Junior class, what ages?

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Jani Soderhall
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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sat Sep 27, 2003 8:36 pm

What is the current age cut off for juniors?
Contest organizers and those with an interest in promoting this class, please respond.

We're investigating the possibilities to add a junior (boys) class in Paris 2004.

Hopefully there should be some interest (please, let us know).

I'm not sure we should have a girls class though. It would be good if the girls could compete with the women, although that might be a tough match, but that would generate more participants and (even) more interest for the womens classes. Can I have your opinion on this topic too?

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Post by Vlad Popov » Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:12 pm

I no organizer, nor I at all political correct when it come to sex’s. But I think it’ll be fair to have different classes depending on the number of participants present AND the percentage of girls and boys to women and men. Just a thought.

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:20 pm

Vlad, it first it sounds OK, but if we make an invitation and juniors come to compete we want to stand by our decision. Either there is a class or there isn't. We can't just drop the class once on site.

We also need to purchase trophies and stuff for the winners.

Another question came up as I read through the ISSA rules it is stated that the juniors can also compete in the mens class. I know that Dylan Gordon has done that a couple of times, but does it really make sense? (Except being even more fun as you get to make more runs).

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:58 pm

Jani,

You can always do it as they do in road rallies: all the classes run together, but the individual classes each have a winner.

Of course, you run the risk of a 12-year old on his first skateboard racing Luca, but that can be fixed with bracketing.

If, though, you advertise a "junior" class and only one or two juniors sign up, they can still race and still be a part of the program. The drawback, as you noted, is that without enough kids registering and paying their money you end up having to use older division registration money to pay for additional trophies.

What would work really well is if you could sell a sponsor on JUST SPONSORING the junior class. As an example, Euro Disney is in Paris. Why not approach the management about putting up a couple of hundred francs to be used just towards the Junior class prizes? Then you could market the event as the "Disney Junior Slalom Championship." Another idea would be a local candy company or toy store. Maybe they wouldn't be interested in sponsoring the whole event, but if you could get just the junior expenses taken care of, then you won't have to worry about whether or not the event would pay for itself.

As far as ages are concerned, I like the following:

12-under
12-17
18-older
Masters class would be if anyone over the age of 55 wants to race.

I know that some people consider 50 to be a master's class, but when you look at Hutson, Hester, Coleman, Reignier and a few others hovering around five decades, you really have to ask yourself if they deserve a class of their own? Seems to me they're holding their own rather well with the 30- and 40- somethings.

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sat Sep 27, 2003 11:13 pm

Wesley Tucker wrote:

12-under
12-17
18-older
Masters class would be if anyone over the age of 55 wants to race.
At this moment it is difficult enough to get one decent junior class together, so it's still to early to subdivide them.

You seem to suggest that the cutoff age should be 18. You're 18 and you're in the mens class. Seems easy enough for everyone to remember.

About the Masters class. We'll only need that when the younger guys gets so good that all of us >40 looks silly. No need yet, but it might happen in a year or two at this rate.

The cost is not my concern for the juniors class. It is to have enough skaters to make it interesting enough for them to have their own class.

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Post by Howard Gordon » Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:03 am

Jani -

At the FCR World's, the junior age group is 15 and under. If you have only one junior age group with separate classes for boys and girls, that seems like a fair age limit.

There will always be an advantage for the oldest kids in any age group, but then they get older and disappear the following year.

You're right about Dylan competing in the open class. This happened because at the beginning of his racing, there were no other kids to compete against. Now, the junior classes have a number of entries, so it is no longer an issue, though he still likes to enter the open classes.

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:09 am

15 yrs to me seems quite low, not expecting to see too many below that age, but then again I've seen some pretty good 13 year olds this year, so maybe you're right.

Any more opinions?

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Post by Andy Bittner » Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:09 pm

Obviously, there are many different organized sports in this world that have chosen age limits defining their Junior Classes. In most cases it seems like the ages selected are somehow relative to the expected longevity of an athlete in the sport, and the relative impact of widely divergent physical capabilities on the outcome of competition. Then again, some sports (golf, tennis) just seem to stick by the tried and true arbitrary numbers like 18 or 16.

I guess my point is that gymnastics or figure skating, where the (non-professional) competitive window seems to close for an athlete in his/her early 20s, would have a very different definition of "junior" than would a sport like curling, where the competitive window can stay open well into a curler's 50s. In world-class curling, where differences in physical capabilities are not as much of an issue, a player is a junior until he/she is 21 (curling, at least club-level curling, is a sport where drinking age after the game matters almost as much or more than the slight physical differences there'd be between an 18 y.o. and a 21 y.o.); and I'd bet that in gymnastics, if an athlete hits 21 and is still competitive they are probably considered "Masters".

My personal opinion is that significant differences in basic physical capabilities are influential on competitive outcomes in our sport. Thus, I think our primary consideration in defining a Junior class needs to be focused more on age, relative to physical maturity rather than psychological or emotional maturity. This means I am in favor of younger age limits on junior divisions, more closely linked to the ages at which the body's physical changes are taking place, rather than the ages at which society has decided people are mature enough to vote or drink beer. At first consideration of all of this, my mind is inclined to define "Junior" as 15-and-under. Turn 16... skate with the adults.

I'd also like to add one of the things I noticed while researching other sports for this commentary, while acknowledging Jani's absolutely correct point that right now slalom skateboarding is still too small to divide and then sub-divide classes. In some sports, where differences in physical size and capability make a big difference, the youth classes are further divided with the use of terms like "Juvenile", "Children's", etc.

I think there's one more alternative to consider in all of this, again acknowledging Jani's earlier point, and that would be to further divide the overall "Junior" age group by weight classes, like Boy's Club (American) football. That way, even in the crucial growth years, we don't get slight, late-blooming 12 yr. olds getting taken out by some adult-sized, early maturing types. (To make my point, I always like to cite a kid I knew who was 5'11 and 197 lbs. at the age of 11. Not coincidentally, his father was an NFL offensive lineman.)

I think, ultimately, many of us witnessed a physical mismatch in the Junior of the World's last year, and with full credit and respect to all of the Juniors for giving it their all, I think we'd like to avoid situations like that in the future, if possible.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Andy Bittner on 2003-09-28 13:14 ]</font>

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Post by Brady Mitchell » Sun Sep 28, 2003 6:46 pm

Interesting discussion. GBJ makes some clear and precise points. I also like the 16 and younger idea for juniors. Maybe more definition as it pertains to the amount of participants. Lets say only 3 kids qualify as juniors but you have 5 more that just missed the age limit. Like 17 os 18. Do these kids stand a chance on competing against a group of 40 or more between the ages of 18 and 40?

So what I guess I`m saying is I`d like to see more participants in the junior division and not see a rule that limits it. Just a guideline rule,

As for the masters division, 45 and older seems more appropriate. Again, to have more participants in that category.

And lastly, maybe a rule that states once you`ve entered a category, you can`t cross over into another for that race.

I think something similar to FCR`s pro/open status but limiting it to that particular race and not the whole season.

If you finsih last in a PRO race, have the ability to drop to an AMATEUR status for the next.

Same with mens/juniors or mens/masters.

But with limiting factors for the juniors so an older guy can`t race some kid, but if Cliff Coleman wants to race against Attila Azodi, the more power to nim.

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Post by Vlad Popov » Sun Sep 28, 2003 8:58 pm

In ideal, if boys have their own class so should the girls. But it's hard/impossible to predict if enough of them will show up. To save time you could allow boys and girs to run only in one class. Kids or adults. Just another thought.

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Post by Rick Stanziale » Mon Sep 29, 2003 12:26 am

I've suggested in the past we distinguish slalom classes by net worth.

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Post by Gianluca Ferrero » Mon Sep 29, 2003 2:59 pm

well,concerning the Junior classes, i would like to let you know that in Italy we always did it.Actually it is for Kids7-12
and juiors 13-16.

This special class enabled us to let Luca and some others growing and don't leave the sport.
About prizes,i mean ,it's not a real hi-cost . organizers can plan what you want,medals ,stuffs,material, certificate,but IT'S IMPORTANT to motivate the future racers.

Another thing that i would like to say evrybody is that promo junior classes (boys and girls...if there are at least 2 or more) has to be entering with special low-fees compared with the final prizes.8this is also suggested for senior and overall...fees has to be the mirrow of the services you are getting in -

Have a look in other sports...

That is what we are going to do


Take care

gianluca ferrero

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Post by Andy Bittner » Mon Sep 29, 2003 3:37 pm

Gianluca, Your system is the closest to what I feel is probably correct for our sport, although I'd still bump the top age for Juniors down to 15. Grazi!

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Post by Howard Gordon » Mon Sep 29, 2003 5:44 pm

Of course, it would be great to have multiple divisions which make things more even within each group, but until the sport grows a lot larger, that is probably not practical.

Last year's open class GS world champion (Siale) was 16, and this year's women's class slalom runner-up (Aria) was 16 or 17. If there is only one junior class age range, I think the upper limit needs to be 14 or 15 years old.

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Post by Andy Bittner » Mon Sep 29, 2003 6:00 pm

Howard, You must've missed it further back in this topic, but we're already clear that the sport is currently too small to be too acutely sub-divided. So, most of this discussion is more about framing the future than it is creating multiple age divisions for the next race.

Thanks though, for joining in. As a prominent father in the sport, your input seems particularly relevant.

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Post by Howard Gordon » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:32 pm

Andy -

No ... I did not miss your comments. But the fact of the matter is that there will be inequities no matter what age decision is made. And yes ... there was a big mismatch at the Worlds in 2002, but the 10-year-old still managed to win.

There can only be one champion in ANY given division. That's the nature of true competition. Before you become too concerned about making things "fair" for the kids, note that a 9-year-old qualified 7th in the <b>open division</b> tight slalom yesterday, with 3 juniors making the first round cut, and a 14-year-old girl podiumed with the pro women in the slalomcross.

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Post by Andy Bittner » Tue Sep 30, 2003 4:55 am

Actually Howard, I think we're pretty much in agreement on the rough age specs for future Junior class racing. I agree that 14 or 15 is a good top age for the Junior division. Please don't get me wrong, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool competitive-type, not one of the people who constantly wants to soften and refine competition so that everyone involved can leave feeling good about themselves. In fact, I've often joked about these warm and fuzzy, everybody-wins-types that, if they had their way, even I'd end up a World Champion ... of those born on July 29, 1962, in Washington D.C. and weighing between 220 and 225 lbs.

I do like this particular conversation though. It's nice that this is actually being discussed in advance of any real need to implement the results. Certainly, there will always be mismatches, just as surely as I once knew that kid who was 5'11 and 197 lbs. at the age of 11 years. However, any consensus gathered on this page, about what really is most fair for juniors, could possibly prove valuable in the future with the weight of those who discussed it here behind any resulting suggestions.

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Post by Claude Regnier » Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:03 am

Okay.

My opnion! From many years of working and coaching with kids.

This is the Extreme scenario if you have the numbers to merit the divisions.

8 and under
12 and under
13 to 15
16 & 17 (18 could also work in this group)
Open
Pro
Masters

I battled with the thought of not racing or going as an Open racer this year. It would be nice for several of the Older racers whose skills have erroded thru age or injuries to be able to race, have a chance and have fun. Isn't that what it's all about.

If (when) there is some strong development we could included a couple of sposored divisions in the above categories.

Wesley, Thanks for the compliment! I think?

Although on December 30th, 03 I'll still be five years away from 50, I enjoyed competing in the Open at this years Worlds. I had fun for a change.

Not that I didn't enjoy my previous competitions but racing just got a little more enjoyable for me. I hadn't raced in more then 3 rounds of Duals since '82.

The more division the more the learning will progress. Properly managed it wouldn't take any longer to run.

Smaller bracketing numbers adjusted to the number of registrants per division.
Many Happy Pumps!

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Post by Vlad Popov » Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:16 pm

To save time (esp. if it becomes a major issue like this year):

Have Boy and Girl Junior classes. With only one winner in each class. Age categories proposed above can receive letters of recognition. They are memorable but not as expensive as trophies.

Do not allow "double dipping" in any class. Be it PRO, OPEN or Junior. Pick a class and stick to it. Run a Pro class practice first and those who feel they are better off in the OPEN class could make a decision then and there. This will also allow to a set a PRO course for the PRO class. Not the kind of course to “please” everyone.


Just a suggestion. Or two. :smile:

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Post by John Gilmour » Sat Oct 11, 2003 2:35 am

Grom 8 and under
9-12 kids
13-17 teens but if you are over 170 lbs for boys and over 135 for girls....you are considered an adult - I remember going to school with Neil Pachooka A 6'2" 200lb polish kid who was 14. Someone like that is a big enough boy to race with the adults.
18+ voters=adults.

In smaller contests Kids and teens can combine if there are less than 6 entrants but Groms ALWAYS have every contestant win at least something.

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Post by Terry Kirby » Sat Oct 11, 2003 2:50 am

John, what if the kid normally weighs in at 170# but diets down before the weight and comes in at 162#. Then loads up on his fluids and carbs and races at 172# in the teens division! The Horror! Also who will man the scales, Ed Economy???

Age is in the head not the fat... Keep it SIMPLE.

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The idea came from Grecco roman wrestling.

Post by John Gilmour » Wed Oct 15, 2003 2:42 am

Well in Highschool they want to see even wrestling matches so they match the kids up by weight. It also gave kids an incentive to stay fit.

I just think that there can be some pretty big inequities in slalom racing if one kid is really small and another is el hugo. In snowboarding there was a kid from Pennsylvania we sponsored. At 14 he was 220 lbs and strong as an ox. He woud race these 110 pound kids and crush them. He won nearly every event. Seeing as he is now over 18 I don't see any reason why should not have a weight cutoff.
One good turn deserves another
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Post by Jani Soderhall » Tue Nov 18, 2003 11:52 pm

Vlad Popov wrote:Have Boy and Girl Junior classes. With only one winner in each class.
I don't see us gathering enough juniors during any European race in 2004 to have as many classes as we would need to make it completely fair for all the various junior age groups. For Paris I'll be aiming for one junior boys class and one junior girls class, like Vlad proposes. If the FCR has used 15 yrs and under as the definition for the junior class, we should stick to the same. Any protests? We'll try to make sure that every junior that participates gets a prize, either a trophy or a give away. That's a promise.
Vlad Popov wrote:Do not allow "double dipping" in any class. Be it PRO, OPEN or Junior. Pick a class and stick to it.
I couldn't agree more. You should only be allowed to race in one class at one race. That decision should be done at the latest when you sign in at the race site (pre-sign ins, might be change on location).

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Class system

Post by John Gilmour » Wed Nov 19, 2003 5:58 pm

Jani Soderhall wrote:
Vlad Popov wrote:Have Boy and Girl Junior classes. With only one winner in each class.
I don't see us gathering enough juniors during any European race in 2004 to have as many classes as we would need to make it completely fair for all the various junior age groups. For Paris I'll be aiming for one junior boys class and one junior girls class, like Vlad proposes. If the FCR has used 15 yrs and under as the definition for the junior class, we should stick to the same. Any protests? We'll try to make sure that every junior that participates gets a prize, either a trophy or a give away. That's a promise.
Vlad Popov wrote:Do not allow "double dipping" in any class. Be it PRO, OPEN or Junior. Pick a class and stick to it.
I couldn't agree more. You should only be allowed to race in one class at one race. That decision should be done at the latest when you sign in at the race site (pre-sign ins, might be change on location).
\\

I'm think 17 is the age break off. Because Kids can't rent cars or travel to events otherwise as minors.


As for registering pro or open I was wondering if for some racers that come from areas without hills for instance....if they might be more appropriately classed in Open GS yet be Pro TS.

Perhaps it is better to just have racers choose what they want to compete in. But if they should can't drop back down to Open until the next season.

Besides at Morro Bay the "Pro" racers got medals - but no cash. So it would seem that the pro moniker may fade for a time being.

So perhaps an advanced slalom and an Intermediate slalom would be a more fitting designation.
One good turn deserves another
john gilmour

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