The Otago Academy of Sport coordinates and delivers a range of athlete and coach services across Otago, Central and North Otago. This support includes education for individual athletes and team academies through workshops and one on one consultations in sports science, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, and athlete life and support. We see this as crucial to the development of our regional athletes and coaches, and to assuring they get the support they need to not only progress and achieve in their sport, but to remain in their region around their support networks and education/work opportunities. The goal is to ensure we have well balanced and supported athletes who have a healthy perspective on their sporting lives, with a focus on developing the athlete as a person not just an athlete.
Our Talent Development Programme is a two year commitment that assists the athletes and their coaches on their performance pathway. This is done through education including a series of workshops covering information about athlete life, mental skills training, sports nutrition, financial skills, emotional and mental health and wellbeing and strength and conditioning training. The first year athletes attend a camp with the Southland Academy athletes which further educates and nurtures them, providing practical sessions with theory and team building exercises. Year 1 of the Academy is the foundation year, and is followed by Year 2 which has more of a focus on leadership and self-responsibility. There is an option for ongoing support beyond year two, where athletes are still committed to their sport and on track for higher honours and identification on the HPSNZ pathway.
Our Strength and Conditioning Programme is run by Matt Blair who has good experience in working with both team and individual athletes, particularly with development athletes who are still at school or who have just transitioned out into the world of work and/or further study. He continues to provide our athletes with a great foundation in training to be an athlete, individual programmes for specific needs and a focus around injury prevention and recovery strategies. Matt continues to work with our academy athletes as well as team development academies like Otago hockey, netball, Otago University rowing, as well as individual athletes like Courtney Duncan who is the current 2021 World Motocross champion. The HPSNZ gym environment offers athletes a unique environment to be inspired by other athletes and exposes them to different sports, training methods and levels of success and achievement. Matt monitors their progress and oversees their technique and movement competency.
In addition to the above services, OAS also coordinates and runs the biennial Connecting Coaches Conference in conjunction with Grant Milne of Sport Otago and Tania Cassidy of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences. The purpose of the conference is to provide NZ coaches with opportunities to connect with other coaches, to share stories and to show case good practises which are being successful at keeping our youth engaged in sport well into adulthood, and to illustrate practices that focus on creating and developing hauora (wellbeing) for coaches and athletes.
Lastly OAS are involved in coordinating the annual Elite Motorsport Academy week-long camp in Dunedin and the Motor Sport graduate programme that follows the camp, and provides services that have been identified through their individual performance plans. This is delivered in partnership with Motorsport NZ and the Motorsport NZ Scholarship Trust. This has been running for 18 years and since its inception in 2004, over 150 motorsport athletes have been through the programme. We’ve seen many successful motorsport academy graduates achieve on the world stage including the van Gisbergens, Hayden Paddon, Scott McLaughlin and Brendon Hartley.
OAS is very grateful for the support of our major funder, the Otago Community Trust and also the Aotearoa Gaming Trust (formerly Southern Trust), who help to fund our numerous programmes and in turn enable us to support our future sporting champions. Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation also kindly supported us in 2021. We are also grateful to the DCC for supporting us with rent overheads at the HPSNZ offices.
PERFORMANCE:EXPERTISE: VALUE: ENGAGEMENT: GROWTH: INVOLVEMENT