In the run in to the Club AGM, Ivan asked for proposals for discussion.
I am proposing that the club form a High Performance or National Series Squad. For one of the biggest club’s in the country we do very badly in the club championship run as part of the National Series. Almost all of the resources committed by the club to coaching and training go to beginner or average athletes with almost no high performance events. I have put a document together with an outline of a proposal for discussion at the meeting.
Formation of CTC National Series Squad
For a club the size of CTC we do very badly in the National Series Club Championship. In in the Men’s Championship the club finished 8th with 3211 points behind the winners Gotri at 3540, Belpark 2nd with 3479 and Sligo TC third at 3355. With 6 athletes to score per club with the scores from each athletes 5 best NS races. Average score for the winners is 118, 2nd 115, 3rd 111, CTC average score is 107.
What I am proposing is that the club forms a National Series Squad from athletes who would be capable of scoring 110 or greater points in the National Series races. To make an effective challenge the squad would need to comprise of about 8-10 athletes committing to race at least 6 NS races in the season. This is a serious commitment both from a time prospective and also financial as the NS races tend to be that bit more expensive than the non-NS races, plus there is significantly more travel involved. There would have to be some return from the club to the athletes, I would think this could/should comprise squad specific training coaching with very high level coach(es) at least 2 sessions/weekends during the season/pre-season. I also don’t think these NS squad sessions should be part of more open general club training coaching as this would dilute the benefit. Plus and possibly maybe more controversially some assistance with travel or entry fees to NS races. With a designated squad leader (captain?) the squad should also try to get together several more times for some high intensity training sessions. Personally I don’t think that this would be unfair or a case of the general membership subsidising the better athletes in the club. In fact I think at the moment it is possibly the other way round in that most of the club organised sessions are geared towards the beginner or improver athletes and tend not to be targeted towards high performance. At present there are very few if any club events geared towards high performance.
If possible this format should be adopted for the women of the club but it will be a much more difficult task there as in the women’s championship CTC finished 18th with only one female athlete completing the required 5 races for the National Series. It might be wise to adopt a more developmental approach to improving the standard here. I am not at all trying to be sexist but I am not sure we could get even 6 female athletes prepared to commit to 6 National Series races for the season. I would be very happy to be proved wrong.
I am not in any way trying to create a two tier club, in fact the opposite. In recent years the club has greatly increased the number of activities, training sessions, regular swim and bike programmes, races and social events. I am suggesting that these have been targeted at beginners and intermediate grade triathletes. As one of the biggest triathlon clubs in the country we should not only be promoting mass participation and social racing but should be striving to promote excellence at the highest level as well. There is some hard work being undertaken to move along the junior section of the club, as with the adult side as well as mass participation and getting young people involved in the sport we should try to identify emerging talent and developing that. One of the best ways to develop talent is to have a high performance element within the club that juniors can move into.
To kick off I would suggest that the club asks the membership early in the New Year for those interested in being on the NS/High Performance Squad to put their names forward. It should be emphasised that there should be a really honest self-assessment there is no point in athletes who simply will not come close to the required standard putting themselves forward for this squad. If there is a shortage of numbers the incoming committee should approach potential additional members. On the women’s side the same approach could be taken, there is a smaller pool of potential members of an NS squad.
Once the squads have been formed they should almost be self-managing with some input from/to the general committee in terms of available resources. Very senior potential members of the squad will have contacts with a number of coaches who could fit the bill. For coaching weekends or events the club should go for really high quality people with a track record at the highest level.
I am proposing that CTC a high performance squad to be initially called “National Series Squad” should be developed for the 2014 season. That the club would put in some additional resources into this development over and above the other coaching and training activities. Being a member of the squad would involve a commitment from the athletes (participating in 6-7 National Series races in the season). Selection of the squad would not be rigid but would involve honest assessment from potential members, standards are outlined below; ability to complete a NS sprint distance race in close to 1:05/1:07 an Olympic in sub 2:15 with the intention of scoring in the region of 110 or greater points per NS race.
Full details of how points are awarded for the national series can be found on the Triathlon Ireland website at http://www.triathlonireland.com/races-and-scoring.html
In summary the person at the 30th percentile in a race is awarded 100 points and times above and below this person’s time are proportionally higher or lower respectively. Depending on the numbers and quality of the field in various races points can be more or less difficult in different races. Just as an example of the standard required, in Loughrea One CTC scored 110 points, this was a Sprint Distance race and the time was 1:07:18, the 30th percentile time was 1:14:19 (100pts).
An example of Olympic Distance, in TriAthy Matthew Molloy of Virginia TC scored 110 points with a time of 2.14.12 and the 30th percentile was David Gillespie of Wicklow with a time of 2.27.54