Squash New Zealand looks well-placed for a the future following investment from High Performance Support NZ (HPSNZ).
After a successful Commonwealth Games, in which New Zealand’s Paul Coll won men’s singles gold, Coll and Joelle King won the mixed doubles gold, and King and Amanda Landers-Murphy won the women’s doubles gold, Squash New Zealand has gained funding approval from HPSNZ to invest in the development of young talent, with funding going towards a new role of Development Pathway Coach.
The newly created role will be part of player development role and assist in coach development and working with individual player coaches all in the process of developing players towards the 2030 Commonwealth Games and beyond.
The role includes contributing to the culture of the sport and enhancing strong relationships with coaches as well as creating meaningful coaching resources with tools to improve coaching performance.
SNZ Chief Executive Martin Dowson is excited by what lies ahead for the sport with the new funding and new role which is being advertised.
He said: “Having a new Development Pathway Coach is a great asset thanks to the HPSNZ funding. It assists with the end-to-end pathway for aspiring professional players and provides a valuable link around the country for the sport.
“We have prioritised our resources in our development and as a result unfortunately, along with the lack of world rankings depth at present in the women’s game, there will be no team sent to the WSF World Women’s Team Championships in Egypt in December“.
“However, there is a bright future with a number of the top juniors in the girls U19 and U17 grades already having experience at world junior events around the world and professional PSA rankings. Also, the re-establishment of the New Zealand Open in Tauranga and other events is giving players inspiration to further achieve.”
Squash New Zealand also has established a new athlete commission with the purpose to represent the voice of players in an end-to-end pathway, assisting in the integrity and athlete wellbeing in the High Performance programme.
It will comprise of 5-9 players who are at different stages of the pathway and will meet at least twice a year, with discussion and planning at other times. It will represent and link to the NZOC’s recently formed Athlete Leaders Network .
Already, two established and well-known players have committed to the commission: Auckland’s Lana Harrison from Auckland and Wellington’s Evan Williams. Other players from emerging professional and development players will be finalised in the next month.
“Establishing the Squash Athlete Commission is a platform which will help players understand the role of the governing body and create a stronger bond between the players and administration. It could bridge the gap which can sometimes come about between players and administration and actually make the sport stronger, further establishing pathways for players as well as acting on the wellbeing and integrity for athletes,” Dowson concluded.