Pathway to Podium FAQs

What is Pathway to Podium?

Pathway to Podium is a nationwide athlete development programme helping better prepare emerging athletes and coaches for the demands of a life in high performance sport.

How can I be selected for the programme?

As an athlete?

National sport organisations (NSOs) in the programme select the athletes they feel are demonstrating potential to be future high performance athletes (that is, likely to be carded in the next 1-3 years). High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) and each NSO  agree on the number of athletes  that will join the programme, and each sport then applies their own selection criteria to determine what they are looking for in athletes at that particular stage of development.

As a coach?

NSOs  select the coaches they feel are the most appropriate for the programme. They could be the direct coach of an athlete, or a regional/national coach.

Who do I contact at my national sport organisation to find out more about the programme?

There are 14 sports targeted for this programme and each NSO has a staff member with Pathway to Podium responsibilities, this is often the High Performance Athlete Development Leader of that sport.

What support do athletes receive on the programme?

Each athlete receives an individualised performance plan (IPP). This plan outlines process and performance goals, milestones and key development areas. In the development of their IPP, services and resources that will support the athlete to achieve their goals are assigned.

Athletes, coaches and parents will also attend a series of educational workshops in key athlete performance support areas that will assist the athlete’s development and growth. The workshops give the athletes tools and strategies to experiment with and use in training and competition. A big focus of the programme is developing self-driven athletes demonstrating positive self-management.

The primary Athlete Performance Support areas within Pathway to Podium are:

Athlete Life Performance Psychology Nutrition for sport Strength and Conditioning

Regional hubs may also provide additional workshops that the athletes, coaches and parents can benefit from.

Will all athletes in the Pathway to Podium programme move into their sport’s high performance programme?

The aim of the Pathway to Podium programme is to help athletes graduate to their sport’s high performance programme. That movement will depend on each athlete’s progression and ongoing development. Athletes are likely to spend 1-3 years in the Pathway to Podium programme. Some athletes will move into a high performance environment but not every athlete will make the transition.

How long does the programme run for?

The programme runs for 12 months from April each year. Before April, each NSO will select or re-select athletes into the programme for the coming year. The programme is targeted at athletes 1-3 years out from reaching a high performance environment and the majority of athletes will likely spend between 1 – 2 years in the programme. 

How old are the athletes in the programme?

The age of the athletes varies from sport to sport. Each sport has a different pathway and selection criteria. In the first intake, athletes ranged in age from as young as 14 while others were in their early 20s. One of the many benefits of the programme is that athletes of different ages from different sports mix in a learning environment.

Could I still be selected as a high performance athlete for my sport if I do not come through the Pathway to Podium Programme?

Yes. NSOs will use an evidence-based approach when selecting athletes to join the Pathway to Podium programme, but there will always be a range of different pathways athletes can take. Individuals develop and progress at different rates and all sports will continue to look within and outside their identified groups of athletes for future high performance athletes.

What are the 14 targeted sports?

  • Athletics
  • Bike
  • Canoe racing
  • Equestrian
  • Football (women)
  • Hockey
  • Netball
  • Para-Swimming
  • Para-Athletics
  • Rowing
  • Rugby 7s (women)
  • Swimming
  • Triathlon
  • Yachting

Where are the 14 regional hubs?