When we paddle our waka we set the blade of the paddle into the water, the people pull the paddle to make our waka move forward. The paddle is also used to steer our waka in the direction we want it to go. We can look at it as the Waka being our sport, the Blade of the paddle being our infrastructure and the People are what make our sport happen.
For our Sport Development model we will use the blade of the Hoewai (the broad bladed paddle). The blade of the paddle has four quarters joined together by the spine of the blade. In order for the blade of the paddle to be stable through the water all four quarters must be equal, our blade must be symmetrical. The strength of our blade is in spine, the spine holds the blade together and stops the blade from breaking.
In this case the four quarters of the blade will represent the four key areas of our sport:
- Officials, Events, and Coach/Athlete support
- Sport Administration
The Spine of the blade will represent everything that makes our sport special and unique, this is what makes people want a have lifetime involvement in our sport. Our sports backbone and foundations come from:
- Core Values
Sports Administration, Officials, Events and Athlete/Coach Support
When paddling the a waka this is the side of the paddle that is not seen by the paddlers looking forward– This is the side of the paddle that represents all the work that goes on behind the scenes that allows our sport to continue to grow and support those who are participating. Without this side of the paddle there would be no sport. This side of the blade is spilt into two halves, one half being Officials, Events, Athlete and Coach Support and the other half: Sports Administration. Each side of the blade is held together by the spine of the paddle, this is the strength of our sport, the culture, history, tikanga, these are all the things that make our sport unique and makes all of us want to be part of this special whanau.
The paddle is symmetrical on both halves and progresses in layers from Club/School in the centre of the blade on to Regional then National and then International.
Athlete and Coach Pathway
This is the side of the blade that all the paddlers in the waka see as they are looking forward. This side sets the structures that support the people who represent Waka Ama and are seen by those not yet involved in our sport.
It is necessary for us to put in place structures to create pathways for both our Athletes and our Coaches so that anyone can be involved in our sport and progress to a level that is suitable to their ability. This model shows both a pathway for the Athlete and the Coach, it is very clear that in order for our athletes to progress from an entry level (Explore and Learn phase) through to an Elite level (Excel) we need to have an identical system for our Coaches (Foundation Coach to High Performance Coach).