|Joe Hunter is currently employed part-time as a coach and sports scientist by the NorthSport Academy, at the Millennium Institute. He also has his own coaching business in which he coaches athletics at Mount Smart Stadium and coaches Olympic weightlifting at Gillies Ave Gym in Newmarket.
He is very busy with his athletes at home and abroad. He says “two of my athletes - one hurdler (Josh Hawkins) and one weightlifter (Josh Milne) - recently competed at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. Both these athletes competed on the same day, which required me to rush from one venue to the other!”
What got you into coaching and when did you first become a coach?
I have always been fascinated by speed and power. Initially, my main involvement in speed and power sports was providing biomechanical assessments and physical conditioning for a range of sports. As a biomechanist, I worked with track and field athletes for over 10 years, even before the New Zealand Academy of Sport existed. For a couple of years I also worked as biomechanist for Olympic weightlifting. Back then, I had the privilege of working with athletes such as Chantal Brunner (coached by Jon Moyle) and Nigel Avery (coached by Richard Dryden). About eight years ago, I had the opportunity to start coaching a couple of track athletes. Not long after, I also started coaching Olympic weightlifting. It has all grown from there.
Have you always been involved with only athletics. Have you had other roles in sport?
As a coach I have been involved in two sports: athletics and Olympic weightlifting. As a sports scientist I have been involved in a number of sports including athletics, Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, and rugby, among others.
How did you first become involved in athletics?
I was involved as an athlete during my school years.
Are you attached to an athletics club?
I coach athletes from many different clubs including ACA, Pakuranga, North Harbour, etc. I am employed part-time by the NorthSport Academy.
What disciplines in athletics do you coach?
Sprints and hurdles.
Why do you coach?
I have had a long-term fascination with speed and power. I also love working with people and being able to influence their lives.
As a coach what motivates you?
Coaching is a true test of practical application of my sports knowledge. I love the search for continual improvement in my coaching methods and in the performances of the athletes.
What do you get out of coaching and what’s the most rewarding thing for you about coaching?
Coaching and sports science is my career, but also my passion. The most rewarding part of coaching is seeing athletes grow as athletes and as people.
What qualifications do you have as an athletics coach and how necessary have these qualifications been for you?
I have a PhD in sports science. My thesis topic was the biomechanics of sprint running. I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and accredited as a biomechanist through Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand. I use the knowledge I have gained through my studies every day in coaching. I continue to educate myself further by any means possible. Part of my continuing education is through practical application. I want to build a strong coaching philosophy influenced by science AND experience.
How many athletes do you have in your coaching group?
I coach two athletics squads. In the younger squad I have seven athletes. In the older squad I have six athletes. In addition, I am the strength and conditioning coach for 10 North Harbour athletes. I also coach a squad of seven Olympic weightlifters.
What sort of ages are these athletes?
The ages range from 14 years old to adults.
How often do you meet your athletes for training?
I coach each group of athletes three or four times each week and set programmes for them to do on other days.