Managing High Performance Sport at national level: the SPLISS model: [Capítulo 2 - A gestão do esporte de alto rendimento em nível nacional: O modelo SPLISS]

Veerle De Bosscher, S. Shibli, Hans Westerbeek, Maarten Van Bottenburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


Without their individual talent, athletes like Tiago Camilo, Cesar Cielo, Maurren Maggi, Esquiva Falcão, Sheilla Castro and many other Brazilian athletes would never have developed their impressive sporting career, nor would innumerable elite athletes in a range of other sports and countries. But neither would they without the network of sports clubs where they developed as athletes; without the training and competition opportunities; without the guidance from coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, dieticians and sports scientists; without the support services from national governing bodies, governments, Olympic Committees and/or private partners, who made the athletic career more attractive for athletes. People are not born as an athlete; they need to invest great amounts of time and devotion to their sport, surrounded by a team of people and support services. Over the years, this has raised questions among researchers and policy makers about the extent to which success at international competitions is developable. Macro-level factors such as population, welfare, climatic variation, political systems highly influence national success and have been discussed in many studies on the Olympic Games. Research showed that over 50% of international success of countries is explained by mainly three variables: population, wealth (expressed as Gross Domestic Product by capita) and (former)communism (e.g. De Bosscher, 2007). These factors are relatively stable and cannot be influenced by human impact. A gap in the literature emerges when it comes to explaining the remaining 50%, in particular when including factors at the meso-level (i.e., the level of sports policies), which can be influenced by human effort. Here, statistical relationships are hard to determine and theory development is still at an early stage. A consensus is building among researchers that macro-level factors are becoming less accurate predictors of nations’ performance in elite sport than they have been historically (De Bosscher, et al., 2008). The principle reason for this view is that as nations become strategic in the way in which they produce elite athletes, they rely less on uncontrollable variables and more on the variables which are widely regarded as being the components of an elite sports development ‘system’. Elite sport policy has thus started to develop as a mainstream area of government policy and policy research with a growing belief that “elite sport success is increasingly developable by policies”.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEsporte de Alto Rendimento. Fatroes criticos de sucesso – gestao – identificacao de talentos
Place of PublicationSao Paulo
PublisherPhorte Editora
ISBN (Print)9788576555568
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • elite sport policies
  • international comparison


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