Junior Surf Review

During 2020-21 season, a comprehensive review of Junior Surf was completed.  The purpose of this review was to assess aspects of the Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) Junior Surf programme to identify issues, themes or trends requiring further analysis and action.  It investigated the Junior Surf pathways, resources and courses that support delivery of the programme.  It’s stakeholders included the SLSNZ membership, SLSNZ and Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) staff, external providers and a Junior Surf Advisory Group coordinated by the SLSNZ Education Team.

Stage 1 - Junior Surf Review

The report identifies a number of limitations around the development and delivery of Junior Surf, data that is available related to the impact of Junior Surf, and the implications of these limitations across the organisation. It examines the lack of nationally-led standardisation across Junior Surf programmes and delivery structures, and the impacts of this on the overall growth of Junior Surf. The report also considers the sport competition model and whether it aligns with current research from Sport NZ (2018, 2020, 2021b) regarding how competition is introduced to SLSNZ juniors. It proposes that Junior Surf and other community education programmes at a national level need to be more culturally inclusive in their curriculum offerings to support New Zealand’s increasingly diverse population.

Junior Surf Advisory Group  "As part of the 2020 Junior Surf Programme Review we are looking to strengthen the focus on the future of our junior member’s journey".

Nine recommendations were made from the report, the four below being prioritised for action in the first phase of implementation: 

  1. Develop a Junior Surf Framework which aligns with the National Education Framework, including community education, and outlines a consistent delivery structure for clubs.
  2. Develop clear training progressions for coach and instructor development.
  3. Include more specific lifesaving activities in the Junior Surf programme.
  4. Weave fundamental skills more explicitly through developmental programmes for volunteers, to increase understanding.

The rest of the recommendations, along with the full report can be read here:  Junior Surf Review Report, October 2021

The Education Team is currently reviewing the Junior Surf Framework, support mechanisms for help assist with the delivery of Junior Surf for clubs and working towards developing clear training progressions for parents / whanau new to surf, coaching and instructor development.

Stage 2 - Clarity on Recommendations

We sought feedback to review information for recommendation 2 from the Junior Surf Review Report “Develop clear training progressions for coach and instructor development”.

Below are the five questions asked to Junior Surf Coordinators:

  1. When you took on the role to be the Junior Surf Coordinator for your club did you receive any support or training to do this role?  Please explain who, what and how.
  2. As a Junior Surf Coordinator do you require any support to do this role and if so what type of support or training would you like to assist you in delivering?
  3. Do you currently offer any workshops, briefings or inductions to parents and whanau to support you and your club to deliver JS? If so what does this look like.
  4. Do you currently offer any instructor or coaching courses specifically for your Junior Surf coaches/instructors?  If so what does this look like?
  5. What support would benefit your club to help your members with the delivery of Junior Surf?

This is what we were told is needed:

  • JS Coordinators:
    • Develop a Junior Surf Coordinator’s resource to clearly outline the role, framework and support network/training opportunities available specifically for the Coordinators.
    • Develop a guide to succession planning for JS Coordinators and other key positions under JS as required.  E.g. mentoring system, slow integration with the aim to lessen the burnout and build on what was done before.
    • Develop clear and detailed job descriptions:
      • Junior Coordinator(s)
      • Group Managers/Leaders
      • Group Coaches/Instructors
      • Parent Helpers
    • JS Coordinators Connecting Sessions – Online Video sessions to assist to connect coordinators and share ideas around NZ.  E.g. Create a key topics list, invite a key person to share their experience and then questions and answers…Regular ideas sharing through social media / more direct coms platform tbc e.g. Junior Surf Managers FB Group (similar to Surf Officials FB Group)
  • Parent Recruitment
    • Develop a Club lead ‘new to surf’ training course / workshop (short 1-2hr).
    • Produce a video on how parents can start helping with Junior Surf Sessions – Stepping stones for parents – e.g. gear trailers, sausage sizzles.  Pathway for a parent and learning how to be a lifeguard/patrol supporter.
  • Group Coaches/Leaders
    • Develop Junior Group Coach Development modules e.g. working with kids, good sports, teaching skills, making it fun, fundamental skills, online, videos, training modules, working with different age groups, skill based sessions.
    • Create videos on how to run a session for group managers and coaches.
    • Build a library of resources they can tap into.  E.g. How to coach…activities resource, videos, games.
  • Overall Resource:
    • Develop further resources for planning, JS framework and lesson plans – revamped junior surf manual, plus season planning and all the stuff that comes before and after JS starts for the season. Revitalised framework for Junior Surf and season planning guide and coordinators training.
    • Develop introduction power points for introduction to junior surf – start of the season introduction template to allow club to fill in key information and have great looking template to work from.
    • Dedicated Junior Support – SLSNZ Staff
    • Develop a system that captures the data we require to assess the impact of the junior surf review.  Retention into Lifeguards, growing junior numbers.

The feedback received aligns with the research conducted in 2020-2021 which is outlined in the Junior Surf Report which can be found here.

What’s happens next?

Once we have the final consolidated feedback from clubs, we will set out a clear project plan for “recommendation 2 - Develop clear training progressions for coach and instructor development” so we can prioritise they key development resources and support to move this forward.