Regional Academies of Sport Conference Empowers Coaches to Develop Future Champions

Written on the 31 October 2023 by RASi

Regional Academies of Sport Conference Empowers Coaches to Develop Future Champions

The 2023 Regional Academies of Sport (RAS) Coaching Conference, held on October 28th, brought together coaches and sports enthusiasts for a day of knowledge sharing, innovation, and inspiration.


Building upon the immense success of the 2022 edition, this year's conference set new standards for the sporting industry in NSW.


Over 130 regional coaches, administrators and staff came together at Mingara Recreation Club, Tumbi Umbi.  This event was an opportunity to upskill the coaches across NSW but also a chance to acknowledge and say a very sincere thankyou to the many volunteer coaches who support the pre-elite athlete pathway in NSW.


Hosted by the Central Coast Academy of Sport (CCAS), on behalf of the RAS network, the 1-day conference bought together the best regional pre-elite coaches from all 11 RAS from throughout New South Wales; Central Coast, Far West, Illawarra, Hunter, North Coast, Northern Inland, South East, South West Sydney, Southern, Western Region and Western Sydney Academies of Sport.


The stacked agenda included special guests; Liz Ellis AO (former Australian Netballer), Carrie Graf AM (former Australian Women’s Basketball Head Coach), Mark McVeigh (Sydney Swans Academy Head Coach), Melissa Wu (Australian Diver), Chava Sobrino (NSWIS Diving Head Coach), Katie Kelly OAM (former Australian Para-triathlete), Brad McGee OAM (former Australian cyclist and NSWIS Cycling Head Coach), Rob Mullard (NSWIS Physiotherapist and Lead Coordinator for Athletics Australia), Anthony Quinn (NSWIS Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Advisor), Sean Cooney (NSWIS Head of Performance Health), Simon Harries (NSWIS Head of Strength and Conditioning), Dean Widders (NRL Indigenous Pathways Manager), Shaun Mielekamp (Central Coast Mariners CEO), Emily Husband (Central Coast Mariners Women’s Head Coach), Andy Bernal (Former Socceroo and Central Coast Mariners Staff), Simon Woinarksi (Office of Sport) and a video presentation by Lauren Jackson AO (Australian Basketballer).


Brett O’Farrell, Chair of RAS said about the event, "The 2023 RAS Coaches Conference was a resounding success, featuring a stacked agenda with elite coaching personnel. This event provided not only great education but also thought-provoking strategic thinking, empowering our coaches to unlock their full potential.”


“Additionally, it served as a great way to express our heartfelt gratitude to the coaches who work tirelessly throughout the year, nurturing talent across regional NSW. We are 

immensely grateful for the invaluable support of the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) in making this event a reality, uniting us in the pursuit of sporting excellence,” Mr O’Farrell finished.


Kevin Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of NSWIS said, “The 2023 RAS Coaches Conference was an enormous success, bringing together the state’s best coaches to learn, share and collaborate with some of the best high-performance experts in sport.”


“Coach development and regional planning are critical in supporting the NSWIS’ Pursu32+ program and developing the next generation of the world’s best athletes, ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. NSWIS was proud to invest in the opportunity, alongside the NSW Government Office of Sport, to create a platform to further educate and celebrate the achievements of regional coaches.”


The 2023 Conference continued to embody the commitment of the RAS to advance sports coaching and athlete development across the region. It was a resounding success, shaping the future of sports coaching in the region.


The RAS Network would like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of this event -The NSW Office of Sport, NSWIS, Steadfast, UAA and the Mingara Recreation Club.


For more information contact:

Gerry Knights: 0407 415 847,


About: Regional Academies of Sport

2/298 Queen St,
NSW 2560

Letters to: PO Box 307 Macarthur
Square NSW 2560