New Direction for Power Smart Manitoba Games
(Courtesy of Sport Manitoba)
Focus on Long Term Sport Development
When the Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games are held in Portage la Prairie in March of 2010, the recommendations of a Games Task Force that reviewed the purpose and fit of the Manitoba Games program in the provincial sport delivery system will be fully implemented.
“There will continue to be widespread provincial participation at a regional level where athletes will attempt to qualify to compete at the provincial final,” said Bernie Chrisp, Chair of the Manitoba Games Council. “The focus now however is strictly on those athletes between the ages of 10 and 21 and providing them with enhanced opportunities for skill development that will enable them to attain a higher level like the Canada Games.”
As such the Power Smart Manitoba Games are a catalyst for Provincial Sport Organization initiatives related to their Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development.
“Provincial Sport Organizations are our key partner in delivering the sport development component of the Games,” said Chrisp. “Working with the PSOs, we are able to provide a program for appropriate ages that leads to the progression of athletes by ensuring that the appropriate number of opportunities exist to maximize participation and talent identification in all regions of the province.”
A major change will come in the way athletes are selected for the Power Smart Manitoba Games.
Previously individual athletes or community-based teams, providing they met the age and competition criteria, could simply enter a stand-alone qualifying event or an event that was part of regional games.
Now in most cases the athlete selection process will begin 12 to 18 months out from the Games whereby individual athletes are selected and best prepared to compete at the provincial finals. The new process will involve coach identification, selection and mentorship, athlete identification camps, skill development camps and clinics, selection camps or a qualifying event leading to the selection of a regional all-star team for both team and individual sports.
“This has slowly evolved over the last two set of the Games and is working extremely well,” said Chrisp. “Soccer used a regional all-star team selection process for the most recent Games. They found they had a greater talent pool to select from, identified some athletes for their provincial team program who may have otherwise gone unnoticed and had a very competitive provincial final.”
Chrisp added,” For the up coming Games, hockey will be selecting the best 14-year-old male players from each region in the province. As this will be their draft year for the Western Hockey League, we can only imagine how many scouts will be in Portage and this will be the group that will eventually be looked at for the next stage of their development which is selection to Team Manitoba for the 2011 Canada Winter Games.”
Two Winnipeg Teams
The other major change that will occur in 2010 will be the selection of two teams from Winnipeg to replace a Host Team, which has been eliminated.
“In previous Games, the Host Team would consist of athletes or teams from the host region that did not win at their regional qualifier. Because of a limited talent pool, the host team was considerably weaker at the provincials while Winnipeg has historically been stronger than most regions because of only one team,” said Chrisp. “With Winnipeg being the largest region, it has the population and talent base to support two competitive teams which will provide more opportunities for some athletes who otherwise might be excluded and we should have an even more level playing field at the provincials.”
The 2010 Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games will be held in Portage la Prairie from March 7 to 13, 2010. There will be competition in Artistic Gymnastics, Badminton, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Five Pin Bowling, Male and Female Hockey, Ringette, Special Olympics Bowling and Male and Female Volleyball.
For more information visit the 2010 Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games website at www.powersmartmanitobagames.ca or contact the appropriate Provincial Sport Organization.