February 23, 2009 (Ottawa, ON) – A few weeks ago you would have read on our website the proposed programs for the 2009 season. While there will be information made available to you in the future regarding the listed programs, I’d like to take the time explain how these programs came about and where we’re collectively heading in the next four years leading up to the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The CCA has spent considerable time over the last two years building programs and services so that we can establish cycling as a leading contributor to Paralympic and Olympic success through performances in our five sports. The recommended steps in the Podium High Performance review that was conducted in 2007 have been implemented (with the ongoing issue of facilities still a challenge) The success we are aiming for up to London and beyond will not be possible unless we stick to a properly designed game plan; and with the help of our funders and some valuable people in house we have been able to come up with a solid plan that will create the success that we need year over year.
However, to do so we owe it to ourselves to use the game plan as a public document that we will go back to often to make sure we are still holding our course. The plan that I speak about will also be available on the CCA website shortly but in the spirit of clarity I feel like I need to present to you the main principles that are part of the plan in this advanced memo. The following paragraphs will give you feel of where we are headed without going into cycling sport detail, which you will be able to read on the CCA website shortly.
The plans that you will read about can obviously not happen without the help of some key funders. Thanks to much work in the last part of 2008 we have been able to secure roughly 50% more high performance funds than what we’ve been working with for the last few years. The funds that we have are, for the most part, secured levels of funding for the next four years which, to my knowledge, has never been the case before in Canada, thanks to the work of Alex Baumann and Podium. In order to maintain these funds, though, we need to perform year over year and demonstrate that we are contributors to Canada’s high performance objectives While 4-year funding levels are great news, we also are limited by the way we spend valuable Podium and Sport Canada funding.
So in reading the quad plans and the 2009 programs you will notice that some cycling sport programs have more funding than others. The fact of the matter is that most of our funds that come from Podium and Sport Canada are “restricted or targeted”. In other words, they are targeted to medal potential and must be spent in specific ways. We work with Podium to define the correct way of spending the funds in advance and we must adhere to our plan and their requirements of how funds can be spent.
Now it is not to say that the funding areas are set in stone for the next four years, it simply means that we need to perform, to plan and continue to build the profile of our cycling sports to secure our future.
Quad plan objectives
As personal coaches sit with their athletes to set out short, medium and long term objectives we too must set out objectives per cycling sport; which we have done with the direction of our national coaches, key personal and provincial coaches and sport science consultants. Each year we will follow this process of evaluation and ongoing performance objectives.
You’ll find in the quad plans that some objectives are explicit and will vary from top-16 to podium depending on the cycling sport. The programs that we have designed for the next four years are based on how we think is the best way to achieve the defined goals by sport, based on funding levels (and incorporating self-funded activities). To assist with the success of the racing and training programs the following items need to be added:
– Sport Science/ Sports medicine
– Coaching and staffing
To answer all these points in relation to our funding, the CCA has already put the proposed racing and training camp programs together and is actively working on filling the critical coaching and sport coordinator positions. We understand that we need to provide a coordinator to work with each sport so we can devote the needed time to run each competition season effectively.
One point where we feel that we can improve on exponentially is in the Sport Science/Med department or Integrated Service Team (IST). This is something that each national sport in Canada is integrating and it is an example of targeted funds that must be used effectively. This has been a challenge as we learn how to integrate effectively sport science to better support our targeted athletes with this customized service. We have hired an IST coordinator whose job will be to actively assess our targeted tier 1, 2 & 3 athletes so that services can be provided to these athletes on a more individualised basis.
This IST coordinator will work closely with the different national team coaches, targeted athletes and their personal coaches to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
As far as coaching is concerned, we plan to fill the empty coaching positions with the best international coaches our funding will support. Once on board, these coaches will be better empowered to run their programs the way they believe they should be run to achieve the jointly established goals. They are the experts and so should be given the liberty to build and drive their programs along with the valuable help of their respective sport coordinators, sport science and medicine support.
When it comes to equipment, it’s been mentioned on a few occasions that we are more often than not behind the eight ball and unable to stay on top of the innovative technology curb. To counter that we will be investing in equipment in targeted sports and athletes; which will help us to achieve our objectives.
However, when it comes to investment, we understand the need to go beyond the funding that is available and provide competitive training and development opportunities to our main investment; ALL of our athletes…
2012-2016 targeted athletes
Much like programs and funding levels, athletes have been targeted in 3 distinct tiers and we will work hard at developing each tier to be highly competitive in either 2012 and/or 2016. These athletes have been identified through their results by national coaches and consultants and based on a projected progression curb that can lead to reaching set objectives.
It goes without saying that these targeted athletes are the ones currently identified, however we hope that many others will pop up in the coming years to increase our pool sizes in all of our cycling sports.
Carding and Major Games and World Championship selection criteria
In the coming weeks you’ll be reading on the CCA website our set carding criteria for the 2010 carding cycle and world championships selection criteria. Through your reading you’ll find that carding and selection criteria is lining up nicely with what is set out in the quad plans. We have effectively been using the quad plan as a guide to make sure that these criteria are also holding the same course as our set objectives. It makes total sense to support athletes that we feel will be competitive in 2012-2016. As you may or may not know, when talking about the infamous “Carding”; this product of
Sport Canada is devised to support, through funding, athletes that can progress and so, by the same token, perform where their NSF’s believe they have the potential to perform based on set four (4) year Olympic focussed objectives.
In short, we are looking on maximizing our investments on the athletes that are felt to be the best performance return by our funding agencies. That return can be measured by athletes most capable of putting their pedals to the medal in 2012-2016.
Staffing and structure
As mentioned in a previous section we will and are looking to fill out some coaching and sport coordinator positions to
fall in line with recommendations that were made in early 2008 in a full 360 review of the CCA.
That said, in the review, pending adequate funding, it was proposed that the CCA should revert back to cycling sport specific coaches and that these coaches partner with sport coordinators who can manage the administrative work. The result would and will be that the coaches would deal directly with one coordinator that would be on top of that cycling sport to assist the coach and athletes. In addition, for P/TSO’s, personal coaches, athletes and anyone else it becomes easier to know who to contact for any query pertaining to a specific cycling sport. It is to be noted that you will be notified of whom to contact in what sport at a later date.
So essentially, on the High Performance side of things, the coordinators will liaise closely with the national coaches regarding getting programs and projects underway. Both the coordinators and national coaches will liaise with me, as CTO, to ensure everything is continuing to stay aligned with program objectives, budgets and policies.
On the development level, the coordinators will liaise with our Development Director when it comes to collaborating with national event organisers, LTAD framework and coach and commissaire development, etc.
In essence, with this structure that will be operational come April we are anticipating a much more efficient and streamlined approach to handling both High Performance and Domestic challenges that fall under our CCA mandate. (See organisational chart in Annexe)
Since fall 2008 you would have read many postings about self-funded training camps and projects targeted mostly at junior and U23 categories in various cycling sports. Through their national cycling coaches and coordinators the CCA will continue to offer development opportunities to junior and U23 athletes by way of racing programs and training camps that will be partially to fully self-funded by the athletes.
In the past development initiatives had been put aside partially because of the lack of staffing to sustain a proper deployment of any development opportunity. While the latter is true, there is no reason why the CCA cannot put together and foster adequate development projects for Canadian cyclists so that eventually they graduate from the performance-development sphere to the high performance sphere where funding is more abundant and consistent.
Given the fact that the increased funding from Podium and Sport Canada permits us to better service our athletes through better coaching, sport/ med support and programming; these are definitely exciting times. However this increased funding support can only be translated through medals and great performances on the international scene, namely at the Paralympic and Olympic Games. Because all of us are collectively aiming at the same objectives, we owe it to ourselves to promote mutual trust through adequate communication.
We are all in this together and we all want Canadian riders to get the results they have worked long and hard to achieve. This means we all share — athletes, coaches and staff — in the responsibility of communicating to each other when things go right and when things go wrong. This is how we will continue to progress.
The CCA, in collaboration with P/TSO’s, coaches and all stakeholders are there to ensure our cyclists put the PEDAL
TO THE MEDAL!!!