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So How WAS the Regional Development Team Selected?

Thu, May  18, 2006 - By Sten Fjeldheim and Yuriy Gusev

So how was the Regional Development Team selected? Sten Fjeldheim and Yuriy Gusev have an interesting e-mail exchange discussing the impact selection criteria can have on developing skiers.

Sten is the head men’s and women’s cross country ski coach at Northern Michigan University. Sten received the both United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Coach of the Year Award – Development and the USSA Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year in 2005. This is the second time that he has picked up the award - he also won it in 2000 - and he is the only two-time recipient.

Yuriy is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Central Cross Country Ski Association. In Russia, he was a first rank athlete of the Russian Sports Classification and received the equivalency of a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education with a major in Physical Education. Before joining CXC, he spent three years as the Program Director and Head Coach of the Russian Style Ski School in Madison, Wisconsin.

For those not in the know, here's the age groups for the various USSA skier age classifications for the 2007 season:

  • J2 Juniors:  Born between 1991-1992 (around 14-15)
  • J1 Juniors: Born between 1989-1990 (around 16-17)
  • OJ Juniors: Born between 1987-1988 (around 18-19)
  • Seniors: Born 1986 and earlier

Now, on with the discussion...

- Mike Muha


Sten...

Hi all,

I think the fact that CXC has recognized the top juniors and seniors is a step towards better development and improved results for the future. I have a few questions?

What is the criteria for selection? (I am sure it has been published but I missed it.)

The ratio of seniors vs juniors is quite different, is there a larger junior team that is at the next level?

I think that maybe a larger junior selection would get more skiers involved early thus start the training educational experience earlier and involving the coaches of those juniors would start also a coaches educational process.

There are:

  • 13 seniors: 7 women and 6 men [NOTE: the original list of skiers accidently combined Seniors and the CXC ski team, and had a skier show up twice. Sten's talking about the original list.- Mike]
  • 12 Juniors: 2 J2 boys and no girls, 2 J1 men and 1 J1 girl, 4 OJ men and 2 OJ women [ditto - error on original list - Mike]

Are there NO J2 girls worth developing? Also why are there twice as many J1 men as well as twice as many OJ men than women?

Selecting groups is never easy and I am not trying to be critical just to be critical. Again this is a good thing, the CXC teams.

I can not help but think that the numbers of younger juniors and their coaches are real target group for the future.

Would it not be better to have a larger number of younger skiers as well? Most if not all of the older athletes have either private of collegiate programs that are working with developing the skiers. The younger athletes also have more time (most likely with regards to employment) to attend camps, etc.

Keep up the good work.

Respectfully,
Sten


Yuriy...

Good comments, Sten.

Here is a selection criteria which CXC used for at least 3 years:

Junior 2’s

  • 1 top 5 result at USSA Junior Olympics or World Junior Trials (WJT)
  • 2 top 10 results at USSA JO’s or WJT’s
  • Top 10 ranking among returning juniors on the year-end USSA National Ranking List

Junior 1’s and Older Juniors

  • 1 top 5 result at USSA JO’s or WJT’s
  • 2 top 10 results at USSA JO’s or WJT’s
  • Top 10 ranking among returning juniors on the year-end USSA National Ranking List
  • Qualifying for the J1 Scandinavian Cup Trip
  • Member of U-23 World Championship Team

Seniors

  • 1 top 8 result at USSA Senior National Championships
  • 2 top 15 results at USSA Senior National Championships
  • Top 15 ranking on the year-end USSA National Ranking List
  • Member of U-23 World Championship Team
  • 1 Top 10 or 2 top 15 at NCAA Championships
  • Overall Champion of USCSSA

This group varies year to year based on athlete’s result in the certain age category. I totally agree that we need to pay a lot more attention to younger juniors and their coaches. What CXC is doing this year is announcing State Development Groups (WI, MN, MI). Top 10 boys and girls from the local state championships + all who qualified to the JO. SDG athletes with their coaches will be also invited to the RDT camp and other CXC activities. The development pipeline right now is State Development Group > Regional Development Group > CXC Ski Team.

More info about each group will be posted on the web site soon.
Please let me know if you have any suggestions or further questions about CXC programs.

Sincerely,
Yuriy Gusev


Sten...

Hi,

Thanks for the prompt reply Yuri. 

Many times the criteria is hard to meet for one group and not another so it may be good to look at the criteria and tweak it some so that group or genders do not get discouraged. On the other hand one does not want to lower a standard too much, in many ways it becomes a double edged sword.

But, if NO younger girls make the criteria cut then there has to be work that must be done in that area, therefore maybe including coaches discretion in selection is and should always be considered.

Good to hear the Regional Training Group is happening, I know we have discussed this before and I still feel that this is very important and necessary to foster the development of these athletes so they can reach the next level.

Keep up the good work.
Sten


Yuriy...

Sten,

Good suggestion. I’ll look through J2 girls JO’s results and will get camp invitation to appropriate athletes. I will include coach’s discretion to the selection criteria for the next year as well to balance up age groups.

Thank you,
Yuriy Gusev