From the Director of High Performance
Kia ora tatou,
This HPSNZ update comes to you on the back of Performance Summit 2023 which we hosted in partnership with the NZOC and Paralympics NZ last week. Our primary audience for the Summit was our NSO partners and we were delighted that 43 sports were represented among the registered delegates.
A big thank you all those who helped to make the Summit a reality and thanks so much to all those who made the time to participate in the event.
Clearly the objective of reconnecting was achieved. But far beyond that, the content and subsequent discussions between delegates provided insights that will be helpful as we work together to help our athletes and coaches chase their dreams.
There was a strong theme throughout the Summit of building trust and respect to enable effective collaboration as we deal with the challenges in front of us – including Paris 2024, Milano Cortina 2026 and other pinnacle events, developing the next four years of our strategy and embarking on the next funding cycle.
The Summit presented a diverse range of perspectives, including a strong and rich input from athletes but all had a common thread of including practical and pragmatic insights which we can take back to our organisations and act on.
This HPSNZ Update includes a report on the two-day event as well as the following links to stories capturing the essence of each of the keynote presentations:
- The Future of Sport – Reanna Browne
- Developing People for Sustainable Wellbeing and Performance – Don Tricker
- Understanding a High Performance Athlete’s Mental Health Journey – Keven Rempel
- Developing People for Sustainable Wellbeing and Performance – Athlete Leaders Network
- Learning Fast to Prepare for Life and Pinnacle Events – Rob Waddell
It Is clear that our Kiwi athletes, coaches and support teams are already entering the next phase of their build up to Paris, and we are starting to see their campaigns and performances ramp up in recent weeks.
Zoe Hobbs (pictured) became the first Kiwi women to run under 11s for the 100 metres; Jacko Gill has produced a big improvement on his shot put personal best; Para athletics competitors Will Stedman and Mitch Joynt breaking national records in their Para 200m events; the Black Ferns Sevens won the Vancouver tournament and qualified for Paris in the process; and Erika Fairweather swam the eighth fastest time in history in the women’s 400M Freestyle.
These are all outstanding performances, however we know that reaching the podium in Paris will be tougher than ever. This is a key time for sports and our focus is on identifying any practical additional support needed to achieve success in 2024.
At the other end of the pathway, we continue to connect into the regions and bring pre-HP athletes into the pathway in an appropriate manner. We provide them with general support to develop as people, so that they are ready to make the transition into high performance if their potential is confirmed.
Meanwhile our work developing the Coaching pathway continues and this HPSNZ Update puts the spotlight on the Wā Kainga Core Knowledge programme for 2023.
Ngā mihi nui
High Performance Sport Community Gathers for Performance Summit 2023
Held at Auckland’s Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 March, Performance Summit 2023 – co-hosted by HSPNZ, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) and Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) – explored trends in elite sport and reflected on key lessons from previous international pinnacle events.
The theme of the summit was: Developing people for sustainable wellbeing and performance.
The summit was opened by Sport New Zealand Group Chief Executive Raelene Castle, and HPSNZ Director of High Performance Steve Tew.
Raelene Castle summarised the systemic challenges around athlete wellbeing and athlete voice for global high performance sport.
“High performance sport around the world is facing its own ‘Me Too’ Hollywood moment,” she said. “Athlete voice – and the movement and the importance of that athlete voice – is now rightly right in front of us.”
Steve Tew noted that pressures on the high performance system come during a shortened cycle between Olympic Games due to impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic.
“The challenges are getting more complex,” he said. “It’s a rapidly changing world. We’ve got global issues to consider both inside and outside of sport.”
Keynote speakers at the summit included:
Australian futurist and former cricketer Reanna Browne.
San Diego Padres director of player health and performance Don Tricker
Team Canada sledge hockey Olympic bronze medallist Kevin Rempel
Olympic gold medal winning rower and former Olympic chef de mission Rob Waddell
The summit also featured a Q+A with Athlete Leaders Network representatives Luuka Jones (Canoe Slalom), Marcus Daniell (Tennis), Megan Signal (Weightlifting), Max Brown (Canoe Sprint) hosted by ALN General Manager DJ Forbes.
The issue of wellbeing in high performance sporting environments extends beyond athletes to everyone who works in the sector, said Raelene.
“It is not just about the athlete. It is important to put the athlete in the middle of the conversation. But it is also about our coaches and our doctors and our physios and our psyches – all of those people who get put under pressure and find themselves in really difficult situations.”
Creating communities of practice for coaches
While a lot of emphasis is placed on creating pathways for athletes, HPSNZ’s Core Knowledge coaching programme lead, Craig Palmer, flips that on its head.
“In order to create pathways for athletes, you must create pathways for coaches because that is where we can make the greatest contribution to ongoing, sustainable and repeatable success,” says Craig.
Wā Kainga Core Knowledge is, as its name suggests, at the very heart of HPSNZ’s suite of end to end coaching programmes.
2023 will be the biggest roll out of Core Knowledge, a well-respected and, in the words of NSOs and participants alike, highly valuable programme since its inception as a pilot in 2020/21.
With a successful programme in 2022 under their belt, the Core Knowledge team of what Craig describes as 23 ‘top shelf’ learning consultants and presenters, will deliver 36 workshops for 305 registered participants across 37 sports in 2023.
‘Edinburgh of the south’ Performance Pathway hub is humming
There’s a real buzz around high performance sport in Dunedin with a good number of TAPS athletes, strong support from NSOs supporting athletes in the region and a Pathways programme which is going from strength to strength with 35 athletes from eight sports – swimming, hockey, rowing, basketball, athletics, surf lifesaving, netball and cricket – and building.
HPSNZ Regional Performance Pathways Lead Belinda Colling says the Dunedin Pathways hub will bring on up to 50 athletes across a range of sports, identified by RSOs and endorsed by NSOs against their evidence-based pathways.
“The increasing regional perspective is founded on the premise the local region knows their athletes well and which of its pre-high performance athletes have the potential to transition to high performance in the next four to five years, heading towards 2028 and 2032.”
Badminton benefits from access to HPSNZ Performance Life coaching
A number of HPSNZ aspirational sports are benefitting from access to the Performance Life coaching team and Performance Life lead, Chris Arthur, says involvement with these sports is an important means of helping them take the next steps on the journey to break into top level international sport.
“Athletes, parents and coaches all need to understand how to make changes if they want success in high performance and Performance Life coaching helps individuals and their support networks navigate the challenges needed to maximise their performance and wellbeing in sport and life.”
Badminton NZ is one of five aspirational sports which has embraced the chance to access HPSNZ’s Performance Life coaching team through a series of workshops for pre-high performance athletes and their parents, and coaches.
Communications and preparation key to fuelling track cyclists on the road
Track cycling champion Aaron Gate described the team’s performance on the track at the recent, all-important first Nations Cup in Jakarta as impressive and encouraging.
Off the track, HPSNZ Performance Nutritionist Katie Schofield described the experience as challenging with many learnings able to be taken forward to the second international competition in Egypt.
For Katie, the Jakarta experience was a steep learning curve and her greatest learning was that communication and preparation is essential to avoid the inevitable pitfalls of keeping the athletes appropriately fuelled before, during and after competition.
Inaugural Women in High Performance Sport alumni workshop a success
Women across the HPSNZ Women in High Performance Sport (WHPS) network came together for the first time at an alumni workshop entitled ‘Creating Presence’.
WHPS lead, Helene Wilson, and external facilitators Maggie Eyre and Allie Webby, were joined by eight women from across the range of HPSNZ women’s initiatives – WHPS Residency Experience, Te Hāpaitanga and Te Hāpaitanga Satellite Group – for the two-day workshop which focused on presentation skills or, as Helene describes it, “helping people shine on ‘their’ stage.”