Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - Coaching
Podium 2010: International Performance Curve and Program Monitoring

By: Anton Scheier

The variables of snow conditions and terrain in cross country ski races make the establishment of time standards for different age groups (such as occurs in track and swimming) impossible to determine. To overcome this problem and to provide athletes with a fairly objective measure of how their performance relates to their national and international rivals the Canada Points list was created. This points list is similar to that long used in Alpine and other organizations such as the International Tennis Circuits, to help determine an international ranking system, even though athletes may not be competing in "head-to-head" competition. It uses a points formula that is applied to each CCC sanctioned or high level international race to generate points for each individual athlete at that event. It is a method of helping the athlete and coach assess how the athlete may be progressing towards their performance goals.

The International Performance Curve (IPC) uses data obtained from the many years of records on Canadian athletes to give a snapshot of what levels of performance on the Canada Points List are required, at what age, if the athlete is on track for success at the international level. Reaching the standards outlined on the IPC is of course not a guarantee of international success, nor is not achieving the standards, (particularly at the younger ages), a definite indication of a lack of ability to reach the top level internationally. Each individuals training and skiing background must be considered when assessing their performance! Nonetheless in the large majority of cases those athletes that have been internationally successful for Canada have at a minimum met those standards and there have been few exceptions to the rule.

Please note that this is a model only and a smooth yearly progression is the exception rather than the rule. Individual yearly averages will vary but the general trend must meet the standards outlined.

The International Performance Curve has been used to a certain extent over the last few years to help select the National Junior Teams. The intention now is to as part of the Podium 2010 planning process to also use it as a monitoring tool for the "High Performance System" to help determine progress in the development of athletes in our sport. We know that in general at a Junior Boy/Girl age an athlete must meet standard (points value) X if they are to achieve international success, so by analysing the number of athletes that meet that standard in a given year we will have an indication of potential future performance levels 10 years down the road. By cross referencing that number with other years we will also be able to track changes in the athlete talent pool that would be indicative of progress in athlete development. It will be possible to use this at club, divisional and national levels.

The International Performance Curve

Athlete Performance Analysis Standards

To simplify athlete development analysis for the overall system some general standards have been developed. At a national level the evaluation of the number of athletes in percent points ranges per age category have been determined. Based on historical numbers we know that athletes that can achieve these point standards in their age group have potential for international success. Once again it is not a guarantee or a definitive prerequisite however in the majority of cases at a minimum this standard has been achieved.

Age Category Standard CPL Points # of athletes in 2000/01
Juvenile 75-80 0 6
Junior B/G 80-85 12 6
Junior M/W 85-89 4 0
Sr 1,2,3 89-91 5* 1*
Sr 4,5,6 91-94 0 1
SR 7+ >94 0 1
*6 athletes in total over 90 points
**5 athletes in total over 90 points

There are a variety of ways to use this data. First on a year-to-year basis it can be used Nationally to analyse whether or not we are increasing our number of quality athletes. These same numbers, and the number of athletes in a range a bit below these standards should give us an indication of the number of athletes we are developing at a Divisional and Club level that may not be quite at the national standard yet but could develop to the next level. It should give us an idea of the effectiveness of our athlete recruitment programs and our athlete training programs.

What if the athletes are not at the level?

The first consideration is how long have they been in the sport, and how much training have they been doing? It is unreasonable to expect an athlete that starts skiing at 15, to be immediately at the National standard.

The second consideration involves an assessment of the athlete's profile versus that of the "Road Map to a World Championship Title" model. Is the athlete doing the training/racing required to attain that standard? If the answer is yes and they have the technical skills and have been carrying that training out consistently over several years then it is possible they just do not have the appropriate genetics to be an international ski racer.

The third consideration is do I want to, and then how can I change my training or athlete development and recruitment programs and structure to get more athletes meeting the International Performance Standards".

By using the International Performance curve and the Athlete Analysis Standards as a guide we should be able to objectively assess the progress we are making in our High Performance system and correspondingly make appropriate adjustments to increase it's effectiveness.

This page is maintained by the
Copyright 2002,