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Support Team Forum Aims to Boost NZ Sport

26 April 2006

Support Team Forum Aims to Boost NZ High Performance Sport

Swimming New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games Head Coach Jan Cameron knows the importance of an effective high performance support team when it comes to preparing her swimmers for elite international competition.

Cameron’s team, fresh off the successes of the Commonwealth Games and the World Short Course Championships, relies on a network of supporters to get the most out of their preparations and to help them achieve world-class results.

Recognising the importance of a coordinated approach to all aspects of athlete preparation, the New Zealand Academy of Sport North (NZAS North) will be holding a ‘Support Team Forum’ this Friday, 28 April.

The forum will bring together high performance directors with support team members to explore ways of working together more effectively to enhance athlete performance.

More than 150 high performance support team members, comprised of sports science, sports medicine and career & education (ACE) practitioners are scheduled to attend the event.

NZAS North is part of Sport and Recreation New Zealand’s (SPARC) high performance network providing support to elite athletes and coaches.

Highlights of the day will include a presentation on ‘the importance of an effective support team’ by Cameron, whose team performed beyond expectations in Melbourne and followed that up with top-notch results at the World Short Course Championships.

"I will share the processes, both ups and downs, we have experienced in building what I believe is an outstanding support team for our high performance swimming program at the Millennium Institute of Sport, which is helping us move successfully into the high end of international swimming” said Cameron.

Lessons learnt at the 2006 Commonwealth Games about effective support teams will be provided by Chef de Mission Dave Currie, and team members Chantal Brunner (Athletics), Alison Fitch (Swimming) and Jodie Te Huna (Netball).

Drawing on the success of Rowing NZ in winning a record-breaking four gold medals at the 2005 World Championships, Rowing High Performance Manager Andrew Matheson will discuss their expectations for support team members and strategies for ensuring a team approach.

And, in the wake of the Silver Ferns’ Commonwealth Games gold medal success, Netball NZ High Performance Manager Tracey Fear will provide insights into effective support team communication and case management.

NZAS North CEO Pete Pfitzinger said the “Integration of support services into coaches’ overall plans is critical for success at the highest level. This forum will help ensure that New Zealand is world-leading in how we work together to support athletes.”

SPARC Chief Executive Nick Hill echoed Pfitzinger’s comments, saying, “The support teams are the unsung heroes, the behind-the-scenes professionals who ensure that our athletes are as prepared as they can be when they approach the starting line. This forum is a valuable resource for exchanging ideas and improving methods for athlete support.”

ENDS

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