Coach development programme begins

Sport Southland and Academy Southland's new coach development programme climbed into action this week with the launch of the pilot programme.

Seven Southland coaches have been accepted into the six-month programme, including Reinga Te Huia (netball), Cody Harper (golf), Jack Allan (rowing), Hoani MacDonald, Clarke Dermody (both rugby), Tony Fryer (hockey) and Mark Bell (basketball).

The programme is designed to improve coach capability and increase the number of quality, experienced coaches in the region.

It also aims to improve the networking opportunities for development and performance coaches in Southland and will look to develop in-house expertise around coach recruitment and retention.

The first of what will be monthly group workshops started on Monday, with a focus on coach wellness and energy management.

Coaches also took part in a practical session, which involved coaching other coaches as they made their way blindfolded up the walls of the Clip 'N Climb at ILT Stadium Southland.

Programme co-ordinator Jason McKenzie, who also runs the Academy Southland programme for athletes, said the initiative had been well received by coaches and sports in the south.

Rowing coach Jack Allan said the first workshop had highlighted the benefits of networking with other coaches, as well as the importance of energy management for coaches and athletes.

"I guess as a coach we're always encouraging our athletes to take a break every now and then and to manage their energy as best as possible but, as coaches, we also need to do that, so that we are at our best when we're coaching," he said.

Golf coach Cody Harper said the climbing exercise forced them to think about different ways to communicate with their athletes.

"It was about looking at strategies around communication," he said. "For me, it was about getting that interaction earlier, rather than trying to coach them through it then and there, and that definitely comes back to the golf course as well. When I'm out there coaching, it's about making sure the athletes understand what I'm talking about, rather than just talking them through every shot," he said.

McKenzie believed the programme, which was initially a six-month pilot project, would have huge benefits not only for the coaches involved but for other Southland coaches as well.

"Whilst the programme is about these performance coaches and developing them, it is also about these coaches working with the next level of coaches in their sport to spread the knowledge. Sport Southland will also work with the regional sports organisations to develop their coaching structures and programmes for coaching in their sport," he said.

"The choice to focus on coaches is because quite often athletes come and go but, typically, coaches stay here in Southland, they're the constant and that's where we can have a positive impact on a bigger number of athletes."


Reinga Te Huia (netball)
Cody Harper (golf)
Jack Allan (rowing)
Hoani MacDonald (rugby)
Clarke Dermody (rugby)
Tony Fryer (hockey)
Mark Bell (basketball)

The Southland Times