Six coaches have been selected as the first intake for a pressure-cooker programme aimed at turning good coaches into great ones.

Yvette McCausland-Durie
All Blacks Assistant Coach Steve Hansen is among the six coaches who have been selected for the Coach Accelerator Programme, a new initiative designed to hone the skills of coaches to ensure they are capable of producing World, Olympic or Paralympic champions.

The selected coaches are: Mike Hesson (cricket), Yvette McCausland-Durie (netball), Tom Willmott (snowboarding), Dave Thompson (rowing), Dayle Cheatley (track cycling) and Hansen (rugby).

The programme, which is funded by SPARC and run by the New Zealand Academy of Sport North Island, is aimed at addressing a shortfall of world class coaches in New Zealand.

SPARC High Performance Manager Marty Toomey says the selected coaches are highly talented individuals who are passionate about driving their skills up another gear.

“The aim of Coach Accelerator is to build a pool of world class coaching talent through an intensive training and development programme.

“Top coaches, just like elite athletes, need to be pushed and challenged to take them to the next level and Coach Accelerator looks to deliver that,” Toomey said.

The three-year Coach Accelerator Programme will provide financial support and professional development training for the coaches.

Over that time, the participants will receive individually-tailored professional development, attend residential camps, and get sport-specific and generic coaching training.

A further five coaches will be selected each year so that there are about 15 coaches going through the programme at any one time.

The Coach Accelerator Programme has been welcomed by New Zealand Cricket’s John Wright, who proved his international coaching credentials during his time in charge of India.

"It is absolutely necessary,’’ he says. "It seems to me, if we want to have world class athletes, we need world class coaches.’’

Yvette McCausland-Durie has played touch rugby at senior provincial level, was a member of the NZ Netball squad for 14 years as a provincial netball player, and was a National Track and Field World Junior representative.

She has combined playing and coaching since 1991 culminating in her role as NZ Under 21 head coach from 2006-2009 following the team’s success in 2005 in gaining the title as World Youth Cup Champions, when Yvette was assistant coach. Yvette has coached all levels of the game, combining educational qualifications, playing and teaching experiences into her coaching style.

Yvette completed her Masters thesis in 2007 on Maori netball player retention issues and is passionate about athlete development in the wider sense of the word.

Yvette is currently Project Manager of Tu Toa – a supervisory arm of The Correspondence School - offering holistic individualised programming for secondary aged students which combines her passion for teaching, youth, netball and sports administration.

Yvette is currently Head Coach of the Central Pulse team in the ANZ Championship.