Since assuming the role as Ontario Ski Team head coach three years ago I’ve seen our high performance programs undergo a series of changes. For the most part these changes have been aimed at increasing the effectiveness and level of meaningful support we offer our targeted high performance athletes.
Members of Cross Country Ontario will recall that last year two major changes were implemented. First, we began the first of a two year phase out of the Ontario Junior Development Team (OJDT). Although we recognize the value of an intermediate goal for athletes before the Ontario Ski Team, we felt the actual level of support being offered to athletes on the OJDT lacked meaning. While a jacket may serve as a good motivator it does little in the way of facilitating an athletes’ continued improvement. The second change we made to the 2013 season was to increase the depth of the Ontario Ski Team (OST) and move towards YOB based selection. The idea behind this was while phasing out support for the OJDT, increase the pool of athletes supported at the OST level. After years of having a team size of around 15 athletes we fluctuated to a max team size of 26. The learning curve continues.
In the quadrennial High Performance Plan [published in 2013 and available here] CCO states the mandate of the Ontario Ski Team as “provid[ing] a seamless transition from the provincial level to the National level.” The purpose of the Ontario Ski Team is to provide ancillary support to club level athletes in Ontario in helping them graduate onto the NDC and eventually NST.
It is the belief of CCO that in order to achieve this goal we must not only work hard with a small identified group of Juniors, but also provide meaningful support to a wider base of younger athletes in order to strengthen the depth and quality of Ontario athletes overall. To that affect we have made fairly significant change to landscape of our High Performance programming for 2014. The Ontario Talent Squad is a new initiative that has emerged with the goal of providing a larger group of developing athletes with an intermediary goal to the OST. Its purpose is equip younger athletes with the educational tools and training habits they will need to progress on to the Ontario Ski Team. The OST meanwhile will reduce in size focusing on supporting those top athletes in the Junior boy/girl category in their transition from club level skiers to an NDC.
The following page is summary of changes ahead of releasing the criteria document. [CLICK the image to see full size summary]
Please have a look and in the meatime….let it snow.