- What are the squads?
Collectively the squads will be made up of athletes at various stages of their development who are displaying performances or performance potential, coupled with a commitment to be successful world class athletes.
There are 3 squads in the National Structure:
High Performance Squad: Current world class athletes demonstrating the ability to regularly make finals and win medals at ISSF competitions. These athletes continue to demonstrate a high level of professionalism in all areas on and off range.
Performance Squad: This group of athletes have consistently demonstrated a level of performance that see them regularly achieving selection to National Teams and on track to be future finalists & podium athletes at ISSF competitions. Importantly, these athletes demonstrate a commitment to high performance training and preparation on and off the range.
Pathway Squad: Athletes in the Pathway squad have been identified through their performances and commitment, as having the potential to develop into High Performance athletes. This is not a junior squad, rather a squad that engages with athletes at the early stage of their development.
- How are the squads selected?
The National Coaches and High Performance Staff will select the squads using both recent performance data and factors such as commitment and engagement towards the program.
- Why do I have to apply each year?
We are asking athletes to apply each year for a few of reasons.
The application process allows the athlete to articulate their commitment to progression annually. This ensures we align our Program with our State Institute partners and the AIS that require us to assess athletes for continued support each year.
Importantly too, circumstances can change in athlete’s lives; professional careers may need to take precedence, athletes may want a break from elite athlete life. An athlete may choose not to apply for any reason rather than feel pressure or obligation if the squad is just rolled over.
- Why are there different squads?
Having different squads better articulates where an athlete is in their athlete journey and allows our coaches to have good conversations with athletes about the areas of development and progression.
It also ensures the High Performance staff can resource and support an athlete more appropriately and according to individual need. For example, regular World Cup competition may be a requirement for a High Performance athlete whereas it may be more appropriate for another athlete to compete in an alternative international competition such as a Grand Prix. There may be some athletes, who require support to prioritise a block of domestic training and competition or access to additional technical coaching.
The Pathway Squad is a result of a grant specifically aimed at a particular level of athlete. The grant was provided primarily for Shotgun and therefore will be made up predominately of shotgun athletes.
- Are there limited numbers in the National Squad?
The investment by our partners at the AIS is finite and National Squads are capped to ensure that we can support those athletes that can best contribute to our objectives of winning medals at Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The introduction of the Pathway Squad has been possible through the investment of the AIS in Performance Pathways. This will allow us to engage with athletes at earlier stages of development than was previously possible.
- Do I need to be shooting ISSF disciplines to apply?
Athletes outside ISSF disciplines may apply but must be committed to prioritising their development of ISSF disciplines. Maintaining a presence in a non ISSF discipline will form part of the athlete planning conversation.
- Is there a junior squad?
There is not a junior squad as such, but there will be juniors included in the squad and those selected will be placed in the appropriate squad according to development, experience and performances.
- What benefits do I get by being in the squad?
There are many benefits, perhaps the most important benefit is the opportunity to participate in an athlete planning session with the National Coach and/or Pathway Manager. This process allows the athlete to look at where they currently sit in relation to world best and develop a plan to close that gap by identifying what areas need to be developed. The outcome of this plan will determine what support an athlete may receive. This will be different for each athlete but may include any of the following:
- Technical and Performance Support – Exposing athletes to a network of professional people that can challenge and support them in training, both on and off the range. This includes Shooting Australia’s National Coaches and High Performance Staff as well as specialist support personnel such as physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, experts in mental preparation, dietitians, etc.
- National Camps – Providing opportunities on and off the range where athletes can challenge themselves and each other to test what they know and explore what they might not know … yet
- Competition Support – Guiding athletes towards accessing domestic and international competition opportunities that best suit their current stage of development and helping them to maximise these opportunities by teaching them how to apply what they’ve learnt in training to their performances in competition
- Athlete/Performance Lifestyle Support – Helping athletes to juggle their commitments to becoming a High Performance athlete in Shooting with the other things that matter to them in life such as family and friends, study and/or work, etc.
An important Squad benefit is to be part of a talented and committed group of athletes who seek to keep Shooting on the map as one of Australia’s most successful Olympic sports.
- If I’m in a squad does that mean I’m going to be selected to National Teams?
Being part of the squad means many things. Competition is an important part of an athlete’s development and may form a component of being in a National Squad.
Obviously there are a number of National Teams where an athlete will be required to compete in a selection series to earn selection. Junior World Championships and Oceania Championships are examples of this.
National Teams for competitions such as Air Gun tour, International Open events, Grand Prix’s & World Cups may form part of an athletes Individual Plan. This will be a discussion with athlete and coach around what is most appropriate for the athlete at their stage of development or performance level.
- What do I have to do to stay in the squad?
- Demonstrate a holistic commitment to progression – of performance and high performance attitudes and behaviours
- Maintain regular communication with your National Coach and Shooting Australia’s High Performance staff
- Prioritise your learning and development to be/become a high performance athlete by committing the time required
- Have the courage to ask for help when you need it
- Contribute positively and professionally to all National Squad activities and show respect to your teammates – athletes and staff
- Adhere to the Shooting Australia Athlete Agreement
- Complete all required Sport Integrity Australia eLearning Modules (anti-doping/match fixing etc.)
- Does being in a squad mean I get an Institute Scholarship (VIS/QAS/NSWIS/SASI/WAIS)?
Not all squad athletes will have direct access to an Institute, but all athletes will have some level of support from our National Institute Network partners.
- Does being in a squad mean I am a categorised athlete?
National Squad membership and Categorisation are two different things. We will work with the AIS to determine which athletes are categorised in early 2021 using an AIS approved criteria.