román P.A.. How does high-intensity intermittent training affect recreational endurance runners? Acute and chronic adaptations: A systematic review. J Sport Health Sci. 2017;6(1):54-67.

Haff, G., Triplett, N. T., and National Strength & Conditioning Association issuing body. (2016). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (Fourth edition.). Human Kinetics.

Joyce, D., Lewindon, D., Prisland, A., and Kay, J. (2014). High-performance training for sports. Human Kinetics.

Lopez P., Radaelli R., Taaffe D.R., et al. Resistance Training Load Effects on Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength Gain: Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021;53(6):1206-1216.

Refalo M.C., Hamilton D.L., Paval D.R., Gallagher I.J., Feros S.A., and Fyfe J.J. Influence of resistance training load on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improvements in maximal strength and neuromuscular task performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of sports sciences. 2021:1-23.

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