August, 2003

We hope you have had a wonderful summer and are starting to prepare for the upcoming ski season.The enclosed information package includes:

I. Letter to Club President

II. 2003 Cross Country Alberta Financial Statements

III. Technical Planning Meeting Notes (May 3, 2003)
(click on a link to jump to that section)

1. Introduction
2. Athlete Development
3. Alberta Cup
4. Technical Areas

IV. 2003 Annual General Meeting Planning Workshop (May 24, 2003)
1. Planning Jeopardy Notes


1. Introductions

Hosted by: Cross Country Alberta Technical Committee: Kevin Baggott, Eliot Frosst, Deb Whitten
Facilitator: Rose Mercier
Organizers: Erin Cameron,. Hannah Chalkley: Jean Funk

2.Athlete Development: Key Focus Elements for Each Developmental Level

There was a presentation and small group discussion/feedback which discussed the progression of the elements of activities/training, social (camps and teams), events and competition and leadership/coaching.As part of the morning, there was a discussion of the choice between age groups for the Alberta Winter Games and the primary focus of the Alberta Cup Series.

(click on a link to jump to that section of the notes)

2.1 Athlete Development Program Presentation By Kevin Baggott, Athlete & Youth Development Director
2.1.1 Athlete Development Experience Continuum
2.1.2 Youth & Athlete Development Power Point Presentation
2.2 Group Discussion – Flip Chart Notes: regarding the presented Athlete Development Presentation
2.3 Alberta Winter Games Discussion

3. Alberta Cup Technical Package

This was an overview of the key elements of the package with an opportunity for feedback/questions related to specific topic areas: licenses, categories, CCA support for events, formats and distances.

3.1 The Alberta Cups: an emerging consensus
3.2 Group Discussion – Flip Chart Notes: regarding the Alberta Cups

4. Assessing the Current State of Technical Areas

The group reviewed the technical areas and considered the current strengths and areas of challenge. This discussion will provide some focus for the upcoming strategic planning work as well as provided some direction for the Technical Committee, the CCA Board and clubs.

4.1 Group Discussion – Flip Chart Notes: assessing the current state of technical areas by Rose Mercier, CCA Consultant






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2.1 Athlete Development Program Presentation
By Kevin Baggott, Athlete & Youth Development Director

Mission: To establish and promote a broad-based mass participation system of athlete development programs that allow athletes to reach their potential in the sport of cross-country skiing

Vision: To Provide the BEST provincial athlete development system in Canada

Athlete Development Program Goals: create clear and progressive development steps for young athletes to pursue create a forum for recognizing athletic and coaching achievements at various levels provide support (financial and / or facilitative) for athletes to attend regional and provincial programs - camps create opportunity where all Alberta athletes and their respective coaches can enjoy the benefits of training together – social and motivational as well as educational (sports science initiatives at various levels) respect the critical role of Club and National programs and coaches in the ongoing support and development of these athletes

Objectives of Regional-based Camps:

1.provide for young athletes within a region the opportunity to train together in a FUN low-key environment with minimum travel and costs
2.provide camp experience for training and athletic-learning
3.bring coaches in a region together to –

a)share ideas and coaching methods
b)support athletes within the region with limited coaching support

Objectives of Provincial Camps:

1.provide training and educational environment for athletes striving towards higher levels; opportunity for development-level athletes to train together
2.provide opportunity for club coaches to learn and gain experience working with higher level coaches (Club and National Program)
3.for older athletes, incorporate common testing and monitoring (aerobic, strength and flexibility) of AB Team athletes and motivational interaction of athletes and coaches athletes with limited coaching support

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2.2 Group Discussion – Flip Chart Notes:

Regarding the presented Athlete Development Presentation

What Works?
Promotes clubs working together (e.g., hosting clubs)
Continuum /sense of continuity
Meets needs of boys and girls
Links club-provincial-national in clear progression
Opportunities for involvement in inter-provincial groups

What Needs Clarification?
Role of clubs with athlete development
Role of clubs is relatively clear up to level of Development Camps, but more confusion about how clubs fit after that point: clarify role of club up to national
Options that are available to the athlete: role of regional camp v/v full service club
Broaden regional camps
Show to clubs how inter-club activities fit in the mix: don’t leave clubs to do these things
Need to have communication that supports vision of progress for clubs, parents, athletes and supports the sharing of resources
Want large community of contributing members not a lot of small communities
How will clubs contribute?
How can model respect athletes’ achievement and progress regardless of how they that progress?
There is a challenge of clubs that pull back or isolate themselves (problem is for club and ski community)
Challenge then is how to make benefits meaningful enough to the athletes in order for them to pressure the clubs to be in.
Clubs are providing "more" of services (shown in model) to athletes, particularly at regional level
At Mini-midget (and younger), clubs are providing most activities
Dynamic flow within model
Narrative that provides more details about the model
Reflect the # (%?) of athletes that ought to be involved at a level
How can the model show the flow back and forth between a level
Are bubbles larger and wider that show cross-fertilization across ages and levels

What’s Missing

The model needs to show where athletes fit who are part of racing community but not part of National Team stream


There is lots of experience, lots of passion and strong leaders in the middle – BUT, not the opportunities to progress
What’s missing is the development of new coaches (both an environment in which this can happen and program
There are strong teachers who get athlete invited at right age – but there is only a handful (how does CCA promote skiing in schools and development into /link with club)
How to involve coaches in regional+ level programs in order to progress
Question to CCA is how to provide support at club level (both self-initiated and provided) to foster coach linkages and inter-development – the challenge is the lack of trust among clubs, the belief about coach ego, lack of strong technical (neutral) person at CCA to run programs (vision of club development)
Framework for evaluation of impact of programs/means to achieve (vis a vis objectives)

Related Discussion

Clubs don’t develop without parents buying in
Similarly if a club doesn’t buy in into provincial program then athletes don’t have access to programs
Therefore, athletes and parents create the pressure for clubs to be involved
Therefore only clubs that support would be given access to support from province
Contrary: a club can operate on their own and provide all services to their athletes

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2.3 Alberta Winter Games Discussion

This information was used in the development of the 2004 Alberta Winter Games Technical Package.


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3.1 The AB Cups – An Emerging Consensus

The following is Rose Mercier’s restatement of the points that were made during the discussion of the Alberta Cup that are offered as a way to continue the discussion.

-There seems to be a relative priority of needs that AB Cups attempt to serve:
- Provide quality higher-level events for developmental skiers (Midget, Juvenile – maybe Mini Midget and Junior) that acts as step in progression to provincial and inter-provincial level racing
- Serve as selection events for developmental skiers which may include the Alberta Ski Team, Canada
Games Team, Alberta Development Team, etc.
- Ensure events are feasible for organizers to run
- Provide an exciting and glamorous competition that attracts the best skiers

In order to meet these needs, a number of actions are taken:

- Individual starts / timing for developmental skiers where points are awarded
- Cups are open to several categories to increase the number of paying participants, including younger/older categories of skiers
- Recognition and competition is provided to fit within the different level of fees that are paid
As a result of the above action, there are several results:
- Different categories of participants pay different fees and receive different level of benefits (no individual time/mass start vs. individual start/time, recognition not the same and provided at different schedule)
- Families travel to events and observe different level of benefits and experience a sense of inequity in the quality of the event for different groups
- Younger age groups may travel too much
- Larger events require more volunteer labour to organize

Strategies to Move Forward:

- clear statement /consensus on relative priority of the needs to be served and outcomes to be avoided (e.g.., young age groups travelling, overt inequities)
- Communicate broadly the consensus viewpoint
- look for event models that serve mixed purposes
- provide information to coaches/clubs to manage expectations of skiers and their families
- work with organizers

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3.2 Group Discvussion – Flip Chart Notes: regarding the Alberta Cups

-families with a range of kids (confused about what AB Cup means)
-parents get upset when older races get different rewards

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4.1 Group Discussion – Flip Chart Notes: assessing the current state of the technical areas by Rose Mercier, CCA Consultant

There were four main themes that could be derived from discussion of the Athlete Development Model. Under each theme heading, I have identified key questions and the related points of view from the discussion.

1. Coaching

a. Is it possible to develop a similar schematic for coaching?

i. One could argue that this schematic shows the different coaching contexts on which Competency Based Education and Training will be developed. However, for the time being, it may be helpful to develop the means to show how the coaching of an athlete changes over the continuum.

b. What are the conditions necessary to bring new coaches into cross country skiing? To develop the ‘coaches in the middle’?

i. ‘Coaches in the middle’ have experience, passion, strong leadership – but not enough (any?) opportunities to progress.
ii. How can the CCA support clubs in a way that fosters coach linkages (either self-initiated or designed programs) – for the purpose of developing coaches? There are challenges in doing this: lack of trust among the clubs, perceived/real egos, lack of strong neutral technical person, vision of club development.
iii. How can coaches be involved in regional+ level programs to support their development?
iv. There are a handful of strong teachers who get athletes involved at the right age – but aren’t involved in club coaching – and how can we leverage existing programs to encourage cross country skiing in school programs?

c. What’s missing is the development of coaches – both an environment in which this can happen and program development.

2. Role of Clubs in Athlete Development

a. What is the role of clubs in continuum after the developmental skier level? It’s clearer at the lower levels, but somewhat nebulous beyond that. There is a need to clarify the role of club up to national level.
b. Are there different options for athlete development? Some clubs are full-service clubs: Can they provide for the full range of needs of a skier? And if they can, does the model respect an athlete’s achievement and progress, independent of the route they follow to get there?
c. Do we want a large community of contributing members or a lot of small communities? Those who believe the large community is a preferable model hold that it what’s needed is for the benefits of regional/provincial programs to be meaningful enough for the athletes – in order, that they create the pressure for their clubs to be involved.

i. Clubs that pull back or isolate themselves present challenges to themselves and for the ski community.

d. Is there a schematic that can portray the role of the club through the successive levels of athlete development? At Mini-Midget and lower, clubs are providing most of the activities. Clubs provide more of the activities to athletes up to and including ‘regional’ level.

e. The model needs to show where athletes fit who are part of the racing community but not part of the National Team stream.

3. Role of CCA in Club Support/Development

a. What type of communication would support a vision for athlete development? Clubs, parents and athletes need to be aware of model and communication should support the a vision of progression and the sharing of resources. Clubs won’t develop without parents buying in.
b. What is vision for club development? What are the CCA’s roles in this development? How can the CCA foster the sharing of resources, inter-club activities, interchanges among clubs etc.?
c. What clubs should the CCA support – only those that athlete development model? Or others? What athletes should the CCA support – only those from clubs who buy into provincial program? Or should there be a way to provide different support to clubs that operate on their own and provide all services to their athletes?
d. There are strong teachers who get the athletes involved at the right age. The questions is how does the CCA promote skiing in the schools and development into / link with clubs?
e. How will CCA evaluate the impact of programs vis a vis its objectives for these programs?

4. How to Portray the Dynamic Flow

a. Include the narrative that provides more details

b. Reflect how many or the percentage of athletes that ought to be involved at a level.

c. How can the model show the flow back and forth between a level, i.e., an athlete’s progress is not always straightforward.

d. How can the model show cross-fertilization across levels and ages.