Otago Polytechnic

The Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure has been forging links in Asia. 

Senior lecturer Brendon Timmins has just returned from a three week visit to China, in which he guided and supported football players with their gym-based strength development.

“This opportunity arose after a presentation I made on Strength and Conditioning in China in 2015,” he explains. “That trip resulted in a request to actually spend time training the SIT Student American Football Team.”

Brendon’s experience gave him insights into another culture and worldview, while providing some teaching challenges. Issues such as the language barrier proved to be a challenge at times. One of the students acted as Brendon’s translator – however, he struggled with knowing how to translate exercise-based terminology. “This made me re-think how to express myself in ways he and the team could understand,” says Brendon. “I had to really scale back my teaching processes to ensure we were all on the same page, and that I was not placing players at risk of injury.”

He also had to earn the trust of the players. “This was not a US scholarship programme and the players weren’t compelled to be there – so I had to make sure the training was valuable to them, given that they were fitting it in around a very busy academic schedule.”

Brendon also found the trip valuable for relationship-building – developing trust and the potential for ongoing relations between China and New Zealand.

“I was able to sow the seed of Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure internships via Prime Ministers’ scholarships with SIT going forward and beyond,” he says. “This was certainly welcome, but will need to be discussed higher up at their management level. The SIT have already indicated that they are looking to send at least three players out in June 2018 for several weeks to experience training within our Tapuae space during their Chinese summer break.”

Expiry: 10 Oct 2017