Coach Accelerator Programme

We want to accelerate the development of outstanding coaches, capable of coaching athletes to become World and/or Olympic champions.

Programme summary

This is an individual and group programme over three years incorporating 10 residential camps, individual performance and development plans, a mentoring programme and regular performance reviews.

The Coach Accelerator Programme aims to develop coaches:

  • whose athletes win medals at multiple Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and World Championships
  • who are influential leaders and strategic thinkers who are highly respected nationally and internationally
  • who are relentless learners who collaborate to achieve maximum performance gains
  • who are employed in significant leadership positions within sport
  • who are sought after by national and international sporting organisations.

See also our FAQ.

Who is eligible?

  • Current coaches of elite athletes and teams
  • High potential future coaches of elite athletes and teams
  • Development level coaches who are identified by NSOs as integral members of the high performance programme
  • High performance personnel who, in the opinion of NSOs, have the potential to become high performance coaches, and are in the coach succession plans of the NSO.

Any coach who is working with high performance athletes in the High Performance Sport NZ network, and believes that they are capable of coaching World, Olympic and/or Paralympic champion athletes should consider the programme.

Requirements include:

  • coaching experience to at least regional under 21 age group level
  • the ability to travel for at least eight weeks annually
  • a commitment to engage themselves full-time to the role and
  • a commitment to working within High Performance Sport NZ’s Coaching code of ethics.

Please note that priority will be given to coaches of sports defined by High Performance Sport NZ as targeted sports – bike, rowing, yachting, athletics, equestrian, rugby sevens (men), netball, canoe, triathlon, hockey (women), Paralympics and Winter.

Programme entry

By application: supported by the NSO. Applications close at the end of September each year.

NSO responsibilities

Responsibilities of the national sport organisations (NSOs) include the need to:

  • identify coaches who are suitable for the Coach Accelerator Programme
  • take responsibility for the sport-specific development of coaches in the Coach Accelerator Programme
  • provide High Performance coaching roles for Coach Accelerator coaches
  • collaborate with the Coach Accelerator Programme to identify appropriate professional development opportunities for Coach Accelerator coaches
  • create time for coach learning and professional development
  • support the values and principles of the programme. 

Coaches can contact their NSO for more information.

Coach Accelerator contact

Alex McKenzie 021 720 438 |

Here's what two of the coaches have had to say about the programme: 

Dayle Cheatley (Cycling New Zealand Head Coach) 

"I have been on many coaching courses and programmes, but the Coach Accelerator programme has been something special. The interaction between coaches during the year is fantastic. The Coach Accelerator challenges your thinking and decisions – you learn a lot about yourself and your coaching style. I would encourage any high performing coach aspiring to greater success to apply for the Coach Accelerator." 

Grant Bradburn (former Northern Districts Cricket Coach) 

“The opportunity to tap into Coach Performance skills and knowledge has been instrumental in my progress as a High Performance coach. I have been exposed to so much learning potential, particularly through my involvement in the Coach Accelerator Programme. Being able to filter this information has enabled me to transfer a great deal of this information into true knowledge that is now applicable in my coaching environment." 

2016 group of coaches

The 2016 group of coaches in the Coach Accelerator programme are:

  • Debbie Fuller (Netball)
  • Dan Kelly (Rowing)
  • Greg Nicol (Hockey)
  • Craig Philpott (Rugby)
  • Debbie Strange (Athletics)
  • Sean Thompson (Snow Sports)
  • Helene Wilson (Netball)