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Gen32 coaches lead Aussies to success at Commonwealth Youth Games

29 August 2023

The future of Australian sport is bright after the next generation of Aussie coaches and athletes dominated at the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

A team of athletes huddled together on a netball court, behind Commonwealth Youth Games Trinbago 2023 signage, playfully biting on their gold medals.
Coach Elissa Kent, rear, right, with her gold medal-winning Fast5 netball team at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago. Photo: Getty Images

The Aussie women's Fast5 netball and Rugby 7s teams both won gold, and every member of our seven-strong cycling team at the Games had a podium finish.

Aside from all being former high performance athletes turned successful coaches, Elissa Kent, Ash Ankudinoff OLY and Shannon Parry OAM OLY have another thing in common; they’re all a part of the AIS National Generation 2032 Coach Program (Gen32).

The Gen32 program aims to increase the quality and number of Australia’s future Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games coaches through an intensive coach development course.

Former Championship netballer Kent guided the Aussie Fast5 netball team to the gold medal and said the Gen32 program gave her the confidence to prepare and deliver in her role as head coach at the games.

“Throughout the pre-preparation period I was able to generate ideas and feedback with the Gen 32 facilitators and my peers, and bounce ideas off around frameworks and processes,” Kent said.

"I was able to get some great feedback on my own coaching through facilitators and talent acquisition specialists.”

Kent said she enjoyed planning around both requirements for performance as well as opportunities for enjoyment and connection for the team.

“Gen32 has created opportunities for us as coaches to explore creativity, emotion, safety, communication, no-verbal cues and much more, and that has helped me to improve my coaching.”

Dual-Olympian Ankudinoff oversaw a 7-strong cycling team with each athlete taking home at least one medal. The 4-time cycling World Champion said Gen32 had supported her development in managing people, being creative, building relationships and collaborating with other coaches.

“I thoroughly enjoy helping the next generation of athletes achieve their sporting goals,” she said.

Ankudinoff said the transition from athlete to coach was made easier by the support of the Gen32 program.

“It is quite different being on the other side of the fence now at these major competitions, I certainly still get just as nervous watching the athletes as I did when I was racing.”

Ankudinoff began coaching through her own business after retiring from professional cycling post Tokyo Olympics. She is currently the Women’s and Para Cycling Coach at the South Australian Sports Institute (SASI).

Former Wallaroos rugby player and Olympic gold medalist Parry successfully coached the women's Rugby 7s team to gold in Trinidad and Tobago. Australia has now taken gold in women’s 7s at the past three Commonwealth Youth Games.

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