New S&C coach brings plenty to Academy Southland
An opportunity to help develop the next generation of New Zealand athletes has brought new Academy Southland strength and conditioning coach Cory Innes ‘home’.
The 32-year-old former national 400m champion graduated with a physical education degree from his home town of Dunedin before travelling and then taking on an internship at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne.
His time at the VIS has seen him working with cyclists, aerial skiiers, gymnasts, wheelchair rugby and basketball players and a number of individual sports including track and field.
Later he moved to working with badminton players and divers, including supporting the Australian badminton team and diver Annabelle Smith at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“That was definitely a highlight - being involved as a strength and conditioning coach at the Olympics, being in the village, being at warm up venues, at trainings, being directly involved with performance and connecting what’s happening in the gym with performance,” Cory says.
“We had a couple of badminton boys do really well in their pool games and diver Annabelle Smith get bronze.”
Post-Olympics, Cory spent six months in Brazil with his partner before deciding it was time to come home.
Having been away from New Zealand since 2009, and with parents in Dunedin and brothers in Nelson and Christchurch, Cory jumped at the chance to join the Academy Southland programme.
“I always had at the back of my mind that I wanted to be part of helping Kiwi athletes achieve on the world stage,” Cory said.
“This programme excites me on a few levels. We have athletes in the 17-20 age bracket who have been talented juniors and they are ready to make the transition into the senior programme, so they are hungry and they are willing to do the work. Being Southlanders they want to get stuck in and do as much as they can, which is always great to work with. Working with Steel as well, at that high performance level, and then athletes who are coming into the gym for the first time.”
Cory has also been impressed by the set up in the Mike Piper Training Centre.
“For Southland, for this facility, I think they’ve done an amazing job. We’ve got a good facility, and a good atmosphere with the velodrome around the outside and everyone coming into the stadium to do their sport, so I think we’ve got a really good environment to perform well.”