April 2022,

HPSNZ update April 2022

HPSNZ team member watches athlete at rowing machine

From the Chief Executive

Kia ora tatou

I hope this email finds you all well as we transition through seasons into the winter months.

As we shift our focus towards the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in just under 100 days, I wanted to pause to reflect on recent successes. Following on the heels of our history-making Winter Olympic athletes, I watched with pride as our Paralympic team gave it everything, with duo Corey Peters (Gold and Silver) and Adam Hall (2 x Bronze) snaring four amazing medals in Beijing. They both delivered truly Inspiring performances and, along with their coaches and support teams, deserve all the plaudits they have received to date. Do check out the interview with their coach Ben Adams in this HPSNZ Update as he shares his reflections on the team’s success.

Looking into the future, as we support the athletes preparing for Birmingham, HPSNZ will begin to implement its new structure, featuring among other things, greater emphasis on the wellbeing of all those in the system. For the first time our structure will include dedicated full time resources to work with sports to drive wellbeing outcomes, as well as a role on the Senior Leadership Team for a newly created General Manger of Wellbeing and Leadership. We are currently recruiting for this role but to continue to progress in this critical area, have also appointed Cate Sexton to lead the wellbeing programme for the coming months. She shares her thoughts in this newsletter.

HPSNZ currently provides wellbeing support to athletes through financial assistance (Tailored Athlete Pathway Support) and services such as psychology, nutrition, medical, physiology, physio, massage therapy and life coaching. We have acknowledged that daily training environments are ever changing and we are committed to working closely with our NSO partners to ensure wellbeing is at the heart of these environments. We committed funding and resources to this pillar of our strategy when it was launched last year, and a greater level of investment into our sports announced in December was focused on wellbeing. This new structure with its additional wellbeing focus, is another significant step forward.

I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho – A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions.

Ngā mihi

Helping athletes come back from COVID-19

athlete taking a rest from their workout

As part of learning to live with COVID-19, it is critical high performance athletes are provided with the guidelines, information and tools to enable a safe and efficient return to physical activity, training and competition after infection.  HPSNZ Director of Performance Health Dr Bruce Hamilton and HPSNZ’s team of NSO medical directors have contributed to a new set of athlete guidelines for this. The guidelines are founded on academic standards, international learnings from countries further along the COVID-19 journey, and New Zealand’s unique experience as a highly vaccinated country with many athletes having had no previous exposure to the virus.

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Wellbeing programme moves forward

Young woman stretching with a wooden pole over her shoulders

Cate Sexton plans to do a lot of listening in order to move HPSNZ’s wellbeing programme forward over the next few months and build on the work already being done.The former Head of Women’s Rugby at NZR, Cate is charged with leading the Wellbeing Programme while HPSNZ establishes a dedicated Wellbeing and Leadership Group within its new structure.

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Innovation and Research – making an impact

a tablet display and a laptop in the background
High Performance Sport New Zealand HPSNZ – Photo shoot at Millennium Institute, Auckland, New Zealand. 06 November 2020 Photo: Brett Phibbs / www.photosport.nz

A pillar of the HPSNZ 2024 Innovation and Research Plan is the new programme to identify the big performance-based research questions.   Sitting within the framework of the Research Funding Model, the programme has taken its first significant step forward with the establishment of six impact teams which are charged with identifying gaps in knowledge and developing performance research to help fill those gaps.   Team members from within HPSNZ have been selected, with their next task to identify and select external members to help broaden the capability, expertise and experience of each team.  Representatives from academia and sport – within and outside NSOs – will be recruited with teams expected to be finalised by the end of the month.

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Coach Ben Adams’ insights on Para Alpine Beijing success

ben adas coaching his winter olympic games athletes

Reflecting on the recent Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, Snow Sports New Zealand Para Alpine coach Ben Adams Is clear on the critical factors that led to New Zealand’s four podium finishes. Ben says COVID-19 threw the team a real curve ball with a big impact on their ability to get relevant training and competition experience. “However, we needed to focus on what we had rather than what we didn’t have. If I had to summarise what drove our success it was threefold:  the amazing talent of the athletes, fantastic systems and support of Snow Sports NZ, and HPSNZ innovation projects which gave us just enough of an edge to snare success from countries with greater funding and training opportunities.”

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Women’s Team Managers’ Forum providing cross sport support

Group of managers standing together with the coast in the background

A chat over coffee in late 2019 led Silver Ferns manager Esther Molloy and a fellow female team manager to set up what has become the NZ Women Team Managers’ Forum. Initially operating as an informal, hour-long, online support chat forum every three weeks, the group has gone from strength to strength culminating in its first face to face workshop in March this year.

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Revamped HPSNZ website goes live

The HPSNZ website has had a makeover to provide a more flexible and accessible experience for users.Analytics, reviews of similar sites from around the world and user feedback all told us the site had much greater potential as a resource for our key audiences, primarily athletes, coaches and NSOs, as well as the likes of media and the public. We’ve acted on that by taking a user-centric approach to updating the site’s content and navigation.You will see the site’s new navigation enables users to find information by topic, or based on their role as athletes, coaches or NSOs. The navigation is also designed to provide a much clearer picture of what information visitors can expect to find on the site while the content has been updated to reflect what is most useful for our audiences.

Check out the changes