Associate Professor Sam Elliott

Associate Professor

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

place Education (5.19)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Associate Professor Sam Elliott specialises in the fields of sport parenting, participation and retention, and psychosocial outcomes in youth sport. His work spans sport sociology, sport psychology, and sport coaching. He has presented his work internationally in Australia, China, the UK, Canada, and the US, and has attained over $1.1 million in combined research grants, tenders and consultancies.

His research covers three main areas: (1) research on parental involvement on youth sport psychosocial outcomes (including psychological abuse, parent-coach relationships, and parent-club interactions); (2) Research on mental health and youth sport, and; (3) research on participation, retention, dropout, and reengagement (including the psychological, environmental, and social factors which impact sport continuation behaviour).

Sam has supervised/co-supervised 8 PhD and Honours students to timely completion and is currently supervising/co-supervising 8 PhD students and 1 Honours in his Youth Sport Research Lab. His honours and awards include the prestigious Australian Institute of Policy & Science SA Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2022), the Flinders VC Award for Early Career Research, the World Congress on Science and Football Best Research Paper by Code (AFL) Award, and the Universities Australia Award for the ‘Pitch it Clever’ competition. He is also the creator and co-host of Beyond the Club, Australia’s leading science communication podcast for community sport.

  • 2014 PhD
  • 2011 Bachelor of Education Honours (1A)

  • 2010 Bachelor of Health Science/Bachelor of Education (Middle & Secondary)
Honours, awards and grants


  • 2023 Keynote - AFL Gather Round Government and Industry Stakeholder Forum
  • 2023 Convenor - National Youth Sport Conference (November 16-17, 2023)

Research Awards

  • 2022 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award
  • 2019 Falling Walls Lab Australia (Canberra) National Finalist
  • 2019 World Congress on Science and Football Best Research Paper by code (AFL)
  • 2019 Universities Australia Award Pitch It Clever Competition
  • 2019 Flinders University's Vice Chancellor's Award for Early Career Researchers
  • 2018 6th International Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise Conference 5-minute challenge winner
  • 2018 Inclusion and Diversity in Sport Conference Champion of Inclusion Award

Teaching Awards

  • 2020 Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation in Teaching Award
  • 2020 College of Education, Psychology and Social Work Teaching Excellence Award
  • 2019 College of Education, Psychology and Social Work Teaching Excellence Award
Key responsibilities
  • Conference convenor, National Youth Sport Conference (2023)
  • Deputy-Director, Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing (2022-2023)
  • Advisor, Higher Degree Research (Education and Sport) (2021-2023)
  • Contact Officer Higher Degree Research (College Education, Psychology and Social Work) (2024)
  • Course Coordinator, Graduate Diploma of Research Methods (2021-2023)
  • Course Coordinator, Graduate Certificate of Sports Coaching (2023-present)
  • College member, Rural, regional and remote working group (2023-present)
  • Invited committee member, Sammy D Foundation (2020-2022)
  • Invited committee member, BLISS Science and Innovation (South Australia) (2020)

  • Invited committee member, BSHPA Academic Programs CEPSW representative (2018-2020)

  • Invited member, ACHPER National Academic Reference Group (2017-present)

  • Invited member, Australian Sports Commission's PGAG Advisory Group (2016-17)

  • Invited member, Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing (2020-present)

  • Invited member, Sport, Health, Activity, Performance and Exercise (SHAPE) Research Initiative (2014-present)

Topic coordinator
HLPE2300 Foundations of Sport Psychology
HLPE8002 Maximising Athlete Participation and Retention
HLPE8003 Optimising relationships in youth sport
Supervisory interests
Parental behaviour in youth sport
Qualitative research methods
Social issues in youth sport
Sport coaching
Sport participation and dropout
Youth sport
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Injury and social support in female Australian football (1), Sporting clubs of the future (1), Participation, retention and re-engagement in youth sport (1), sport parenting interventions (1)
Associate supervisor: Sport and physical activity in low SES communities (1), Assessment in Physical Education (1), Active adult sport participation (1), Psychological states in table tennis (1), Paramedical education (1), motor learning and adolescents with ADHD (1)
Associate supervisor: Health Education (1)
Higher degree by research student achievements
Reuben Smith

Society of Medical and Biological Engineering Award SA - OCT 2018

Expert for media contact
Mental health and sport
Optimal athlete development
Parental behaviour in youth sport
Participation, retention, dropout, and re-engagement
Social issues in sport
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713