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ActiveVoice: I Never Lose, I Only Win or Learn

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


In June of this year Sport New Zealand launched the National Talent Development Plan to the New Zealand Sporting Sector.

Its recent arrival is timely with the publicity surrounding the Olympics and Paralympics, successes of other New Zealand teams and the options that are now available to follow a pathway into professional sport. It has never been more important to ensure that we nurture talent in a way that ensures they have the best opportunity to realise their potential in the future.

This plan is a guide to assist the sporting system - national bodies, Regional Sports Trusts and schools in New Zealand along with key influencers such as parents, coaches, media and funders as well as other agencies in the education and sporting sectors.

The Talent Plan is centred on five core beliefs - athletes needs come first, working together for collective impact, effective pathways, continuous learning and quality coaching.

Other key messages in the plan are focused around developing athletes to realise their potential in sport and in life – winning in the long run. It recognises that a world class talent development system encompasses identification, confirmation, selection/de-selection, performance planning, competition and monitoring processes. These processes ensure that people and organisations are working with the right athletes at the right time. It also recognises the fact that talent development is a complex area. There are always athletes who break the mould and there is no special recipe to deliver world and Olympic champions. The Sport NZ Talent Plan is a guide underpinned by research and international good practice to support quality talent development experiences for NZ athletes, working with the majority not the minority of athletes.

It is important to understand that talent development is the bridge between community sport and high performance sport and additional support is required as talented athletes bridge this gap. No two people are the same and for the vast majority of athletes and sports earlier is not better.

Research suggests that athletes that are development and performance focused tend to be the most successful as they are continuous learners who constantly adapt and evolve to improve their performance. A much used quote in the talent sector is, “I never lose, I only win or learn”. It represents the way talented athletes and coaches should be looking at their training and performances, just looking to learn and get better – winning is just a by-product of that process.

For the full plan and supplementary document Balance is Better Click here

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