Coach Accelerator FAQ

Q&A about the Coach Accelerator Programme.

Why the Coach Accelerator?

The aim of the Coach Accelerator is to develop New Zealand coaches to become capable of producing World, Olympic, and/or Paralympic champions.

Who’s eligible?

Applications are open to all coaches within High Performance Sport New Zealand's high performance sport network. However, depending on the calibre of applicants, priority is given to coaches in the following targeted sports: bike, rowing, yachting, athletics, equestrian, rugby sevens (men), netball, canoe, triathlon, hockey (women), Paralympics and Winter.

Coaches who are selected for the programme may be current national coaches, age group representative coaches, or may not currently be in their sport’s High Performance programme.

What happens to the selected coaches?

Selected coaches undertake up to four compulsory residential camps per year and, in conjunction with their High Performance Coaching Consultant, learn on the job as they go about their regular coaching. The priorities for the coaches’ learning and development will be identified using a thorough process involving 360 feedback.

National Sport Organisations (NSOs) assist coaches with sport-specific development by agreeing a mentor with the coach. Each NSO ensures their coach has the right performance environment to maximise their potential, and helps monitor the performance of their coach in conjunction with their High Performance Coaching Consultant and the Coach Accelerator Manager.

How long is the programme?

The programme is for three years.

What happens at the residential camps?

Each residential camp provides a selection of activities that may include:

  • interaction with world class coaches, service providers, and leaders from a range of disciplines and professions
  • targeted activities designed to expose the coaches to experiences that directly or indirectly relate to their coaching
  • exposure to cutting edge tools and techniques that enhance their coaching and athlete development
  • discussion of case studies, concepts, and theories
  • observations of coaches in action
  • role plays
  • other activities as required.

What is the cost?

There is no cost for coaches undertaking the Coach Accelerator. All course expenses will be met. In fact, coaches may receive a financial contribution from High Performance Sport NZ, and NSOs will top up all other costs by negotiation.

Will I need to relocate?

As part of the programme the selected coaches work regularly with high performance athletes in their sports. Each coach therefore needs to negotiate with their NSO how this will be practicable in terms of travel and/or housing.

Relocation costs are not met by the Coach Accelerator. 

How are coaches selected for the Coach Accelerator?

Once applications have been received, coaches are shortlisted on the basis of that information. These coaches are interviewed and references checked. They may be required to be observed while coaching.

Of the shortlisted coaches, approximately eight to 10 are identified to proceed further in the selection process. These coaches undergo a further interview, and are required to make a presentation to the selection panel.

The panel makes its final selections following this process.

Who will manage the programme?

Dr Alex McKenzie manages the programme. Alex has an extensive background in high performance sport, having spent 10 years as a lecturer in sport psychology at the School of Physical Education at Otago University prior to working as the Professional Development Manager for both the Highlanders and Hurricanes Super Rugby franchises.

Alex was an inaugural Board Member of the former New Zealand Academy of Sport South Island, and has consulted with numerous elite athletes and teams from a variety of sports as a Mental Skills Trainer.

He worked as a Team Development Specialist for New Zealand Post, where he worked on numerous initiatives designed to achieve the strategic goal of ‘creating a high performance culture’ within the Postal Services Group.

As part of his role at High Performance Sport NZ, Alex also works with high performance coaches from the lower North Island.

How do I apply?

Information including an application form is on the Coach Accelerator page. There will be one application period per year.

Coach Accelerator contact

Alex McKenzie 021 720 438 |