Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) supports Para athletes to receive quality coaching that will enable them to achieve their Para sport goals. We are continually working towards having world class coaches and firmly believe in the following key principles across all Para sports:

  • Quality coaching is fundamental to Paralympic and Para sport success.
  • Coaches are effective planners; they lead support systems that drive performance.
  • A proactive sports science and medical programme supports athletes and coaches.
  • Coaches embrace Research and Development that will contribute to medal winning performances.
NZ Para cycling coach talking to Paralympian Anna Taylor


More information on the PNZ and High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Coach Development approaches is provided in the following documents:

PNZ commits to having robust and transparent selection and investment criteria. PNZ therefore has implemented overarching selection and investment criteria which are easily understood by coaches and Para athletes. All these sport specific criteria are evidence based and are key to PNZ’s ultimate goal of having more Para athletes succeed on the world stage.

Coach Development

LevelUp – for all coaches

Gain confidence, knowledge, capability and creativity to coach and support Para athletes. LevelUp is a series of free online modules for coaching disabled athletes no matter whether you are just starting out or want to grow your skills. Find out more and sign up.

An athletics coach explains something to an athlete in a racing wheelchair

Community Para sport coaches

We encourage Community Para sport coaches to engage in sport-specific accreditation and development opportunities through the National Sporting Organisation (NSO) for your sport (e.g. Swimming New Zealand, Athletics New Zealand, etc.).

If you and your sporting organisation are new to working with Para athletes, you may also wish to engage in Halberg Inclusion Training. Halberg Inclusion Training is a course on adapting sport, physical activity and recreation to be inclusive for people with a physical disability. For more information on this training please visit the Halberg Foundation website.

High Performance Development Coaches

Para sport coaches working with High Performance Development Para athletes in selected Para sports may be invited to participate in coach development opportunities. There are opportunities through the National High Performance Para Athlete Development and Pathway to Podium programmes. Participation in these programmes is via invitation only. However, if you are interested in being recognised as a High Performance Development coach, please register your interest with us now.

High Performance Development coaches may also be eligible for nomination to the Sport New Zealand Performance Coach Advance Programme. The focus of this multi-sport programme is on generic coaching development (for example, coaching process), action learning (learn as you do), and self-development. Selection for this programme is via nomination from PNZ or your NSO only. PNZ approaches eligible coaches to submit an expression of interest on an annual basis.

High Performance Coaches

High Performance Para sport coaches typically engage in a Personal Development Planning process with the PNZ or NSO High Performance Director. PNZ will consider and address opportunities for development on an individual basis.

High Performance coaches may also be eligible for a range of development and support opportunities through HPSNZ. These include:

  • Carded Coach Programme. Assists coaches to develop their coaching capability and leadership. Includes access to HPSNZ resources (people, technology, equipment) and personal support to deal with the pressures that accompany high performance coaching.
  • Coach Accelerator Programme. Develops coaches whose athletes win medals at multiple Paralympic/Olympic Games and World Championships, are influential leaders and strategic thinkers, are highly respected nationally and internationally, are relentless learners who collaborate to achieve maximum performance gains, are employed in significant leadership positions within sport, and are sought after by national and international sporting organisations. The Programme extends over three years. It incorporates 10 residential camps, individual performance and development planning, a mentoring programme and regular performance reviews.
  • High Performance Coaching Workshops. The HPSNZ Coaching Team facilitates the Workshop Series each year. It inspires and provokes thinking, action and learning. Coaches have opportunities to learn together, and share their knowledge, skills and experience. Past workshop topics have included:
    • training for performance,
    • Paralympic/Olympic preparation,
    • communication under pressure,
    • emotional intelligence,
    • performance culture,
    • dialogue,
    • personal responsibility,
    • maximising learning, and
    • re-energising.
  • Prime Minister’s Scholarships – Prime Minister’s Coach Scholarships help fund the professional development of high performance coaches. The Coach Scholarships programme invests in education opportunities to enable world leading performance from New Zealand’s top athletic talent. It prioritises resources for increasing expertise that will directly impact athlete performance. It will enable the sustainability of our coaching talent pool.

Coaches eligible for these HPSNZ Coach Development Programmes will be invited to apply as opportunities arise.

The IPC Academy

The IPC Academy is the education division of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It provides a range of online and face to face learning opportunities for Coaches, Executives, Administrators and Officials. All individuals working in Para sport are encouraged to explore the opportunities on offer through the IPC Academy.

PNZ is constantly searching for new Community, High Performance Development and High Performance Para sport coaches. To get started or become more involved in Para sport coaching, register your details with us now.