I am now officially in the swing of placement working life, and I love it! SASI has welcomed me with open arms, I have met and worked with some incredibly talented people, and I am learning something new every day.
Most of my work so far has been with SASI Talent Search, so I wanted to give you all a bit of insight as to exactly what that is.
The SASI Talent Search Program is a fantastic initiative that selects athletes from Adelaide based secondary schools and Universities that have the potential to represent Australia on an International level in one, or more, of the talent search sports which include rowing, kayaking, beach volleyball and cycling. The program has shown great success, with a large number of athletes representing Australia at the Rio Olympic Games coming from the talent search pathway, and being identified from school, having never played their sport before! The steps are as follows: Phase 1 = secondary schools send in their athletes’ data which includes tests like the beep test, 20m sprint and vertical jump, along with height, weight, arm span and seated height. We then choose the top 2.5% of students, and as part of Phase 2a, go to the schools to test the athletes ourselves. At this stage, we do the same tests, to confirm the data that the schools have provided us with. This year, we expanded Phase 2a by going to test in 2 of the Universities in Adelaide, and also arranged a ‘Come and Try’ event where we were looking for raw talent in the sports. The next stage is sending all of this testing data to the coaches for the sports, who then narrow the athletes down even more to progress to Phase 2b testing. This year, we received 3466 athletes’ data from 36 schools in Phase 1, we tested 1034 from 36 sources in Phase 2 and chose 467 athletes for Phase 2b. Phase 2b testing involved the athletes coming to SASI to take part in more sport specific testing. This included strength testing in the gym for kayaking, various ball drills / skills for beach volleyball, a 6s and 2min sprint to determine power and cadence for cycling, and strength, power and endurance tests for rowing. From this, the coaches again look through all of the data and select the best of the best athletes for Phase 3. Phase 3 is the final stage of the pathway, and these athletes are then invited to be a part of the State Development Squad. This year we chose 121 athletes, across the 4 sports, to join the state development squads. From there, the hope is that they make state teams, then national teams, and hopefully get offered a SASI scholarship to train here, and hopefully progress to national sporting bodies for their sport, and represent Australia at the Olympic Games.
In the photo of the left, I am running the Talent Search testing at Adelaide University, and on the right I am testing the vertical jump height of a talented young athlete in a local school.