Former national player Bryce Collins has been named as the new assistant coach for the Black Sticks Men.
With 10 years coaching experience, Collins was previously high performance manager at North Harbour Hockey Association and is the current National Under-18 Men’s coach and National Under-21 Men’s selector. He also worked alongside Mark Hager and the Black Sticks Women in 2009 and 2010.
“The two key things that attracted me to the job was firstly the opportunity to work alongside Colin [Batch] – that was a real draw card. He has a fantastic team approach and has achieved top results in previous roles.
“Secondly, the high performance programme is really strong – there is a clear direction and I think it’s an exciting time for hockey in New Zealand,” says Collins.
Head coach Colin Batch invited Collins to be part of the team at last year’s FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne as well as during the recent national training camp held at North Harbour.
“To spend this time with the team and get to know them has been invaluable and I have learned a lot already,” says Collins.
Currently the National Under-18 coach, Collins has been a key part of Hockey New Zealand’s Future Black Sticks programme and can see there is real talent coming through.
“The Future Black Sticks programme has become a key component of the national programme. We can now identify players from the age of 16 and accelerate their learning so that when they enter the national squads, the expectation of what is required to be an elite athlete is clear,” says Collins.
Collins says it is a transitional period for the team as new players are introduced to the squad at the start of an Olympic cycle.
“It is definitely a new phase. We are building a team and a culture that will be results driven and so there will be some big learnings for players early on,” says Collins.
High performance manager Toni Cumpston says to have a former Black Stick who has been involved in both our Regional Talent Programme and Future Black Sticks Programme will be really beneficial.
“To have Bryce working full time in the national programme will be fantastic – we are really looking forward to him joining the team,” says Cumpston.
The first tournament is the Sultan Azlan Shah in Malaysia in March and having attended twice as a player and once as a video analyst, Collins is no stranger to this competition.
“It will be great to fully immerse myself in this role and contribute to the overall future success of the team.”
Collins officially starts in his new role from the first week of March.
Career highlights – Bryce Collins
2010-2013: High performance development manager, North Harbour Hockey Association.
2012-2013: National Under-21 Men’s selector
2011-2013: National Under-18 Men’s coach
2011-2012: NHL North Harbour Women’s head coach
2009-2010: Worked alongside Mark Hager (head coach) and Chris Leslie (assistant coach), Black Sticks Women
1997-2009: Black Stick, 65 test caps. Attended 2006 World Cup and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.