The principal objective of hosting a Team Sprint is to bring together children between the ages of 5-12 for a memorable and enjoyable day of cross coutnry ski competition and fun. The goals of this program include the following:
1) encouraging achievement through team effort,
2) encouraging good ski technique, and
3) encouraging participation from children with a wide range of skill levels and ski experience.
What is a “Team Sprint” event?
It is a day of team-work, fun competition and special activities. As a minimum, this event is expected to include a Team Sprint - this is the event in which Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey earned a gold medal for Canada at the 2011 World Championships.
For more information on activities and games that would be compatible with the objectives of this event, refer to the NCCP Community Coaching Reference Material 2011 version (cross-country skiing) - page 400, Section 8, PAGE 402.
The additional activities might include a variety of tag relays, treasure hunt, three-legged race, monster skis race, Beat the Field, on-snow orienteering contest etc.
CCBC approved events will receive a free incentive (temporary tattoo) for all participants.
Event organizers are encouraged to keep their entry fees as low as possible (or nil) to encourage participation.
A Team Sprint is a two-person sprint relay. The first skiers on each team start together and race the course. They then hand off to their team-mates, who also ski the course. The second skiers then hand off to the first skiers who ski the course again. The race is over when each skier has completed two legs.
Organizers need to decide in advance whether the race will be skating technique only, classic technique only, or a mix of the two.
If participation numbers are small, categories can include skiers of different ages provided the recommended distances for those ages are the same. However, recognition awards (ribbons, cookies, etc.) should be provided for every year of birth and for both genders.
A random draw, with normal relay start positions (#1 is in the centre track, # 2 to the right of #1, # 3 to the left of #1, etc.) should be used. The competition begins with a mass start. The number of teams that can start at one time will depend on the width and layout of the course. As a result, the largest number of teams that can be accommodated in a single category may not be more than five or six. The start should have parallel tracks (one for each team) that are straight for at least five metres. Starters may not change lanes until they have reached the end of their start lanes. The finish line must be wide enough for three skiers to finish simultaneously. The exchange zone should be situated after the finish line, and scaled down in length to fit the distance of the race and the age and skill level of the participants. Some manner of ski preparation pits or stalls should be provided close to the exchange zone where the finishing skiers can wait for their next turn, and they and/or their coaches can work on their ski equipment, etc.
The competition courses can be the same ones used by the club for individual (heat) sprints, but the distances must be short because the skier will be skiing the course two times in a short period. A terrain park or ski playground could also be used as long as there is sufficient width.
Distances for each leg of the event (boys and girls)
8 & under Not more than 50 meters
9 & 10 Not more than 75 meters
11 - 13 Not more than 100 meters
Clubs will need clip boards, paper and pencils, numbered bibs for every race participant, course markers, and an adequate number of race volunteers/ officials to ensure the safety of the skiers.
Achievement Awards for Technique
The event organizers are encouraged to award prizes to skiers with the best classic technique, best skating technique, one for each age from six to 13 years. Evaluation should take place during the Team Sprints. A minimum of two NCCP “Community Coach” trained coaches, working as a team, should be used as judges for this award. The organizers may choose to provide awards for other non-Team Sprint activities as well, but the Achievement Awards for technique are a strongly recommended.
Suggestions for Host Club
1) To promote the event outside of the club membership, for example in the local community, neighbouring clubs, and neighbouring communities.
2) To organize a Team Sprint activity according to the technical requirements outlined above. This would include the provision of awards of some type. You can be creative - the awards can be cookie medals, made of popcorn, etc.