November 2023, Articles

Groundbreaking athlete wellbeing research underway

Athletes are encouraged to get involved in a unique wellbeing research programme, which is underway under the direction of University of Canterbury PhD candidate, Lindsay Hill, in conjunction with HPSNZ.

The project is the first to look at athlete wellbeing end to end, from pre high performance to retirement.

“There has been a lot of research undertaken with athletes going into or in retirement or at other specific stages of the athlete journey,” says Lindsay.  “This research, Athlete’s Lived Experiences of Wellbeing on the High Performance Pathway in Aotearoa/New Zealand, accounted by athletes, their coaches and their chosen supports, seeks to hear from multiple perspectives on athlete wellbeing.”

The research is currently live and comprises two key components.  Part 1 is a 15 minute online survey for athletes end to end on the HPSNZ pathway from pre-HP athletes to athletes retired since Tokyo (August 2021).  Part 2 is an in-depth, 30 to 45 minute interview with athletes about their end to end pathway and includes their coach and a chosen support person, either personal or professional.

How to get involved:


Lindsay says another key difference with the research is its focus on qualitative rather than just quantitative information.

“The aims of the research are four-fold.  Firstly it looks at conceptualisation of wellbeing which means not just attempting to measure wellbeing but rather to define it by athletes.

“The second aim is to get information about the different pathway stages.  We know a lot about best practices for the beginning and end career stages but less is known about the entire pathway in general and specifically as it relates to wellbeing.

“We know that athletes in high performance are well-supported with many professional supports.  Our third aim is to understand more about the lesser-known athlete views on those supports in relation to their wellbeing.

“Finally, we know there are many factors that impact athletes from talent development environments, and through the athlete coach relationship but less is known from multiple perspectives on the topic.”

While a primary outcome of the research will be to inform Lindsay’s doctoral thesis, it will provide HPSNZ will feedback that will help the Wellbeing & Engagement team continue to develop and evolve its Wellbeing strategies.

“We would love good support from athletes in the survey and interviews.  In my view this is a gift current athletes can give their future self or to future athletes through their insights,” says Lindsay. “I truly appreciate how busy athletes are, but I am hopeful that they will see the value in participating in this research.”

Information about how to get involved in either the online or in depth interviews is provided in posters placed in key HPSNZ sites around the country.  Athletes who have questions about the research and how they can be involved can email Lindsay direct (, or through their ALN and TAC representatives, the HPSNZ Performance Life Team and HPSNZ PTLs.

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