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m/w17 - 20e

Show Profile  nick Posted: 28 February 2006, 4:07 PM  
It is quite right to point out that a junior eltie grade shoots itself in the foot if it discourages competitors from progressing into it. This issue of progression would appear to be the key to the success of such a grade.

I can't help feeling that a combined junior elite format is the way forward. Perhaps 16's, 18A and 20A could feed into 17-20E, and competitors in these feeder grades could be offerred a standard basic development package via NZOF/Clubs/Schools to encourage their progress in the sport. D-Squad needn't be effected.

Also agree that course distance is an issue that needs to be addressed. It would be ridiculous for this to scupper the whole concept though. Simon seems to have it right, I think; a broader range of events is required (not just classic week in week out).

Right, I'll leave you to continue tying yourselves in knots...

Show Profile  PaulS Posted: 28 February 2006, 8:15 PM  
Don't let my performances stop you from renaming the grade so you can feel better about yourselves.

Show Profile  Kate Posted: 28 February 2006, 9:41 PM  
keep everything the same grades and course wise apart from call m/w20a m/w17-20e? only offer it as a combined e grade and then just 20b. those not up to 17-20e can run their proper age group, and 16 and 18 are still offered. you'd still provide the superficial name change etc and cater for those not up to the length of 20s.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 28 February 2006, 9:47 PM  
Untill the standard is there for a E grade why should it get changed. In Sweden you normaly have to be good enough to run in it, so I reckon until a BIG group of juniors all man-up you don't have the right to have an E grade.

On the same sort of topic, in Oz you are ment to be on the Elite list to be able to enter the M/W 21E grade. Has there ever been an idea to have a list of such in NZ?

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 1 March 2006, 6:27 AM  
Not seriously.

Show Profile  Dave Barr Posted: 1 March 2006, 9:34 AM  
I'm confused about this whole topic in terms of the goal of the whole exercise. I thought that the NZOF was working under the paradigm that you broaden the base to raise the peak.

Therefore broaden base > increase competition in numbers > raises quality of competition > increases performance of top athlete.

By that reasoning, the question is does this raise the quality of the competition. If the answer is yes, then drop-outs etc are irrelevant, as we can skip steps one and two thus saving wasting resource in those areas that can be better allocated to those who are striving to achieve high performance standards.

If the goal of our top junior grades at regional and national events is not to raise the performance of the top athletes we should just rename the national and development squads the dolphins and the porpoises and replace neil with someone more cuddly.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 1 March 2006, 11:50 AM  
I know I wasn't the only observer to notice the sense of excitement about the combined junior grade at Waitangi. One-off/special circumstances/mere re-branding/experiment - whatever it was, the orienteering zeitgeist shifted... There *is* something in the idea that is worth pursuing.

Kate is on the right track I think (as is Tane, if I understand him right). On her design, "Second tier" juniors would be catered for in the same way as they are now, and the "top-tier" juniors, rather than being split across 2 grades have one grade providing big fields and tougher competition. Call the combined junior elite grade what you like - Porpoises? Tadpoles? Ducklings? M/W17#&@x$!20KY - it doesn't really matter. The point is that junior grades would be determined by ability before age.

On that point, here's another design suggestion for consideration: replace junior age grades between 16-20 with ability based grades; junior E, junior A, junior B. These could run on existing courses, for example: courses 2, 4 & 5 respectively. I haven't really thought this concept through yet, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts (juniors and crusties please). Why are we beholden to these age brackets?

As for the number of grades, I would expect to produce *less* grades, not more (especially with JE/JA/JB! 6 grades becomes 3). I don't think we currently have the numbers to sustain all these age grades *and* have stiff competition in each of them. As Dave suggests, broadening the base is one way to improve this situation, but it would also improve a combined junior elite grade design. In fact, I'd say that broadening participation at junior level is an essential goal, in any case. A potential result of having less grades may be that there is less work for organisers. It may also make our sport a little more coherent for newcomers and outsiders, more particularly media and sponsors!

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 1 March 2006, 12:04 PM  
I've been thinking along your lines all along Nick. REPLACE 16-20 year age grades with ability grades.
It offers some solutions to the problems that Thomas wouldn't admit were there. One remaining problem would be the stigma of not running the E or A grade (No Junior I know says they run b grade in public). So I think we would have to "rebrand" the grades eg, Junior Elite, Junior Advanced and Junior Standard.

Any other problems? Yes

This message was edited by Simon Addison on 18 March 2006, 9:49 PM

Show Profile  addison Posted: 1 March 2006, 12:23 PM  
Now we are starting to think logically. This type of ability grade would go a long way, but there must be emphasis on not having the same classic mentality that currently is in place for all events. We would want the star M16's who would be running this grade to be competitive and if they are technically the best I would love to see a 15year old win.

But in saying all of this, we must remember there is a time and a place to have ones own grade. When offically deciding who is the best "M16" in the country, perhaps a system can come in that when running "JUNIOR ELITE" at Nationals, the M16 title goes to the top placed M16 runner in the grade... or something along those lines.

Show Profile  Brenda Boghopper Posted: 1 March 2006, 1:44 PM  
Nono Simon your second para is having a bob each way. What's so magic about 20? Delete juniors altogether, withdraw from Lithuania, and trial for Denmark.

I was actually hoping this would all lead to having a W63E grade, but I'll give that up for the greater good.

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 1 March 2006, 2:09 PM  
"we must remember there is a time and a place to have ones own greade"

Why? Why do we have to decide the best 16 year old junior. Why not the best left handed junior. I agree with Brenda Woodhopper, you've got a bob each way, Simon. Afraid of change?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 1 March 2006, 2:43 PM  
Do it in Weight Classes, drop the age and sex and just fight it out, fatty vs. fatty, skinny vs. skinny.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 1 March 2006, 3:52 PM  
[weight grades - hahaha - or to adjust for weight, make the lighter runners wear sumo suits]

I'm less for renaming grades to salve the fragile egos of young orienteers, and more for putting systems/resources in place to encourage their development. This is still a sport, not a counselling session. A sense of progress and acheivement is more important than the name of your grade, I reckon.

I think the important thing is providing clear pathways for progression and providing a basic programme of technical instruction for all juniors, to help them cross that nebulous technique threshold earlier rather than later. Sooo, I was pleased to read Darren's thoughts in the latest O mag about sharing the love, coaching wise...

Show Profile  SJ Posted: 1 March 2006, 4:45 PM  
I'm not too sure about making it all the way from 16s though... There is a lot of difference between a 15 year old and a 20 year old, both pysically and technically. What is more, that would mean that the first year out of orange, many young orienteers would go straight into the 17-20E grade. And to those who say they would enter the A or AS grade, they wouldn't. I know I wouldn't have. And let's face it, they would be obliterated. A first year red orienteer running on Course 2 at Nationals, maybe 10km+ we're looking at 3 hours or more easily, or a DNF.

I think a 17 year old stands a good chance in a grade like this, but going all the way from 15-20 is a bit over the top. Some people are now seeming to support this pretty extreme idea when they had favoured no change at all. A change like that is a bit too radical without a trial perhaps at 17-20 first, and I'm sure it would see a lot of promising young orienteers either get wasted, which is not a prime objective, or drop out of the sport, which is even worse.

I think 20E should replace the current 18A and 20A, with men run on Course 2 and women Course 4. This would give equal courses to the current 20A grades. This provides a good length course in preparing for things like JWOC and for 21E in the future, and would create a good competition amongst juniors. This would also mean M20E would go up against the W21E, giving some good competition at a similar level, whil W20E would go up against M45 and M50, which would probably also be a similar level. With the benefits of splits and a greater analysis, this would give juniors the opportunity to gauge their level against more experienced seniors and to discuss ways to improve with them after the event.

The 20A grades could be on Course 4 for men and Course 6 for women. These would be similar courses to the current 18A grades. The M20As could then compare with the W20Es, giving a greater scope for discussion etc.

The 20AS grades could be on Course 6 for men and Course 7/8 for women. These would be similar to the current 16A grades. As mentioned before, this would then allow juniors to compare across grades, this time the W20A with the M20AS. 20B would be on the same course as currently.

I think the benefit of this sort of cross-grade comparison is underestimated, and I think particularly with the 20E grades, should be encouraged. Pitting yourself against an older, probably technically better orienteer would give you the chance to see where they get the slight edge in time.

I also think this change should be aimed at improving top juniors while retaining the social runners. This would be good for the sport at the highest level, both in juniors and leading into Elites, while keeping the base of the sport strong.

I also think some of the people who would have been in this grade recently seem to oppose it, and I'm not quite sure why that is, but I think they need to look at how successful it is in Australia, and how well it worked at Waitangi weekend. NZ does not have a whole load of great juniors, so we need to try and get them competing against each other as much as possible to lift our level.

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 2 March 2006, 7:07 AM  
I think if we made m/w17-20E grades all our juniors would be as good as Sweden’s.

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