Athelete Development Pathway

Athlete Development Pathway

We all participate in sport for many different reasons. Some are interested in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, others love the thrill of competing with their friends and a rare few set their sights on winning medals for their country. Whatever the motivation, we mostly choose our own pathways, although sometimes the pathway chooses us.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has developed a new framework to capture these different pathways and address the current shortfalls in applied research and practice specific to athlete development. It is called FTEM.  

What is FTEM?
FTEM (representing Foundation, Talent, Elite and Mastery) is a user-friendly framework of sporting development that is representative of the ‘whole of sport’ pathway continuum. It integrates three key outcomes of sport participation: active lifestyle, sport participation and sport excellence.


How can FTEM be applied?
The FTEM framework can be used as a practical planning and review tool for a broad range of sporting stakeholders including parents, teachers, clubs, coaches, sports science and sports medicine personnel and national and state sporting organisations.

This enhanced understanding of sporting pathways will help us to improve the experiences of more people, at more levels of the pathway, more often.

Key features

  • Representative of the ‘3 worlds’: active lifestyle, sport participation and sport excellence

  • Holistic and multidisciplinary sports model

  • Fully integrated

  • Recognises that individuals can be simultaneously participating in multiple sports at multiple levels of the pathway

  • Features variable entry and exit points within the developmental pathway

  • Non-prescriptive, allowing broad user flexibility and adaptability

  • Devoid of fixed age boundaries

  • Incorporates those with the potential to be elite, which has previously been identified as an insufficiently considered component of high performance modelling

  • Reinforces the need for the right support at the right time and with the right athletes

FTEM and Touch Football

In an overview the table at the top of the page applies the FTEM model to the various pathway levels of Touch Football. Coaches play a very important role in the development and experience encountered by athletes, whether that is the progression of the pathway from Foundation to Talent and beyond, or retention at an affiliate competition for a lifetime of enjoying our great sport.

You can click on the document attached to the bottom of the page which also outlines Western Australias competitions and future requirements for all coaches and referees. This is also the official development pathway for all Touch Football athletes in Western Australia.  

If you have any questions or the above athlete development pathways please do not hesitate to contact WA's Sport Operations Manager at 

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