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.

  • JDS Joining Fee – the first part allows athletes who qualify, to register for JDS. The JDS Joining fee covers the administration of the registration process and the JDS t-shirt & postage.

  • JDS Squad Fee – the second part is the balance of the JDS fee that covers the cost of the squad training days, that will be determined once the calendar can be scheduled and the number of JDS days confirmed.

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.

JDS Day 2 – Coaching Rotations
2020-21 Qualifying Standards
2020-21 JDS Information Pack


The athletes can achieve the qualifying performances at any of the following.

  1. Little Athletics Victoria Centre competition, Open days, Region & State
  2. SSV Region & State events (Primary or Secondary), SSA National Championships.
  3. AV Shield, AV Junior Championships, State & National All Schools Championships.
  4. APS / AGS / ACS / GSV Combined finals.
  • Performances at Schools District and Division carnivals are NOT
  • Multi-Class athletes should contact the LAVic Office for qualification requirements.
  • Multi-Class athletes will be accessed on a percentage of the Baseline tables.
  • Performances on a grass track requires conversion prior to registration, if the performance is close to the qualifying standard, contact with the LAVic Office must be made prior to registration for approval.

The JDS registration process requires athletes to complete the online registration, confirming their eligibility against the qualifying standards and paying the JDS Joining Fee – $35 plus SportsTG admin fee.

Once the registration is checked for eligibility and confirmed, a confirmation of registration will be sent.  This confirms that the athlete has joined JDS, they will be sent the JDS t-shirt to the address in the online database.


Once the calendar has been confirmed and the number of JDS training days scheduled, the balance of the JDS fee will be determined, this is the JDS Squad Fee.  This fee will be a maximum of $85, depending on the number of JDS training days scheduled.

Usually the JDS training days are conducted both during the summer and winter seasons.  During the summer season, the JDS days are conducted on a Sunday afternoon, normally 12.00pm – 4.00pm, spread across different Melbourne Metro tracks.  They consist of 2 coaching rotations of 75mins each, in the events that the athletes have qualified in, or are highly competent in, this is selected during the registration process.

Athletes will not be able to choose an event that they do not demonstrate competency in. This is to ensure equal participation and fairness to all athletes in the event. JDS is for athletes to further develop their demonstrated skills and build upon and refine their technique.

All events are covering during the squad training days, including Pilates, which works on the athlete’s core strength and stability.  There are restrictions on the athlete’s events due to the workload and ability to recover between rotations.  In some cases, the athletes are moved into Pilates to assist with these recovery strategies.  Events such as the 400mts, 800mts, 1500mts and Race Walking, are the main events where the intensity of the training session impacts the athletes second rotation.

The JDS camp is a highlight for many athletes, it is only available to U13-U16 athletes.  We generally cap the number of athletes that can attend to 80.  As the nature of the camp, accommodation options, varying age groups, intensity of the training, with Track & Field, workshops, strength and conditioning, recovery sessions, and social activities, it requires the athletes to show a high degree of responsibility to attend and participate in all of the activities.

Conducted over 4 days during mid-January, the early mornings, late nights, results in long days for the athletes who are coming towards the end of their summer school holidays.  This requires the athletes to be committed to working hard throughout the activities.  The social aspect is a great opportunity to make new friends and work with other keen and committed athletes.

The camp has been conducted at Ormond College, Melbourne University for several years now.  The accommodation is single rooms only with bathroom facilities on each floor, very different to a school camp facility.

The cost to attend the JDS camp is adjusted each year as costs change with the accommodation, meals, bus travel, track bookings, venue hire, first aid, social activities, workshop presenters and coaches.

With COVID-19 restrictions this year, with the ability to schedule the normal number of JDS training days before Christmas, it is unknown if the JDS camp will proceed in January 2021.

During the winter season, there are two activities normally during May and August.

The JDS activity in May is a combination of Cross-country training for the middle distance athletes, whilst for the Sprinters, Jumpers and Throwers we have a Strength and Conditioning activity using the hills, core strength and mobility training to assist the athlete with their overall preparation during this phase.

This activity is usually conducted on a Sunday afternoon in an open park setting of Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster East.  This is a large park that has some great hills and paths for training and provides the infrastructure that is needed to conduct a JDS activity.

The JDS activity is August has varied throughout the years, but the focus has been on being a pre-season circuit and testing day, with 5 – 6 rotations, for the athletes to prepare for the upcoming season.  This is a great opportunity for the athletes to come together after a long winter to meet up with their fellow squad members.

This activity is usually conducted on a Saturday afternoon at a Metro Melbourne track, as the rotations require the use of the track, jump pits and clubrooms for Pilates and biometric testing.