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The on-going process of coach education

December 18, 2019
Learning from each other is at the heart of Hockey New Zealand’s coaching philosophy. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a coach or match official with more than 30 years’ experience or someone new to the game, there is always something to be learnt. Also demonstrating the national association’s willingness to gain breadth of support when it comes to supporting its coaches and officials, Hockey NZ invited officials and coaches from the world of rugby and netball to share their own knowledge and experiences during the delivery of the courses.

Three recent courses provide great examples of the level of importance Hockey NZ attaches to the training and education of its officials and coaches.

At the start of November, in Stratford, Taranaki, 30 coaches took part in an FIH Hockey Academy Level One Coaching Course.  Then, just a few weeks later, a further 16 coaches took part in a Coach Developer course in Palmerston North. Running at the same time, in Auckland, was a Sport NZ Match Officials Coach Developer Project. A further 16 participants took part in this three-day course.

The Level One course was facilitated by Hockey New Zealand Coach Developers, Jolene Casey and Jude Menezes. It was a well-planned combination of theory and practical, concentrating on creating positive learning environments; developing communication and group management skills; and planning effective sessions.

The feedback comments from the assembled coaches were positive. “The coaches set a good example for us to follow. Content was good, enjoyed being challenged,” said one participant. Another course attendee spoke of the benefits of “meeting other coaches and understanding their way of coaching/developing.”

In preparation for their role as course facilitators, both Casey and Menezes had attended the early pilot Coach Developer Courses that Hockey New Zealand have been running since the start of 2019.

These pilots, which are run in alignment with the Sport New Zealand Coach Developer Programme and the FIH Hockey Academy Coach Educators Programme, aim to work with local and regional associations to identify and support coach developers.

Among the many skills that are honed through the pilot programmes are the ability to observe, question and listen before providing salient feedback.

The pilot programmes are part of a drive to improve the delivery of on-going learning experiences to coaches at all levels of the game and at all stages of coaching experience. Whether someone is a new recruit to coaching or a Master Trainer, the philosophy of Hockey New Zealand is that everyone can benefit from on-going learning through shared experiences.

The Coach Developer course in Palmerston North was the third pilot to be held, and a number of changes had been implemented based on feedback from the previous two courses.

This year’s pilot was facilitated by Hockey New Zealand trainers Jamie Carroll, Ben Owers and Hymie Gill, along with Rugby New Zealand’s Michael Marnewick. Supporting the delivery team was Master Trainer Pat Barwick, who has a strong background in physical education, coach development and elite level coaching.

Building on the momentum of the Coach Developer Pilot, Hockey New Zealand in partnership with Netball New Zealand instigated the first Sport NZ Match Officials Coach Developer. Seeking the same objectives and philosophy, the pilot allowed the information to be tailored specifically to how coach developers support coaches of match officials. 

Through a mix of workshops, shared experiences and practical examples, all of which focused on observation; learning through ‘doing’; and self-reflection, the project aims to increase the knowledge and expertise of match officials.

The course was facilitated by Pat Barwick, Craig Gribble, Nicole Youman, Jason Fletcher (Regional Sport Trust), Colin French and Garrat Williamson (of Netball NZ).

“We were stretched, placed outside our comfort zone, but ultimately grew together as a group,” was the feedback from one of the candidates.

Hockey New Zealand Community Coaching Manager Nicole Youman explains the philosophy behind the Hockey NZ approach: “Hockey NZ are working hard to enhance the coaching space, to better support coaches to provide positive experience of players and opportunities such as the FIH Level One Coaching course are great development opportunities.”

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