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Gen Next Coaches embark on trip of a lifetime

Equestrian Australia’s High Performance team has added a new initiative to its Gen Next program by extending it to coaches.

The Gen Next Coach program is an educational and developmental initiative in line with what is widely accepted practice in the sporting and corporate sectors. It’s aimed at immersing and exposing individuals in environments where they can observe and experience what “world best” looks like.

EA’s Gina Haddad who heads up the program explained:

“A critical component in our game plan for moving from world class to world’s best is our High Performance coaching workforce.”

“To produce riders capable of sustained podium success we need High Performance coaches with the necessary skillset to develop the next generation of elite equestrian athletes. Our Gen Next Coach program is informed and shaped by world-leading research and robust evidence base to equip our coaches with the skills and knowledge to meet this challenge,” said Haddad.

The coaches who are part of the current program are Sam Lyle, Craig Barrett, Megan Jones, Sam Griffiths, Will Enzinger and Christine Bates.

So far, the coaches have participated in the highly regarded Leading for High Performance program at the Australian Institute of Sport with the aim of honing their leadership skills for the unique challenges and pressure associated with the High Performance environment.

Stage two of the program sees the coaches this week embarking on a development/study tour in the UK and Europe. Developed in conjunction with the AIS, the tour will expose the coaches to world-class competition and the behind-the-scenes training camps and team environment at a major international event.

Beijing Olympics Silver Medallist Megan Jones who still competes as an elite rider and is also heavily focussed on coaching will join the upcoming tour that includes a visit to CHIO Aachen.

“I was really honoured to be chosen to be a part of this group of great coaches. And to berecognised as one of the best even from far away South Australia is very exciting. I’m getting access to personal development I would not have dreamt of before.”

She described some of the key learnings of the Gen Next Coach program so far as hugely beneficial.

“I loved the leadership course we did at the AIS through the Melbourne Business School. It really highlighted how we interact with people in all situations. It was also very nice to get to know the other coaches in a different environment.”

The CHIO Aachen experience this month is one she is especially looking forward to.

“This is the exciting bit, plus all the rest of course. But to be able to be so close to the back of house action will be terrific because when your competing yourself you just don’t,” said Jones.

Victorian based Eventing rider and coach Will Enzinger will join Jones on the trip to Aachen.

“I can't believe how fortunate we are to be given this opportunity and to literally have it laid out on a platter thanks to the hard work of Gina Haddad and Michelle Graham. I am ready to be a sponge for the whole trip and soak up all that it has to offer for us.”

“We are also looking to see what we, EA, High Performance and Coaches could possibly implement / structure as different initiatives to help Aussie combinations to transition easily to be ready to compete overseas. It's going to be a very busy time,” said Enzinger.

Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia

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