Monday, February 09, 2009

USATF Task Force Report

After the US track and field teams lackluster performance at the Beijing Olympics, USATF founded a task force - "Project 30" to restructure the "high performance" programs and initiatives currently in place for elite athletes...

Here were the aspects in which improvements are needed, according to the task force ( I agree for the most part) I am glad Logan has made an effort to legitimize track to some extent here in the US. Everywhere else (europe specifically) There are strong organizations backing the sport whereas here even our own federation sorta just coasts through...and hopes for the best.

Overall, there is a lack of accountability, professionalism and cohesion in the areas the Task Force studied.

* The International Team Staff selection system lacks transparency and accountability, creating a culture of mistrust for coaches and athletes alike.

* International staffs need more managers and fewer coaches.

* The criteria for selecting track and field's U.S. Olympic Team should not change, but the Olympic Trials themselves should.

* Excessive travel and poor long-term planning on the part of athletes, their coaches and agents appear to be the greatest controllable factors negatively affecting Team USA performance in Beijing.

* Spending more than $1 million in the last six years, and with as many as 173 athletes taking part in it each year, the National Relay Program has failed to produce results that justify the costs of the program.

I don't even know what the relay program IS; obviously it has not been seen as effective.

* Lack of communication between coaches and athletes, poor management of the relay pools and questions over which coaches were responsible for relays resulted in the 4x100m relay failures in Beijing.


* American coaches and athletes under-utilize the facilities and USATF sport science available to them.

* Inroads have been made into catching and punishing doping cheats, but more must be done to strengthen the anti-doping culture.

I don't know how truthful this is.

* American athletes as a group do not conduct themselves as true professionals, and USATF does not hold them to professional standards.


Based on its findings, the Task Force makes the following 10 Recommendations:

* Hire a professional General Manager of High Performance.

I'll do it! Not really...

* Create a transparent, criteria-based Team Staff selection system.

* Restructure the composition of Team USA staffs.

* Shorten the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field to five days.

fabulous idea. I can only imagine how grueling it is to fly out for the Trials and then wait like 3 days in between heats...that's an exaggeration but seriously.

* Terminate the National Relay Program.

I still have no idea what this is.

* Establish a comprehensive 2012 team preparation program.

* Target technical events for medal growth and develop those events.

* Create a well-defined Professional Athlete designation.

I need further explanation...archetype of US athlete?

* Establish a more stringent anti-doping reinstatement system.

We will see...

* Promote and foster a self-sustaining professional athletes' union.

FULL 69 page report can be found here.


RM said...

Dr. J:

The National Relay Program. Takes a bunch of people that are fast and plops them into the relay program - in the event somebody faster can't race. It's like minor leagues, bench strength. It's also part of their plan to rotate as many people into championship relay teams (through the heats) so that they can win more medals.

The professionalism thing has to do with how we act, in large part thanks to the cockiness of that 4x100m team a few years ago with Maurice Greene that behaved in a less than sportsmanlike manner. I can get on board with these athletes having to become more professional, but they certainly aren't that bad compared to certain sports' athletes.

The drug testing - they have been doing a better job, but it's not their fault people want to cheat. They can only do their best to catch those that do!

And the "manager" that they want to bring in - they want to bring someone from outside of track and field. A lot of companies do this when they want to change things up, bring a different perspective. As long as this person isn't an idiot, it can be a good thing.

Rebs said...

agreed. thanks for schoolin me.