Diverse intake for Academy Southland in 2018
Athletes and coaches from a wide range of sporting codes have been included in the first year intake of Academy Southland’s 2018 programmes.
Ten codes are represented across the Academy Southland athlete programme and coach development programme, including Menzies College pupil Beth Scott, the first ice hockey player to be included in the athlete programme and Luis Paiva, the first football coach.
“We are pleasantly surprised every year when we get the applications back as to just what sort of talent there is in this province,” Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie said.
“The talent Southland keeps producing, and the regional sports organisations are doing a wonderful job in that respect, is just so impressive. It’s great to have ice hockey on board for the first time with Beth Scott. Of course we also have good representation from some of our more traditional sports, with Kate Hartley coming through from netball and some strong cyclists.”
"The talent Southland keeps producing...is just so impressive."
- Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie
McKenzie is also pleased with the diverse backgrounds represented in the coaching programme, which sees coaches receive extensive support across a number of areas, along with individual performance plans and valuable networking opportunities.
“We’ve got people from Portugal, Argentina and two female coaches. We also have an ex-athlete in para-cycling coach Laura Thompson,” he said.
One important aspect of the coaching programme was the relationships and networks which were created between codes, with those links already becoming established in the first week of the programme.
The development of the Mike Pipe Training Centre and the addition of strength and conditioning coach Cory Innes was also starting to pay dividends, McKenzie said.
“We are starting to see the benefits of that just over a year after it was opened. It’s great for our foundation strength programme as we start to see athletes like Shakira Mirfin start to come through that.
“When young athletes are in there and they can see the cyclists, the Steel players and the Stags players training, it’s inspiring.”
The Academy Southland athlete programme includes a Foundation level in the first year and a focus on Leadership in the second. Athletes are given a solid grounding in mental skills, athlete life, nutrition and strength and conditioning in order to prepare them for a high performance environment.
Academy Southland co-ordinator Carly Anderson said it was exciting to watch the progression made by the athletes and coaches over the two-year period.
“The development and growth they make over the two years will not only support their sporting performance, but also help them to develop as people,” she said.
“At the end of the programme we hope that they will be able to articulate who they are and what motivates them and have the skills to perform at the highest level in sports and life. We look forward to watching their achievements and then seeing the positive effect this has on younger athletes in their sports.”
Seven Academy Southland graduates represented New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, including six cyclists and New Zealand sevens player Alena Saili.
Academy Southland 2018 Foundation athletes:
Jacob Blomfield - Swimmming
Sophie-Leigh Bloxham - Cycling
Sam Colyer - Athletics
Kate Hartley - Netball
Sam Hodges - Volleyball
Shakira Mirfin - Rowing
Beth Scott – Ice Hockey
Jessica Senior - Athletics
Conor Shearing - Cycling
Jaxon Taylor – Triathlon
Academy Southland Coach Development 2018 intake:
Luis Paiva – Football
Richard Jones – Rugby
Laura Thompson – Para Cycling
Andrew Rowland – Women’s Rugby Sevens
Gerald Patterson – Cycling
Mariano Nani - Swimming
Jess Huia – Netball