Building Team BC for the Western Canada Summer Games – Jody Jackson

Junior Golf ImageBritish Columbia, is one of 4 provinces and 3 territories that will be participating in the upcoming 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, hosted in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, from August 12-15th.

The games were established in 1975 to provide development opportunities for amateur athletes progressing to national and international levels of competition.  The Western Canada Summer Games (WCSG) is part of the pathway to the Canada Summer Games and further along, the Olympics.  The Games are a premier multi-sport competition that involves the best athletes to advance their skills in a competitive, but friendly environment.  For our sport, eligible players must be 16 and under as of the last day of competition and each team consists of 4 players and 1 alternate on both the boys and girls sides.  For more information on this year’s event, click the link: http://www.2015woodbuffalo.com/

As Technical Director for BC Golf, my role is to oversee the program for golf, inclusive of the competitive plans, selection training camps and mentoring a new coach.  As Head Coach at the inaugural event for golf in 2011, we set a very high-bar with sweeping all the medals, winning Boys & Girls Team Gold, Boys Individual Gold, Silver & Bronze and Girls Individual Gold, Silver & Bronze.

The selection training camps started in September 2014, with a scouting/talent I.D. camp with Alberta Golf.  Led by Golf Canada, this was an opportunity to establish a baseline evaluation of our age-eligible athletes.

In mid-October 2014, we hosted our annual BC Golf High-Performance Camp, with emphasis on our eligible athletes once again.   The focus was to provide high-level training opportunities to support player growth and encourage the development of an annual training plan starting November 2014.  Each player received a USB drive uploaded with his or her complete assessment data.  Data capture from leading technology included: Trackman, V-1 Golf Analysis, Shot-by-Shot, K-VEST, Six Seconds SEI-YV Assessment (Mental/Emotional) and TPI.  It was expected that our players would take their individualized information to their personal coaches and train over the off-season in preparation for the 2015 competitive season.  Provincial Coaches and BC Golf staff were available for support, as well.

The WCSG Selection Camp on February 28th and March 1st, 2015 was the final look at our long-list of eligible athletes vying for a spot to represent Team BC.  The focus was to observe and assess the junior players, after their 4 months of off-season training.  This camp was developed to mimic the multi-sport environment, so a state-of-the-art facility called Fortius Sport & Health was chosen.  Our players were roomed in a dormitory style accommodation and followed a strict schedule of training, competing, eating and rest/recovery.  Transportation was also a logistical factor, as our participating golf facilities were 10 – 25 km away.  Our intention was to observe players in this mimicked environment, to see if they could manage things both under their control and not so much.

The camp included an 18-hole competitive round at Riverway Golf Course along with the use of industry leading technology including: FlightScope, Shot-by-Shot, TPI Strength & Conditioning, SixSeconds EQ, Vision54, Thinq Golf and SportingDNA Technologies.  Over the last 7 years working in Player Development at BC Golf, it has become evident three areas of weakness in junior golf had to be addressed:  1/ Mental/Emotional/Social Skills, 2/ Nutrition and 3/ Course Management.  This information came to us by our observation, coach reporting and player feedback.  Therefore, it was important to include assessment and training in these areas at our camps.

In summary, the 2015 WCSG selection criteria includes: 1/ Participation in 2 of 3 training camps, 2/ Pre-season tournaments that equal to 6 -7 competitive rounds, 3/ 2014 Performance Results, 4/ Previous Provincial or National Team experience as an asset and 5/ Provincial Coaches’ Recommendations.

The final selection of our team is to be done by a BC Golf Western Canada Games Selection Committee of a minimum of 5 individuals: including Coaches, BC Golf Board member(s), BC Golf Staff, including the Managing Director of Player Development.

Final Team announcement will be done mid April 2015.  Thereafter, the 2015 WCSG BC Team will be together at the CN Future Links Pacific, the first major on the junior competitive pathway in Canada.  This will be an opportunity for our players, coach and manager to work together in a competitive environment involving a number of elements they will face in August at Wood Buffalo.

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