WCC Talent Development Programme

WCC Sports Talent Development Programme Banner.png

The Wellington City Council Sport Talent Development Programme is designed to empower young Wellington athletes to be successful, both in sport and in life.

The programme, which is funded by the Wellington City Council and overseen by Sport Wellington’s Performance Hub, grants money to a handful of regional sporting organizations to assist them in developing systems and structures that support the creation of a talent development programme or pathway within their respective organizations.

In 2018, 13 applications for the programme were received with eight sports being successful in securing funding to support a range of initiatives. These initiatives include; research into performance measures, development of processes for individual performance planning, as well as access to specialist services such as athlete life advice, nutrition and strength and conditioning.

The sports selected for the 2019 Sport Talent Development Programme are; Dynomites Sport Climbing, Wellington Basketball, Capital Football, Wellington Hockey, Netball Wellington Centre, Central Rowing, Volleyball Wellington, and Swimming Wellington. Sport Wellington are also working with Hutt Valley, Wellington and North Wellington Badminton Associations to create a unified badminton talent programme.

Also associated to the 2019 programme, Sport Wellington will continue to work with Wellington Golf, Fencing Central, and Wellington Softball in developing their athlete development programs by continuing the great work that has been going on within these sports over the last two to three years.

The Seminar Series

WCC Talent Development Programme Welcome Evening blind fold challenge

As well as sport-specific initiatives implemented by each sport, athletes are also invited to attend the Seminar Series, run by the Performance Hub. These seminars are designed to provide engaging learning environments that take a holistic approach to athlete development.

The seminars are a great opportunity for athletes and leads to come together, connect, foster relationships, and learn from each other and the expert providers we have facilitating sessions.

Seminar One - 2019 Welcome Evening

If you were dropped in the jungle blindfolded, could you survive? This was the question over 70 athletes faced as they attended the Survivor-themed Welcome Evening for the Wellington City Council Sport Talent Development Programme Seminar Series on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

The goal of the session was simple; to break down any walls and together, begin building a united pool of talent. Athletes from nine sports were split into eight tribes and asked to work together through a series of challenges designed to push their comfort zones and test their limits.

The “jungle,” was an obstacle course laid out on a terrifying stretch of grass at Kilbernie Park outside the Toitu Poneke Hub. Athletes were blindfolded and guided through the eight obstacles by their one designated team leader.

Athletes work together to complete obstacle   Athletes blindfolded during obstacle course

Seminar Two - From the Inside Out

It’s easy to look at performance by what we do on a day to day basis, but how often do we consider the impact of our inner health and the impact this can have on our performance?

Athletes were greeted with a smoothie bar, offering three different healthy and nutritious smoothies; Green, Red, and a Calci-boost. They then worked in groups to complete a “mythbusting” nutrition quiz, before listening to guest speaker Glenn Muirhead discuss the difference between preventative and non-preventative injuries.

This session was designed to show athletes just how accessible good nutrition can be, in order to empower them to become more self-reliant and accountable for their own well-being. 

Glenn Muirhead gives demonstration at seminar   Athletes compete in paper scissors rock competition at seminar 2

Seminar Three - Parent Workshop

We recognize that home is where athletes spend large amounts of their time, but parenting a potential high-performance athlete doesn’t come with a manual. More than 50 parents heard from be a panel of parents who’ve been through the performance and high-performance systems as they shared their stories, tips, and tricks. it also included an open forum for parents to ask questions, share stories, and discuss their role in an athlete’s development.

Parent presents at parent seminar   Parents pay attention at parent seminar

Seminar Four - Athlete Role Models

The road to success is windy and different for everyone who walks it. When it comes to talent development and athlete pathways, there’s no one magic cookie cutter method that will guarantee a spot on that Olympic podium.  

To share this message and inspire today’s young, emerging athletes to embrace their own path, we brought in six athletes of significance and asked them to share their stories at the fourth installment of the Seminar Series for the Wellington City Council Talent Development Programme.

Our feature athletes included Lewis Clareburt, New Zealand swimmer and bronze medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games; Bella Anastasiou, New Zealand handballer; James Blackwell, Hurricanes and Wellington Lions rugby player; Kate Mcllroy, NZ cyclist, triathlete and runner; Amelia Kerr, New Zealand cricketer and youngest player to ever score a double century in a One Day International cricket match; and Tiana Metuarau, Championship-winning Pulse member.

Tiana shares her story with athletes at seminar 4   Athletes at photobooth at seminar 4

Seminar Five - The Psychology of Vulnerability

The goal of this session was simple; to get athletes comfortable being uncomfortable. To achieve their best, they have to be willing to move from the comfort zone to the courage zone, and that’s what this session was designed to do – but in a safe and fun environment.

We're brought in some extra help for this one; Dr. Natalie Hogg, Sport Psychologist, and Helen Regan, Athlete Life Advisor for High Performance Sport NZ.

Throughout the seminar, athletes took part in a series of activities that dove into the different aspects of vulnerability with the goal of providing them with tangible takeaways that they can apply to their lives.

Mark leads group session at seminar 5   Athlete completes stretch strategies at seminar 5

Read more about each seminar