The Junior Development Squad (JDS) gives U12 – U16 athletes an opportunity to develop additional skills and improve technical competencies through participation in coaching and training sessions with some of Victoria’s leading coaches. Training with other keen and enthusiastic squad members is both fun and motivational and helps develop new friendships based on an enjoyment of athletics. The emphasis is to provide a friendly and supportive environment.
The program usually consists of squad training days, educational sessions, invites to events and the JDS camp, for certain age groups.
However, due to the restrictions with COVID-19, JDS this season has been adjusted. As the calendar with squad training days cannot be scheduled, the JDS structure and registration are now split into two parts.
Each year a set of JDS qualifying standards are developed which reflects the performances of the athletes in the current season. The standards are adjusted each year, to ensure the athletes are being compared to their peers, rather than against previous athletes. This allows JDS to maintain a consistency of performances and competency from the athletes, in which all athletes who are eligible and qualify can join, rather than setting a maximum number of members. Usually, to assist this process, the athletes must achieve 2 qualifying performances, however, with the 2020 State Track & Field Championships being cancelled in March, the requirement has been reduced to 1 qualifying performance.
The qualifying performances must be achieved at certain events to ensure the quality and accuracy of the results.