Matt Rees-Gibbs

Hockey Coach - Hamilton, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching
  • Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship

Matt Rees-Gibbs specialised in coaching for his sport and leisure degree*, and it was coaching that got him thinking about being a teacher.

The former Black Stick coaches the University of Waikato’s premier men’s team, and over the years he’s taken high school, club and rep teams under his wing, leading some to national titles. Seems like he’s a bit of a natural across all the grades.

“I’ve coached boys and girls of all ages with a wide range of abilities and it’s great to see them develop as players, improving their skills and tactics,” he says.

Matt says his sport and leisure degree had a big influence on his coaching career. “It gave me understanding of the phases of learning a skill which has allowed me to work with people of various ages and abilities. I can identify what type of coaching method is going to best suit the age and stage of a player.”

The degree also made him think about more than hockey. “We had lots of opportunities to observe, study and analyse various sports during practices and at games. So rather than just thinking about what was happening in the game, I could also focus on coaching methods, relationships between coaches and players, team dynamics in certain situations and many other aspects that can be easily ignored.”

It was after he finished his degree and living in Germany that Matt started thinking about being a teacher.

He then returned to Waikato and completed a Graduate Diploma of Teaching.  Right now his focus is coaching. He’s employed by St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton to coach their first X1. He’s got Waikato University men, Midland’s U18s, and has worked for Midland’s as a talent development coach. He also does private individual coaching for school-aged players.

Long term, Matt would like to be a high performance manager for a hockey organisation. “I’d like to coach at international level one day,” he says.

*Health, Sport and Human Performance was previously known as Sport and Leisure Studies

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