Promoting a skills-based agenda in Olympic sports: the role of skill-acquisition specialists

A. Mark Williams, Paul Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We highlight the importance of promoting a skills-based agenda in the development and preparation of Olympic athletes. The role that specialists with a background in skill acquisition can play is illustrated and the need to move towards a culture where evidence-based practice permeates all aspects of this process reiterated. We provide examples from contemporary research to illustrate how skill-acquisition theory and practice can help inform and guide practitioners, coaches, and administrators in their quest to develop Olympic athletes. Although the acquisition and refinement of skills are essential to performance in most Olympic sports, paradoxically the area of skill acquisition has not impacted in a concerted and meaningful way on this agenda. Skill-acquisition specialists need to be more proactive in forging links with elite sport, whereas practitioners, coaches, and administrators need to appreciate the important role that sports scientists with a background in this area can play in helping to develop future generations of podium athletes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1392
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2009


  • Instruction
  • interventions
  • motor behaviour
  • psychology
  • practice


Dive into the research topics of 'Promoting a skills-based agenda in Olympic sports: the role of skill-acquisition specialists'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this