Outgoing Academy Southland strength and conditioning coach Cory Innes hopes to develop links between the Invercargill-based programme and his new home at the Victorian Institute of Sport.
Innes, who spent a significant part of his career at the VIS before returning to New Zealand and joining Academy Southland, will take over as the lead strength and conditioning coach for track and field there – a dream role for the former national 400m champion.
Innes hopes to create and build relationships between the Melbourne-based VIS and Academy Southland, especially with regard to professional development opportunities.
Since joining the Academy earlier this year, Innes has enjoyed the chance to work across a wide range of development athletes, get his first taste of working with footballers and being part of that epic Southern Steel campaign.
“I’ve never been part of a team premiership in any sport, so to see that, and in particular how it came about, was pretty special. From an individual perspective, seeing how much the athletes have grown, particularly in the Academy programme,” he said.
Innes watched proudly as Southland cyclists Corbin Strong, who won gold in the team pursuit, and Sophie-Leigh Bloxham competed at the junior world track cycling championships in Switzerland and he has high hopes for Josh Burnett as he competes in his first world junior mountainbiking championships in the same country.
“Although the timing is never going to be perfect, it’s better than me leaving right before nationals or something like that. The cyclists are coming into Oceanias and the under 19 tour and are just coming into a programme change. I’ve left everyone with a skeleton plan through to March and a plan through until their major competition in the next month or two.
“I would have loved this opportunity to come up a bit later than it has, but unfortunately you can’t plan these things. It would have been nice to see everyone through until their major comps next year, or those who are in seventh form, to see them head off to the next part of their journey.”
Innes has enjoyed watching the progression of the development athletes he has worked with over the past few months.
“I’ll leave with some confidence that they will be in a better place for the next part of their journey from where they started, and that’s across the whole programme. Some of the athletes who didn’t take it as seriously are very focused now. They are connecting the dots that the type of training we do is directly linked to their sporting performance and that it’s not just about being strong for the sake of it.”
Source: Academy Southland