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Student story

AK Yap

20 July 2023

"My dream is to attend either the Olympics or FIFA World Cup as a team official..."


Bachelor of Sport Coaching endorsed in Performance Analysis

Junior Squad Coach, Badminton Canterbury

Badminton World Federation Level 1 Certified Coach

Originally from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, AK has started a new chapter in life in New Zealand with studies in Sport Coaching.

AK had completed a Master of Business Administration in the UK, and had been working in marketing with her own consultancy business for 15 years, before deciding to change career direction.

"As I've always loved sports, it seemed like a great idea to pursue this part of my interest as a second career," she says. "I believe that my previous experiences in business management, marketing, and as a former athlete complemented my area of study and will give me an advantage in the new career that I plan to embark on."

New Zealand was her choice of destination after visiting in a family holiday several years ago.

"Travelling around the South Island I fell in love with the beautiful nature and living environment. It is the total opposite of what I've experienced coming from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur, the city that I was born and lived in throughout my life."

Living in her favourite city Christchurch meant UC was an ideal location for study. UC's Sport Coaching degree also appealed to her because of its balanced focus on sport science and sport coaching sociology and theory.

"The knowledge you acquire will be very handy when dealing with athletes. Your ability to scientifically explain and demonstrate the benefits of your coaching methods increases your credibility and confidence," she says.

"I major in sport Performance Analysis which basically looks at scientific ways with the support of technology to enhance an athlete's performance from technique to tactics. As I've also completed courses related to sport physiology and psychology as part of the programme, this knowledge complements my work in Performance Analysis and developed me into a more complete coach. It also helps that I can apply them in my coaching practice and my own training to experience it first-hand."

The degree's emphasis on practical learning has seen her take part in a number of extra activities.

"I've done two field trips as part of my course – NZ Wheelchair Rugby National Championships 2017 and Noho Marae. Both were good learning experiences to see life from a different perspective and understanding different culture."

Being involved with UC Badminton Club has also been a great way to enhance her study and experiences within the student community.

"I became a member of the club to meet people and continue to play the sport that I love when I first arrived. I made my first few friends from the club and it expanded gradually. I was elected as the Vice President in my second year (2017) and President for 2018.

"I've made a lot of good friends since coming to UC and New Zealand," she says.

Through a role as a Junior Squad Coach with Badminton Canterbury, AK also gets badminton coaching practise around study. She was the coach of the Canterbury U17 team that competed at the New Zealand Junior Team Championship 2017. The team did extremely well to beat 2 higher seeded teams to finish as bronze medallists (the only team from South Island to finish among the top 6). AK credits the application of sport psychology in her coaching that she learned as part of UC's Sport Coaching degree for the team's success.

She has also been appointed as one of the coaches for the Mainland team that will be competing at the 2018 June Bevan Trophy and Australasian U17 Championship.

Through her own badminton ventures, AK has recently earned a gold medal in women's singles, a silver medal in mixed doubles, and a bronze medal in the team category for the 2018 New Zealand Masters Games.

"As I study full-time and work part-time, things can get a little hectic sometimes. However, I also find that my learning is enhanced through this combination as I can put into practice what I learn from classes. I manage between preparing for and attending lectures, planning for training sessions, and coaching work on a daily basis. In between, I try to work on assessments, revision, workout plus training for competitions, and chill with friends."

Looking ahead at her new career path, AK has big ambitions to take her coaching skills global.

"I want to be working with a professional sport organisation in a management position, such as team manager, head coach, strategic and development. My dream is to attend either the Olympics or FIFA World Cup as a team official in the future."

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