February 2022, Articles

Emerging coaches on upward trajectory

Fred Anderson and Holly Sullivan – they’re two names you can expect to hear increasingly in the world of high performance coaching.

From Cricket and Boxing respectively, both are a showcase of HPSNZ’s 2024 coaching initiatives doing what they’re designed to do; work in partnership with sports to identify and support emerging coaches to progress through the HP Coaching Pathway.

Both Anderson and Sullivan were among 12 coaches included in a regional coaching pilot led by HPSNZ in Canterbury through 2021. Among other professional development opportunities, they had access to HPSNZ’s Core Knowledge training workshops and modules.

Anderson was a first-class cricketer, representing Canterbury, until an injury at age 21 meant he could no longer play and he transitioned to coaching at a relatively young age. His coaching potential had already been noted by NZ Cricket and therefore he was a standout recruit for the HPSNZ pilot.

Now 27, Anderson says he’s come through the pilot programme with greater understanding of the relationship between coach and player, which will stand him in good stead as he takes on an exciting new challenge as wicket keeping coach with the White Ferns.

“The support from the system and work through Core Knowledge has been massive in my development, in the last 12 months especially. It’s really grown my confidence. When you’re coaching people older than you, it can be a real challenge, but the skills I’ve learnt have really advanced my development.”

“I’ve been really fortunate to pick up a role with the White Ferns for the World Cup summer and I’m currently part of their bubble. It’s a great example of the strength of all the things I’ve learnt through the Core Knowledge programme.”

Sullivan is a young business owner who dedicates her spare time coaching at the Woolston Boxing Club in Christchurch. Among the diverse group of boxers she coaches are a couple of aspiring young men identified following HPSNZ’s Strategic Shift to identify and connect with up and coming talented athletes in the regions.

She’s one of four women from the Core Knowledge pilot to gain a coveted position on the second intake of Te Hāpaitanga (the others are Elyse Fraser from Cycling, Alana Gunn from Football and Julie Seymour from Netball), with 18 months of learning and opportunities ahead of her.

Richard Smith, Regional HP Coaching Consultant with HPSNZ says Core Knowledge addresses a knowledge and information gap that became apparent, adding that key strengths of the programme are connection, shared learning, and selective in-the-field mentoring.

“Core Knowledge is one of the vehicles that helps us bring coaches together into an environment where knowledge is constructed in a social context – so it’s real and it’s applicable. Plus it’s cross-code, with coaches at different levels and across a variety of sports – and that’s where we get the quality learning.”

“For coaches to have knowledge of the likes of ‘energy systems’, ‘the body in motion’, and the science is important. By filling that knowledge gap our coaches will be better equipped as they move through different coaching environments.”

“It’s great to see these coaches from our pilot given opportunities, to move from regional to national level and continue to grow their knowledge, confidence and capability. It really demonstrates how a focus on enhanced Performance Pathways can build sustainability across the High Performance system.”

Core Knowledge was piloted in 2021 and involved a collective effort from 70 coaches, 10 NSOs and 16 HPSNZ staff representing 10 scientific disciplines. The pilot’s success has led to investment in a large scale programme of learning and education over the next three years. 196 coaches from 25 NSOs have registered for the programme this year – a very strong commitment from across sector to ensure athletes receive quality coaching throughout the pathway.

Fred Anderson Photo Credit: NZ Cricket