P2P sets out on the right track

Pathway to Podium (P2P) was launched by Sport NZ and HPSNZ in 2014. It was established to provide the New Zealand high performance system with an increased number of athletes with the potential to win on the world stage, who understand and are better prepared for the demands of a high performance environment. A year down the track, initial progress against the programme’s objective has been encouraging.    

The primary focus for the first year of P2P was to establish key relationships and operationalise the programme, with Sport NZ Manager of Talent Development Alex Chiet saying this has been successfully achieved.

“When implementing any new initiative, for it to be successful you have to lay solid foundations and we’re pleased with how roll-out has been going around the country.

“The philosophy of the programme has been adopted and understood, key relationships have been established and operational processes have been cemented and refined, although naturally there’s still more work to do in these areas.”

Despite an emphasis on roll-out, positive results have also been achieved in year one, highlighted by positive feedback from athletes and NSOs, along with 29 P2P athletes ‘graduating’ to being carded athletes. 

“Before launching P2P a set of success measures were identified and having better prepared athletes entering carding was the primary purpose of the programme, and hence the key measure of its success.

“Additional measures included the number of athletes progressing from the P2P programme to carding, and ultimately, in time, P2P athletes winning on the world stage.

“To already have 29 young athletes arrive into carding better informed and prepared for their respective high performance environments is particularly pleasing.”

On top of these newly carded athletes, a very high percentage of year one athletes have been reselected for year two P2P support.  HPSNZ Athlete Development Advisor, Adrian Blincoe describes this as, “illustrating an understanding within targeted HP sports that an athlete’s development is not necessarily measured by linear improvement year to year.” The athletes showing commitment to their development and to the programme are being backed by their sports and supported by their regions.    

As a next step, Alex Chiet says there is a focus on further improving the programme. 

“Part of our continuous improvement is around what is working well, and the knowledge gained by athletes in the programme to support their development, has come through strongly.

“While we’re in the early stages of implementation, the results so far are very encouraging and we’re thankful to the Athlete Performance Support network at HPSNZ and the endorsed regional providers who have put a lot of time and thought into the needs of athletes at this level and provided leadership into the P2P programme.

“We also know some areas where we can make changes and improvements moving forward, including growing local resourcing to increase the support to athletes, improving the learning environment for athletes and developing an approach for higher coach and parent engagement.

“Just like with our athletes and coaches, if we continue to develop, refine and improve our P2P programme, then we definitely see it forming an important cog in our sports system.”