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Grades in Sec School Champs

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 6:53 PM  
Having higher grades than at present may indeed put some "not yet so goods" off competing - at the National Championships. But maybe equally it will inspire them to do more orienteering at a local level so that they CAN come and race at the Nationals? Which is maybe a good thing?

Show Profile  NSmith Posted: 7 August 2014, 7:18 PM  
@comatose @addison

There actually already is a M14 grade competition with NZ and Australia!

Looked like quite abit of fun last year and its scheduled again for Tasmania this Janurary. It doesn't link in with the whole ANZ challenge and again the competition is against state teams rather than a Australian team but then it's more for fun rather than competition. Some states/countries (Ie: team TAS/NZ) were also combined last year to give more even numbers.

Obviously all it needs now is a little bit more publicity!

Show Profile  Taupoite Posted: 7 August 2014, 8:07 PM  
Lyn - If the IGC goes up to red grade, how many of the 68 would still compete? I think about 30 – a similar number to the Nationals. Possibly about 20 will stay in the orange class as IGS. All the other girls would be lost. Having the big drop in competitor numbers would mean that the relays are no longer viable, as very few schools would have three girls there in the same age group.
Mike and Lyn– you keep saying that you aren't being elitist. That may be true but the effect of making the grades harder will cause the SS competition to between a lot smaller group of higher skilled competitors with a lot of drop out in the lower grades. And if they are going to be races for selection of the Australian Champs team, then we should cut it down to two classes with the age split at 15.
Going on the results of the last 10 years, why do we need to change? The team has won every competition which seems the selectors get it right with the current structure. If there is to be change, it has to be for very good reasons with realistic aims and achievable goals. The arguments advanced so far don't do that.

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 7 August 2014, 8:21 PM  
It may be useful at this point if we discuss the Champs only as an individual competition - that is, take out the skew of any points-gathering or selections level.

I didn't hear any of the seniors at this year's NZSSC saying "I think I would have won if it had been a Red Long". The seniors make the race a real race amongst themselves, so I think keeping this level of difficulty for Yr 12/13s is ok.

I overheard a boy in the intermediate grade say (at the queen's birthday event) "I don't worry about schools... school's is easy". That boy didn't go on to win the NZSS IB Champs race but he gave it a serious try - I saw him cross the finish-line and he had given it everything, showing the competition was obviously a valid one for him. No intermediate boy ran up this year, one intermediate girl did. The top 20 kids in each both IB and IG would perhaps prefer one level higher if surveyed.

But in the Juniors the top 6 kids would prefer to run TWO levels up. And therein lies the crutz of it ... all this discussion for 12x disgruntled kids (and their parents). But I see that number doubling each year from now as we get closer to second generation kids etc. Anyone dare to create a "Turquoise" course or a "Blue" course for the future Junior grade to satisfy all in the grade? This would help those Yr7/8s believe they are not doing yellow for another 2 years.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 8:50 PM  
Taupoite -But by the same logic (which I take to be - the more the merrier, regardless of whether it really brings them into orienteering) let's have all the kids run white. Watch those entry numbers swell, especially in seniors!

If that's the goal, that's fine, its a valid goal. But make sure it is called the grand orienteering have-a-go carnival and NOT the National Championships.

In NZ 'elitist' is a dog whistle dirty word. But having something called a National Championships IS 'elitist'. That is, it involves winners, and, hmmm "non-winners"? But its not just about the top couple, some kids want to compete at the level that challenges them even if they don't win.

Jane, I don't know why or how you conclude the top 6 juniors want to run TWO levels up. They want to run in the first available orange course, that's one up. And, why personalise it like that only so as to disparage? My daughter isn't top 6, but she's 14 and hasn't run a white course at club since she was 9 years old. She finds it trivialises the sport she loves in the eyes of her schoolmates because they come along, run a white at a so-called "nationals" and declare there's nothing to it.

And you said the top 20 kids in both IB and IG would like to go up a level. You are guessing, but if you accept one number then you have to accept the other, so now its 50+ and...

Would "only" 50 kids entering IG (C+S) be so terrible? And why would the others be "lost"? If the only orienteering they do is NZSS we are not getting what we want to get in terms of involvement in the sport anyway.

How about we allow kids to enter as "unofficial" in lower grades, for the experience? So its a Championship and a "have a go" opportunity rolled into one occasion, but not mixed up?

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 9:11 PM  
My arguments on this have nothing to do with the selection thing as I have repeatedly emphasised.

They are about credibility and consistency of something we CALL a National Championship but seem to want to water down (at least for the juniors) into something less than that.

Here is an aim/goal: to increase the participation of school-age orienteers and their families in local orienteering clubs by raising the standard of school championships, and encouraging students to seek (through local participation) to acquire the skills necessary for competently participating (not necessarily winning) in those championships. And thus to increase mid level (not just elite) involvement in orienteering as a whole.

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 7 August 2014, 9:20 PM  
Dare I suggest that the success of our juniors/JWOCs is because we put the general grades up 10 years ago and they rose to meet it?

Might it follow that if we put the school grades up as well, even more would rise to the challenge??

Show Profile  PaulTS Posted: 7 August 2014, 9:59 PM  
Interesting discussion. Of the various themes circulating in this thread (selection approaches, World Schools and more) I'll try to stick to the NZSS grades.

I believe that the grades at the NZSS Champs are not well sorted. I don't have an ideal solution, however. Below are a few thoughts, apologies that they are not coherently organised.

1. We can consider the NZSS Champs and the NI/SI Champs as separate entities. I wonder if there is a solution there - considering the Island Champs are the participation event and the NZSS as more "hard core" (but not sure how to formalise that thought usefully).

2. Almost every SS event I've been to in the last few years, I've had to persuade most (but importantly, not all) of my school team that it is not degrading to "run down" as they see it. That suggests to me something is wrong.

3. I've had parents complain that they are paying good money for their kids to attend championships to run easy courses.

4. Adding the sprint events has helped - good call to include these. Of course, the sprint terrain means we manage to get the "elite", championship and the standard runners all on the same course at the same time.

5. The parents of the weaker kids in my school group have the expectation that the NZSS champs is not for them. I encourage participation (but then we don't bring anybody who hasn't shown credibility at local schools events).

6. I've had kids who benefit from the standard grade. There would indeed be mayhem for such kids if the grades got tougher. I said I had no solution!

Basically, we have the issue that the champs are doing too much. Someone gets "burned" whatever we do. My opinion is that having the NZSS champs as the weaker cousin to the Nationals is OK, but not ideal.

(Out of interest, what would happen if we scrapped the points competitions for schools would that change anything in terms of where kids felt they could run?)

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 8 August 2014, 7:20 AM  
Grade Champ Stand NOVICE (new) Relay
Senior Red Orange ------ Orange
Inter Red Orange Yellow Yellow
Junior Orange Yellow ------ Yellow
Yr 7/8 Yellow White ------ White

OK - I read a lot a concern around the effect on the intermediate level. On reflection I think there is a point there. The step up from yellow to orange is the biggie. But on the other hand intermediate is an ideal transitional because everyone has 2 years in the intermediate age group (some are 2 years in juniors, some 1, depending on birthday, and vice versa for seniors).

So we add a novice grade for intermediates. Yes, its an extra grade, but only ONE (well, 2 if you separate boys and girls, and maybe you could actually just have the same course for them?)

This allows everyone to have a progression, whether fast or slow, over the years from 9-13 or 7-13. No Yr 9s are running white. If the yellow relay for ints is set intelligently (as JGC was at Waiuku) there can be areas of orange challenge available in route options, but it can be manageable by relative novices.

Thoughts? Comments?

Show Profile  lyns Posted: 8 August 2014, 7:21 AM  
OK - the table didn't post properly, hope you can figure out the columns...




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