Hockey is one of Australia’s most successful team sports, boasting multiple Olympic medals in both the men’s and women’s team programs. A major strength of the sport is its overarching high performance structure which consists of the national teams program in Perth, underpinned by eight National Training Centres (NTCs) hosted by the State Institutes and Academies of Sport (SIS/SAS) in every state and territory of Australia.
The Hockey Australia (HA) High Performance Unit in Perth is home to a world class centralised training program that supports the development and performance of the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras. Throughout the year, HA runs a scholarship program that supports up to 27 elite athletes per gender in the National Programs. Additional to this, there is a Visiting Athlete Program that allows athletes from the SIS/SAS network to spend short blocks of time in targeted training. Up until the end of 2012 this program was previously known as the AIS Hockey program with athletes awarded AIS Hockey Scholarships. HA assumed full responsibility and management of the high performance unit in January 2013.
National Training Centres (NTCs)
The NTC network, which was introduced in 1990 to underpin the activity of the AIS and to increase athlete depth, has played a major role in identifying and transitioning young athletes into national programs.
The NTC network comprises eight centres hosted through the SIS/SAS network. From Hockey Australia’s perspective, in order of importance, the priorities for the NTCs are:
1. To maintain and support high quality training and development of national squad athletes, particularly developing and emerging internationals, while in their home environment.
2. To develop the next level of nationally identified athletes, working closely with the state/territory talent identification and development programs to identify potential emerging international athletes.
3. To lead and work cooperatively with HA and key partners driving high performance development for their state/territory.
HA provides significant direct funding to the SIS/SAS for the employment of network coaches and support of athletes. In total, 12 coaches are employed within the network, managed by the National Talent Pathway Manager. The centralised national program and the NTC network compliment each other to ensure that both international success (performance) and sustainable international success (development) are supported and balanced in equal measure.
More information about the NTC network and the principles behind the relationships can be found on our High Performance System Diagram.
National Talent Identification and Development
The final part of the system is a national talent identification and development (NTID) program, branded the National Futures Program. This program has been created in line with recommendations from the NTC review and incorporates both generic and specialist skill and position programs. Another key feature of this program is the support of talented indigenous athletes who are awarded scholarships and targeted support facilitated through the NTC network.
High Performance Funding
Australia’s Winning Edge (AWE) 2012-2022 performance strategy has been developed to return Australia to the top level of international sporting performance. AWE includes very clear performance targets for National Sporting Organisations (NSOs), such as top five on the medal table at the Olympic Games, 20 World Champions each year and top Commonwealth Games nation. HA’s high performance program is funded by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) under the AWE strategy. This requires HA to present a very clear ten year vision, high performance plan and Key Performance Indicators that drive both international and sustainable international success.