Talent Development and Excel Programs

Talent Development Program (2 years)

Our Talent Development Program is delivered to athletes in the Otago, North Otago and Central Otago regions. This program is for regional identified athletes, who are in year 13 or have left school and are of similar age. This is so we can support these athletes in their second year of the program which coincides with their first year out of home living in flats and university halls. The program offers them the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills within a really supportive OAS family environment, which ultimately will help to enhance their performance and life skills outside of sport. The one point all our athletes make is how inspiring it is to cross paths with their sporting idols both in the gym and around the offices. 

There are three main components to the services and support offered to athletes involved in the Academy Program:

  1. Performance Related Workshops: Sports Nutrition, Mental Skills, Athlete Life, Health and Wellbeing, Public Speaking, Media Skills, Financial Planning and basic Finance Concepts and Strength and Conditioning.
  2. Group and Individual Services – One on One Consultations
    3. Strength and Conditioning Programming and Gym Sessions – Fundamental Movement Triaining – Gymnastics.

After years of delivering services to athletes in this space, as well as the numerous sport reviews that have occurred over the years, we now have research and athlete input to guide us in what it is athletes need to be successful. In the first year we focus on education and the foundation skills required to develop as an athlete. Year two focuses on developing leadership skills to prepare them for independent living and decision making. Third year and beyond continues to develop leadership and life skills whilst focussing on their specific needs’ relative to their sporting goals. 

Athletes will benefit from a collaborative approach across our expert providers and our programme manager will be the key player in ensuring the athlete is at the centre of the work and that their wellbeing is always at the forefront. 

Year One: Foundation 
Sport Science Education through Workshops on Athlete Planning, Performance Psychology, Emotional Wellbeing, Sports Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning Research, Financial Planning, Communication and Media skills. 
One on One Consults (Wellbeing & Athlete Life x3, Mental Skills x1) 
Individual Strength &Conditioning training programmes with full oversight in the gym 2-3x/week. 

Year Two: Leadership 
Sports Science Education building on the previous year across the same sport science areas. 
One on one Consults (Wellbeing & Athlete Planning x3, Mental Skills x2, Nutrition x2) 
Individual Strength & Conditioning training programmes with full oversight in the gym 2-3x/week. 
Other expert support where needed; this may include medical, sponsorship and funding advice. 

The majority of services offered in Year One (the Foundation Year), is centred on group services/workshops. These workshops focus on developing the athlete’s support service knowledge and increasing their understanding of the key principles of  training and performance. Recently the program has been developed to include a couple of One on One sessions including mental skills and athlete life for the first year athletes.

Athletes and coaches will have the opportunity to gain greater insight into a wide range of services.

We build on this in year two (The Leadership Year), with a more individual focus on the athletes’ needs, as well as further education in sports science, mental health and well-being and strength and conditioning support.

Excel Program (1+ years)

Funding permitting, we continue to support athletes after they complete the Leadership Year and graduate. If they haven’t been nationally identified by their sport and offered support from HPSNZ, but are getting close to achieving their sporting goals and qualification criteria, then Otago Academy will do everything in their power to continue supporting these athletes to help them get there. 

Our new Excel program is designed to provide some of these graduates an opportunity to continue in a modified one year program. This will include continuation of the Strength and Conditioning program, as well as the opportunity to choose a couple of consults, either athlete life, mental skills or nutrition. There will also be the possibility to attend theTDP workshops to up skill in the areas they believe will be of value. 

We believe there is a market for athletes who have left school and are not supported in their chosen sport, and have not been through our two year TDP program. We have modified this Excel program to allow for these athletes who are dedicated and showing promise in their sport to become part our this exciting new opportunity. It is our hope to have an appropriate mix of TDP graduates and new athletes to make up this Excel program.

Year 3: Excel (Year 3+ – For graduates or athletes who have not done the development program)
Individual Performance Plans (IPP’s)  
One on One Consults which are tailored to the needs of the athlete 
Individual Strength & Conditioning training programmes with full oversight in the gym 2-3x/week. 
Communication and Media Skills 


Program Manager: Carmel Leslie

[email protected]

Ph: 03 4790640/Mob: 0275713382