Academy Southland manager presents in Japan
An opportunity to present to the Japan Sports Foundation has provided Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie with an insight into how athletes are supported in other countries.
McKenzie presented on the role of ‘athlete life’ to about 40 people with careers advisory backgrounds, after being invited by New Zealand Rugby education manager Dr Nathan Price to accompany him to Japan.
“They are really interested in our approach to dual careers. I was speaking about the models we use, both in High Performance Sport and rugby, in that whole career and athlete life space,” McKenzie said.
“I presented around our focus being on the athlete being a person first, and they were really curious about the research that we have to back up our approach, which we don’t have a lot of to be honest.
“We do know that this is the best approach to support an athlete’s mental health and that younger athletes are asking more questions and expecting more around this, so it’s driven from those two places rather than research.”
Evidence is being compiled to show that successful campaigns include supporting athletes so that they can focus on their performance.
McKenzie was impressed by the facilities on offer at the Japan Sports Foundation, the equivalent of High Performance Sport NZ.
The Japanese were interested in the way a more holistic approach could improve athletic performance, McKenzie said.
“Tokyo is hosting the Olympics Games in 2020 and with that pressure of a home Olympics they really want to support their athletes,” he said.