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AIS launches coach mentorship program

21 December 2022

Twenty-four high performance (HP) coaches representing Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports have commenced a 12-month pilot mentorship program with the AIS.

Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer sitting by pool
Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer is one of 11 mentor coaches to join the program.

The inaugural HP Coach Mentorship Program aims to enhance collaboration across the sector and provide coaches with critical support and guidance during their learning and development.

Eleven mentor coaches, including Victor Kovalenko (sailing), Ellen Randell (rowing) and Shaun Caven (para-canoe), have been matched with 13 mentee coaches.

Accomplished para-athletics coach Iryna Dvoskina OAM has been paired with Australian Volleyball Academy Men’s Head Coach Brendan Garlick and said she applied to be a mentor for a number of reasons.

“I believe I can help a young coach to grow as a coach and as a person. I have enough experience in my life and in my job to help a young coach navigate these obstacles,” said Dvoskina.

“Another reason is my personal learning. This learning can help me see the strengths and weaknesses in our sport system and I hope it can give me the opportunity to make it better.”

The program was open to all Australian HP coaches and participants were matched based on their skills, experience and development needs.

Mentors and mentees will meet regularly to work through their goals, while all participants will attend a monthly online forum to share their learnings and build connections.

Mentors and mentees undertook training before the program commenced and the AIS will fund face-to-face meet ups.

AIS HP Coach Development Advisor Dr Paul Perkins said the program will be a valuable experience for participants.

“Providing learners with carefully planned and well-organised continuous learning opportunities throughout their careers is vital for the development of domain-specific expertise.

“Mentors often aid the learning process by proving critical feedback, assisting with the interpretation of experiences, and providing appropriate levels of support,” said Dr Perkins.

National Diving Coach Mathew Helm said he’s looking forward to working with his mentor Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer, former swimming coach to Ian Thorpe.

“I applied to the mentor program to take advantage of the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best coaches in our Australia system.

“So far, I have undertaken a mix of structured learning opportunities, as well as informal, storytelling and relationship development opportunities. Most of all, I have gained a new friend who sees and understands me, and vice versa.

“I am confident that the targeted learning opportunities from this program will assist me in improving areas that I am looking to develop,” said Helm.

Following the completion of the program the AIS will consider rolling out a larger-scale program in partnership with National Sporting Organisations and the National Institute Network.

Barry Dancer (hockey)
Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer (swimming)
Ashley Naumann (badminton)
Dan Atkins (triathlon)
Victor Kovalenko (sailing)
Tom Westgarth (rowing)
Paul Thompson (rowing)
Ellen Randell (rowing)
Dave Sanders (cycling)
Iryna Dvoskina (para-athletics)
Shaun Caven (para-canoe)

Adam Kelsall (cycling)
Mathew Helm (diving)
Joe Meszaros (diving)
Glenn O’Shea (cycling)
Vanessa Bof (cycling)
Hugh Purvis (hockey)
Jack McArdle (athletics)
Demi O’Brien (para-canoe)
Brendan Garlick (volleyball)
Matthew Wells (hockey)
Janine Kaye (triathlon)
Shelly-Marie Jarrett (swimming)
Sarah Fuller (para-archery)

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