Skip to content

A development experience to remember A group of Aotearoa’s best and brightest aspiring female volleyball coaches had an experience to remember in early December.


A development experience to remember

A group of Aotearoa’s best and brightest aspiring female volleyball coaches had an experience to remember in early December.

Delivered as the first in-person group session of Coaching On!, Volleyball New Zealand’s mentoring and coach development programme for aspiring female performance coaches, nine of the cohort’s 13 members gathered in Sumner, Ōtautahi.

Led by Volleyball New Zealand Performance Coach Advisor for Women and Girls, Kim Smith, the weekend provided a range of opportunities for the group including whanaungatanga, building connections, sharing knowledge while developing tools for coaches to use on their personal journey.

Smith says the weekend provided many opportunities for deeper connections to be made within the group.

“Through the get to know games, challenging physical activities, discussions when participating in the designed sessions or just through the informal learning opportunities, we are now in a really good place to be able to have courageous conversations with each other when we move through the next seven months of this programme,” Smith said.

“This is important when wanting to get the most out of our peer coaching observations and monthly online connects.

“The live in wānanga proved extremely valuable allowing many more informal opportunities to connect in comparison to a more formal conference style. The sharing of kai and having everyone pitching in to clean prepare and clean up all contributed to an were examples of our group’s values and the way in which we want to move forward as a team.”

Cohort 1 of the Coaching On! programme took to the water together earlier in December. Photo by Thomas Hamill.

High Performance Sport New Zealand fund Smith’s role with Volleyball New Zealand supporting the running costs of the Coaching On! programme.

Basketball New Zealand’s - South Island lead of people development, Lori McDaniel, and Head of Matutū Rugby, Whitney Hansen were also part of the kaupapa, delivering sessions on self-awareness and giving and receiving feedback.

Both coaches have been through HPSNZ’s Te Hāpaitanga program designed to connect and accelerate women coaches in New Zealand.

Smith said both alluded to the need to continually be open to learning both sharing examples of their vulnerability and willingness to be open to feedback of your athletes and the impact this has had for the betterment of their coaching.

Liz Hanna says the experience was a weekend of growth and connection.

“We were given fabulous opportunities and great speakers to expand on our own knowledge, strengths and confidence all whilst bonding and building trust together. There was real value in discussing situations together and really drawing on the diversity and knowledge, the gold was in the group.”

We were extremely lucky to have Thomas Hamill a documentary photographer and videographer employed by HPSNZ to capture part of the day on Saturday. Thomas will continue to follow the progress of this group at upcoming tournaments and National training camps that our coaches are involved in.

2024 will see the coaches form closer relationships with their Coaching partner within the group. Regular mentor sessions with their personal mentor and regular check ins with Kim Smith as their programme co-ordinator. The group will continue monthly online connects as a whole group.

Ma te huruhuru ka rere te manu

Adorn the bird with feather so it can fly.

(The above whakataukī is the guiding theme for this year’s cohort)

Mentors are an extremely important part of this programme. Their wisdom, support and challenge will contribute to each coach developing all of the different feathers they need to soar.

Each coach has reached out and are initiating coach mentor relationships with other coaches around Aotearoa. We view this as a crucial piece in the growth and support of our coaches pushing the envelope and supporting them to coach on to the performance level. Thank you to our Mentors!

Coaching On! - Cohort 1 2023-2024

Brieana Crosbie Mary Edmondson Treena Blythe
Ella Carlsen Nina Kerr Alyssa Johnstone
Eseta Semisi Shaunna Polley Claire Stewart
Lauren Fleury Liz Hanna Laina Samia
Sarah Drummond

Volleyball New Zealand upcoming coach development opportunities

The Expression of Interest for the 2024 Volleyball New Zealand Level 3 Develop Coaching Course is now open. For more information click here.

Email this Insight

Download Insight assets

Similar Insights (89)

The Aotearoa Legacy

The Aotearoa Legacy

By Peta Forrest - Women in Sport Aotearoa
Hera principles

Hera principles

By Briana irving - Aktive - Auckland Sport & Recreation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our weekly email delivering the latest insights as we publish them, tailored to your tastes.