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A High Performance Startegy

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 7 September 2004, 5:53 AM  
I've been appointed as NZ's first High Performance Director and I've been given two priorities: the Superseries, and a High Performance Plan.

I'm interested to hear what you think we should be aiming at. Note that these plans are "top-down", they start with the very general and work down to objectives before looking last at what we might do to achieve objectives. Some of the most notable achievements come from working "bottom-up" ie trying out an idea, which has success, and building it up.

However this topic is about WHAT we should try to achieve, not how (yet).

Obviously great international results, but how would we express that?

With a small population we are going to have occasional brilliant players, and when they retire we appear to go backwards. An illustration: On the back page of the DomPost this morning, are reported results from a world championship. Kiwi men got 46th, 62, 69, 84 and 95 out of 154. The women did well with an 8th, 25, 44 and 64 presumably out of a smaller field. Nothing really spectacular, sort of the results we might expect in orienteering. But what made it hit the outside page was that Jonathan Wyatt won the world mountain-running champs for the third time!

An absolutely fantastic achievement a week after coming 21st in the Olympic marathon. But take Wyatt away and what have you got? Is our objective is to produce a Wyatt (and how would we measure progress when Wyatt retires?) Is our objective more about the standing of our top group (and how big would that be?) How do we measure this standing?

If you're not into this conceptual stuff, stay away from this topic, I'll be doing "bottom-up" stuff later:-))

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 7 September 2004, 5:59 AM  
Yes I know, I cant spel, and you cant edit the title of a topic:-((

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 8 September 2004, 2:11 AM  
startegy, has a good ring to it where do we start, where do we go from here, what do we want to achieve and whats the best way to go about it...the essence of a strategy.

How about cutting the reliance on pokies money, or at least spending it on sustainable high performance orienteering infrastructure rather than random airflights for imposter young elite orienteers many of who are lazy bastards.

Invest money from pub "charities" on two focal points of high performance orienteering...Christchurch and Auckland, perhaps fund map production, printing in these localities as well as key places where training camps could be regularly held, Naseby in the South, Rotorua in the North.

Look at subsidising physio/sport science visits for some of our potential athletes, who while willing to make sacrifices for orienteering events, sometimes compete below par for biomechanical reasons.

Regular training in decent sized groups is the key, we need to look at mechanisms to get people together in these two focal areas.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 8 September 2004, 7:23 AM  
Please Jamie leave the "how" for the moment and spend a bit of time on what we want to achieve and how we might measure it...

Show Profile  Chris Forne Posted: 8 September 2004, 8:06 AM  
As far as a Nations sporting performance goes it's medals that count. One podium finish is always perceived better than 10 also rans.

Let's have an initial objective of obtaining a top 10 placing at WOC in both mens and womens at least once every two years. And a podium placing (top 3) at least once every 5 years.


Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 8 September 2004, 8:57 AM  
ok apologies

I believe that it is unrealistic to set such goals, not that they are undesirable, but their fulfillment is finally dependant on exceptional individual effort.

I think what we need to focus on is creating a base level higher than we have now so when an exceptional individual, say Alistair Landels, steps out from the crowd he reaches the top rather than 20th in the world or whatever.

We can measure this base through quality and depth of domestic performance. We can also measure this base through physical performance measures, such as a 10km terrain run or what have you...I can hear the groans already, but no one is going to be among the best elite orienteers if they can't run to save themselves at any distance.

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 8 September 2004, 9:03 AM  
Are juniors included in this plan? Goals for some JWOC results would be good as this would have flow on effects in the long term as well (you would hope).

Show Profile  darren Posted: 8 September 2004, 12:08 PM  
Hi, some random thoughts.

I agree with Jamie, working on our depth and base is very important. It needs to be the first priority. Continued development of the Super Series and Trans Tasman challenges are essential for this.

Chris is exactly right in saying that it is medals that count to our sporting nation. After medals, a very close second is beating anyone wearing green and gold.

Goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) and having goals for top 10 at WOC level are not realistic or achievable (in the short term) and will only become achievable if our very best move to Europe or maybe if we have a WOC in NZ.
Don't take this the wrong way, I definitely believe certain WOC's are well worth aiming for as this is how we truely can gauge our international improvement.
I reckon we can just make better use of our resources focusing on activities closer to home.

The top Aussie guys (who are far better than our top guys) have all been living in Europe for large chunks of time for the last decade or so and while close to world class on their day, they are not exactly bringing home truckloads of medals. This proves how hard it is to perform at WOC and WC level.

Actually, they probably stay in Europe because they are too scared to take on the Pinestars on NZ soil!

The exception to all this is Sprint Orienteering here I see we have a SMART goal for a medal at WOC. This is because the difference between winning and losing is very small and although speed and nav skill are tested to the max, luck does play more of a part than other forms of O.

If we are to include other forms of O lets not forget Rogaine (we've already had several World Champions) and MTB-O (We will find out how realistic this is next month) or do they not come under the HIgh Performance umbrella?

I also agree with Jamie's idea for physical performance, maybe we need to be seeking advice (from outside of orienteering) to help turn us all into budding Jonathan Wyatts. When we can all regularly beat Carsten (I'm just talking about the guys) in running races on a regular basis then we can start thinking about WOC medals in the Long, Middle and Relay.

I'm not sure of the full story (somebody might know?) but several years ago (5 or 6?) Triathalon NZ decided it wanted to pull finger and started some High Performance thing. It is my understanding that they created a team of top class coaches (run, swim, cycle, head, nutrition...) to work with the top athletes and now the awesome results are coming.
Maybe its worth looking at the Tri NZ model?

Anyway, the priorities the way I see it should be something like this (in no particular order) -

Super Series - continue the growth
Test Matches - maybe look to increase the number to 4 over the next couple of years.
Sprint O - top 10 in Japan 05
Regular training camps for squad linked in with big events.
World Rogaine Champions (in as many classes as possible) in Aussie 2006 (if this fits in HP)
Specialised coaching especially for running, available to squaddies.

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 8 September 2004, 12:50 PM  
When "how" comes along I'm sure there'll be a lot more comments. But as for what we should be aiming at I think we can quite easily base some goals on past achievements.

Considering results from the last 15-20 years such as what Tania or Richard Bolt have got at JWOC or what Katie, Tania, Rob J (relay), or myself have achieved at senior level I think any goals that are set at internatinoal level can easily be in the order of top 15.

Performances in Australian should also be included in any goal-setting. I think that only when considering personal goals can domestic results within NZ be considered.

{Note that any names I have or haven't mentioned are entirely based on my rather rusty memory of some good results that occured in the past, I haven't purposely intended to omit anyone who may also have achieved a top result}

Show Profile  Alistair Posted: 8 September 2004, 12:58 PM  
I wrote that before I read Darren's contribution which I mostly agree with.

You don't need to beat Carsten in running races to be thinking about WOC medals.

Show Profile  Dave Mcc Posted: 8 September 2004, 1:53 PM  
i'm in the boat sailing with Fraser on this one. From a youngins point of view i think some serious plan need to be put in place now for JWOC in Australia. I know allready that it is one of the D-Squads main golas is to get a full team over there but how about this idea...

We have fair idea of who are a young stars so why not identify them as possible JWOC team members. Because we all live in different areas these "possibles" could then fly under the wings of one of the older orienteerers... eg:Taranaki can be Karl D... Wellington.... Michael... etc. surely if we take responsibilty of our young stars they we become our old farts who are achieving. We need to have support there for us at a very young age.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 8 September 2004, 4:53 PM  
I'm more concerned with whats goning to happen after WOC'05 and JWOC'07 I think we need to have plans to keep developing depth in NZ. The OZ test matches are good if you are sending the right people at the moment we are not.

Top 15 even Top 10 WOC results are realistic but as Darren said you have to be living or spending a large chunk of your time in Europe.

As for Aims I think the WOC results (top 15) should be a starting point. Also it is possible for us to get a top 10 result at JWOC as well, but I think it should be more important trying to produce 3-4 guys every year that are capible of getting a top 20. With the WOC results we should be trying to get 3-4 people of each sex good enough for these results (as it all comes down to on the day performance) and if we have this depth we should also be able to get some really good relay results as well.

Show Profile  Andrew M Posted: 9 September 2004, 3:06 AM  
Aims for the next 2-3 years. (in no particular order)

A top 10 placing at JWOC.
Continued growth of the Superseries - 10 competitive men / 5 competitive women from each region.
Annual elite training camps, a camp in New Zealand and overseas each year.
Developing a support network of specialist coaches, sports physiologists, running coach.
A male and female elite ranked in World Top 50.

Aims for the next 5-10 years.

Sending a full and competitive team to JWOC. Relay teams in top 10.
Superseries with rounds in Australia and regular involvement from international elites.
Elite squads based in each region with support network of specialist coaches.
3 or 4 individuals qualifying for finals at WOC
A top 20 placing at WOC every year.
Top 5 placing once every 5 years at WOC.
Orienteering sports betting at the TAB.

This message was edited by Andrew M on 9 September 2004, 11:07 AM

Show Profile  jeffg Posted: 9 September 2004, 3:48 AM  
Top level sport (any sport) is about winning. No exceptions.
The high performance plan for orienteering has to be able to take the one-in-a-million talented junior and get them to the podium at JWOC and then WOC. If they get 20th or 15th (i.e. don't meet their full potential) well that's not good enough.
The ultimate goals will no doubt have a balance of emphasis on depth and individual achievement, but if they can't accommodate that vision of winning on the highest stage, then that will be reflected in the results and the profile of the sport in NZ.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 9 September 2004, 4:09 AM  
The one in a million junior will make it to the top with the help of one or two key mentors as long as the wider high performance program gives them the competition and motivation as they rise through the ranks.

We need to build a decent "springboard" into Europe. Lets arm our talent with good techniques, physical excellence, discipline and experience in quality domestic competitions.

This message was edited by Jamie on 9 September 2004, 12:09 PM

Show Profile  A1 Posted: 9 September 2004, 4:44 AM  
be careful about putting performance expectations like that on juniors. telling your most talented juniors they've failed at jwoc because they only came 8th could mean the end of them achieving anything as an elite - which is far more important. In aus we have performance goals for elites, but junior competition is considered entirely developmental and good results are a bonus.

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