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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Looking forward

I am so excited about the opportunities coming up for New Zealand High Performance Orienteering over the next 18 months! The climax of which will be the World Cups and Oceania Champs in Tasmania in January 2015.

High Performance sport is about creating pathways to success, and  supporting athletes progression along this path. The first of these can be thougth of as the physical opportunities, whether championship events, technical/physical camps, representative opportunities or local training and events. The second is ensuring these opportunities are harnessed and lead to improved individual performance.

Lets be clear - While anyone can plan an event, or organise a camp, it is primarily the athlete that determines whether they use this opportunity to their advantage. Others can help by role modelling, passing on knowledge, being good training partners, but it is the athletes intelligence, courage and willingness to learn that determines their level of success.

Pathways contain stepping stones, some more challenging than others
I hope that some of what we have done recently, has re-affirmed part of the pathway to success in New Zealand orienteering and I know that evaluating this pathway and filling in any gaps is a task NZOF hope to look at in the next year.

From the Schools level (and what great work has been done there in recent years), athletes progress to the Development Squad. These are crucuial years as often top high school athletes play many sports, and we want them (you!) to choose orienteering to excel at as an elite athlete. The DSquad usually have camps at least annually which are coached by experienced orienteers. This years is happening in the Castle Hill Basin from the 8th - 13th of December.

At this age, athletes start competing in the Super Series at least at the junior level, and then also at JWOC. The tight, demanding Super Series that we are running this year through the regional championship will challenge all athletes.  While next years JWOC team has the potential to be our best ever.

World - don't think that this was a one-off

As athletes progress into elites they enter the National Squad, local opportunities for the National Squad have generally been more low key, but again this year we are running a High Performance Camp for these athletes. Hopefully this can become a regular fixture. Elite races continue through the Super Series, to then Sprint the Bay, Nationals and beyond to Australia and  Europe for those with international goals.

Our athletes in Europe have traditionally been focused on WOC, but perhaps this has been a missed opportunity. There are so many high level races that could be used as goals and more realistic stepping stones. The change to WOC rules, will lead to a greater focus on sprints and relays for New Zealand and perhaps provide more opportunity for the younger athletes coming through. Athletes focusing on the longer disciplines may be more inclined to dedicate a European summer to race practice.

And then next summer the best in the world are coming down under again.  Down into much more neutral territory. What an opportunity. Will we be there with our team.? Will we have contributed what we can to their intrinsic motivation and skills? You bet. 


Tane said...

Interesting point which has been made by several people over the years with regards to going over to Europe to run at WOC and JWOC. I dont disagree with it at all just to make my position clear, but:

For myself and many others I think it would be near impossible to take time off work or University with out the reason/excuse to go to a World Champs. Can you imagine your boss granting you leave to go on holiday in Europe year after year to go to events they have never heard of? At least with the World Champs and representing NZ you have some sort of higher purpose for getting the time off to go.

Tane said...

otherwise you may as well just move over there completely!

mogd001 said...

I think what Jamie is trying to say is you cannot look at a JWOC and WOC in isolation, that you have to plan well in advance. With the number of camps that other countries go on in relevant terrain to these championships, we cannot expect to compete with them going over only a couple of weeks before hand.

Like for those wanting to run WOC in Italy next year, if they cannot go over earlier next year, they should have been training in Italy following this years WOC.

Ill take my JWOC as an example, the year before I went to Slovenia and Croatia after the JWOC in Poland as the terrain was relevant. I also had 3 weeks prior to the championships in 2012 training in relevant terrain. The results...
Similarly Nick Hann spent a year in Norway and he had amazing results.

What was really disappointing for me running the World Cups in NZ was the lack of support and preparation that was made available. There was not one training camp in the relevant terrain and it was in our home ground. To be quite honest our performances at the World Cup (less Lizzie) were quite poor given the amount of preparation we could have done.

Let this be a learning point for future years, especially World Cup 2015. Aim to have training camps over there (perhaps following the Australian Champs in 2014).

The initiatives in place now, Super Series, Camps e.t.c are a remarkable improvement from the past 2 years.