The Junior Cycling Academy has, for the first time, recently met our quota of 15 scholarship holders for the 15 places within the programs present capacity. We see this as a testament to the quality of athletes within the system and effect a tailored approach to training can provide for aspiring juniors. We now have an age range of 9-17yrs meaning the service provision is very much tailored to each respective cohort (Under 11, U13, U15, U17 age groups). This is necessary as there is a good amount of research evidencing early specialisation in a sport does not predict expertise in said sport during adult years. Thus an emphasis on having fun, being athlete led and directed, an autonomy supportive training environment, social support etc. are key underpinnings of the programs design.
Whilst the JCA has only been operating in an official capacity for 1.5yrs, we do have athletes within the present system who have been serviced from Junior through to mature ranks for around 7years in total. It is evident that the greatest obstacle to becoming a mature elite level cyclist is retention within the sporting environment, thus I render a bias toward more sports psychology based process then pure physical ones. We want to retain AND develop through rigorous training environments.
To this end we have been rewarded with early success in that form of Mackenzie Coupland, a former JCA athlete being asked to ride in the Australian National Cycling team for a European campaign. Being able to facilitate this through Mack’s hard work has been a reward in itself for the program and is reflective of the incredible support our management team receive from our partners and supporters, the ability for management to engage adequately with the juniors, and the hard work the juniors put in to their own preparation. I often see this evidenced on the indoor trainer ‘ergos’ where it is quite literally athlete vs machine as they try to empty themselves in a worthy cause, in that specific moment you see the real process of the program evidencing resilience and effort on the individuals behalf.
In additional to Mack’s international opportunity we have seen a raft of our athletes perform well at recent state championships as far as outcomes go, but also for more intrinsic reasons too, such as attempting to execute a tactic during a race, or adhering to a pre-determined plan/goal, all small but significant steps toward controlling ones own process within a largely dynamic and externally controlled concept: racing. It is exciting and humbling to see just how these athletes prepare themselves given their young age and combined life experience. Great things are happening here and the evidence will be born out of this over the coming 3-7yrs, so stick around and find out, we are very appreciative of your support and it is vital to the programs processes and goals.
– Brad Hall, Managing Director Exercise Institute (JCA service provider)