Levels of Performance

Sam Gunn (Task 1)

Levels of Performance

There are 4 different levels of performance, below is a brief description of each of the 4 levels.

Foundation: This level focuses on introducing children to the basic skills in a specific sport, as well as getting them interested in physical activity.

Participation: This level focuses more on why people are attracted to doing sport. They may take part in sport for reasons such as health, fitness and social. This level generally relates to out of school sports teams and sunday league players.

Performance: This level is based more on improving players performance in sport through coaching, competition and training. This level generally relates to people playing at county or national level.

Elite: This level is based on those who reach national standards in their respective fields of performance going up to olympic or world-class performers.

Purpose's of analysing performance


There are many different purposes for analysing someone's sporting performance, I am going to explain 4 of those purposes in relation to a specific level of performance.

  • Talent identification is mainly used at foundation level, so teachers can see if anyone stands out from the group and has the ability to perform the basic skills at a high standard and demonstrate good execution of those skills. More time will be spent on talent identification at foundation level so teachers or parents can analyse if a kid is good enough to move up to the next level. Although talent identification can happen at elite level there isn't as much emphasis on it as players are usually already scouted well before they reach elite level. However in some circumstances coaches at elite level can use talent identification for analysis purposes such as if a youth team player suddenly starts performing to a high standard, then the youth team coach may advise the manager to take a look at him. So the manager will analyse his performance closely as he won't have known too much of that player and known if he was good or not.
  • Recovery from injury is mainly used at elite level so coaches can ensure that their athlete can recover properly from injury. They will do this by putting them on a recovery programme, so they can monitor their progress over time and see if they are recovering as expected or in some cases quicker than expected. They will do this to allow them to come back just as strong as they were prior to sustaining their injury. Such things as underwater treadmills are used to help athletes recover from injuries such as an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Its important coaches analyse an athletes progress when recovering so they can see exactly how the athlete is doing and then they may realise a date for them to rejoin training. So because they analyse their recovery they will be less likely to rush their athlete straight back into intense training or a game situation.They do this in order to allow them sufficient time for their injury to heal but also to prevent them sustaining the same injury again.
  • Squad selection is most effectively used at elite level in order for the coach to ensure he picks the best possible team on the day of a game. Coaches will normally analyse players performance in a training situation, as well as seeing how they performed the previous week. So they can then pick players on their physical performance e.g. how much distance they covered, how many tackles/line breaks they made, how they are mentally prepared. For example England head coach Stuart Lancaster picked his England squad to face New Zealand in 2013 based on his analysis of who had performed well the previous week in a game, or at training. So he could then pick players who were like for like in each position e.g. Ma'a Nonu up against Manu Tuilagi at centre as both players essentially play the same way. However he also used his analysis of players fitness during training session and in the previous week's game to pick a team that had great physical fitness levels so that they could put high pressure on New Zealand for 80 minutes in order to stop them gaining metres. So coaches will use all the analysis of watching performance, monitoring fitness levels etc. To take into account how good performance is, how good physically and how good mentally a player is in their preparation so that they can pick the best possible squad on the day of a game.
  • Assessment of health status is mainly used at elite level so that coaches can see if their athlete/s are fit and healthy so that they can play in a competitive game. A coach will have a team of people aimed at ensuring their athlete/s are fit and healthy such as, a nutritionist, fitness coach and psychologist. An example of this is in the England rugby union set up where Stuart Lancaster will know exactly what the players are eating and drinking, as the nutritionist will inform him. Generally all the players will eat the same food, as the team tends to eat together. As well as this the psychologist can inform Lancaster of any players that may not be in the right frame of mind to play as not to risk their health and wellbeing (e.g. increased blood pressure due to stress or anxiety). Finally the fitness coach is there to put the players through their paces so Lancaster can then see who is performing well physically and who may be struggling. This can then allow the coaches to focus on getting those who are struggling to their peak fitness levels so they can perform to the best of their ability she playing. After Lancaster has got all the information he needs he can then analyse the data and see which players are fit and healthy enough to play the next game and who may need extra work. So against a side like New Zealand he will need players who can perform well from the first minute to the last, as New Zealand tend to keep the ball in hand and go through many phases meaning England will have to defend constantly throughout.So he may look at how fit players were during training and which players had a diet consisting of plenty carbohydrates used for unlimited energy.


There are plenty of resources that can be used to help analyse different levels of sports performance. I am going to explain 4 different types of resources that can be used to analyse sports performance, and I will compare them between Foundation level and Elite level.

Fiscal: This refers to the money that is available to coaches/clubs. At foundation level there is little money available so things such as equipment and facilities are supplied by the coaches or parents that may lend equipment to use. This means that teachers and parents can't effectively analyse performance because they can't afford specialist equipment to do so. Therefore they solely rely on their eyesight to analyse performance there and then, which means they won't get an accurate reading of performance. Whereas at elite level there is much more money available to coaches/clubs so they are able to buy specialist equipment such as a scrum machine and computer software to analyse performance. For example a coach can see how much force their forwards are creating against a scrum machine at training due to software placed on them before hand, this will then allow a coach to pick the best players to have in his pack of forwards based on that. So coaches at elite level can effectively analyse performance because they have more money to spend on specialist equipment/facilities that can highlight exactly how well players perform compared to foundation level where little money is available so they can't properly analyse performance meaning they have to make judgements using their eyes which aren't entirely reliable.

Equipment: This refers to what equipment is available to coaches/clubs. At foundation level there is only basic equipment available such as cones, balls, goals etc. Often this equipment is brought in out of the coaches own back pocket or by parents of the participants.So this won't help with analysing performance too much as the teachers/parents can't create an almost identical situation as they may be using rugby balls that aren't necessarily going to be used in a game and each ball will differ.Or they won't be able to see who is the quickest in the team as they only have access to a stopwatch and cones, which will increase the chance of human error occurring e.g. reaction time of stopping the stopwatch. Whereas at elite level there is more basic equipment and a range of specialist equipment available to coaches/clubs such as plenty of tackle bags, rugby balls/footballs, poles and scrum machines, speed harness's and computer software in order to help analyse performance. This will help coaches as they can the see how players react to the ball that will be used in a game and can identify who is the quickest in the team, as they will have access to timing gates that don't carry the chance of human error like a stopwatch does.This all helps the coaches analyse performance so they can use equipment that will in turn enhance performance in a game.

Facilities: This relates to the facilities available to coaches/clubs. At foundation level there will be basic facilities available but not the greatest standard of facilities such as a school field which won't regularly be cut and looked after.This won't help the teachers/parents analyse performance as they can't exactly re-enact the same quality of pitches they would play a game on at training. Whereas at elite level they have access to some of the best and more advanced facilities such as, undersoil heated pitches, nicely turfed astro pitches and state of the art gyms. All of which will help coaches analyse performance as they can see exactly how players would perform on a pitch the same quietly they would have in a game at training. Such as the England rugby union team train at Pennyhill Park which has pitches the same quality of Twickenham where England play their home games. As well as that they have a fully equipped gym which allows the coaches to analyse the players performance and see who is pushing heavy weights which can give them a distinct advantage at the breakdown or trying to break the gain line. Training and performing in high quality facilities will help to motivate the players and thus improve their performance as well as helping coaches analyse their performance effectively.Another facility that can help coaches analyse performance is an altitude chamber, which the England Football Team will no doubt use before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The altitude chamber will allow players to run in the same altitude which will be played in Brazil, this will then help Roy Hodgson see which players adapt the best to conditions and who will be able to perform at a high level for 90 minutes in that heat and humidity.

Human: This relates to the people that can help a coach when analysing performance. At foundation level there are the teachers and possibly parents of participants available to help with analysis, of which parents may be biased in analysing performance as their son may be playing. Whereas at elite level there are specialist staff available to the coach when analysing performance such as nutritionists, psychologists, fitness trainers, physios and coaches related to a specific sport e.g. forwards coach, backs coach, skills coach in rugby. All of those human resources will help aid the coach in their analysis of performance so Graham Rowntree, the England rugby team's forwards coach can inform Stuart Lancaster of how the set pieces are performing e.g. scrums and line outs.Which can then give Lancaster a thought as to who he will choose when picking squads for a game. It will also benefit the athletes having specialist coaches as it can motivate them more and get them in better shape ready for a competitive game situation, as well as helping improve their performance especially if there is one area they are weak on a coach can work with them to help improve it and turn it into a strength.