Students walk the walk in the coaching industry

Several Sport, Health and Physical Education students were given a taste of the professional coaching industry at a Coach Developer workshop run by Sport NZ before the lockdown began.

Dr Blake Bennett from the University of Auckland, alongside Jordan McGregor (Coach Developer), Simone Spencer (Aktive Auckland), Scott Lewis (Sport Auckland), Jasmine Hibbert (Coach Developer), Dr. Simon Walters (AUT), Caitlin Molloy (Sport Auckland), Chonaire Huriwai (Netball Northern) and Richard Pithey (NZ Cricket).

Students within the Coaching pathway of the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Education attended Coach Developer as part of their coursework, an internationally recognised sport coaching initiative designed to promote leadership and collaboration in sport coaching.

Attended by leaders in the sporting industry, including New Zealand Cricket, New Zealand Netball, Aktive Auckland and Sport New Zealand, and students from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology, the programme focused on the soft-skills of coaching, like communication, leadership, cultural and emotional intelligence and mentorship.

“It’s so important that our students have a chance to walk the walk,” says lecturer Dr Blake Bennett.

“They hear from coaching experts throughout the year in lectures as well, but the Coach Developer programme allows students to do some experiential learning within the industry. At the same time, they’re rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers in the sport sector who are currently seeking coach developers for paid employment in their organisations.”

It’s great to see our students honing their skills, while starting to make some key connections in the industry. The leaders they’re meeting now are very likely to become their colleagues in the future.

Dr Blake Bennett Bachelor of Sport, Health and Education lecturer

The programme built on the students’ course content around looking beyond the traditional ‘coach to athlete’ coaching model, and examining who educates the coaches themselves. Students were tasked with acting as a coach developer and running a session within their groups, focusing on effective questioning, feedback and leadership approaches.

Third year student Hollee Werahiko says the programme was the perfect opportunity to see what it takes to be a coach developer.

“We were all paired with a coach developer trainer. The variation of coaching styles and techniques from the trainers was really helpful,” says Hollee.

“Another big highlight of the session was when all the trainers introduced themselves to the class in te reo Māori. As a young Māori wāhine this made me feel really comfortable to be a part of the kaupapa.”

The students will take part in a second Coach Developer session on Monday 21 September at the Faculty of Education and Social Work.