Application Process

Applications for the 2024 Otago Academy of Sport Program are now open, carefully read the information below, and fill out the application form at the bottom of the page.

Background Information

The Otago Academy of Sport Programs accept athletes from Otago, North Otago & Central Otago. It is coordinated and run by the Otago Academy of Sport Charitable Trust. The Academy provides a sport science support network including sports nutrition, athlete life and mental skills, as well as a tailored strength and conditioning gym-based program for the selected regionally identified athletes. The programs are supported by Otago’s Regional Sporting Organisations (RSO’s), who assist us with identifying emerging talent from podium and aspirational sports across the Otago regions.


The Otago Academy of Sport 

This year athletes from the Otago region will be given the opportunity to be included in the Otago Academy of Sport Talent Development Program (TDP) for a two year period.  

Year 1 – Foundation

The first year of the program (The Foundation Year) offers athletes an introduction into how they can support their sport development and aid them in achieving their sporting and life goals. It includes the development of an Individual Performance Plan (IPP), workshops, physical movement screening, and a group-based gym training program with a qualified strength and conditioning coach. There is also a day camp for the athletes which provides more support in public speaking, training and game recovery, media skills, broad life skills and fun activities including hot yoga, rock climbing and other sports which look at coachability.


– School Athletes must be in Year 13, or out of school athletes at an equivalent age in 2024.

– Will be in the Otago region for the length of the Talent Development Program (2 years)

Year 2 – Leadership

The second-year program (The Leadership Year) builds on principles from year one, and includes one on one consults in athlete life, mental skills and nutrition, more in depth workshops as well as gym-based training.

Year 3 – Excel

This program was introduced in 2023 and has been very successful. It is a one year program where athletes have the ability to reapply each year. This program will include graduates who apply from the Year 2 program, as well as a selection of other athletes who are older (19+) years, who have not been through the OAS Talent Development program, however, are showing promise, and would like to be supported by the program to take their sporting performance to a higher level.

Selection into the Excel program will be at the discretion of the Programme Manager and consideration will be given to how the athlete is tracking at a regional and national level. This program is targeting athletes out of school who are currently unsupported, but are still passionate about achieving in their sport. These athletes must have a desire to compete and perform at a National or International level. Athletes in this program will benefit from strength and conditioning, and have the option to acquire more support through athlete life consultations addressing, planning, goals, sport/life balance, health and wellbeing. Other potential services we’ll offer include mental skills coaching for performance and sports nutrition. 


– TDP Graduate


– Minimum age 19 or have left school



Nurture, support and educate talented Otago athletes to achieve excellence in sport.”


To support each athlete to achieve their sporting potential, including supporting them with their personal growth and to develop leadership skills so they can inspire other athletes in the region to achieve greatness.”


  • Assist athletes on their performance pathway
  • Offer resources, expertise and advice
  • Enhance knowledge and involvement of Coaches/Providers
  • Increase the number of Otago Athletes competing for longer and pushing for higher honours. 
  • Add value to existing programmes
  • Engage RSO’s and NSO’s


2. Eligibility Criteria: (“Otago” refers to the regions of North and Central Otago)

  • Reside in Otago, and is a member of, or affiliated to an Otago, Club or Organisation, or represent Otago, Central Otago or North Otago at the date of this application.  
  • Submitted a completed application.
  • Minimum age of 17 (as of 1 January 2024) 
  • Aspiring to develop and take skills as high up as possible.
  • Currently performing at regional age group level with potential to represent in age-groups and NZ in Junior and Open Status.

Should circumstances prevail, Otago Academy of Sport may choose to consider applicants that fall outside of the stated criteria.


3. Performance Services and Support: 

There are two main components to the service and support offered to athletes involved in the Academy Otago Development Programs:

  1. Performance Related Workshops 
  2. Group and Individual Services

Most of the servicing offered in year one is centred on group services/workshops. These workshops focus on developing the athlete and coaches support service knowledge and increasing their understanding of the key principles of pre-elite and elite training and performance. Athletes and coaches will have the opportunity to gain greater insight into a wide range of services, ensuring the foundations of an elite performance pathway are in place. 


4.Cost of the Programme

The Talent Development Program cost is the following: 

Year 1: $300 plus GST/year

Year 2 : $300 plus GST/year

Excel : $250 plus GST/year

Gym Membership: $350 plus GST/year ($30/month)

The gym membership fee which also covers the cost of paying a Strength and Conditioning coach to program each athlete, and be coaching at each gym session. 

N.B.This payment needs to be made before 20 May 2024, however payment arrangements can be organised with the Program Manager on a case by case basis. 


Group Services

Workshops cover areas including Athlete Life, Mental Skills, Sports Nutrition and Strength

and Conditioning, Drug Free Sport, Financial Skills, Emotional/Mental Health and Wellbeing. 

Topics covered include.

  • Becoming an athlete: overview of the demands, expectations, requirements placed upon the athlete lifestyle.
  • Performance Lifestyle: Planning for the demands of sport, study and/or work (time management, goal setting, sponsorship etc).
  • Fuel: Overview of sports nutrition and supplementation and a cooking workshop.
  • Gaining the Mental Edge: Overview of Sports Psychology
  • Principles of Training: Overview of different types of training (e.g. strength, power, endurance, speed, and recovery). Gym Sessions/Programming with a S&C coach.


Individual Services

All athletes will have individual access to the Performance Lifestyle Programme – Athlete Life. This program assists athletes to manage their lives effectively in the pursuit of sporting excellence, supporting them with sport/life balance and ensuring they have a good healthy perspective, in addition to minimising sport-life barriers that can be challenging for aspiring athletes.


4. Athlete Requirements:

By accepting the offer of Otago Academy of Sport services and support, an athlete agrees to: 

  • Optimise the services and support made available through the Academy Otago & Central Otago programs
  • Attend all scheduled workshops and individual consultations and communicate if you are unable to attend.
  • Availability to attend a residential camp (Academy Otago only), and to prioritise this over competition and training. Camp dates TBC but are normally scheduled in May 2024. This might require a day’s leave from School, University or Work.
  • Abstain from taking prohibited substances (knowingly or unknowingly).
  • When required, cooperate with OAS in public relations and promotional activities.
  • Commit to regular communication/correspondence with OAS.  
  • Maintain behaviour and personal standards conducive to sporting excellence.


5. Application Process:

5.1.    Year One Athlete and Year 3 Excel Athlete Application Forms must be completed in full by the athlete and then signed by the athlete (and their parent/guardian if under 18 years at time of application). The athlete must also ensure that their coach completes the Coach Support section included within the Application Form. Coach name and email contact details are a requirement.

All applications must be received by Monday 19th February 2024.

5.2.    OAS will contact RSO’s to grade all the athlete applicants. Close off date for RSO’s to submit

their applications is 5.00pm, Monday 26th February 2024.  All applications must be received by Otago

Academy of Sport from RSO’s by this date.  Applicants will be informed by Friday 1st March 2024. 

5.3.    Application enquiries from RSO’s, athletes and coaches should be directed to the

Program Manager Carmel Leslie on 0275713382 or 03 4790640.


6.      Selection 

6.1     Selection Process

Applications will be assessed and prioritised by an Otago Academy of Sport assessment panel. The panel comprises representatives from OAS and the Academy Otago Program Manager.

National Sporting Organisations (NSO’s) may also be consulted during this process where a RSO doesn’t exist.

The Selection Committee may request an interview with an applicant and/or the applicant’s coach as part of the selection process. 

6.2     Selection Criteria

All applications are evaluated against the following selection criteria:

  • Athlete’s ability to represent the Otago region and any higher honours.
  • Endorsement and ranking from RSO and/or NSO. 
  • Athlete’s ability to push themselves and have the desire to make it as far as possible.
  • Feedback from the athlete’s respective coach.
  • Relevance of athlete’s sport in relation to HPSNZ’s End to End Pathway including podium and aspirational sports.
  • Application quality. 

6.3     Selection Outcome

Otago Academy of Sport will notify all applicants of the outcome of their application by Friday 1st March 2024.