Hockey Coach - Hamilton, New Zealand
- 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.
“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.
"The Graduate Diploma in Teaching has not only given me the tools to enter the teaching profession, but also helped me improve the way I coach.
"A lot of the skills I learned can be easily transferred to the hockey turf and help me develop and educate my athletes."
After working for Midlands Hockey as a Development Coach, Matt now teaches at St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton. Additionally, he coaches the St Paul's 1st XI Hockey Boys (3rd in NZ, 2022) as well as the University of Waikato Hockey Club Premier Men.
"After being out of the high-performance coaching space for a few years, 2022 has brought new opportunities. I was lucky enough to be included in the coaching staff at the NZ Hockey North v South series in April and then at the Junior Blacksticks camp in October.
"These opportunities to work with amazing coaches and to learn from them are incredibly valuable. It will give me experience and knowledge I can bring back to the teams I coach."
His aspirations for the next few years are to continue teaching and focus on pastoral care within the boarding school environment. He is also eager to continue to seek opportunities to be involved in high-performance coaching environments.