Race Coaching lesson plans

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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby SkiMoose » Fri Dec 21, 2018 10:58 pm

I'm gonna go with Harald on this one.
h.harb wrote:I found out that 99% of coaches in USSA didn't have a clue. And this goes all the way to the US Ski team head coaches.

I'm sure they have a nice training lane, but this has absolutely nothing to do with the actual quality of ski instruction happening. I'm not claiming to have the most coaching or racing experience, but everything I have seen supports the idea that nobody in PSIA or USSA has any idea what they are talking about. I listened in on the instruction by Burke Mountain Academy (supposedly one of the top programs in the country) coaches at Loveland earlier this season, and it was the same "up and forward" nonsense. Any WC racers coming out of the United States are doing so despite the coaching they are receiving, not because of it.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Vailsteve » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:22 pm

Roundturns wrote:That's a negative indictment on Vail never producing a WC racer. Lindsey Vonn doesn't count?
Anyway , I ski the front side of Vail quite a it when I am out there. Greatly enjoy skiing Riva - Tourist Trap and ride the race hill chair up to 11 back to the top quite a bit.
Anyway, the race training hill at Golden Peak is quite the training grounds. One would think the kids that train there would and for the price their parents pay for their coaching be receiving the best race coaching available.

The clock doesn't lie, so apparently they don't ,assuming their collective athletic ability compares favorably to the racers that do make it to the World Cup. So the definition of insanity might apply to US Ski Team racing , no changes in the coaching results in no changes in the results.

I don't profess to know anything about ski racing, but at Vail the facilities at Golden Peak appear to me to be about as good as it gets. Something is amiss if those kids don't succeed in racing IMHO.



Roundturns....I quite agree that the. Golden Peak race course is simply outstanding. I have skied it a few times...it's just not an area that my normal job takes me. And yes, Vail does open the course to the various race clubs for early season training. (Little known factoid...the Golden Peak race course has its own snowmaking and water supply separate from the rest of Vail mountain, thus allowing the race course to open early.)

I often feel caught between supporting PMTS (where I have TOTALLY drunk the KoolAid), and supporting Vail mountain and some very good people here. I also absolutely differentiate between Vail Resorts and Vail mountain. Vail mountain is a phenomenal place to ski. Riva Ridge is just one of 193 really fun -- and really different runs. Each run has something to unique to.offer our guests.

VR is what it is. Enough said.

The issue here is precision chiro's original post about coaching the PSIA or the USSA way versus the PMTS way. They have not changed in decades. And it shows in the results of the U.S. Ski team. With the exception of true phenoms like vonn or shriffren, the U.S. Skiers are just technically not as good the other teams.

I think max 501 said it best...take the kids no one else wants, coach the heck out of the pmts fundamentals and show the rest of the club up at the end of the season.

And come back to ski Vail...we really are having an epic snow year!
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:53 am

HEELLLPPPPPPPP

Is the bar open yet? I'm buying the first round. I'm buying the first 10 rounds.

"Remember, we NEED TO KEEP THE BODY SQUARE TO THE SKIS."

So sayeth the "senior" coach I've been helping and shadowing the past couple of training days. He has said this and emphasized this no less than 6 times that I have counted.

"Guys, you can't hold an edge if your upper body is going all over the place. WE HAVE TO KEEP THAT BODY SQUARE TO THE SKIS AT ALL TIMES."

::::Senior coach skis down to demo, and does noticeable counteracting and even slight counterbalancing, what a strong intermediate would do, dropping inside hands on each turn::::

Turns around, touches shoulders and yells back up to us, "See? SQUARE!"

I'm buying shots. Who wants a shot? Is tequila strong enough?

Yesterday, I stood in between two slalom training courses, a few turns from the top of where my U16's were working on starting their turns a little higher up the rise line. Our senior coach is telling each racer at the gate, "Remember what we worked on. We're staying what? SQUARE. Keep the torso square, especially on that dropaway turn."

Another senior coach leading the U14's in the other course behind me:

"Alrighty, boys and girls. So, let's go ahead and try this over here in the stubbie course. Don't worry about your speed too much, let's keep that upper body SQUARE DOWN THE HILL. Right?" I heard that, turned around and looked over, and they were skiing the course without their poles, holding their hands out in front, palms together, pointing down the fall line... saw that drill being done in a few of the other groups as well.

Just curious.... is that a pet peeve of anyone else here? "Square down the hill?" That's like nails on a chalkboard to me. :x

Also curious, you other race coaches here: Do your programs/coaching staffs have any kind of coaching training or clinics? SOMETHING to ensure that coaches are even just somewhat on the same page? From what I've seen here so far, our coaching staff is half younger coaches in their 20's who are alumni of the program and typically raced in college..... and half older folks/parents who MAYBE did some racing in their younger years more than 15-20 years ago... and most of the older coaches don't know what they're looking at, understand primary skills and movements, or can even correctly explain what they do in their own skiing. And these are Level 100 Certified. (as if that means anything. LOL)

Ha. Just remembered. One of the coaches led a sort of two-footed release drill, (then pivot to a hard edge set) because the kids weren't making small enough slalom turns for him. He explains it as slowly flattening the skis to start the turn, leaning back a bit (take pressure off the tongue of the boot) so the fronts of the skis become light and they can head down the fall line, then come around to a hard edge set stop.

"Leaning back a bit.... so the tips become light."

I HAVE to watch this demo, just because I'm curious to see what will happen. LOL.

I pull my goggles down over my face. I have to be careful with my reactions in front of the kids.

Yup. Of course. Slow release of edges into a HUGE smearing wedge, tails of the skis at least 2 feet apart. I feel my eyebrows go WAY up behind my mirror tint lens, trying to make the rest of my body look serious in observation mode as I lean on my poles. :D

SHOTS! Shots for everyone. Bartender? LEAVE THE BOTTLE.

One semi-positive thing to report:

Whenever I'm alone with one or two other coaches as we watch demos and runs of our group, I'll first ask them to tell me what they see. They know I used to be a ski instructor and have experience doing this. Sometimes they saw obvious deficiencies, but most of the time they would pick out microminutia that was almost "style" related, rather than pick out foundational mistakes or deficiencies. I would then usually give my input, they'd agree, say "Yeah, I see that. I see what you mean." The last couple of days, I've been following that up with comments like,

"THIS is why I wouldn't be jumping into doing this right away. Half the kids aren't even XYZing, never mind having them try to demo "this" right now. I'd be taking them over to the wide bunny hill and we'd be doing THIS (isolated movement) in several traverses, straight runs, partial turns..... then refining it with this, this, this, and this drill... then NOT just jumping into THAT, but bringing this together with this, then this, (because that won't work without this) this, this, this exercise, and this, reviewing this combination once more, THEN I would check their skiing in a top-to-bottom free run. With the time we have this morning, we should be extracting A LOT more out of our runs."

I usually get responses like,

"Yeah..................... Yeah yeah yeah......Yup, that's what I would do too."

(Uh huh. You would do that too. :roll: )

And so, because of me starting to open my mouth a little, one of the coaches approached me later in the day and said he talked to the Director about me (uh oh)

He suggested an idea to the Director, that because I seem to be STRONG on fundamental work (I take that as a compliment), that maybe I should be a "floater" on staff, and if there are kids in any of the age groups that I see are missing basic skills, "You can, like, take them for, like, one or two runs and work on what they need to work on, then you can bring them right back into the group again."

:?

I mean, I do appreciate the sentiment of it.... but, you want me to be some hack Mr. Fix It, putting Bandaids on problems in TWENTY MINUTES? In the kids' eyes, I'm going to be the coach who comes over and pulls the kids WHO SUCK out of class, in front of their friends? Ugh. (Hopefully, this won't happen and I'll get a group to myself for the season)

Who's ready for another shot? I'm having a double. Who's gonna join me for a double?

Harald, for the life of me, I cannot imagine why you went out on your own, rather than stay with any of our ski teams and organizations and try to improve them from the inside out. You're so selfish and anti-social. And mean. C'mon... your knowledge and teachings would fit in SO WELL with our national organizations!!!!!
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Mon Dec 24, 2018 10:11 am

Your experience is why I think its a good idea to work with the less experienced racers if given the opportunity. I have found that getting the more experienced racers to spend time outside of the course to work on fundamentals is a huge challenge.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Tue Dec 25, 2018 2:02 pm

Max_501 wrote:Your experience is why I think its a good idea to work with the less experienced racers if given the opportunity. I have found that getting the more experienced racers to spend time outside of the course to work on fundamentals is a huge challenge.


BINGO, Max_501.

I've come to the conclusion that in ANY race program or ski camp or whatever, a PMTS-based coach (whom, by basic philosophy and approach, doesn't blend well with the other traditional coaches) belongs with the less experienced and typically less confident kids, preferably.

After watching our top half U16's ski and do drills, I COULD take them for the season and have some productive fun (and minimal boredom) with them doing drills and fundamentals and free skiing on easier terrain for the first 2/3 of a training day (which is exactly what the Director wants, mostly fundamentals and technique work then MAYBE finishing off the day in gates or stubbies or brushies), and they are athletic enough to refine their Primary Movements relatively quickly and easily. I've only seen a couple of kids with adequate Free Foot Management, and those who don't... it just gets amplified in the gates, and most coaches respond by telling them to "get forward more," or have them do full 180 degree pivot hop turns on a pitch.

At 15-16 years old, they have been "standing in front of coaches" for a few to several years, many of them ski better and know more than their coaches (and they know it), and just want to get in the gates to get faster.

It's killing me to watch the less experienced racers struggle with slipshod coaching and various "bag of tricks" exercises and drills thrown at them with no rhyme or reason. "OK, guys, some of you were skidding your turns that last run, so we're gonna do JAVELIN TURNS!!!" (as I watch the coach demo a javelin turn by skidding back and forth in a wide stance) :x
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Tue Dec 25, 2018 3:02 pm

precisionchiro wrote:...and they are athletic enough to refine their Primary Movements relatively quickly and easily.


Chances are that most of them need to build the primary movements from scratch rather than refine them. Next time you are out get some video and then watch in slow motion at home. How many end the current the turn with tipping of the old stance foot (to the LTE) while the old inside foot is still on the LTE (eg. how many get bow legged at the transition)?
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Vailsteve » Tue Dec 25, 2018 5:38 pm

Max_501 wrote:
precisionchiro wrote:...and they are athletic enough to refine their Primary Movements relatively quickly and easily.


Chances are that most of them need to build the primary movements from scratch rather than refine them. Next time you are out get some video and then watch in slow motion at home. How many end the current the turn with tipping of the old stance foot (to the LTE) while the old inside foot is still on the LTE (eg. how many get bow legged at the transition)?


I would be very surprised if ANY of the race coaches have any idea of the importance of what Max 501 just said— how to do it, how to coach it, or how to explain the relevance of the O frame to racing (only if they want to ski like Marcel Hirscher...).

I am not sure if HH was the first to formally define it and teach it, but like so many PMTS movements, this is fiendishly difficult to do correctly.

Most coaches would relegate this movement to the “beginner” class... in reality most advanced skiers on the mountain could not do it to create a release. This is where USSA has it completely backwards...it is PMTS movements like this that only advanced — and properly coached— skiers can do.
Last edited by Vailsteve on Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby noobSkier » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:44 pm

It's not much better up here in Canada. I watch the Quebec ski team train on almost a daily basis, and I've come to understand their training philosophy. Technique-wise, they have two doctrines: 1. Skis must be put on edge 2. Upper body must face downhill. Thats it. Obviously these are outcomes, not instructions...but they believe them to be instructions so their racers don't actually improve. As far as exercises, every drill is an effort to improve dexterity not technique...which is logical if your understanding of ski technique can be summarized in two sentences.

My home mountain employs a full time race coach for the ski team, he skied on the World Cup and everything. He straight up told me that his job is more fun when he has "good athletes". I asked him if he's heard of HH...he told me that HH never raced and that he goes into details that don't exist. Don't know if he ever placed in the top 50, but his free skiing is BTE dominant with obvious push-off-release :roll:
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby ToddW » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:12 pm

precisionchiro wrote:...and they are athletic enough to refine their Primary Movements relatively quickly and easily.


You were probably using language a bit loosely. Refined Primary Movements are a big deal. For the record, using the primary movements at the refined level of the essentials book is a level of accomplishment comparable to a PhD from an elite university. Sure there’s more to go for a select few ... the equivalent of a named distinguished professorship, Nobel Prize, or Fields Medal. But for most, refined primary movements are the final destination. For example, Harald has spent decades refining his primary and secondary movements.

Teens vary in motivation and attention span greatly. If you get your own group and you have one or two racers with a serious drive to improve, I’d suggest dry land work at home away from the prying eyes of the senior coaches. A few years ago, HH posted a bunch of slant board exercises to YouTube These build tipping and releasing ability and can be located with a quick google query. A slant board can be built from cheap materials and tipping / balance drills can be turned into play or a friendly competition between two racers. As they get really good, increase the steepness of the simulated slope. If not physically collocated, perhaps dry land buddies can link up with internet camera feeds for mutual feedback and friendly rivalry. Just dangle the hint that there’s a secret weapon to improve one’s skiing during the week and see if anyone bites.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:01 pm

You guys are right. I did mid-speak when saying these more experienced racers could “refine their Primary Movements” quickly and easily.

I guess I saw them doing certain tasks on cue or command (like pulling the inside foot back, or flexing in transition) more apparently than the less experienced racers. That’s different than “refining Primary Movements.”
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:48 am

It's a plus that some already have a couple of the Essentials to work with but PMTS starts at the feet.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby GregM » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:42 pm

In Max_501 case his kids ignored the coaches and listened to him only, that is my understanding.

The biggest problem I see is that you can spend a lot of effort building PMTS skills but then you pass kids back to the "upper level" coaches in the same program they will screw it up by giving directions conflicting with everything you've done. Unless the coaches can agree on the common methodology it is a hopeless effort.

The only solution would be if you are given a complete full time authority over your students, which probably is not possible based on your description.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:32 am

I was able to get buy-in from the kids and some of the parents by having them watch and analyze excellent WC models like Hirscher and Schild. The key is to use models that have movements that are so strong and consistent they are easy to see. Once a racer/parent really sees and acknowledges that the fastest racers are using movements that are different/opposite to what the coaches are teaching them they are motivated to learn more about how to ski like a winning WC racer. That's a good point to discuss the PMTS Essentials, show how they can be seen in your WC model, and explain how you can build each of the Essentials using PMTS. Some of the more motivated racers/parents may want to borrow your books and videos (I have extras for that purpose).

Of course they still have to deal with the instruction from the team coaches. At first it can cause some confusion but over time my students learned to listen to coaching feedback that fits but discard or alter feedback that doesn't fit the Essentials. For example, they get to the bottom of the course and a coach tells them to get forward during the transition - this instruction may be accompanied by the coach standing straight up and leaning way forward towards the tips. The kids acknowledge the instruction (no arguing with the coach) but change it to the PMTS instruction of pulling the feet back to get forward.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:36 am

GregM wrote:In Max_501 case his kids ignored the coaches and listened to him only, that is my understanding.

The biggest problem I see is that you can spend a lot of effort building PMTS skills but then you pass kids back to the "upper level" coaches in the same program they will screw it up by giving directions conflicting with everything you've done. Unless the coaches can agree on the common methodology it is a hopeless effort.

The only solution would be if you are given a complete full time authority over your students, which probably is not possible based on your description.


This was also a worry of mine, GregM.

But as I’m watching the top U16 racers in the gates, it’s apparent to me that the top 1/3 are that developed IN SPITE of the coaches here rather than because of them.

I’m learning that most traditional ski coaches LIKE seeing the total package of a skier/racer blending Primary Movements in their skiing. It looks strong and smooth and elegant to them. “Nice angles!” Is what they keep saying. But they don’t understand what they are looking at..... they just don’t realize that those nice angles happen because of skills and movements that go against what they are teaching and attempting to demonstrate to these kids. (“Keep the upper body square.” “Push the outside cuff and LOCK IT.” “Get early pressure at the top of the turn.”)

I’m hoping to get some of these less experienced kids to a level In their skiing where their movements are ingrained to a point of... not being affected?... by traditional coaching. I believe that is where the top racers in this program (in U14-16-19) are, that they can perform whatever exercises and drills their coaches tell them, but their free skiing and racing “looks” good enough that the coaches won’t do much or say much in attempt to change it.

One major Plus for me personally this first season as a coach is that I’m looking forward to learning about course setting, gate tactics, etc.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Ken » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:40 pm

At what age does alignment start making a difference? Young bodies have more flexibility and narrow hips, then growth and development happens.

Chiro, being able to analyze skier alignment is one more great tool to add to your repertoire. Are there shops nearby that do a good boot alignment job?

Are there any commercial brands of footbeds that produce a footbed similar enouth to an HSS one to function the same?
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