Football Development Structures – Driving Positive Change

Mainland Football is committed to meeting our two key objectives in line with our Strategic Plan. “More people playing and Loving Football” and “Ensuring everyone has a chance to reach their potential”.

Our plan was to share this information next week at the completion of South Island Tournaments, however, with all the misinformation that is circulating we are getting this out now.

As part of our ongoing development of the game and a focus on working with clubs to ensure a strong club network, we have completed a review on our player pathways; with support from NZ Football, Sport NZ, Sport Canterbury, Football South, Mainland Football districts and meetings with clubs.

Through this process NZ Football and Sport NZ supplied us with several documents that have helped shape our thoughts around the ongoing delivery of the game.

These documents raised several issues that needed to be addressed:

  • Participation and involvement in ‘Competitive Sport’ amongst our young people is
  • Between 1998 and 2014 participation rates in sport and active recreation have dropped by 7.7%(13.9% for 18-24- year old’s).
  • Sport club membership has dropped 11.1% in the last 16 years (NZ Adult Participation Trends Report -1998-2014}.
  • Many young people and athletes with potential are experiencing injuries and fatigue both physically and psychologically and are being driven away from competitive
  • The competitive sporting system, is struggling to keep pace with the changing participation needs (and intergenerational change) of communities around them and the need to evolve and change historical programs and competitions.

Sport New Zealand released a document titled “Balance is Better” in 2016 which has 2 key objectives:

  1. To support the competitive sport system to keep as many people (especially young people) involved in competitive sport.
  2. Grow the capability of the competitive sporting system to better prepare athletes with early promise to reach their potential in the future.

These objectives will help address the issues raised above.

From here Mainland reviewed its delivery model for the game from grass roots through to our Talent pathway. Though this process our aims are to strengthen the Talent Pathway and ID process for 10% of our members who are currently operating in this space, while also focusing on how we develop the game and provide opportunities for the other 90% of our members.

Through changes to our competition structure along with the development of Club Based development programs we are seeing a changing landscape for talent development. What we have also seen is significant development of clubs and club coaching structures, many clubs now employing full time development officers.

From next year South Island Tournaments will continue to be part of our football landscape. Tournaments will move to a mixed models of Club teams and District teams. The objectives here are simple. Provide more opportunities to more players and coaches and supporters to be involved in these tournaments. The ability for teams to go away and experience tournament football is limited to only a few now. The South Island Tournaments have always been a participation focused tournament. This will give club based teams the chance to test their ability against other teams from around the country. This also supports our overall strategy of growing club capability and delivery by them of various programs and opportunities for its members.

Representative football will remain intact via the National Age Group Tournament. This sees the best players from each Federation taking part in a week-long tournament in Wellington, where they compete with and against the best players selected from the other 6 Federations – at ages 14, 15 & 16 years old. Part of this process will see talent identification running as part of the competition structure, and will feature a number of camp based events that will provide further development opportunities for selected players.

Key Messages:

  • Mainland Football is focused on providing better opportunities to all its members through the programs that we run. We are focused on the 100% not just the 10%.
  • South Island Tournaments will continue to run next year and beyond. Entries will be open to Club teams and district teams to give more players, Coaches, and supporters the chance to be involved in tournament
  • The delivery of the game is changing and sees clubs taking a stronger lead in both community football and talent development.
  • Representative Football remains in place with teams representing the Federation at National Age Group Tournaments in Wellington each year.
  • The Talent pathway has been developed and strengthened to ensure players have the best opportunity to develop and reach their potential. The clubs are a significant contributor to this.

Further information around tournaments will follow in due course.

CLICK HERE for Mainland Football’s Strategic Plan, Game Delivery Plan andPlayer Pathway.

CLICK HERE For Sport New Zealands’s ‘Balance is Better’ Document and ‘Talent Pathway’.