- Gabi Peach
- Gabi is a phenomenal weightlifting coach who has worked with tireless enthusiasm to introduce youth to the sport and ensure positive experiences in doing so. She adapts her approach to meet the needs of the individual to create opportunities for all athletes to have success. She puts a lot of effort into creating training and performance environments that are inclusive and welcoming, as seen by the huge increase in participation she has led in the region over the last 12 months.
Gabi's approach is to focus on building strong foundations both in physical fundamentals and relationships. She seeks to get to know athletes and use resistance training/weightlifting as a vehicle to develop them as people first. While weightlifting is a sport it also offers a means to develop general strength, muscle mass, coordination, balance and power- Gabi shapes training in order to support broad and generalised athletic development, promoting lifelong successful participation in physical activity, and an appreciation of strength. Success is determined at an individual level and is centered around recognising progress of any kind. The nature of weightlifting competition also allows for an emphasis on meeting personal challenges rather than beating others. Gabi prioritises this while fostering a team environment in which all athletes encourage each other.
The athletes involved over the last 12 months have varied backgrounds and existing commitments, which Gabi has worked to accommodate. Whether working around jobs, other sports, or having no prior sporting involvement, Gabi shapes opportunities to work for the individual, including the management of volume, intensity and exercise selection to support safe engagement and sufficient recovery.
- Gabi leads by example by showing up with the attitude she wishes others to emulate; positive and encouraging, while being honest and open. The environment thrives through the recognition of accomplishment without unnecessary fluff or ego. Confidence and self-belief in being able to do something is built through the accruement of evidence. Gabi sets her athletes appropriate challenge to enable continual successful progression, and encourages athletes to have their own voice and share perceptions/feedback in a supportive way without judgement. Athletes feel safe
- There has been significant positive feedback from athletes and parents, however the most telling thing has been participation numbers. This year Gabi had 26 Hamilton youth regularly participating weightlifting, 21 of whom were totally unaware of the sport before Gabi encouraged their giving it a go. Of the 26 only 4 started with the intent of competing. As a reference there were 5 Hamilton athletes at the 2022 New Zealand Secondary School Weightlifting Championships, and in 2023 there were 20 (19 coached by Gabi). Gabi had the most athletes at the event of any attending coach across New Zealand.
- The biggest thing Gabi has supported her athletes in developing is confidence, and a belief that they can navigate and achieve difficult things. For the vast majority of youth they had not even heard of weightlifting before being introduced by Gabi, let alone brave enough to step onto the competition platform. Since becoming involved, multiple athletes have set more ambitious goals in the sport. Gabi is an international coach yet continually encourages and works to develop those at all levels, and takes the time to discuss and educate without judgement. The fact that athletes want to be involved and choose to continue being involved is evidence of the positive experience.
- Gabrielle (Gabi) Peach
- Weightlifting New Zealand/Waikato Weightlifting Club/Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
- Hamilton City
- Community Coach