Senior Associate Athletic Director for Athletic Performance, University of California San Diego
Co-Founder / Managing Director, Athlete Nation LLC
Doctor of Philosophy
A passion for sport is what drives AUT sport and recreation alumnus Dr Matthew Kritz who has more than 20 years of experience in elite sport and has worked with Olympic athletes from 21 different sports.
“I love sport, and what sport represents to cultures and societies worldwide, and I’m interested in how being more athletic leads to mental, emotional and physical confidence.”
He is proud of two decades of physically and mentally preparing athletes in both ground and water-based sports, Matthew says.
“I’m pleased that I found a career I truly love, that I’m good at what I do and that my efforts over the years have had a meaningfully positive impact on the organisations and athletes I’ve supported. I’m passionate about working in high-performing cultures that develop and support a collaborative and integrated sports performance support services model.”
Shaping the future of sport
As the senior associate athletic director for athletic performance at the University of California San Diego, Matthew has plenty of opportunities to pursue his passion for sport. As part of his role, he has effectively integrated the university’s strength and conditioning, sports medicine, sports nutrition, sports analysis and sports psychology services, creating a new model for wellness and performance for university athletes in the US.
Before returning to the US from New Zealand in 2018, he was the national director of strength and conditioning for High Performance Sport New Zealand where he was instrumental in growing the country’s strength and conditioning discipline for about 500 Olympic and international level New Zealand athletes competing in a variety of sports.
“I’m proud of the opportunities I’ve had working in high performance environments in three countries through four Olympic cycles, supporting more than 20 Olympic and World Championship medal campaigns.
“I loved being involved in creating and developing High Performance Sport New Zealand and the positive impact that organisation has had in enabling more New Zealanders to win on the world stage since 2008, and the positive impact the national infrastructure I helped create will have on the future of New Zealand sport.”
In addition to his role at the University of California San Diego, Matthew also continues to serve as the managing director of Athlete Nation LLC, which uses the unique Kritz Movement System that guarantees measurable results to athletes of all levels, from first-time exercisers to Olympic athletes.
A chance to conduct meaningful research
Completing a doctorate at AUT enabled him to pursue a research topic that was of real interest to him, says Matthew who completed his PhD in 2012.
“I was interested in better understanding human movement as it related to performance and the mechanisms of injury. My PhD gave me the opportunity to do novel work that could have a meaningful impact on how individuals are strength trained for their performance and wellness goals.”
Together with Professor John Cronin from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation, he developed the Movement Competency Screen, a patented prognostic movement screening tool to help sport and health professionals better understand how people use their body when they perform fundamental movement tasks.
“This topic was of real interest to me because at the time there was no tool of its kind that had been developed empirically. There was also no tool that provided information to the sport and health professional about which fundamental movement pattern could be aggressively loaded and which required more developmental attention using a simple but intuitive battery of movement tasks that didn’t require extra equipment.”
He appreciated the flexibility his PhD offered him, says Matthew who was balancing his studies with working full-time helping create what is now High Performance Sport New Zealand.