The #1 Post: Time for a new beginning

I’ve always been one to count the days until the next major event so for the loyal readers out there its 1312 days until the Tokyo Olympic Games, but most importantly only 2 days until Christmas!

In so many ways this year has been big filled with moments of joy, heartache, pain and optimism of what lies ahead for our great sport in Australia.

In recent times we have been toiling away finalising our 2020+ High Performance Strategy. It has been a culmination of over two years work reviewing our environment, comparing it to the best nations in the world and engaging with more than 100 stakeholders at multiple levels of the sport.

The strategy centres around our athletes and ensuring they have the best possible environment for them as individuals within a team context to be successful. With this comes the personal accountability and drive to continue living out their dreams supported by expert coaches and dedicated support staff.

Our vision is to be the best and stand proudly on the podium in Tokyo, however the process of getting there is the key factor.

We are committed within our strategy to deliver clear, engaging, collaborative yet influential leadership both domestically and on the international stage. We believe in developing expert coaches and investing in them so they can have impact on the entire athlete pathway and build the coaching depth across Australia. We need strong domestic competitions and a pathway that supports our athletes and counters the barriers we face to international exposure due to financial and geographical reasons. Our daily training environments are dynamic in nature and we must capitalise on this to have the best physically prepared athletes in the world.

We also need to discover some new knowledge and opportunity for continued incremental gains in the area of research and innovation. Recently the AIS held a knowledge and growth forum and provided each sport and institute partner with an opportunity to present and workshop focus areas. Water Polo led by AIS and WPA support staff and engaging numerous people across the system conducted well received and AIS acknowledged sessions that started to pave the way for developing our research and innovation plan. The possibilities in this area are endless and we look forward to working with the AIS and key research partners to deliver some new knowledge and competitive advantage for the sport.

Aussie Sharks Coaches Elvis Fatovic & Paul Oberman with the newest members of the WAIS men's water polo squad in Perth.

Aussie Sharks Coaches Elvis Fatovic & Paul Oberman with the newest members of the WAIS men’s water polo squad in Perth.

Last week we held our first planned state program visit in Brisbane to discuss our 2020+ strategy and the local environment. There were many beneficial discussions and we will continue these state visits throughout January 2017. In addition to this, Elvis Fatovic made a successful trip across the Nullarbor to meet with WAIS and the WA National League clubs and we are committed to ensuring the recent presence and visibility of the national program around the country is a constant.

The other priority that has kept us busy in recent times is the recruitment of a new national women’s head coach. We are well progressed in the process and have completed the first round interviews. We will continue the next stage in January with the aim of making an appointment before the end of January. I’m confident that the rigorous process being undertaken with the quality candidate list will ensure we have a world class coach to lead our women’s program toward Tokyo.

There are many exciting events and activities on the horizon including the World Club Challenge, which will introduce a women’s series between QAS and NSWIS. A great international event and growing the female presence bodes well for its success. Our #nextgen will come together for B99/00 national training camps in early January before the 2017 national league season commences in earnest.

As we close out the year I’d like to extend my gratitude and respect to the hard working WPA team, HP coaches, support staff and athletes. To all our stakeholders at institute, state and club level, we are thankful for your commitment and support and look forward to building on this next year in pursuit of our vision.

Have a Merry Christmas, happy new year and until next time…be your best.

Tom Hill

WPA High Performance Manager