Frequently Asked Questions from Athletes, Parents & Coaches
What is the purpose of the CombatAUS NPC?
The NPC is an athlete centred training environment, that has been established solely as a tool to enhance the opportunities for Australia’s best Taekwondo and Judo athletes to train together as often as possible in a completely performance focussed environment, thereby increasing the likelihood of them attaining international success. The NPC is just one part of the athlete pathway and is not going to suit every athlete – nor is it set up intending to suit every athlete. The core purpose of the NPC is to provide a holistic DTE for athletes whose circumstances marry with this intent. In addition to technical training sessions, the NPC provides support to these athletes through integrated performance support services focussed primarily in the areas of strength and conditioning (S&C), sports medicine, physiotherapy, and athlete wellbeing & engagement (AW&E).
Is this a centralised program?
In one sense yes, as the intentions are to get the best athletes together more often. However, it is recognised that a completely centralised approach is not practical and appropriate for all individuals, so involvement in the NPC will not, in any way, be imposed onto athletes. It is a tool that attempts to enhance the quality of the daily training environment (DTE) for athletes whose circumstances and readiness marry with the intentions of the NPC.
Do I need to train in the NPC to be selected for national teams?
Absolutely not. It is not mandatory for any athlete to be involved in the NPC. Selection policies for teams will remain open and transparent and will enable anyone to be selected to national teams should they meet the performance requirements as set out in the respective selection policy.
What is provided for you if you are part of the NPC?
The NPC is not able to cover all of the services associated with being an elite athlete, athletes will still be required to contribute to some of your service needs. Currently the investment into the NPC provides two aspects; the hire of the building for the daily training environment including the provision of all equipment and mats (personal equipment and protection is the responsibility of the athletes) and a set of performance services; physiotherapy, sport medicine, AW&E and S&C through a fee for service arrangement with the Victorian Institute of Sport. Services provided by the NPC at the VIS are at no cost to the athlete, the VIS does not have all services available all day, each day and there will be days where appointments are not available, and it is expected that periodically athletes may need to pay for outside assistance in this case.
There is a very limited budget for other ancillary services such as sport psychology and nutrition, while massage is not able to be provided. The NPC also does not contribute to any domestic or international travel costs for athletes.
Who will provide me with primary Coaching advice around my training and competition plans?
It is important to acknowledge that it is essential you fully commit to your specific DTE and associated periodised and integrated training program set by that coach. As you would expect in a Club environment that will be done through the club coach, in the case where athletes are training full time in the NPC it would be reasonable to expect that the coach of the NPC would then become the primary coach who directs the technical delivery and day-to-day support of the athletes training in that environment. Similarly, the VIS S&C coach will be the primary S&C coach for NPC athletes. We acknowledge that this change in coach relationship when you commit to the NPC may feel different at the beginning and does take concerted effort from the athlete and the NPC coach to develop the relationship, but the need is clear for the coach who is present in your DTE to be the primary person you work with to set your training, competition, IPP and overall program direction.
Your club coach’s role will therefore evolve in various ways if you become an NPC athlete. They will be a critical friend/mentor/support, as well as a coach (but may not be the only coach) that you choose at utilise at selection events or international competitions when not part of national team activity. (Please note: the NPC coach does not coach in selection events or national championship
Are NPC athletes Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holders?
Athletes in the NPC are not scholarship holders of the VIS. They have access to the VIS through the purchase of services by CombatAUS. There may be athletes, who are granted a scholarship from the VIS or their home state as a result of their performances reaching standards defined by each individual institute of sport. The NPC encourages athletes to retain their state institute scholarship when they become members of the NPC.
How can parents, partners, family members and club coaches engage in the NPC environment?
In general, every technical training session is open to all parents, family members and club coaches of NPC athletes to attend. Engagement by club coaches with athletes during the technical sessions is by prior discussion and arrangement with the NPC head coach. Covid restrictions may restrict this access, however this will be discussed communicated with NPC network as is required.
What happens if an athlete in the NPC decides to leave, or it is decided by the program that the NPC is not suitable for them at that time?
The athlete is at the centre of the NPC and their involvement in it is a choice. CombatAUS is very open about the fact that each of us are only custodians of the role we play in the sport for a period of time, and that for athletes there is a point where they enter the categorisation process, they may join the NPC or other aspects of the HP or Performance Pathway program, but there will be a point in time where either by their choice, of though injury or through non selection that they also transition from different parts of the performance programs.
There is structured support through the Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement program to support athletes through their entire journey, including developing their career for the time they retire as an athlete but also in supporting them through the difficult times that nearly always occur either through significant injury or through non selection for teams. Specifically in the NPC, there are periodical reviews of each athlete and there may be a time where an athlete questions if having the NPC as the primary DTE is best for them. Alternatively, if the NPC staff have concerns over the ongoing involvement or suitability of an athlete in the NPC, these concerns will be discussed with the athlete. This will enable clear expectations to be outlined by the NPC staff and will provide an opportunity for the athlete to meet these expectations. If in either situation it is best for the athlete not to continue in the NPC, a transition arrangement will be put in place to support the athlete through this process. As detailed above, this movement of athletes and staff into and out of a high-performance program is normal and is not viewed as a failure or something that reflects poorly on the individual or the program, our hope is that anyone who transitions form the program is a better person for their engagement.
For all enquires and further information relating the Australian Taekwondo National Performance Centre Program, please contact Combat Australia Performance Program Manager, Nick Sanders firstname.lastname@example.org
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