Changes to the Junior Program in 2018
After several months of consultation with AIS Pathways, State Performance Coordinators, National Junior Coaches, National Coaching leads, State Target Talent Coaches, personal coaches and athletes, Athletics Australia has devised a new pathway for junior and emerging athletes.
PREVIOUS JUNIOR HIGH PERFORMANCE PROGRAM
Previously, the AA Junior High Performance Program consisted of:
- Local Target Talent Program (LTTP): U16-U19 age group
- National U17 Development Squad: U17 age group
- National U19 Talent Squad: U18-U19 age group
All these programs linked through to international U18 and U20 Teams (i.e. World U18, World U20, Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Youth Games).
With the IAAF moving away from U18 international competitions, coupled with AA/AIS’ review around the gap between World U20s, NASS and Senior benchmark teams (i.e. World Athletics Championships and the Olympic Games), we have taken this opportunity to further enhance our pathway. The new program will commence in 2018.
TARGET TALENT PROGRAM
Athletics Australia will provide national oversight for the new national curriculum and coaching design and development for the Target Talent Program with direction and support from the National Junior Program and National Junior Coaches. This will include education sessions for athletes, parents and coaches to assist athletes along the pathway to senior representation. In addition, there will be stronger links to the National Junior Coaches, including regular delivery of coaching and education in the state-based programs to support the great work of state-based Target Talent Program coaches.
RECOGNITION OF FUTURE POTENTIAL
U17 and U18 athletes (and their personal coaches) who are considered to be future representatives at senior benchmark team will have their potential recognised nationally after Junior Nationals. This recognition and LTTP will take the place of the previous National U17 program.
NEW EMERGING SQUAD (PILOT PROGRAM)
The transitional years post-secondary school is always a difficult time for young people, especially those vying for senior benchmark teams. To reflect this, we have adapted our program accordingly. Commencing in 2018, Athletics Australia will have an Emerging Program which will focus on the post-secondary school athlete and their personal coaches. In its first year the program will most likely be only available to athletes born in 2000 and earlier. The aim of this program will be to bridge the gap from the World U20 Championships to World University Games and on to senior benchmark teams. This will be a pilot program which we will have the opportunity to further develop and refine in future years. This will replace the current U19 Talent Squad. The pilot Emerging Program will commence in late 2018 after school and university exams have concluded. This squad will be selected following the World U20 Championships. The program will be a camps-based program supported by each SIS/SAS with the first camp to be held at the AIS in December 2018 and the second event specific camp held in various states in late January, early February 2019.
In 2019 the World University Games Team will have similar support as the current World U20 Team, including greater competition opportunities in Australia and overseas.