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Grades in Sec School Champs

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 August 2014, 12:08 PM  
I'll let someone else correct comatose on his wrong assumption about World Schools Teams being anything to do with the Top Schools points. Absolutely not, never have been.

The few people who are following the World's school's team selection know one school took the risk of having one W15 girl run up so she might get seen by selectors for Australia and in doing so vertually erased her school's possible selection for World Schools -that worked in Havelock North's favour but could be argued is a bizzare outcome. There would be some school Principals that wouldn't like making that choice very well - between having one NZ Rep in the sport, or 5.

Come-on guys....there must be a way that we can formulate better win-win points/grade system for kids and top school and selections, I am sure this issue just needs some more nutting out by us all.

How do we get over the situation when a coach says to a student...."What do you want to run in the NZSS Champs?" And the kid answers "Red" and the coach has to say, "No, you can't run that, not for another year." or "I don't want you to run that, because you won't earn us enough points". Solving this issue is how we meet the NSSSC's goal "to meet the kids interest and ability".

Most of the top kids have their heirachy sorted BEFORE they get to the Champs anyway. They have it sussed. Jenna knows her NZSS Junior Girls National title really wasn't a great competition win because others chose to run up -that sucks for her. She chose to be loyal to her school for the points, (and she had a great outcome for them, not denying that).

There must be something wrong when for years some parents have had this debate with their children....
Parent: "Are you going for a National Title this year"?
Child: "Nah, that's too easy. I am going to run up and let Devon and Sean fight it out."

Maybe it only happens for the second-time around Juniors? (I'll have to think about that more). But it happens, and I feel it needn't, could be avoided with more thought.

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 7 August 2014, 1:18 PM  
Ah, there is a correlation but I should not have assumed causality, have had a look at the selection policy and stand corrected on the detail.

But what I was trying to point out was that selecting the schools teams is dependent on depth that many smaller schools cannot field, so the glory of representing NZ at the World Schools events is something that very few schools are realistically competing for. It would be great if more schools could get the numbers of quality school kid orienteers up, and Hawkes Bay certainly have led the way in that area. But then if the numbers competing keeps increasing across the board, how practical is it to have an NZSSC that caters to everyone from total beginners to JWOC-level runners?

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 7 August 2014, 1:38 PM  
If NZOF does end up supporting sending "Selected Teams" to the World Schools competition as well as the School Teams (per the Selection Policy doc), you may see the dynamics of competition change again within the NZSSC, as individuals will have a chance of being selected for that even if their schools are not strong in orienteering overall. I think the NZOF has to look closely then how our levels/difficulty grade matches with international schools standards.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 7 August 2014, 2:20 PM  
"I think the NZOF has to look closely then how our levels/difficulty grade matches with international schools standards." WHY? Some people are not seeing this, the NZ National Champs is the NZ NATIONAL CHAMPS, not a selection race, or race for any other country.

It is then the selectors job to use all information available to them to select a team as they see fit.

Changing grades/levels to match something that is not the purpose of the event is not a solution to the problem you think you have. (The problem is you have your knickers in a twist over the job the selectors have done, and are blaming the made up problem)

On the note of kids running up, that is their decision (and I think the wrong one) the selectors actually tried to foresee this and advise these (very few) not to run up in the thought it would better their chances (whether it did is a selection matter, not a grade/level matter) If they think that running up and possibly getting 3rd to 5th in a 'harder' grade is better than winning and 'easier' grade then I suggest they are scared, and may not have been able to hold it together to win. The best will just about always win at schools level regardless of the difficulty. If everybody ran the correct grade then there wouldn't be any empty questioning over rightful title holders.

At least there has been some reasonable questioning about the appropriate level of the grades, driven by sensible questions, this is what should be driving a review, not selection problems driven by twisted knickers.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 3:13 PM  
Greg, with all due respect, what IS it with you and knickers?

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 3:15 PM  
Can we please try and keep this on the grading issue rather than selections? The discussion was just getting interesting...

Show Profile  comatose Posted: 7 August 2014, 3:40 PM  
I have no children involved in the current selections. MY KNICKERS ARE NOT TWISTED ;-)

But I have younger children and I am interested in the grading system being looked at closely, because the thought of them competing in yellow grades up to the age of 14 in the NZ SECONDARY SCHOOLS CHAMPIONSHIPS, when they will be running orange or red in any other competitions, just is not an attractive proposition.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 3:42 PM  
I think Greg's expressed concern (underwear notwithstanding) would have more bearing if the proposal was to change the NZSS grades from an NZ standard to , say a U15/O15 Oz based standard, purely to help the selectors.

But as I understand the tenor of what is under discussion here, it is actually not that, but whether the NZSS should align with the wider NZ junior standard (as at NZOC) ie junior=w/m14=orange (with a yellow standard grade), intermediate=w/m16=red (with an orange standard grade).

If such a re alignment was to be done, it should be based on what is good for the sport and school orienteering within the sport as a whole. If, as a happy side effect, the jobs of selectors and the choices of prospective selectees were made easier, then that would be a plus, but IMHO not a decider.

We seem to have teased out a core question which is should the NZSS champs be about maximum participation at a lower level or, has that job been achieved and is it time to raise the standard back to align with the general NZ grading system?

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 3:51 PM  
Indeed comatose - straight knickers here too. My W14 is not up in the selection group either, but she is certainly good enough to be profoundly irritated at having to run yellow/white for her school and a bit disappointed to not have the chance to measure herself against the top runners in her grade as they vanish off to run up.

With my other hat on as a parent organiser of a school team, I find the low grades a bit of a 2-edged sword in terms of 'marketing' the sport. On the one hand I can tell parents/students "do orienteering! Only sport where your Yr9 kid can represent the school at National level (get the school badge etc) even if they have never done it before! Roll up!"

BUT if I do that, the message the school sports administrators get is "this isn't a real sport, its tiddlywinks". And school, parents and kids alike are mightily difficult to persuade to train a bit, come to club events, support coaching etc when one look at a sample white map tells them they can do it easy peasy.

Also, for those who have done it at Yr 7/8, staying in the same grades for another 2 years is a little tedious.

Show Profile  Tane Cambridge Posted: 7 August 2014, 4:26 PM  
By the way, the standard hasn't been dropped for the NZ secondary champs, rather the NZ Champs grading was changed in and around about 2004 + or - a year or two. I seem to recall it going from orange for M16 to red. Various other grade changes were made then too. As far as I understand it, the Sec schools champs just were never changed to align with that.

If you want to be selected in a specific team its pretty simple. Run the grade you want to be selected for.

Selectors generally know whats going on (I hope!?!) and I don't see that effectively running "down" a colour grade at NZ Secondary Schools (if they are good enough to race at the colour grade above) is going to disadvantage anyone who is good enough to be selected?

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 7 August 2014, 5:12 PM  
Just a couple of things:
- Grades do not need reviewing, the best orienteer will largely come out on top no matter what. Having a "elite" grade will just put off the not so goods from coming and racing. We need to get back to what schools orienteering is all about - getting the orienteering brand out there and making sure as many competitors as possible enjoy themselves and want to come back again. Its like a pyramid, for NZ orienteers to reach a higher pinnacle they need a wider base - aka schools orienteering.More competition breeds better performances anyway.

- Worlds schools is a great experience for school aged orienteers. Speaking from EXPERIENCE of world schools (something ONZ does not have and from my understanding haven't really tried to get) having a selected NZ team would not work, be too costly and un needed. A lot of world schools (for all countries) is based around building friendships, experiences and the like, not so centered around the results (although these do matter).Selecting a NZ team would be stupid - 1 it is harder to co-ordinate, 2 it is costly (paying manager/coach) and 3 it is not needed. Even Sweden do not select a team - they send one school in the select grade and another in the school grade.
When I went in 2009 we managed to fundraise a large amount of the trip because local charities give money to local schools teams not to mention other activities like sausage sizzles, school socials and trail bike ride. All of these are highly unlikely to happen for a select team, ramping up the cost for these "lucky" chosen few.
Why dont we, if two schools want to go, send both! one in one grade and one in the other. At the end of the day, these really good guys are going to get there chance to run for NZ at Aus Schools Challenge level and most likely JWOC as well (all huge expenses). Why not expose the next tier to this high level competition and inspire future performances.

Once again (much like the woc long debacle and the seemingly under prepared world cup in tasmania) decisions are being made by people who are out of touch with the real heart of the sport and somewhat fail to even gauge opinion and gain knowledge from those who are in the know.

Anyways, all my opinion. Have a great day people

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 5:16 PM  
OK thanks Tane that's interesting in terms of history but doesn't change the fact that the "national" junior grades have been where they are for around 10 years. Maybe that has much more to do with how good our juniors are than the fact that the school events stayed lower, and maybe its time for the school programme to step back up?

I would like to pick up on comments that this all looks different from outside HB/Akl/WN. Aside from noting that Akl is far from homogeneous (I assure you things can look v different from coed vs single sex, state vs private, Yr 9-13 school vs Yr 1-13 etc) I think it would be great to hear from more perspectives, esp people associated with schools outside the centres. Please chime in!

Show Profile  addison Posted: 7 August 2014, 6:24 PM  
Good to see you in on the discussion Duncan, however it isn't good to see you interpreting things wrongly and throwing a bit of abuse around.

Just because we have a policy that allows for the selection of a representative team does not mean we will actually have a representative team. To draw this conclusion would be poor.

In addition to that if you look at the cycles of World Schools you will find it is in odd years, which is also when Oceanias is - and our preference is as always to have another interaction with Australia at a National Level due to points you mention plus a number of other points you haven't mentioned - over sending a team to Europe where we inevitably would need to cover Manager / Coach costs that we cannot afford.

The policy simply allows us potential to do something if we choose to. It does not bind us to doing something and we factor in a lot of items in the development of the sport.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 7 August 2014, 6:27 PM  

Interesting point about M/W14 - we haven't really considered this. We can check with Australia about interest in doing this.

About how other states select teams - many select based on their regional school champs if they are held early enough, others select off regional events which I think are just club events or equivalents of OY's. Each state has its own selection panel.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 6:49 PM  
DMJunior said: "Having a "elite" grade will just put off the not so goods from coming and racing. "

It's not an elite grade that's suggested, its just using the established national grade system instead of a lower one.

Not using the same grades is putting the best off running in their age grade at schools, or depriving them of a chance to enjoy the event at the level that challenges them, and depriving the middling-goods of a sense of real competition.

DMJunior also said: "what schools orienteering is all about - getting the orienteering brand out there and making sure as many competitors as possible enjoy themselves and want to come back again."

Those are indeed extremely worthwhile objectives for schools orienteering as a whole. But should they be the main objective of the National Schools Championship?

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