To provide a pathway for youth development that supports children from ages eight to Elite and will ensure that all stages of development are addressed equally based on a long-term athlete model (LTAD). Year-round fully staffed programs will provide young athletes an educational, fun, and safe environment to develop fitness, confidence and cycling skills.
- A pathway that covers all stages of development from beginner youth cyclists through to supported National-caliber U23 riders will be created in an effort to support youths at all levels of development and to encourage and motivate the younger riders.
- While we’ll create a full pathway to the higher ranks, we recognize that few young cyclists ever reach the highest ranks. Most enter and leave the program at earlier levels in the pathway. These youths represent the vast majority of the athletes we will work with and deserve our attention every bit as much as athletes who reach Elite status. So, each level (8-12-year-olds, 13-18-year-olds, etc) will be treated as full programs in-and-of themselves. We will seek to support, develop and provide a good experience to all athletes regardless of whether they continue to higher levels.
- We will seek to work with existing youth initiatives at MGCC including the grass track program and bursary to the mutual benefit of all programs. We will ensure a balance that leverages the outstanding contributions of member volunteers, while at the same time recognizing that as volunteers, our time is limited, and dedicated staff and partners will be integral to the program’s success
Despite the large number of cycling clubs in Ontario, there are very few with a focus on youth development. The primary reason comes down to a lack of resources.
MGCC recognized this lack of youth development and in 2014 began seeking solutions. One successful program that has come out of MGCC was a youth bursary that funded young riders now racing in the professional riders including Ben Perry, Jack Burke, and Adam Jamieson. These athletes all trained out of NCCH.
In an effort to expand the program and include youths of all ages MGCC began talking with NCCH. Together we have been collaborating to design a solid pathway for Youth/Junior cyclists in the GTA that can expand on and benefit both our current grass track programs and bursary program.
Recently, interim coach for the program, Trevor Connor, visited NCCH to see their existing youth development courses in action. What he witnessed was seven coaches and staff (several full-time) running a high energy and impressive weekly training-camp level program. It included a team of three younger coaches leading the 8-12-year-old group to a park for some skills development and friendly racing. A fully supported training ride for the 13-17-year-olds with a follow car and on-road coaching, classroom sessions for both groups to educate and entertain, and finally, a tip to the Milton track for the older athletes.
Trevor’s conclusion was that this was a very well run program reminiscent of his days at the National Center in British Columbia. But what was clear was that a program of this caliber required a structured approach backed by experience, a team of volunteers, and a full time staff.
It is remarkable what MGCC has accomplished as a club run entirely by volunteers. However, the majority of our members are riders who have extremely busy lifestyles and who do not have the time required to develop the program we mapped out with NCCH’s help. It is envisioned that within a three-year period the Youth/Junior membership of the club will exceed 100. Many of these riders will be competing proudly with the MG colors. Many will require training programs, training sessions, motor pacing, ergo sessions, etc.
We believe that our team members and volunteers will play a very important role in this program. But to guarantee growth and sustainability a professional staff is required.
Even if we can initially get the program running on a volunteer structure, frequently programs like this die when key parent/volunteer/s leave as their kids get older. The NCCH system is sustainable, and MG can learn a great deal from their system and approach.
Why Partner with NCCH?
For an effective development program that helps youths at all levels - from eight-year-olds just getting comfortable with their bikes to Elite focusing on National caliber racing - we believe absolutely that a purely volunteer-based program is not sustainable. This program must be professionally supported with a full-time staff. We believe that over our initial start-up years, NCCH fills this essential gap as well as:
- NCCH currently runs a full service and highly successful youth development program in Hamilton. They bring their experience and knowledge.
- NCCH has a very close working relationship with the OCA, and their staff are part of the Teams of Ontario staff for Youth & Junior coaching programs at Milton Velodrome.
- Race support and resources (tents, vehicles, etc.)
- Always available advice and consultation.
- Coach development
Essentially NCCH will consult with the MG Board, volunteers, coaches and staff to provide their experience and systems that have made them arguably one of, if not the most successful Youth cycling development program in Canada. This will include:
- Duplication of the NCCH program under the MG banner in GTA
- Assist in setting up a School Recruitment Program 2017/18
- General recruitment strategies
- Trade team staffing in conjunction with MG
- Youth & Junior coaching advice (in line with LTAD)
- 1st 2nd 3rd Gear Youth Program (8-12)
- BodyBikeFit (13-17)
- Advice on what works and ensuring we “don’t reinvent the wheel” or more importantly don’t repeat the same mistakes
- Workshops and think tanks with volunteers and staff to provide world's best practice in the area of Youth/Junior development
- Facilitate CI Coaching courses where required
What the Partnership with NCCH is Not
There has been some confusion and concern about the exact nature of this relationship and what the partnership may mean. So it is important that we clarify what this partnership is not:
- One Man – NCCH has a large staff all of whom will be available to us. Head NCCH coach Rick Lee, in particular, while a resources for advice and experience, will not be able to make the trips to Toronto to oversee the program. The majority of his involvement (outside of the trade team) will be as a source of advice to the coaches and volunteers at Morning Glory.
- A Carbon-Copy NCCH Program in Toronto – NCCH has developed a best-practices program second to none in Canada. We would be missing out on a tremendous opportunity not to benefit from their experience and systems. However, that is a starting point. Together with our volunteers and coaches we will start with the NCCH template and ultimately create a program that is uniquely MGCC.
- A Feeder Program for NCCH – at the Junior level, riders will continue to ride for MGCC or NCCH and compete against one another. The few riders who do ultimately reach the trade team level will be on a combined team. The trade team has both NCCH and MGCC in the name. And decisions about the race calendar, approach and rider selection will be made jointly
- A Permanent Commitment – as we are starting out, we stand to mostly benefit from NCCH’s experience and best practices. As we stated above, they can help us get on our feet faster and avoid the mistakes they had to make the hard way. We hope that this relationship proves enjoyable and beneficial for both clubs for years to come. However, if it proves otherwise, we will have the option to separate and continue with our program on our own.
The Development Pathway
There are two parts to this partnership, and they complete the proposed pathway that we will develop at MG.
- Youth & Junior 8-12/13-18
- Trade Team 19-U23 (in the first instance, external riders, and older may be required)
The trade team has advantages, and is a very important aspect of the total pathway:
- Kids aspire to be on their club idol’s team.
- A trade team can attract additional sponsorship which can filter down to the earlier levels.
- It can attract current elite, U23, and junior riders to MG, since being part of Morning Glory is an advantage for selection.
- Trade Team members will train with MG throughout the season.
- Trade Team members will assist at some MG & NCCH Youth/Junior Programs.
- It will give MG an Elite team to be proud of, and provide role models for kids to look up to.
First Year: The 2017 Program
Our hope is for the program to expand over the upcoming years (a map of the full future program is provided below.) For 2017 we hope to start with a program that is manageable and encourages this development. We are planning:
Winter Indoor Training
Tracks: 8-12-year-olds and 13-17-year-olds
When: Two Days Per week for each track (a weekday and a Saturday)
Classes will focus on a mix of promoting fitness, friendly competition, games (for the younger group) and some basic race preparation for the older track. We will rely heavily on volunteers to coach the kids and to create a high-energy environment.
Spring/Summer Outdoor Training
Tracks: 8-12-year-olds and 13-17-year-olds
When: Two Days Per week for each track (a weekday and a Saturday)
Classes will meet near GEARS and take advantage of the Don Valley trail system. The 8-12-year-old track will do a variety of games, very basic skills work, and friendly competition. It is our hope to work with the existing grass-track program to the benefit of both efforts.
The 13-17-year-old track will participate in more focused group rides fully supported by program coaches. This will include team rides along the path system, periodic interval work, and skills work.
Race Participation and Coaching
The older track will participate in O-Cup races as part of the Morning Glory Cycling Team. They will be supported at the races including: coaching, team meetings, feeding, etc.
Track: 17 to Elite
MGCC will sponsor the “NCCH powered by MGCC” trade team. This sponsorship will include a continuation of the existing successful bursary program, inclusion in decisions related to races, team calendar, and rider selection.
Coaches and Volunteers
The coaches and volunteers are the heart of the program. So it is important that coaching of the MG Youth & Junior team will be by local MG Coaches with the assistance of the parents. A MG coach will also coordinate the program. Volunteer coaches, officials, and other tasks will certainly be required as the program expands and coaches and volunteers will have the opportunity to grow with the program.
All coaching staff, program directors, and programs are certified coaches and members of the professional organizations of Cycling Canada and the Ontario Cycling Centre. All coaches who interact with youth (i.e. anyone under 18) must sign a code of ethics with the National Coaching Federation, in addition to completing a vulnerable sectors background check (it’s a criminal record check plus a whole lot more). The goal is to assure parents they’re enrolling their children in clubs and sport organizations that have the best standards of care for athletes.
For this program to be successful over the long term, a key underlying assumption is that it will be comprised of the Club’s children. And as they are your children, we understand that brings with it a different level of commitment and expectations from you, the parents. While the NCCH program brings expertise and stability, ultimately we want to create a unique Morning Glory experience. While on the surface, it might appear that we are outsourcing this program, the goal is truly the opposite – to provide a framework so that members and parents can be even more involved in contributing to and creating a program of our own. Your input and help is sought after and paramount if we are to be successful.