For Event Directors
USAT Triathlon's junior development programming is specifically aligned with the USAT High Performance Plan. This plan is developed and accepted by the U.S. Olympic Committee and is designed to guide the program over the course of a four year Olympic cycle (or "quad"). Certain programming, such as junior development camps and draft-legal development races, is implemented to support this plan. Before USAT grants the use of a specific designation or title to an event, it reviews the proposal in the larger context of the High Performance Plan taking into consideration the overall viability and sustainability of the event in the context of the entire plan. Some programs are intentially designed to be limited in size to create a systematic increase in selectivity or competitiveness in these events over the course of the quad. In other areas, USAT High Performance may incentivize growth via targeted grants or proactive engagement of experienced event organizers to deliver more opportunities for athletes across the spectrum. The ultimate goal is to provide the right opportunities at the right time, while building a program that is sustainable over time.
FAQs about Youth Elite/Junior Elite Triathlon
Descriptions of Youth F1, Youth Elite, Junior Elite, and Elite Development Formats
Recommended Race Distances for Youth and Juniors
Sample ITU Race Briefing Slides
About Development Camps
USAT development camps are organized around two ability levels: Skills Camps for novice to intermediate-level teens and Select Camps for more experienced, competitive junior elite athletes. Keep reading for a description of each type of camp.
View the 2013 camp schedule here.
Skills Camps are designed with the novice to intermediate-level 12-17 year old athlete in mind. These camps focus on the fundamentals of triathlon's three disciplines. In the pool, athletes will work on swim stroke fundamentals, as well as pontoon-style dive starts, buoy turns, navigation, and open water entries and exits. On the bike, athletes will practice cornering, climbing, descending, and braking skills. Athletes will be introduced to pack riding and entry-level draft-legal racing skills. Run practices will focus on dynamic warm-ups, form drills, and transition runs. Significant attention is placed on mastering ITU-style flow through transitions with flying mounts and dismounts. In addition, athletes will learn about sports nutrition and how to structure their training. Coaches will discuss how to keep triathlon in balance with high school sports. Participants will enjoy working with USAT Certified Youth and Junior Coaches and learning alongside peers who share their interest in the sport of triathlon.
Select Camps serve USAT's more experienced, competitive Junior Elite athletes. The typical age range is 15 to 19 and most athletes have attended either a Skills Camp or a sport-specific camp (swimming, cycling or running previously). Proficiency in draft-legal racing is the focus of these camps, although the core skills apply to drafting and non-drafting races alike. Athletes spend time honing race tactics, improving their transitions, and mastering bike handling. Extra emphasis is placed on nutrition and sports science, as well as developing training programs that balance the demands of high school athletics with triathlon training and competition. Athletes will work with USAT Certified Youth and Junior Coaches as well as single-sport specialists and guest elite triathletes. While not always required, most Select Camp athletes will be chosen from among prior Skill Development Camp attendees, High Performance Team members, or USAT Benchmark Testing data submitted via the USAT Athlete Profiler. USAT designated five Select Camps per year to serve approximately 75-100 athletes.
Camps are staffed by USAT certified coaches, particular those having completed the Youth and Junior Certification, and guest coaches with single sport expertise, such as college swim or run coaches. Camp Directors are USAT Race Director Certified as well. Most camps run five to seven days. Costs vary due to location and duration, but average $500-$600 per session.
For athletes under the age of 12, USAT recommends a day camp or full-day clinic format. USAT also sanctions a number of privately run day clinics and day camps, some of which focus on youth and junior athletes. Information about these events is located on the USAT Event Calendar.
USA Triathlon Performance Pyramid
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