About Professor Donna O'Connor

Donna's doctoral thesis was titled 'An investigation of aetiological factors contributing to groin injuries in professional rugby league players'. Her research and conference presentations cover athletic profiling, science and football, optimising performance, injury prevention and coach education. As a trainer and consultant, Donna has worked with the Australian women's basketball team, Canadian Olympic athletics team, the Wallabies coaching staff, Australian touch football teams, North Queensland Cowboys and national league teams in basketball and netball.


Research interests
Health and sport

  • Sports performance
Learning sciences; psychology of education
  • Learning technologies and new media
Research on teaching and learning
  • Health and physical education and development
Keywords: coaching effectiveness, athlete development, youth sport coaching, coach learning, high performance sport


View Donna's academic profile here

Selected publications

  • O'Connor, D., Wardak, D., Goodyear, P., Larkin, P., Williams, A. (2018). Conceptualising decision-making and its development: A phenomenographic analysis. Science and Medicine in Football, 2(4), 261-271. [More Information]
  • Cupples, B., O'Connor, D., Cobley, S. (2018). Distinct trajectories of athlete development: A retrospective analysis of professional rugby league players. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(22), 2558-2566. [More Information]
  • Cupples, B., O'Connor, D., Cobley, S. (2018). Distinct trajectories of athlete development: A retrospective analysis of professional rugby league players (forthcoming). SCAPPS 2018 Annual Conference, Toronto: Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology.
  • Barkell, J., O'Connor, D., Cotton, W. (2018). Effective strategies at the ruck in men's and women's World Rugby Sevens Series. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 13(2), 225-235. [More Information]
  • O'Connor, D., Larkin, P., Williams, A. (2018). Observations of youth football training: How do coaches structure training sessions for player development? Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(1), 39-47. [More Information]
  • Huxley, D., O'Connor, D., Bennie, A. (2018). Olympic and World Championship track and field athletes' experiences during the specialising and investment stages of development: A qualitative study with Australian male and female representatives. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 10(2), 256-272. [More Information]
  • McKay, J., O'Connor, D. (2018). Practicing unstructured play in team ball sports: A Rugby Union example. International Sport Coaching Journal, 5(3), 273-280. [More Information]
  • Murr, D., Feichtinger, P., Larkin, P., O'Connor, D., Honer, O. (2018). Psychological talent predictors in youth soccer: A systematic review of the prognostic relevance of psychomotor, perceptual-cognitive and personality-related factors. PloS One, 13(10), 1-24. [More Information]