Hillary Commission Coaches Count
spacer Introduction Young People First Active Living Funding Allocations
Coaches Count After young people, coaching is the greatest priority for the Hillary Commission. The quest for improvement is central to sport and this can only be achieved through coaching. More than 300,000 people coach sport in New Zealand and the massive majority of these are unpaid. All levels of coaching are important, from the teacher showing a child how to hold a bat, to the full-time professional coach working one-on-one with Olympic champions. The Hillary Commission supports coaching at every level as its first priority in developing sport.

In New Zealand there are more than 100 national sport and active-leisure organisations, with 15,000 local clubs and 1.2 million members. While players are the face of sport, the coaches, officials, volunteers and administrators make sport happen. The people who work behind the scenes are almost always unpaid - marking lines, washing uniforms, holding stopwatches, slicing oranges, running car pools, blowing whistles and selecting teams. But without this army of volunteers there can be no sport.

Our Investment
By 2000 We Will See
  • 20 major sport organisations achieve their player-to-coach/leader ratio
  • Accredited coach programmes in 35 national sport bodies
  • National strategy for development and support of officials


ISSUE Finding Coaches to meet the Demand
Demand for sport is very high, particularly from young people. In fact, the demand is so great that most sports have a shortage of coaches. What a great problem to have! This presents a major challenge to sport and the Hillary Commission. If young people are not coached they will be much less likely to reach their potential, and our national pool of sporting talent will be less likely to produce champions. But more importantly, thousands of young people are at risk of not playing the sport of their choice if there is no-one available to coach them. Without coaches many young people won't get a sporting chance - it is a situation that must be reversed.

STRATEGY Coaches Count Campaign
Coaching is a very popular activity - one in 10 adults is involved in some form of coaching. At its best, it can be extremely rewarding for people and a source of personal pride - as well as an important community service. Coaching attracts people from all backgounds, for a number of different reasons. A high percentage of Maori are involved in coaching, just as Maori participation rates outstrip those of non-Maori. The challenge for the Commission is to promote the positive side of coaching - to show, in short, that coaching is fun! In September 1997 we launched the nationwide Coaches Count campaign. The campaign recognises the value of coaches - all 300,000 of them. Television advertisements make heroes of local coaches and the 'Thanks Coach' message gives volunteer coaches the community recognition they deserve.


The television advertising was effective. Independent research showed that 84% of the target audience was aware of the promotion and 50% had taken action as a result - either to start or continue coaching. The advertising supported the work done by sports trusts to strengthen coaching numbers in their regions. Working with regional sports administrators, the trusts distributed over 44,000 Coaches Count starter kits to local clubs. The Commission worked closely with 18 national sports bodies to help them boost coaching numbers in their sport. Almost every sport saw growth, with 5,000 new coaches recruited in just eight months and 6,000 renewing their commitment to coaching. Results have been good so far and this is great news for sport. But Coaches Count needs to be continued in order to make a long-term improvement in sport at the local level.

ISSUE Better Coaching at all Levels
Boosting coach numbers solves part of the problem. It results in more coaching, but not always in better coaching. Coaching is a skill-based activity. Even 'natural' coaches need training on the finer points of their sport and the vital communication skills the job requires - especially at kids' level.

STRATEGY National and Regional Coach Development
National bodies hold the key to the development of sport in New Zealand. As well as in sporting bodies, the Hillary Commission supports coach training in a wide variety of leadership, outdoor and active-leisure organisations. They are the Commission's major clients and we work closely with them to support development in all areas, but with priority on coaching.

The Commission provided $5.7 million to national organisations in 1997/98 - and most of this money was used by sports to boost their coaching programmes. Many sports have a national coaching manager and strategies to improve coaching at every level. We work with them to provide the financial support and advice they need. In 1997 the staff of Coaching New Zealand (CNZ) joined the Hillary Commission team to provide an integrated and enhanced national coaching service in New Zealand. CNZ has developed a world-class coach education system, with courses and qualifications available from enthusiast to expert level. Regional sports trusts run the coaching clinics for local coaches.

The number of coaches being trained grew in 1997/98 as a result of the Coaches Count campaign. Trusts encourage clubs to involve their coaches in training, and clubs can receive funding from the Commission's Community Sport Fund (via local authorities) to cover their training costs.

Sports trusts backed up the national sports bodies at the regional level by conducting coaching clinics. In just six months, 1,676 coaches graduated with Coaching New Zealand qualifications, a 43% increase. Just over half the sports clubs we fund (2,317) received Community Sport Fund money to meet coach training costs. The number of coaches, officials and administrators trained through the Community Sport Fund almost doubled over last year.


Accredited Coach Bar Graph

ISSUE Beating the World - High Performance Sport
New Zealand's success in world sports events is well known. Our athletes often perform far beyond the expectations of their opponents. This Kiwi sporting spirit has made a large international profile for our small nation. We appreciate the talent, time and commitment it takes to stand on the dais and hear the national anthem. The fernleaf is worn with pride by our athletes and is respected by other nations. But international sport is always getting tougher. To achieve our goals of success at the Sydney Olympics and world championships will take strong systems supporting talented performers and coaches.

STRATEGY Supporting the New Zealand Sports Foundation
Through a major partnership with the New Zealand Sports Foundation the Hillary Commission invested $11.8 million in top-level sport in 1997/98. This was a record amount for New Zealand sport and was increased by a further $4.5 million raised by the Foundation from the corporate sector.

Coaching is a primary focus of this partnership with the Sports Foundation, because great results are seldom achieved without great coaching. This also applies to sport for people with a disability and we place great importance on supporting our Paralympic competitors.

The Foundation funds 17 national sports coaching academies. These enable sports to prepare their top teams and development squads in an intensive setting, with high-quality sports medicine and sports science back up.

The Foundation provides funds to enable athletes and teams to travel overseas for competitions. Coaches are also assisted to study at the Australian Sports Institute and other facilities.



  • New Zealand women's rugby team won the Women's Rugby World Cup
  • 29 individual athletes and eight teams finished in the top three in their respective events at world championships
  • Aaron McIntosh finished first and Barbara Kendall third at the Mistral Board World Championships
  • Hamish Carter finished second at World Triathlon Championships
  • Derek Pomana, world powerlifting champion
  • Leilani Marsh and Philippa Beams, world squash doubles champs
  • 98% of athletes who received grants from the New Zealand Sports Foundation maintained or improved their performance
  • New Zealand athletes and teams finished in the top 10 in the world in 89 world championships or world cup events
  • 12 of the 17 coaching academies achieved their performance targets - the New Zealand Sports Foundation will review all academies to maximise their service to high-performance coaching.



annual report home || hillary home || contact us

The Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness and Leisure
Te Komihana Haakinakina a Hillary
Our programmes are funded by the NZ Lottery Grants Board