Practitioner, Coach and Athlete Perceptions of Evidence-Based Practice in Professional Sport in Australia

Edgar Schwarz, Liam Harper, Rob Duffield, Robert McCunn, Andrew Govus, Sabrina Skorski, Hugh Fullagar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To examine practitioners, coaches and athletes’ perceptions of evidence-based practice (EBP) in professional sport within Australia. Methods: 138 participants (practitioners [n=67], coaches [n=39] players [n=32]) in various professional sports within Australia each completed a group-specific online questionnaire. Questions focused on perceptions of research, the contribution of their own experience in implementing knowledge to practice, sources and barriers for accessing and implementing EBP, preferred methods of feedback and the required qualities of practitioners. Results: All practitioners reported using EBP, whilst most coaches and athletes believed EBP contributes to individual performance and preparation (>85%). Practitioners’ preferred EBP information sources were ‘peer reviewed journals’, and ‘other practitioners within their sport’, whilst athlete sources were ‘practitioners within their sport’ and ‘other athletes within their sport’. As primary barriers to accessing and implementing research, practitioners highlighted ‘time constraints’, ‘poor research translation’ and ‘non-applicable research’. Practitioners ranked ‘informal conversation’ as their most valued method of providing feedback; however, coaches prefer feedback from ‘scheduled meetings’, ‘online reports’ or ‘shared database’. Both athletes and coaches value ‘excellent knowledge of the sport’, ‘experience’ and ‘communication skills’ in practitioners disseminating EBP. Conclusion: Practitioners, coaches and athletes believe in the importance of EBP to their profession, although practitioners reported several barriers to accessing and implementing research as part of EBP. Athletes place a high value on experienced practitioners who have excellent knowledge of the sport and communication skills. Collectively, these findings can be used to further stakeholder understanding regarding EBP and the role of research to positively influence athlete health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1728-1735
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number12
Early online date17 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


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