Are not made to be broken
I take my responsibility as a coach pretty seriously. I believe that the example set by a coach and the culture that a squad adopts is pretty important. I haven't been coaching kids for long. For a long time I swore off coaching kids, this junior thing is pretty recent for me. So perhaps I'm off the track here, but I want to draw your attention, my reader, to the tech regs of racing in Australia. In particular, to this section :
3.6.01 Gearing - roll out distances
For all junior categories, male and female, the following maximum roll out
distances shall apply for:
Road Events Track Events
1. Junior U19 7.930 metres
2. Junior U17 6.5 metres Junior U17 6.5 metres
3. Junior U15 6.0 metres Junior U15 6.0 metres
4. Junior U13 5.5 metres Junior U13 5.5 metres
5. Junior U11 5.5 metres Junior U11 5.5 metres
3.6.02 If, for what ever reason, a junior rider has been granted approval to
compete in a higher age division event, the maximum roll out distance
applicable to the rider’s age division must be maintained (06/09/08)
The emphasis (bold face) of 3.6.02 is not mine, it's in the document.
What does this mean? It means, any junior MUST RIDE THEIR JUNIOR GEAR IN COMPETITION. No matter what the race is. If it's Glenvale, or Sandown, or the Saturday night spring sprinting at DISC tonight. We as coaches, and the race organisers, don't have a choice. The rule is clear. We can campaign to the rule makers to change it, but we can not encourage our riders to break it and if we see it being broken we have a duty to see that it's enforced.
The culture I'm concerned about is one of selectively breaking rules. If we, as coaches, commissaires and parents, say to the juniors in our care that it's ok to break some rules that we find inconvenient, then we set a pretty poor example and we foster a culture that encourages rule breaking. The junior riders I'm working with now are on the cusp of elite programs and will be exposed to doping and other rule breaking in the near future. If we want them to play fair and stay clean, we know what we have to do. We have to treat the rules with respect.