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Discussion: Recent Juniors

in: BorisGr; BorisGr > 2017-07-19

Jul 19, 2017 8:38 PM # 
Amanda and Michael are on development, Amanda was on the USA girls' Jukola team. Michael was at the try-outs. I also think we need to support those living and training abroad, no matter why they live abroad. A passport is a passport is a passport, period, where they are raised should not be something that "qualifies" or quantifies their involvement. There are many US based juniors that also do not continue as seniors, proportionally probably as many, probably also because they are starting or in the midst of their budding higher education choices. They should all, though, be encouraged to also be members of a US club, like required by the Canadians, and not just an at large membership. No one living abroad and competing extensively abroad should end up in vilifying AP exchanges for not being able to come to team trials, especially not students who already live on tight budgets, and not put down for financial choices they make, especially if other tough financial or education choices were made to be able to improve their orienteering (e.g., Greg, Giacomo, Michael).
I agree with the National Coach - and I personally would actually advocate for a combined Foot-O team with a junior squad and a senior squad, where one could oversee continuity between the teams, continued inter-team mentorship, etc.
I think it amazing that a senior team member goes on to be the mentor in Hungary, thus taking some pressure off Erin, who has already spent an amazing amount of time with the US juniors - would be great if the training squads could become bigger. My thanks to Greg, as without him the Hungary section of the trip would not have been possible.
Jul 19, 2017 9:01 PM # 
Hi Andrea,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good point about Amanda - I had not realized she is on the Development Team. I totally agree that we need to continue to support these athletes and keep them involved in the national program and community: that's why I shared my thoughts about this.

I think that a combined junior-senior team is a good idea in theory. My concern with that would be where the resources of the junior coach would be focused. If (s)he is in charge of both the teams, I am concerned that person would be spread too thin.

However, a good starting point might me some sort of junior-senior challenge, where the teams have a social event and a friendly competition (bowling? trivia? minigolf? laser tag?) at some of the major national events. Maybe we should do that at the Classic Champs?
Jul 19, 2017 9:26 PM # 
Would be kind of cool to have mini-sprint-relays at every larger meet, while the medals and stuff are prepared? No longer than 1k per relay leg, and controls dense in a small area, more like a micro-O. Not based on clubs, but encourage mixed teams of 1 or 2 US team member + 1 or 2 non-team member, drawn out of hats .... just a thought.
Jul 20, 2017 1:31 PM # 
O Joy:
It's been great watching Greg working with the juniors here in Hungary. He has a lot of wisdom to impart about training, competing at the World level, and his philosophy on orienteering and life.
Jul 20, 2017 1:33 PM # 
O_Joy>> That makes me really happy to hear. He is a great role model, and having interactions like that between the junior and senior teams can only be a positive thing, contributing to the juniors' interest in taking the next step.
Jul 20, 2017 7:49 PM # 
The idea of combining at least some junior and senior training seems to make some sense, in terms of motivation, contact, and making the best use of limited effort and money for organising trainings.

In Europe, clubs factor prominently. I wonder if this affects retention of juniors into senior years? Should American clubs involve themselves more in junior and senior development? Canadian clubs seem to have had great results from working with juniors.
Jul 20, 2017 8:47 PM # 
Boris, I had similar thoughts in last couple of weeks, were we watched back to back WOC and JWOC.

I think, if you are a member of a national team, junior or senior, participation in NAOC shell be an honor and a requirement.

Leaf Anderson, John Fredrikson, Childs brothers, Michael Sandstrom, Erin Shirm, Carl Underwood... and that is just from the top of my head on junior men's side, who are no longer competitive on a senior level. We have a problem. Long term commitment to competitive orienteering does not seem to be popular at the time.

Kids need to be well brainwashed in young age to stay with this marginally popular sport in the country, but after they develop their own understanding of the world, there shell be a reward for commitment. College scholarship would be one of such "cookies". Media recognition - we are too far from that.
Jul 21, 2017 9:15 AM # 
Helsinki orienteering club had close to no real elites ten years ago. It invested (volunteers) heavily in junior development. The first year or two's worth of top juniors didn't really continue as seniors, then one (Einari H) did, now more are, and this year the club came 6th at Jukola.

You need a couple of dedicated ones to drag others along and if you have a group, things get really interesting.
Jul 22, 2017 12:31 AM # 
Inspiring anecdote.
Jul 22, 2017 5:04 PM # 
I'm impressed the the US juniors and look forward to seeing them on the senior level. Should I become the US senior team coach;-) all training camps in Europe....
Jul 24, 2017 3:05 PM # 
I think there'd tons of interesting ideas on here and don't really have time to respond. One thing that GB team used to do every year was have an "Inaugural" weekend in the late fall. It would get all levels of the National team together for a weekend that was mostly about team spirit. In my years, we were still sponsored by Haglofs, and this took the form of a mixed team adventure race. In other years, it was a simpler affair. This weekend was essentially mandatory - you had to have a huge excuse to miss it, whether you were Heather Monro or Jamie Stevenson or just a junior with a busy school schedule. In the evenings athletes who'd had a great year would talk about their experiences and everyone would celebrate successes and look forward to the next year.

I would really love to do this for the US teams. Of course, if it's essentially mandatory, it has to be pretty much entirely subsidised for those athletes who live elsewhere. A long weekend in Colorado to team build and plan the next year? It by no means solves all the problems of retention, but as Neil's comment says: "You need a couple of dedicated ones to drag others along and if you have a group, things get really interesting."

I would probably be happy to organise this too if someone were to help figure out how to pay for it.
Jul 24, 2017 5:19 PM # 
O Joy:
@slauenstein >> Aidan told us that you had said hello to the JWOC team. Thanks for showing your support!
Jul 29, 2017 12:23 PM # 
Izzy B:
@ Becks, that sounds amazing. Let's do it!!!
Jul 29, 2017 8:01 PM # 
I wonder if strengthening the ties across the various teams (and alumnai) might lead to some of those who live abroad helping ease the path of those who want to train abroad (short or long-term)? One of my thoughts as we've traveled outside of my European comfort zone is just how much time and energy our orienteers who transplant overseas must exert to deal with new culture/customs/language/clubs etc. Plus, they're probably starting a new job or new school. Not exactly an easy environment to set up a good training regimen. Someone there to advise on the transition could be hugely helpful. I'd imagine that has already happened to some degree, but there might be room to do more, or at least let team members know those people are out there and willing to help.
Jul 31, 2017 8:16 PM # 
@ Izzy B - How do we do it?! We should brainstorm.
Jul 31, 2017 9:05 PM # 
We might have an opportunity with subsidies in VA based around the Classic Champs. We're working out whether accommodations can be paid for. I'll contact you about this, Becky.
Aug 2, 2017 1:30 PM # 
This should definitely happen. Basing it around the Classic Champs seems like excellent timing.

Izzy, want to get the ball rolling and email the senior and junior team lists?
Aug 2, 2017 2:07 PM # 
So, caveat this with the fact that I know that people have to travel much further here than the UK, and that perhaps only making them travel once is a good thing.

I don't think this kind of event should be at the Classic Champs. People there are focussed on racing, fuelling, recovery, sleep etc. The great thing about the inaugural, and a large aspect of the team building, was that there was no serious competition taking place. Athletes are competitive people - it's tough to build team spirit when they have to wake up early the next morning and race each other for something that matters. It's also tough to team build when you've got a lot of non-team people there.

I would prefer to aim for the middle of the country on a non-busy weekend. Maybe middle south depending on when that non-busy weekend falls. Somewhere that would be cool to visit for people (especially the juniors) who live overseas.

Obviously this is my dream situation and the likelihood is we're a long way from that dream - that this weekend would be fun and exciting enough that people would want to come back from elsewhere, and not just feel obliged to attend. Perhaps make it an optional long weekend, with things to do on Friday/Monday too.
Aug 5, 2017 11:24 AM # 
I feel like a good solution would be to have this happen in late winter/early spring. What about at the Arizona training camp? Would be nice for people who have to travel anyway to go someplace cool.

Erin is working on the schedule of 2018 camps and races right now, so definitely send him input if you want something to happen...
Aug 5, 2017 3:47 PM # 
One possible alternative that would simplify logistics would be to hold two (say) camps - one west, one east. Perhaps airfares could be subsidized for people who have to travel particularly far or need-based.

There will almost surely be a training camp at Harriman over Thanksgiving, too. It's usually a casual fun weekend, but the majority of people who attend are typically US team folks. Last year, we rented an Airbnb "party haus", and the Bretons and Alan have expressed enthusiasm and willingness to host team folks.
Aug 7, 2017 1:14 PM # 
No no no no no. A west and an east camp completely defeats the object. Then people will want a Europe camp too, and before you know it the whole thing is pointless. It has to be everybody! And it has to be enough fun that everyone wants to come!
Aug 7, 2017 2:04 PM # 
I can guarantee fun and almost guarantee sun in Tucson. Feb 17-25, first weekend in/around Tucson, then training during the week around Tucson, second weekend events in Phoenix.
Aug 7, 2017 3:34 PM # 
GB inaugural was in late autumn, as Becks says, we had a fun time, look back at the year
Also, importantly, we did a huge amount of planning for the next year - what UK training camps would we organise for each other? volunteers to organise each one. What would be our international programme for the next year? Teams at which competitions, what training camps would be needed to prepare?
All the planning could get a bit tiresome so it was broken up with getting outside and messing about a bit in the forest and the hills. But it was important - it meant we knew the structure of the year to come. It gave everyone a set of targets and the inspiration and motivation to get training through the winter in preparation.

As well as planning the squad organised activities for the coming year athletes would also discuss personal plans with each other and organise other trips, be it to go training for a week in Sweden or to attend some multi-day race as preparation for an international. Who is doing what, who else is interested in joining in ?

We still do this in Scotland to great effect.
The GB Inaugural may well be set for a return.

This discussion thread is closed.