The quality of New Zealand Football’s coach development programme has been further underlined after Sport Singapore paid a fact-finding visit to these shores in a bid to hone and improve their own processes.
The Singapore Sports Institute has recently launched a coaching and leadership academy entitled Coach SG and its Deputy Director, Jairen Low, travelled down under to learn as much he could about coach development in this part of the world. He was directed to New Zealand Football by Sport New Zealand, who believe the beautiful game possesses one of the best such programmes in the country.
“Sport NZ recently hosted a senior leader from Sport Singapore and the outcome from the study trip was to collaborate and share insights with organisations that are leading in coach and athlete development in New Zealand,” says Sport NZ Coaching Consultant Andy Rogers.
“New Zealand Football was approached to share insights into the quality systems and structures they have established in their frameworks, along with the work Steven Dillon is doing in growing the national coach developer network.”
Dillon hosted Low for a day and took him through all aspects of the organisation’s coach development programme, which has made great strides in recent years as New Zealand Football continues in its aim of producing qualified coaches for all levels of the game. At the heart of the programme is the mantra that ‘better coaches produce better players’, which ties in directly with New Zealand Football’s key strategic aim of its elite teams winning at pinnacle events on the world stage.
Low relished the chance to gain an insight into this area and found it a valuable experience.
“I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity and it’s great that Steven was able to set this up,” he says. “We’re in the business of helping our coaches get better at what they do and the reason we’re here is to learn from coach development centres around the world on what works and what doesn’t quite work.”
Dillon is likewise keen to collaborate with other sporting organisations, both domestically and overseas.
“We saw this exchange as an opportunity to help influence coach development work going on overseas, as well as a further opportunity to enhance what we currently do here at New Zealand Football,” he says.
“We were delighted to host Sport Singapore and spent time going over our key initiatives from our National Football Curriculum, Youth Framework and Junior Framework, which are all part of our award-winning Whole of Football Plan. We also used it as an opportunity to further develop ideas and concepts we are looking to bring in as part of NZF Coach Development in 2018 and beyond.”
Low picked up many things he feels can now be applied by Sport Singapore, albeit adapted to fit into a different coaching landscape.
“I’m really impressed by the structures that have been set up here,” he says.
“We all want to help our coaches get better but the question is how do you make that dream happen? You need to have the physical system and structures in order to allow the behaviours we are looking for to emerge,” he adds.
“I think there’s a lot we can learn from how New Zealand Football has put in place that framework. But we then need to contextualise it to what our coaches are currently facing and identify the different pathways we can take.”