Saturday, August 8, 2009

Queensland Clarifications

The following message was forwarded to all GQ-affiliated clubs in the past week, on behalf of Executive Director Wayne Hill. I hope it answers some queries and concerns.

As I had advised earlier this year, the GQ Board requested we undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the HPC for both Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics.

A part of this process was to form an Advisory Committee, made up of key support clubs and technical members.

The recommendation of this committee was that the Men’s program be retained in its current format, with the proviso that the key support programs be strengthened so that gymnasts could continue to train in the club environment, and ultimately leading gymnasts transition to the HPC. This, over a period of time will mean that the number of gymnasts training at Chandler will reduce. The reduction will occur through natural attrition, and be managed as the clubs strengthen.

With regards to the Women’s program it was the recommendation of the Committee and the direction of the Board that every effort be made to form a Joint Venture with Moreton Bay College. The rationale was that there would be considerable advantage to Queensland to have one united program.

I want to state very clearly that despite rumours that prevailed, it was always our intention to involve our current coaching staff in these plans, as we have always had every confidence in these key people.

Protracted negotiations with the Principal of MBC finally ceased late last week, when both parties realised that a Joint Venture was unworkable.

It is therefore our plan to continue the program in its current format, with a plan to strengthen our “Feeder” clubs with a view to ultimately reducing the number of gymnasts training at the HPC. We will hold discussions with all stakeholders over the next period to ensure all will work together for the long-term benefit of the program.

I should also like to advise that the National Head Coach is supportive of the current plan and we are working closely with her to ensure that Queensland continues to be a part of the National Program.

The Gymnastics Queensland Board continues to maintain a strong belief in the benefits a viable Elite program can bring to gymnastics as a sport, and the review was intended to ensure Gymnastics Queensland Elite programs are an integral part of continuing the contribution to the National team over ensuing years.

I know you will understand the process and give your support to the HPC staff.

With Best Wishes,
Gymnastics Queensland


Anonymous said...

Well I sincerly hope the National Coach knows what she is doing. I can't say that I am convinced of her leadership capabiliies given the degradation of the elite high performance programs since her appointment.

Anonymous said...

It's a huge shame MBC and QAS couldn't swallow their pride and join forces amicably. It seems basically this is the end of QAS, as essentially what they want to do is decrease the number of girls until it ceases to exist and instead focus on clubs. If they are pursuing the clubs route, the issue of clubs receiving no HP funding MUST be addressed, otherwise clubs won't be able to take girls to that level. We have already seen Georgia, Shona and Emma's public expressions of frustration and their noting of the lack of incentive to train elite in a club setting.

Froggy said...

OH Jeez ... are we going down the 'bblame Peggy for everything' path again ??


Sad but true said...

Training of Elites in a club setting is only difficult because of GA's heavy investment (both monetarily and psychologically) in the State HPC model. That is where the funding goes and that is where GA expect the top gymnasts to develop. Clubs get no support from GA because every club based gymnast selected into a national team only undermines GA's view of an ideal gymnastics world. Having State based centers of excellence is a great idea for many sports but it simply does not work for gymnastics here in Australia, nor America who abandoned this structure years ago. There are several reasons for this including..

(1) The heavy training schedule for elite gymnasts requiring training 6 days per week, several morning and night. The travel is a killer. HPC's are only attractive if you live relatively close and for most of us, that is not the case.

(2) Under this model, all clubs are expected to refer on their top girls to the HPC's. Moving from a Club to the HPC can be traumatic (a bit too strong a word) for young girls and takes tham away from a familiar club environment. They leave behind the camerarderie, fun and lighter side of the sport for just hard slog. Yes, some of that exists at HPC's but it takes a while for the new gymnast to find her place and in the meantime can feel alienated.

While the demise of any quality training facility is bad, I see the dismantling of HPC's as invitable. Their failure has been to simply not deliver value for money and that situation is now worse than ever.

Froggy, like it or not, there is no doubt that Peggy is a large reason for the scarcity of elite gymnasts. You only have to ask any of the senior girls past and present and they will tell you that working with Peggy was a primary consideration when contemplating retirement. While she brings many skills to the job, she is old school, erratic, dogmatic and untrustworthy. I say the latter because she frequently gives commitments to gymnasts that she subsequently does not honor. More than anything, that makes the girls ask "why bother".

Anonymous said...

Oh... I understood that to mean the same as the mens - only the leading gymnasts would transfer to the hpc, NOT that they were trying to "decrease the number of girls until it ceases to exist"

And as a parent of an elite gymnast at VWHPC I find it annoying to hear that people think the institute girls get any more incentitive to train than say Waverley or MLC. Our bills are NOT paid or subsidised, the only "scholarships" around are available to ALL gymnasts via the VIS. We probably need to fundraise MORE so than clubs for equipment etc as they have a wider gymnastic base to help fund their programs. I know for a fact that MLC costs around half the price of the HPC program!

It IS true that gymnastics need to understand that the girls are YOUNG and trying to juggle elite gymnastics and schooling, that they miss out on so much of what a normal child would take for granted. It is true that if we want these girls to continue in the sport as they mature we need to have processes in place to enable them to afford to DRIVE and STUDY for their future - but THIS IS TRUE FOR ALL ELITE SETTINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Dear VWHPC Parent,
You bring to the table a topic which is both intriguing and very interesting.

"Our bills are NOT paid or subsidised, the only "scholarships" around are available to ALL gymnasts via the VIS. We probably need to fundraise MORE so than clubs for equipment etc as they have a wider gymnastic base to help fund their programs. I know for a fact that MLC costs around half the price of the HPC program!"

So explain to me again the purpose of having these centres and the justification of ALL the government funding that goes into these centres?

The fees are higher, the parents have to fundraise more and the results are poorer (a fact highlighted by the results of the Queensland State Champs, Victorian State Champs, NSW State Champs and the results from Nationals). All this while our top athletes and Olympians who come out of the clubs are not supported as Anonymous pointed out...

"We have already seen Georgia, Shona and Emma's public expressions of frustration"

Could it be any clearer?
This system has had its day and so have the people who continue to support this failed structure.

Time for some fresh leadrship.

Anonymous said...

How are they not supported? (by that I mean in what way are they NOT supported that institute gymnasts ARE?)

I believe All the elite centres are doing a great job - and that differences between the programs perhaps suit individual gymnasts better.

Every program has times when they are flourishing and times when they are building skills etc. Why so much animosity?

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily think its a bad thing that MBC and the QAS wont work together. I think there is a lot of benefit to having more than one elite institute in the state. Mainly for competitive reasons. If there is just one institute then our elite girls have to travel outside of the state in order to even compete against anyone who they don't train with every single day. In countries like the USA where kids compete in the mainstream they get so much more competition experience than our kids. Our elites can reach senior level and have competed basically against the same few girls since they were 6 or 7 years old.

Also if a child is unhappy at their current program, they have another option for international gymnastics if there are 2 centre's.

It's understandable the two gyms didnt agree to work together. The idea was to keep kids in their own clubs for longer, say up to level 3A and then go to MBC for international development program levels say around 3-10. And then off to the QAS for international 10-senior. Or something there abouts.

But why would MBC want to give up its athletes to the QAS when they are doing a fine job developing senior internationals themselves. And why would gyms want to give their IDP kids to MBC, where at the QAS they can keep their club indentity. A lot of things would need to be worked out and I just doubt it would happen.

In the meantime it seems more clubs are holding onto their gymnasts longer anyway. A few QLD clubs appear to be working towards offering IDP levels in their own club environment.

In many ways it does seem good to decrease the number of girls at the QAS and have them in their own clubs longer. So many young kids move to the QAS and find they can't handle the environment. There is too much pressure at 7 or 8 and they drop out of the sport altogether. But if they stayed with their own clubs till say 11 or 12 they would be better equip to deal with the QAS emotionally.

On the other hand, keeping the girls in their clubs longer means there is more chance they can be exposed to inferior training and develop habits that may be to ingrained to undevelop.

As for the funding, even though it does not seem to be helping the parents at the elite centre's it is. These kids are training often around 36 hours a week. If they paid for their training what it would cost so much more than they pay for the individual attention they get, so many hours a week, in such excellent facilities, with such good coaches.

Anonymous said...

Dear WHPC parent,
It is not correct to say that HPC's funding does not mean reduced fees. To my knowledge, training for all elite gymnasts in oz are subsidised to some extent. The average training fees payable by gymnast family's seem to be $8-10k per year. That does not include additional medical, travel and competition costs bourne by families. The cost however to provide quality coaching and facilities is nearly double that. If we say the total cost per gymnast is $20 per year then the gymnast may pay half and the club or HPC will pay the other half. For a club to run an elite programme, it must have sufficient profitability from it's other revenue bases, typically Recreational and fund raising. The HPC's rely on funds from GA. GA's funds come from direct federal funding and of course, registration fees from every gymnast in Australia. GA provide no funding to clubs and generally not to gymnasts.

I have used rough figures above because there are many variations of the theme. I believe some institute girls have received training subsidies but that is rare. It might happen to entice a gymnast to remain in the sport. Perhaps a Monette or Dasha. Club gymnasts would never receive such attention.

Earlier this year, the Federal Government through the Australian Sports Commission provided a Sports Training Grant which GA (improperly) allocated to gymnasts in the AIS/GA Olympic squad. It was to provide some subsidy to training costs. So far, this has only happened once. That means that the bulk of our elite gymnasts and certainly all club based gymnasts continue to pay $10-15k per year to remain in the sport. Without the HPC's, those GA funds could instead be directed to gymnasts to provide relief additional to that already provided by the clubs.

More and more, HPC's are proving to be expensive white elephants that are part of the problem, not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who hasn't read these should. Straight from the horse's mouth. They articulate the problems extremely well.

Anonymous said...

The main error with the funding given out earlier this year was that they gave it to those in the Olympic Squad at that particular time, and not actually the best 2010 Commonwealth games prospects, which is the event the funding was for.

Daria Joura, for example, got the most out of everyone, $12,000, and she hasn't seriously trained since Beijing and probably won't ever again, meaning that was probably a wasted grant in terms of boosting our Commonwealth Games prospects.

Emma Dennis on the other hand was injured at the time and thus not on the GA Squad and missed out entirely, when she is probably one of the true contenders for the team.

They need to use their heads a little more so the maximum benefit can be gained from funding.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh the politics!!
I have been very intrested to read these posts. These just scratch the surface of GA's frequent and blatent maunipulations to put institutes ahead of clubs. As always, GA refuse to be accountable. As a wise Chinaman once said - "when a fish dies, the smell comes from the head"
There is a stench hanging over Oakleigh!

Anonymous said...

Emma was unlucky not to get the funding from the Australian Sports Commission for the Commonwealth Games. But the funding was given some months ago and nobody would have known at the time that Dasha wasn't going to continue. Given her international performances for a few years prior I understand why she was given the grant. Lauren also received $12,000. I assume that the Australiam Sports Commission decided on the timing of the grants and at the time the Olympic Squad included the gymnasts who GA thought would be likely to challenge for a place on the Commonwealth team. So that is why they would have been given to the olympic sqaud members.

Step It Up: said...

On the QLD front... didn't Barron Valley use to be like a 2nd QAS-HPC programme? But it was a club. What ever happened to that? I don't hear of many gymnasts coming from there any more. Is Kylie Shadbolt still there? She seemed to be doing a fantastic job!

Anonymous said...

Barron Valley do have some International level gymnasts. They had kids compete in IDP at states. But I think they eventually feed them to the QAS like they did with Tiarrnye Boorman. I believe they hang onto the girls a bit longer because of the distance thing. For the child to go to the QAS the whole family must really move to brisbane.

Anonymous said...

Barron Valley do have some International level gymnasts. They had kids compete in IDP at states. But I think they eventually feed them to the QAS like they did with Tiarrnye Boorman. I believe they hang onto the girls a bit longer because of the distance thing. For the child to go to the QAS the whole family must really move to brisbane.

Anonymous said...

well hope they don't. just heard that idiot coach there darren has quit finally. thank god hes gone now, best thing to get that guy out of there,he damages so many gymnasts.killed the program totally

Anonymous said...

How can you blame a coach that has come into a prgrame that is already in trouble! This trouble started a long time ago..... with John curtin and Wayne Hill. All the WAG coaches, have put up with more shit then any one should have to.

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes Amber?

Mez said...