Sport Australia has launched a free, online course to help the 500,000 community coaches across the country deliver world-class, fun and inclusive sporting experiences for everyone.

The new Community Coaching Essential Skills Course has been developed in collaboration with sports and will benefit the whole sector, supporting local clubs, their volunteer coaches and most importantly every player and athlete. 

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said the launch of this free course was a key part of Sport Australia’s new approach to community coaching announced last week. 

Perkins said:

Being a coach is more than just skills and drills. The environment a coach creates is critical to delivering a positive sporting experience, encouraging more people to play and stay in organised sport.” 

“To help coaches achieve this, we’ve designed the new Essential Skills course to shake up traditional community coach education. 

“We can’t afford to rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to community coaching anymore and our free course helps coaches understand the individual needs and motivations of every participant and most importantly, why they love to be involved in sport.” 

Sport Australia’s new approach has earned the praise of high-profile coaches including cricketing great Greg Chappell, Olympic cyclist Brad McGee and Paralympic champion Louise Sauvage. Greg, Brad and Louise were key contributors to Sport Australia’s recent Coaching & Officiating podcast series, and Louise is also featuring throughout the new Essential Skills course.  

Former Australian Diamonds netballer Clare Ferguson says the role a coach plays in the growth of a person cannot be overstated. 

Ferguson said:

“The person who had the greatest impact on my sporting career and my life generally was my High School netball coach.” 

“She taught us so much more than just drills and skills. She taught us how to self-reflect, set goals and own our strengths which instilled this lifelong desire to be active, healthy, motivated and self-driven.” 

Dozens of sporting organisations have welcomed the change, with Hockey Australia seeing an alignment between the free, online course and their new national approach to coach support. 

Hockey Australia Chief Strategy Officer Michael Johnston said: 

We’re really excited about the new Essential Skills course as it talks the same language and feeds seamlessly into our plans to increase our number of accredited coaches. These are unpaid roles so we need to support coaches as best we can through providing them with the relevant information at the relevant time on their coaching journey.” 

Equestrian Australia is another sport supporting the new course, with Participation Manager Jill Taylor saying it will transform their coaching culture. 

Taylor said:

We’re committed to helping our coaches become more participant centred by helping them focus on the social, cognitive and emotional development of each rider, while at the same time developing their technical skills.” 

Our objective is to create a sport in which riders not just engage in our activities but fall in love with it.” 

In developing the course, Sport Australia has partnered with  Sport Integrity Australia  to introduce coaches to important Safeguarding and Child Safe Practices information. Safeguarding is the process of protecting adults and children from harm and is the responsibility of everyone in sport. Child Safe Practices are a preventative and proactive approach to keeping children safe. 

Over the coming months, Sport Australia will deliver even more resources to support community coaches including webinars, new podcasts, and dedicated master classes designed to expand on the course content. 

The new Essential Skills Course replaces the Community Coaching General Principles Course and can be accessed via the Australian Sport Learning Centre here. 


Sport Australia is responsible for driving greater participation, engagement and capability in Australian sport. Sport Australia invests in national sporting organisations, including organisations for people with a disability, to champion the value of sport and encourage Australians of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities to get involved in sport. Sport Australia is focused on improving the capability of sporting organisations to create an effective and sustainable national sport sector.