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Regional Training Squads

Show Profile  addison Posted: 4 December 2006, 4:44 AM  
I read briefly this morning with interest James' article on the training squad he has been operating in Auckland. It made me ponder a few things, which is a good thing as it obviously got me thinking about possibilities elsewhere.

So here is what I was thinking:

Didn't we have at National Squad level regional training squads (and coaches) a few years back - which basically failed as only certain regions got in behind these. James has set up a squad in Auckland for juniors, which is great, but is the underlying success the fact that everyone lives in the same city practically. All 3 clubs are right there next to each other.

The next issue is the fact that Auckland has 3 clubs which are all very strong, in terms of both numbers and talent. Not all clubs are like this. I know first hand that I came up through a club that had about 5 members, coaching was something I only obtained from a national level and if the system was to change then the likes of myself would have missed out dramatically when a bit younger in the dsquad.

Terrain familiarisation is also a factor with any regional squads. By attending both Junior Camps and later DSquad camps around the country made me (in my opinion) a much better and more consistent orienteer than I would have otherwise been. With a smaller and more top-end DSquad would the juniors that benefit most from this terrain familirisation end up being left behind?

The reason I bring this up is the fact that I hear rumours about us heading back to a regional coaching structure for juniors with a small and 'elite' group in the national structure (aka D Squad). This in my opinion would be turning the culture of junior orienteering in NZ to one of exclusion rather than inclusion - is this something we really want to happen with our junior talent. If there was to be any change to the structure perhaps it would pay to ask a few more people and consult before it goes ahead.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 4 December 2006, 4:50 AM  
I dont ever recall there being regional coaches (we dont even have a National coach at the moment)

Show Profile  James Posted: 4 December 2006, 3:16 PM  
Well i seem to remember a regional squad in wellington which was run by Stu Barr, although o-training didnt feature consistantly, we still had a few days out in the forest and many days of just physical training (which also doubled as question/answer time) all of which i found really valuable. and Jenni in CHCH did some awesome work on a regular basis.

Yes i believe something that has helped in the auckland junior squad is having a great talent base all centred around auckland. But in saying that, the squad is spread out in every direction and can take an hours drive(or more) between each person (but aucklanders are just used to driving lots!).

I agree with Simon that attending camps all over NZ are valuable and where we learn so much, especially being exposed to different terrain.

Before i was selected in the D-Squad, there was a regional junior squad in Wellington, and as a regional squad member with potential, i was invited to a couple of D-Squad camps..........
I saw the D-Squad as something really prestigous, an honour, and something i strived to get into. If there were to be changes to the D-Squad structure (as simon romoured) i dont see any reason why those with potential would have to miss out on going to these camps where most of the learning and skill development is achieved.

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 December 2006, 1:55 AM  
D squad shouldn't be a reward, it should be a help for the top % of junior+'s striving to represent NZ in the future.

There was no squads either James, just people getting together for organised training, much like what you have done, but then you have gone and called it a squad

Show Profile  SimonB Posted: 5 December 2006, 2:22 AM  
well greg forgive me for saying this but, isnt that a squad? perhaps an even more organized one than the development one? although i dont know how organised the auckland one is. Its atleast has got me interested enough to think about moving up there sometime just to get more competition.

Show Profile  James Posted: 5 December 2006, 3:11 AM  
greg, i dont think the d-squad should be a reward either. but i do feel that the d-squad should be the top % of juniors striving to represent NZ. to me, if you are striving to represent NZ, this involves putting in time and effort to improve your own ability i.e. turning upto events, maintaining/improving physical and technical ability.

And greg, who are you to say that there wasn't a squad in wellington? when you live in morrinsville?
and so what is a definition of a squad then?

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 December 2006, 3:26 AM  
While living in Morrinsville I attended just about all organised training in the Wellington and Auckland Area, because back then when ever anything was organised you tended to invite anyone else who might possibility come along.

You can call it a squad, just dont call it a Auckland Junior Squad when you are hand picking and excluding.

Show Profile  James Posted: 5 December 2006, 4:39 AM  
so the all black squad isn't hand picked? so anyone can come along?
and what about the JWOC interim squad? anyone can just come along?

a squad is hand picked greg. So who am i excluding from the auckland squad? i have selected a group of auckland juniors that are committed to improving, turn upto events, and have shown potential. I began this squad with a small number (10) because i wanted to provide a good support network for the squad members, rather than trying to coach/help a large number by myself which would effect the quality and time that i would be able to spend with each junior. As i am sure you are aware, it is not easy to provide coaching to large numbers at one time. (although, im sure that because you are a better orienteer and coach than myself, you could clearly handle the workload)

Because this was my first attempt at setting up a squad such as this, i didnt want to bite off more than i could chew! However, for 2007 i have already approached a number of auckland juniors that i intend to include in the squad for next year, and increase the squad to include a larger number of juniors.

I admit that i am not mr know it all when it comes orienteering and coaching. However, i do have a moderate level of experience in competition at national/international level and coaching at various training camps. Plus i am studying a sports science degree and have tertiary level coaching qualifications...............but most importantly i am willing to help!

Show Profile  Dave Posted: 5 December 2006, 4:56 AM  
Hey Greg I just had a thought ... you could organise a squad for the people who don't wanta train ... It'd be alot easier you wouldn't have to do anything.... :-)

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 December 2006, 4:57 AM  
Go on compear apples and oranges

This topic started under concerns that you want to cut the number in the D squad and have only an 'elite' group of Juniors in it (for which you are now the coach of) and send those not up to standard to Regional Training Squads, did it not?

Tell me how this is going to work? and try not to give me your example where just about every single person that you have handpicked is already in the D squad.

Show Profile  James Posted: 5 December 2006, 6:39 AM  
I believe that if you are a member of a NZ squad, you should be competitve among the top juniors in NZ. And have a desire to become a better orienteer i.e. represent NZ at ANZ challenge, JWOC, make national squad. I do not think that the squad should be for people who simply compete in M/W20 a few times a year, and do not put time & effort into improving themselves. At present, the d-squad isn't seen as much of an achievement because alomst every junior who competes in M/W20 is in the squad, as well as a large majority of M/W18. Where some athletes work really hard, and others do not. These athletes are often distinguised by their results.

I do realise that there are some juniors who have outstanding natural ability and can still pull out good results without much work. At present there is a huge number of really talented juniors, and i believe that this is the strongest D-squad for some time, and i really look forward to helping them improve.

Where you heard this 'rumour' from im not too sure......
but when you say that i want to cut the squad, i was only talking about taking the squad down to around 16-20 people. (as it stands, there are 24, and due to the high number of talented juniors at the moment, it would likely be cut by only 4 or less.) There are a few D-squad members who know that they are not putting in much effort into their orienteering, and to be in any NZ squad in any sport, there is a requirement to put in some effort! (i understand that once selected for the dsquad you accept the selection by signing that you intend to improve your ability, attend events where possible etc.......?)

But i dont really see what the problem is when i still intend to invite those juniors on the 'fringe' of the squad along to organised trainings? So what would they be missing out on? i am still open to talk to for advice for any orienteer, im friendly and most of the juniors in nz know me and have been coached by me at some what is the problem?

Show Profile  James Posted: 5 December 2006, 6:48 AM  
And so what if the majority of the auckland junior squad is already in the dsquad? doesnt this show they talent and are one of the top juniors in the auckland region?
i could include every junior orienteer in auckland, but then i couldnt provide the level of service that i believe each individual is entitled too............
I try to provide each squad member with personalised training programs (if they want it) as well as extra coaching advice goal setting etc...

Sounds like you can do the job much better than myself......i would welcome you taking over the squad, maybe i could be your assistant?
I offer my time to these juniors. They dont have to listen to me, they dont have to come along to group trainings........

I figure that some help is better than no help (which was the situation before i started up the Auckland junior squad)

Why are the likes of greg and simon trying to discourage my time that i volunteer to these juniors?

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 5 December 2006, 7:26 AM  
Don't let them drag you down to their level James

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 5 December 2006, 7:39 AM  
No I'm not trying to discourage you volunteering at all James.

I'm questioning the proposal (which was rumoured to be yours) I've heard been put forward. In of which is to cut the D squad and have those not making the grade passed onto Regional Squads for coaching.

Hence asking how you think this is going to work when the only thing close to a "Regional Squad" is your group of handpicked, top Auckland juniors.

But as it turns out either the rumours are not right or you are switching your preference again.

Oh and I could have a cry about how I'm so busy and have so many things on but you did it so well a month or 2 ago.

Show Profile  bendover Posted: 5 December 2006, 7:42 AM  

do you teach them the merits of KFC as the basis of an athletes nutrition plan?

seriously though, sounds like a good setup. good on you.

Show Profile  addison Posted: 5 December 2006, 9:41 AM  
Since when did I discourage your time that you volunteer to those juniors? All I was asking for was a bit of discussion, not discouragement. Think about what I have said before you go and try to manipulate it.

No offence was or ever is intended.

This message was edited by Simon Addison on 5 December 2006, 6:56 PM

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