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  Sports Council NI Home Page >> What we do >> Performance Sport

Performance Sport 

While sport is about fun and enjoyment, many people have a desire to improve their sporting performance, maximise their potential and possibly achieve publicly recognised success. 

Realising these aspirations involves a combination of many factors such as ability, determination, opportunity and appropriate support.  The aim of the performance sport team is to make sure that the best conditions are available to enable talented individuals to climb their own performance ladder.  For some this will stretch from the playground to the podium of sporting success. 

Top sports performers testify that their success has not just been due to their own ability.  In order to reach their optimum performance they have relied upon the right mix of a number of factors.  Some of the most important factors, aside from personal ability, are:  

Coaching  – available and of high quality

Competition – available at the right level

Facilities – accessible and of appropriate quality

Support   - lifestyle management, financial support, sport science and medicine support, drug awareness education, family and friends

Effective structures – governing bodies, facility providers, etc. 

Many of these factors are in place in Northern Ireland but they are not always widespread.  We want to improve this situation so that people can indeed reach their optimum level of performance if so desired.  The action programme set out within the NI Strategy for the Development of Sport can best be summarised by the words of Forbes Carlisle, an Australian Swimming Coach: 

“aim not to create a champion but create a situation in which champions become inevitable.”  

The Performance Sport team works with a wide range of agencies including Coaching Northern Ireland, the Sports Institute for Northern Ireland, governing bodies of sport, local authorities and the Sports Councils in the UK, England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.  The key areas of work currently include: 

  • The development of a new Performance Strategy for sport in Northern Ireland. 

  • Working in partnership with governing bodies of sport and local authorities to develop the Long Term Athlete Development Model in Northern Ireland through programmes such as multi sport camps, schools of sport, regional development squads, the Golden Cow Youth Games etc.

  • Providing planning guidance and advice to governing bodies of sport. 

  • Managing financial Awards made towards the implementation of governing body and other performance sport development programmes; 

  • Supporting the development of sports science, sports medicine and anti-doping programmes and working with the relative agencies to ensure appropriate support structures for elite and potentially elite performers. 

The Performance Sport Team members are: 

Paul Johnston – Governing Body planning and investment ([email protected]

Stephen McGeehan – Irish Football Association development centres and soccer strategy implementation, Governing Body planning, performance ladder (stephenmcgeehan@sportni.net)

Chris Moore - Governing Body planning, Schools of Sport and Area Partnerships

([email protected])

Jill Poots –  coaching, sports medicine, drug free sport and performance sport team management.  ([email protected])

Dorothy Spence – Team Secretary ([email protected])




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Last modified: Tuesday October 19, 2020.