Visiting Professor Contributes Expertise to Snow Sports NZ Winter Performance Programme

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand (6 November 2012) - Snow Sports NZ Winter Performance Programme staff and coaches last week had a valuable opportunity to participate in a series of seminars with Professor Dave Collins, an expert in the fields of Coaching and Performance.  Professor Collins is based at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK and is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of Otago University.

The seminars were held at Snow Sports NZ’s Wanaka offices where Professor Collins was accompanied by Dr Chris Button from the University of Otago’s School of Physical Education. Professor Collins and Dr Button have enjoyed research collaboration for several years and current research interests of particular relevance to the Snow Sports NZ coaching staff include performer and coach development, cognitive expertise, and the promotion of peak performance across different challenging environments.

The vision of the Snow Sports NZ Winter Performance Programme is “Inspiring New Zealanders through Winter Olympics, Paralympics and premier winter sport success” and as such the programme invests into athletes who are on track to deliver medal winning and credible performances at the Winter Olympic Games in 2014. Professor Collins has worked with over 60 World or Olympic medallists and is well placed to offer expertise on the subject of attaining medal winning performances.

For snow sports athletes he considers it to be the technical nature of the disciplines which provides the greatest challenge. Snowboarders and freeskiers in the half pipe, for example, are required to perform a complex combination of movements under pressure and within an ever changing environment. As well as perfecting physical skill and movement coordination athletes must also develop mental resilience, a strength which can be learned and is an important part of coaching, particularly at the elite level.

Snow Sports NZ Winter Performance Programme Director, Ashley Light, who is also a former student of Professor Collins, said that the opportunity to share leading-edge research with such eminent figures as Dr Button and Professor Collins is invaluable.

“The opportunity to have world leading experts visit our own coaches in our own environment in Wanaka is an opportunity that cannot be understated. The level of experience and expertise shared with the coaches included analogies and research from the laboratory through to practical examples utilising a myriad of sports.  This insight and knowledge will be transferred to the High Performance coaching tool boxes and will ultimately benefit the athletes.  We are looking forward to continuing the relationship with Professor Collins and Chris Button at the University of Otago.”


 Image: L-R Ashley Light, Dr Chris Button, Professor Dave Collins

Visiting Professor Contributes Expertise to Snow Sports NZ Winter Performance Programme

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