Junior Power Profile Chart
In this video FasCat coach Isaiah Newkirk presents the all new Junior Power Profile Chart!
For years, we at FasCat have had parents asking us how their junior cyclist stacks up against other juniors racers both nationally and internationally. This is a tough question to answer for a few reasons.
To start, competition can be pretty hard to compare as field depth tends to vary significantly based on where the athletes live & compete. So for example, if your child lives in a town that has five other junior racers, and your child wins pretty consistently, how does that compare to athletes winning in cities that can field races of 50 juniors?
Another reason is juniors are early in their athletic development, so knowing what phase of development a junior athlete is in, can be very individualized.
This has led me to put together a Junior Power Profile Chart to help junior athletes and parents know how their junior athlete compares to others and what “level” or phase of development that puts them in.
It’s important, of course, to remember that data is not everything; you can be the strongest rider in the race, but if you do not learn how to use your strength and play tactics wisely then you will most likely never win.
With that said, having the ability to compare your peak metrics to others can give insight into strengths and weaknesses, highlight underdeveloped areas, and point out what races to target. Another great advantage is knowing what level the junior is currently at in order to choose a development pathway that tailors to growth.
Even as early as five years ago, gathering power data from Juniors would have been very difficult, but nowadays, many many athletes are starting to use power at a very young age.
By sorting through quite an extensive range of Strava files and also using the data from athletes Fascat have coached over the years, I have been able to compile a Junior Power Profile chart inspired by the chart Andy Coggan has popularized but now with a junior focus.
As you likely will notice, this chart is only for male junior athletes. I am currently working on the female side, so stay tuned in the future for that.
For the Junior Power Profile Chart I chose to include three metric markers for comparison. These three markers are 1 minute, 5 minute, and 20 minutes.
- I chose 1 minute power to highlight an athlete’s ability to sustain maximum power and go deeper than their ability to hit max power off the line. This is the true nauromuscular marker of sorts.
- 5 minute power is a number where you really start to see an athlete's power curve take place, and it is a very important number in almost all racing disciplines. This is a key for climbing, breakaways, initiating solo moves, and for finishing moves to win races.
- Then 20minutes is included as a good marker to measure FTP and long range power for juniors. Functional threshold watts per kilo is often compared with a 60minute marker, but for juniors I believe that the 20minute mark is much more doable. Most athletes will have the ability to achieve a 20minute test and put in an honest effort for comparison. For young athletes, pacing can make achieving true long efforts difficult. Maturity and understanding of efforts and their bodies comes with time so this 20minute mark is reachable and gives us what we need.
How did I get the numbers?
As I mentioned earlier these numbers are from a pool of hundreds of athletes and files that are both pulled from public files on strava or other such resources, or pulled from my current & past athletes.
Just as Coggan did, I chose to work from the top down. So pulled from world champions and then worked down through the categories.
This brings me to the categories:
This is the best in the world range. These are athletes that have won world championships or another world competition event, and are in most cases on a fast track to the top of the sport. In road cycling that is of course the world tour. This category as far as development goes represents mature progression in their physical development. While they might have still a long long way to go to reach their full potential, they are very well developed physically and with these numbers should have the ability to compete against the best in the world.
Examples of a few of these would be Taylor Phinney, Lawson Craddock, Brandon Mcnulty and of course the likes of MVP and Wout Van Aert.
For the young athletes that can hit these watts/kilo but do not have race experience, the best thing to do is try to attend the very best races in the world and really focus on learning everything possible about tactics and the other finer nuances of bikes racing so that their experience can play catch up on their physical ability.
This is a range for athletes that are able to win Nationally, and, with good race craft, could compete internationally. This category to me is the sweet spot for athletes and potential. This is the dream range for team directors that find athletes who show that they have plenty of room to grow and develop, but also are obviously naturally talented. If athletes find themselves here, I would focus on getting yourself to as many national level races as possible to gain the most experience there as possible, before then looking ahead and to the world stage. Also keep working on development, train hard to push your power curve and to see if that world class category is within your reach. This is a great example of when athletes should be looking at national governing body development camps, hiring a coach, and finding teams that can really help them grow and give them opportunities.
Then finally the-
This category represents athletes that are at the level to compete locally, but race and power development should be the primary focus. This is when an athlete has potential to really grow and rise through exceptional and even world class, but the athlete should focus on growing at a slower pace and keep the pressure off. These are still very good athletes with a high level of potential, but I would advise sticking local and really learning racing and also taking the time to really grow potential before jumping head first into bigger national level or world events.
This is actually the category I would have landed in when I was a junior. As a late bloomer, it took me a little while to grow and mature in sport, but once I gave it the time- and focus- it needed I hit my stride and found my way to the professional ranks.
So if you are looking to determine where an athlete lands in comparison to the world stage and then from there help craft short term training and long term progression/development, start with finding where your junior lands on the power profile chart and what category that puts them in.
Then you can work forward with a fast track plan, a conservative plan, or somewhere in the middle.
Remember that juniors by definition are young and the goal of being a “lifelong athlete” should always be on the list of priorities. Keep in mind maturity both physically and mentally, and remember that the key to success is always more then one variable.
Thanks again for watching, and please let me know what you think of my new Junior Power Profile Chart.
Till next time!
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