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Show Profile  nick Posted: 28 March 2014, 7:56 AM  
A relevant excerpt from the latest OSquad Blog:

The JWOC field probably has its biggest depth for a long time. As a previous winner what does it mean to have so many vying to follow in your footsteps?

It is inspiring to see so many juniors coming through the system. It is a credit to the hard work and dedication of people like Mike Beveridge. I cant wait to see the next Junior World Champion from NZ! However, it is going to be tough for the juniors over the next few years as they head into battle in scandi terrain. The thing that inspires me most though from these juniors is the passion that these kids have for the sport! If you love the sport then you will be with it forever!

Show Profile  JohnR Posted: 28 March 2014, 9:51 AM  
Nick I might have found the answer
Well an answer for our club Counties.
The answer is in the program we offer to club members. The situation in Auckland is we have three clubs. Two clubs Auckland and North west have their maps north of the city in Woodhill. Travel from the south is equal to going to Hamilton or if the event is at slater road if we went in the other direction we would be in Taupo.
Because of the event venues our club members have to travel north two out of three events.So in the ten events before the nationals 8 are north and only two in our area.
Looking at the stats the last event at Woodhill attracted 9 club members out of a total field of 198
The event before at Waiuku forest which was held in a predicted storm which didn't happen we had 53 from our club out of a field of 123 and more important Nick, half were juniors. And this has been our only event this year.
So we have a great client base--6weeks 400 students--and no follow up events in our area for them to go to.
Watch the program next year, there is going to be a massive change.
Thanks Nick and Michael for your input

Show Profile  Iva Posted: 28 March 2014, 10:10 AM  
No wonder you like to play "my dick is bigger than your dick" all the time Robbie, your concept of distance is so out of kilter

Show Profile  Dwayne Posted: 28 March 2014, 11:25 AM  
I liked what this document has to say about coaching and its effect on participation.
There are lots of other good resources on the website, including

Show Profile  JohnR Posted: 28 March 2014, 11:31 AM  
Its 40 min to Hamilton from where i live
Its 75 min to Woodhill. For the Aspins add another 50 min
for the Goodalls add another hour.
Iva lets keep the thread constructive to solve a problem. We are all want to get young students from the sprint event into clubs and at the moment the percentage we attract is not great.

Show Profile  JohnR Posted: 28 March 2014, 11:48 AM  
Yes good stuff Dwayne. The way Im rolling at the moment is a training day each Sunday during the sprint series. If we can give these students something to go to we might get a better percentage taking up our sport. Getting enough helpers involved might be a challenge.

Show Profile  Dwayne Posted: 28 March 2014, 2:06 PM  
When the calendar is not too full I run a training session for AOC members during the week after school/work. Lately there have been 3 races per week that the kids can attend, so we don't need another night on top of that. After the sprint series finals I will start it up again. It has been a good way to get kids from brand new to confident yellow. Also gets them in contact with more experienced kids. All AOC members are welcome and we get a good number of adults come to have a run too. Similar to what Wellington are doing at the moment I guess. We have been using it to get the school kids to go the next step and join the club - only $20 for the year - and the trainings are free of charge. We generally use SummerNav or School maps, but have been to the forest on occasion.

Show Profile  Ad Posted: 1 April 2014, 12:06 PM  
As a newcomer to the sport following my son's participation in the 2013 AKSSSS, it think the problem may be the forest events are too big a leap for youngsters. Events in urban parks (the Domain, Western Springs etc) may be the answer following on from the Sprint Series before the interest is lost. Less travel for the parents - they can easily get a coffee too. The summer series is ideal but ends when the Sprint Series ends.
Dwayne's training evenings sound excellent. Maybe something can arranged for the North Shore kids - there were 40+ yr 7/8 boys at the North Sprint Series events.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 4 April 2014, 9:27 AM  
Seems like TONIC was a showcase for a very healthy junior-elite scene. Importantly, it wasn't the Old Orienteering Family names that dominated the top results - correct? Many of these kids joined the sport less than 5 years ago and have stuck with it out of (I guess we need to ask them) What we're really talking about is how to keep progressing more youngsters from SSSS to club/forest orienteering & eventually JWOC trials.

Reflecting on what Robbie, Dwayne & Ad have said here, we are looking to achieve the best possible alignment between:

(1) Calendar ie: the right type of events, at the right times, in the right order, appropriately spread across the region so as to be realistically accessible for the all important parent-drivers.

(2) Skill progression ie: the right level of challenge at the right times - by which I mean selecting friendly terrain, appropriate course design.

(3) Coaching/training to suit the athlete's needs as they develop their skill & confidence.

Actually, I think we're pretty close to getting this right in the Auckland region. Peeling back the layers on these 3 points you see there is some good stuff happening. Maybe concentrating on the *links* might bring us to a point where it clicks together. Like, Dwayne taking his training group to the forest, deliberately.

Show Profile  Mike B Posted: 6 April 2014, 9:20 PM  
Love the discussion and it's a subject close to my heart. Schools orienteering is very healthy in the right areas but a waste of time and resources in others.

In the three zones I'm involved with; North Shore, West and Central Auckland, the Shore and Central zones have seen huge growth at the Yr 7/8 age level and that's where I believe we should be really placing our focus. I'm not saying we should neglect the older age grades but if you hook them when they are younger, they don't have too many other sports happening. But the opposite occurs with the older kids and they don't stick around as much and other sports get a hold of them. There has been a huge increase in NW and AOC junior memberships this year with whole families getting involved. I'm not sure about CM Robbie could answer that one.

I look at the likes of Alice Tilley, Kayla Fairbairn, Helena Barnes, Rebecca Gray, Lauren Holmes and Kate Salmon, all from NW, they all started school orienteering at Yr 7/8 or earlier, learnt the skills got hooked and really didn't get too much involved in other sports although Alice was a hockey rep but decided she wanted to put her focus into this sport instead.

I mentioned about some areas being a waste of time and resources. I asked Renee tonight how many Pacific Island and Maori kids are involved in the areas we cover and it would be less than 1%. I spent Kiwisport grant money on mapping West Auckland Secondary and Intermediate schools and running coaching sessions in them all, to no avail. These kids are into team sports and don't show any interest in individual sports. I've got no participation at all in any schools with high Maori and Pacific Island rolls. The sport's staff pay you lip service but don't understand the sport so just dismiss it as being too hard.

The higher decile level areas is where our focus should be and that's where our focus must remain. That's where our growth will come from.

I've got to head off now but I'll pick the thread up on my return.

Show Profile  Mike B Posted: 6 April 2014, 11:47 PM  
Where to from here and how do we do it.

Nick I agree with your three points above. Sprint races hook them but we have to move them away from that and give them a taste of the other side of the sport. Creating a calendar of events leading on from the sprint series is the way to go and I think the rogaines are a good starter and do it with a loose school's type competition within the event. Then they are able to progress onto something slightly more challenging with a friend or individually if they wish.

I also like the park idea as that's also a natural progression away from the sprints, not over challenging and easily accessible transport wise. But as it's been pointed out the park events end the same time as the school series, along with daylight saving.

By building a pathway of suitable events their skills improve as they go and they become competitive with it.

It was interesting talking to some parents at the sprint finals over the weekend and they said their kids absolutely loved the series, had heard about the NISS event that was coming but didn't think their little Johnnie would be good enough at that higher level. They are not aware that their are two levels of competition, champ and std. So we need to also get to the parents and educate them to how it all works. When they see their kids deriving so many good life skills, although initially it doesn't appear so, they decide to become involved themselves and bingo you haven't only increased your membership by one but added another 2 or 3.

I coach the Dio squad and the team has grown from approx. 30 last year to 50 this year nearly half being Yr 7/8's. We ran a Have A Go day and with Dwaynes help and expertise, with SI, we ran a control punching exercise, along with various other exercises and the new girls loved it. We now have a hard core of 10/12 who have become very competitive among themselves and selecting relay teams is going to be very interesting. Through these girls we have parents who are becoming interested in competing as well. So it all builds on itself.

Getting back to the higher decile schools. These parents are the ones who have the discretionary spending and can afford to run their kids all over the countryside, pay for entries into events and buy all the gear that comes with the sport compasses ecards etc. Many people in lower decile areas can't do that.

So Central Auckland, the North Shore some parts out West, South East Auckland and the Franklin area is where we should be focusing our attentions and let's get as big a bang for our buck as we can.

When we started the sprint races about 5/6 years ago Matt and Gene were in their last year of school and we had about 250 entries in total for all of Auckland. This year we have probably had in advance of 1200 kids involved, over the past 6 weeks, and hopefully a decent % might stick if we make the events interesting and not to challenging for them.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 26 April 2014, 4:15 AM  
So... Was there a meeting at Nationals? Any developments?

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 26 April 2014, 8:56 AM  
I couldn't help noticing the lack of Hawkes Bay people at Nationals. For a club that has led the way with focus on junior development and was very strong a few years ago this was worrying. Perhaps someone from that a way has some insights.

No meetings at Nationals Nick.

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 28 April 2014, 11:28 AM  
The majority of HBOC are pretty happy just doing local events. The competition and quality is pretty high and the cost is rather low. Also the club comprises of over 150 juniors. A trip to nationals as well as NISS, NZSS and Schools Challenge at Queens Birthday starts deplete the parents wallet a fair bit.

Don't think there is too much to worry about.

Show Profile  MikeB Posted: 19 May 2014, 9:48 AM  
Having just organised the AKSS Champs last week the event has highlighted to me the need for some drastic changes to way school events are now run, especially the course/grade combination and the criteria for entering into the champs grade.

With the numbers now involved (we had 330 entries the other day and those numbers will only increase as the years go by) we are at the crossroads and we need to react now not in a couple of years time.

With the course/grade combinations we need to get away from this practice of running champs and standards on the same course. Champ courses should be champ courses designed for those capable of dealing it not making it some dumbed down course so the standards can get around too.

It's time we also lifted the colour to the same as we have at club level with juniors (M/W14) running orange and Intermediates (M/W16) red/orange but with fences and seniors (M/W18)red.

The junior ranks have swelled immeasurably now at club level and their skills have improved to the point where running the type of courses we are still dishing up is an insult to their abilities.

It could be seen by the times at the NISS particularly in the Junior and Intermediate grades the courses where way to simple and they turned into straight out running races and no test of orienteering abilities.

I have to head off now but I will continue this epistle on my return.

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