Frontiers in Psychology (Feb 2019)

Australian Football Skill-Based Assessments: A Proposed Model for Future Research

  • Nathan Bonney,
  • Jason Berry,
  • Kevin Ball,
  • Paul Larkin,
  • Paul Larkin

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10


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Identifying sporting talent remains a difficult task due to the complex nature of sport. Technical skill assessments are used throughout the talent pathway to monitor athletes in an attempt to more effectively predict future performance. These assessments, however, largely focus on the isolated execution of key skills devoid of any game context. When assessments are representative of match-play and applied in a setting where all four components of competition (i.e., technical, tactical, physiological, and psychological) are assessed within an integrated approach, prediction of talent is more likely to be successful. This article explores the current talent identification technical skill assessments, with a particular focus on Australian Football, and proposes a 5-level performance assessment model for athlete assessment. The model separates technical game skill on a continuum from Level-1 (i.e., laboratory analysis) to Level-5 (i.e., match-play). These levels, using the assumptions of the expert performance model and representative learning design theory, incorporate a step-wise progression of performance demands to more closely represent match-play conditions. The proposed model will provide researchers and practitioners with a structured framework to consider when assessing, or developing, new assessments of technical game-based skill.