Thursday, May 14, 2009

Romanian Model of Talent Identification and Promotion

FISA Coaches Conference 2001 Bucharest Romania



In Romania, sport certainly belongs to the national culture. Elite sport used to be and still is considered an important means of expression, a virtue and a token of national pride.

At the Summer Olympic Games of the last decades, Romania achieved quite good results, being ranked 13th according to an OG all time unofficial classification.

At the last edition of the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000 with 26 medals (11 Gold, 6 silver, and 9 bronze), Romania was ranked 11th in the world.

Out of these, 3 gold medals were won by the feminine rowers. Please consider that this result made our country be the first in rowing in these Olympics!

This is why this model was selected for today’s presentation.

Our position on the identification of talents and selection in female rowing

The repeated successes of Romanian feminine rowing were also a consequence of an appropriate selection system.

To remain competitive in world confrontations, steps must be taken to extend the area of selection system.

In our view, we think favorable to perform a post-puberty identification, in a period of life when most of the morph, functional and psychological indicators are settled.

The selection models are continuously analyzed in parallel with the best women rowers in the world.

Selection criterions

In the first stage of selection, we choose to work with the help of the following criterions:

The health condition
The functional state of the body
The physical (motric) capacity
The psychological capacity
The somatic development and state of nutrition

3.1 The health condition

The condition of health, is an eliminatory criterion, at all stages of the section, in two typical situation:
- If it is dangerous for the anatomic integrity or even the athletes life
- If is becomes a performance limitation factor

3.2 The functional state of the body

Here we would be interested in the global functional integrity (endocrine, metabolic, hemetalogical, (heart) cardio-respiratory). Practically we are aware that the cardio-respiratory system would most easily adapt to physical strain.

The initial exam should possibly also contain the following functional tests:

- Pashon-Martinet test
- Astrand test
- Spirometry – vital capacity measurement

3.3 The physical capacity (motric capacity)

The internal and external factors have a life long action on physical capacity. The main qualities necessary for the performance rowers are:

- The endurance, cardio-respiratory resistance to long term efforts
- Local muscular resistance in force regime
- Mobility of the coxofemural and talo-crural articulation
- The skill (sense of equilibration and coordination of arms and legs)

3.4. The psychological capacity

The success in rowing is determined as well by the level of development of the traces to reflect the psychological and neuroendocrine profile.

The psychological qualities of future rowers should be dominated by strong will, expressed by perseverance and determination

Also, important is the adaptability to monotonous, often repeated activities as well as the conscientiousness to struggle to come as close to perfection as possible.

3.5 The somatic development and state of nutrition

The somatic development and state of nutrition have always been important criterion in rowing. Here is the evolution of the main selection models for the women in rowing and some consideration concerning them.

3.5.1 The Indicator of Segmentary Ability (I.S.A)

Dr O Popescu elaborated this indicator in the decade 1965-1975. The indicator wad established by taking into consideration six dimensions, four unperfectible and two perfectible ones, namely Stretched height (face to the wall, heels to the floor, arms up over the head) Arms amplitude (face to the wall, stretched at shoulder level) Trunk Height (sitting position, back to the wall, to shoulder level) Legs length (sitting position, back to the wall, feet plant in 90 degrees, to the heels) Bideltiodian diameter (shoulders width) Crouching surplus mobility

Much attention is paid to the perfectible dimensions, imposed by short rails and rowing technique suggesting the balance of the trunk in attack and offcome.

3.5.2 The Rowers Morphological Indicator “R.M.I.” Romanian “I.M.Ca”

This indicator was worked out by Prof C Radut and became operational in the years 1975-1980. The indicator was based on seven measurements, out of which four were unperfectible and three perfectible. The third perfectible dimension was added to the O. Popescu model and was namely: The rowing specific amplitude (crouching surplus mobility + leg length) R.M.I. = The sum of the seven measurements in cm, (the higher the total sum, the more segmentary appropriate is the subject considered for the practice of high performance in rowing)

3.5.3 The Morphological Model

Between 1982-1995 Prof C. Florescu and Prof V. Mociani have proposed an operational model which included 4 measurements, 3 imperfectible and one perfectible:

Height stature
The arms amplitude
Stretched height
The weight

- the value of the model for each parameter taken separately, represent 100%
- The real value of each parameter is transformed in percentage according to the model
- (a+b+c)% / 3 = the value of stature dimension, genetically conditioned and thus perfectible.
- The arithmetic mean is usually calculated expressing in percentage, the relation between the value of dimensions in stature and appreciation of the state nutrition result an integral parameter of physical development.

Mathematically this could be expressed as follows:
(a+b+c) / 3 + d] : 2 = [(98,89 + 98,91 + 101,74) / 2 + 96.15] / 2 = 98%

This model brings in weight, considered by the authors as relevant according to the principle of “mass rows the boat”.

The height appears like another new element, but rather esthetically, as it does not influence considerably rowing movement as one is inclined to think. Could there be a contribution of the necks length and head dimension? This is still to be checked.

The perfectible parameters become less important due to the possible changes in boat construction (like changeable lengths of rails, changing angle of the shoes) as well as the general growth of rowers height.

3.6 Control norms and standard system

The control norms and standard system must be in correlation with the rowing particularity of the effort.

For an initial selection in rowing the following events have been recommended by specialists:

- From stand jump in long
- From stand jump in high
- Horizontal rowing (from facial lie down on a board 4cm thickness, it will suspend at the end to 1m height. The arms stretched keep a 15-20kg dumbbell. The arms bend and stretch for 1 – 4 minutes.
- Genuflection with a dumbbell on the shoulders / relating kg and time
- Trunk abdomen (from lying to sitting position)
- To continue to hang with stretched arms
- To continue to hand with stretch arms
- 1200m to run
- 1000m rowing on ergo
- Equilibrium on a bottle

However, I observe that there is a weak correlation between the results in these initial tests and high performance in the future. If just the quite poor result in the primary and secondary sections achieved by of the best rowers (Elana Horvat Florea, Adriana Cheariu bazon, Doina Ignat, Viorica Susanu, Georgeta Damian, Viorica Susanu, Aurica Chirita) had been taken into consideration, we would have had with four Olympic rowing champions less.

So it is not possible to assert that we are aware of methodology of identification and selection of talens that may satisfy all exigencies. The process of selection remains a desiratum still watching for solution.

The sooner, the better!

The practical revivers selection conclusion from practice.

Selection is an evolving process, essentially relaed to somatic growth, functional and psycho-motor development.

The eliminatory selection system is not the most concluding one.

During the training process after a period of preparations the young debutant rowers, initially unsuitable, can register a remarkable qualitative progress, often taking advantage over those who had been predicted a brilliant sports career.

In principle, a small number of tests are preferable to an overloaded and sophisticated package of tests, which will make selection even more difficult and rather create confusion than enhance degree of certainty.

This is why during the practical identification and selection campaign, operated only with two segmentary measurements: stretched height (over 224cm) and amplitude arms (over 178cm).

This minimal selection model has been confirmed by praxis. It thought us that no young lady should be eliminated who is promising and could in future become an Olympic medalist. As an example please observe the segmentary values of our Golden Ladies at Sydney 2000.

All young female rowers who are healthy, preset minimal segmentary values and wish to practice rowing as a sport, should be admitted to take part in the second phase of selection.

A super motivated athlete can compensate many of the effort or somatic demands.

The mobilization of the available neuro-psychological capacity is directly related to the level of motivation. During the training, the capacity of the young female rowers to become high performance athletes will be achieved.

Ultimately it depends on the “TALENTED” young, promising lady athlete how she manages to coordinate her social activities (school, family, professional) so as to succeed in dedicating rowing the time budget required by more and more demanding and challenging conditions.

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