As an aspirational sport, shooting has very limited resources and that is where the Performance Pathways team steps in.
The Christchurch Performance Pathways hub, led by Andrew Ellis, has been supporting up and coming shooter Natalie Foss since early 2023 as part of its pre-high performance athlete programme.
“Our Performance Pathways programme can help NSOs identify athletes for future cycles such as 2028 and 2032, as through our networks and connections we often hear about athletes with potential,” says Andrew.
Andrew’s connections through the Lincoln University Sport Scholarship programme brought him into contact with Natalie, a first year student at Lincoln who hails from a small rural North Island town.
Andrew is working directly with Natalie as the independent facilitator locally and linking with Shooting NZ’s Sport Development Manager Gavin Paton to help her explore her aspirations and the pathway she is trying to navigate.
Gavin says shooting is a new sport in the Performance Pathways programme, which will become very important for shooters looking to move into high performance sport.
“Currently we have one shooter, Natalie, in the programme and aim to have four to six more in the next six to 12 months,” says Gavin.
“The programme gives pre-high performance shooters the opportunity to gain real insights into the high performance world and the chance to look towards a future Olympic Games if that is where their talent and ambitions lie.
“Identifying and developing talent would be very difficult without the support of HPSNZ and Performance Pathways and we hope that we will be able to not only identify new young talent but also pull some former top shooters back into the programme,” he says.
Natalie says her performance pathways programme has helped her create a structure around her shooting that she didn’t have before. “The programme has also given me a lot of extra support around shooting and developing an Individual Performance Plan.”
There is a full calendar of events ahead for Natalie who will compete in the North and South Island championships, National Championship, Oceanias and four regional events.
The length of time a shooter like Natalie spends in the Performance Pathways programme is largely dependent on conversations with her NSO, Shooting NZ and whether she continues to have aspirations to compete in the high performance space.