Race Coaching lesson plans

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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby h.harb » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:14 pm

I did an alignment on an 8-year-old from Team Summit yesterday. He was way off and suffering.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:45 am

Hello all... thought I'd check back here after a few weekends in the books.

So I ended up as a coach on the Development "junior varsity" Team, the feeder program for the race team. 7-11 year olds, most of them are 8-10. The Director mentioned to me, at the bar, right before New Years (the program officially starts first weekend after New Years) that he only has one Dev team coach for 40 kids. I saw that as a great opportunity for me, so I told him to put me wherever he needs me... I'll happily spin over to Dev team. I know most of the coaches who have been there a while want to pick and choose their positions, usually with the older more experienced kids.

It's been going very well. I have autonomy. (THANK GOD) And my kids are improving and having a great time.

4 Dev coaches for about 45 kids, so we split them up between us. All 4 of us are older guys, I'm the youngest at 48, and all the others have been coaching there at least 5 years. Sigh... the split up process took way longer than it should have, as I suggested we try to split them up by ability, as reasonably best we can. First, they wanted to split up the groups based on how many years they've been in the pre-race program. ("Who's in their second year of Dev team? Who just came up from Dynamites? Who's in their first year here at the mountain? How about... who's 8 and under, and who's 9 and older?") I pointed out that you will have a mixed bag of kids that way, that we need to watch them one at a time to see what they can actually do. Finally, after watching the 3 of them bumble about how they're going to do this, I stepped in and essentially said, "Here. You, go halfway down and stand in the middle of the slope. You go on one side of the slope next to him, you go on the other. I'll send them down to you one at a time, you already have a good idea how most of the kids in the group ski, you point the top half to one coach, and the less experienced to the other coach." I really wanted to do the split myself, based on watching these other 3 coaches ski. :roll: But, I'm the new guy. I let the guys with seniority handle it, so as not to offend their egos.

So, he divided them up, I and one other coach got assigned to the "bottom half," but all the kids were a mixed bag once again. The coach splitting them was looking for things like a pole plant, skis tight together, speed, etc. I would have mainly looked at how skis were interacting with the snow, and overall body movements and coordination. Doesn't really matter to me... these are young kids, and I've been planning on building their skiing from the bottom up PMTS-wise.

(Side note.... it's amazing to me how much stock these traditional coaches put in USSA and PSIA certifications. I've been asked more times this season if I'm "USSA and/or PSIA," as if that means ANYTHING compared to how I actually ski)

Once I got MY group of kids, I could finally get to the good stuff: teaching, coaching, telling corny jokes, get them talking and asking and answering questions, coming up with a new team name every day.... "We need a good team name today.... Coach precisionchiro's ___________? What's a good name?"

"Unicorns!" "Dominators!" "Tie Fighters!" "Special Forces!" "Ballerinas!!!" "Racing Devils!" "Chicken Nuggets!" :D

First two weekends were Tipping. Lots and lots and lots of tipping games and exercises. And every morning and every ending-day huddle, I always ask them, "What's the most important skiing skill we need to know as racers?" They all know the answer to that one, and why. We are now starting to combine our Tipping with some flexing and more recently some upper body stuff. It's wonderful to see their skiing change right before my eyes. And even better to get some compliments from other coaches, even one of the other Dev team coaches who recently asked me if I had the "advanced" group of Dev teamers after watching them... he couldn't remember.

We've been having great fun naming our games and exercises... it gives them all a sense of "ownership" and pride, that OUR team has the best creative names for things all the other racers are doing on the hill in their groups. I guided my kids to name the "Angry Mother" exercise... asking them first to come up with a name --- "The Hipster Drill!" "The Hip Hop Drill!" "The Double V Arms Drill!"

I then told them that when I watch them ski with their hands on their hips, it reminds me of when I was their age.... when I would get in trouble.... and SOMEONE would do this when I got in trouble....

"YEAH!!!! Parents!!! It's like.... Mad Parents! Angry Parents!!!"

"You know.... let me ask you guys.... which one of your parents would usually do this?"

"OH MAANNNNN!!!! MY MOM DOES THIS ALL THE TIME!!!" "Yeah! Mom definitely!!!"

"So what do you guys think? I think we should call this the Angry Mother exercise."

The laughs and cheers from them were absolutely priceless. Everyone around us, and watching from the lift, were all staring and gawking at the noise we were making. :D Even Tyler, who hasn't said 3 words to me in the 25 some odd hours we were together, who barely cracks a grin at my corny jokes, who is the ONLY one standing exactly where we are supposed to meet at the top of the hill every run -- while the rest of the knucklehead boys are starting to wander off in the woods, and the girls are off talking in cliques and packs, Tyler is standing there almost at attention, looking as if he's ready to take the SAT's....... He finally let out a hearty belly laugh and smiled the rest of the day. It was incredible. It hit me... it may very well be that Tyler is so stoic and serious and quiet because his mom gives him Angry Mother all the live long day.. and that's why he found it so hilarious.

Our newest exercise-naming this past weekend is something I take a lot of pride in. I'm trademarking it. While the other groups were "carrying trays of hot chocolate" with their poles, we took that to the next level and "Spilled Our Hot Chocolate Onto Our Lifted Edges".... first with our trays, then by imagining two big cups of hot chocolate on our shoulders, and spilling them onto our lifted edges during our Angry Mothers... then combining those two...

"Instead of carrying a steady tray of hot chocolate.... who's up for spilling hot chocolate all over the place???"

They all scream "MEEEE!!!!!!!" and raise their poles up like The Knights of the Round Table. I keep forgetting that, and often ask questions like that when we are huddled close. Someone's going to get a pole tip in the eye one of these days. :oops:

Harald gets credit for The Phantom Move, I get full credit for Spilling Hot Chocolate on the Lifted Edges. I think that should be the 6th PMTS Essential. LOL!!!

I've snuck some peeks at the other Dev team coaches in action. Sigh. Boring, confusing, random drills and exercises with no order or integration....

Two weeks ago, chatting with the other 3 coaches one morning as the kids are coming out, I asked them how their groups were doing. They ALL complained about the same exact thing.... "The worst part is getting them to listen. They just don't listen, they don't do what I tell them to do. Their attention sucks."

I stood there and nodded, thinking to myself "That's because YOU ALL SUCK at what you do. I wouldn't listen to you either. You're taking an activity that is supposed to be fun and exhilarating, ESPECIALLY at their ages, and making it dull drudgery. You don't deserve the title of Coach."

This past Sunday was a warm rainy morning with slick slushy roads, so we told all the racing parents Saturday to not rush to come in Sunday morning with the weather forecast calling for bad roads... if the roads are questionable, don't risk it. 4 of my parents asked if I was going to be there on Sunday. "Yes, I'll definitely be here. But you guys don't have to be here, attendance isn't mandatory, especially for Dev team. Don't feel like you have to come on an awful day."

"But..... you're going to be here, right?"

"Yes. I'm going to be here."

Sunday morning rolls around, foggy, bad roads, snow conditions were 1/4" of ice over a few inches of wet cement underneath. Blech. All 4 of us Dev team coaches show up. I asked them how many kids they thought would show up today. They joked "One! Somebody always shows up and we have to stay."

11 Dev team kids showed up. 9 of them were MINE. They were all busting my chops, wondering why almost my entire group showed up on a lousy weather day when only a small handful of the entire race team came out. "Well of course they came. My kids would walk through fire for me." All 4 of us coaches split the group in half, 2 coaches with each small group for the first hour. On the break, I asked the Director if he wants us to cut down the number of coaches, we didn't need to all be there. Since I had a farther drive home, I was one of the coaches he told to head home, and 2 of the other Dev coaches finished out the day with the group... I'm curious what my kids will tell me this coming weekend about how it went on Sunday. :wink:

Anyway... I'm grateful for PMTS, and for you folks here in the forum, and wanted to share how it's been going.
Last edited by precisionchiro on Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:16 pm

I just thought of another one to add to the Spilling Hot Chocolate series!

Two full cups, one on each shoulder... lift edges to tip, and spill the OPPOSITE side cup onto the lifted edges... perfect combination of CA and CB!

Huh? Huh? :D

Don't any of you go leaking this to USSA. You know they'll bastardize it and screw it up.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby Max_501 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:37 pm

precisionchiro wrote:I just thought of another one to add to the Spilling Hot Chocolate series!

Two full cups, one on each shoulder... lift edges to tip, and spill the OPPOSITE side cup onto the lifted edges... perfect combination of CA and CB!

Huh? Huh? :D

Don't any of you go leaking this to USSA. You know they'll bastardize it and screw it up.


I'm not a fan of the visuals here. First, for CB you want the hips to be the driver (even with kids). At max CB the pelvis and shoulders would be level. Exaggeration is a good way to learn range of motion but I've never seen anyone lift the inside hip so much that they'd be able to spill liquid from a cup sitting on the shoulders. The only way to pull that off is bending the spine which isn't the correct movement. Second, I don't see how CA fits here unless you are trying to get the kids to rotate the pelvis to bring the inside shoulder over the outside ski. If so, that is too much at once. Break it down and teach them one movement at a time. Follow the progression in Book 1 or the Instructors manual.

On your earlier post. Balance is the most important skill for a racer. Tipping is the most important movement.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby h.harb » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:01 pm

I'd rather use a tray of martinis higher motivation for not spilling.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby ErikCO » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:58 am

In 12 year olds? I'd imagine they would be more motivated by the hot chocolate. But if you want to translate to a general audience, martinis or your favorite craft beer might work. :)
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:43 am

h.harb wrote:I'd rather use a tray of martinis higher motivation for not spilling.


Well, are we talking Bombay, Chopin, Grey Goose?

Or Seagram's? Beefeater?

If I'm going to train these young kids to have a solid home-base hand position, I'm going to need to also train them on PMTS-approved top shelf liquor.

Please advise.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby A.L.E » Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:46 pm

Nice read about the kid's enthusiasm & positive reaction to your coaching, well done!!!
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:39 pm

A.L.E wrote:Nice read about the kid's enthusiasm & positive reaction to your coaching, well done!!!


Thank you, A.L.E.

As Heluvaskier mentioned earlier in this thread, my goal is to be the coach that the parents want for their kids. I’ve been so disgusted by the level of skiing and instruction by the majority of this coaching staff that it is my mission this season to get my kids improving much more noticeably than all the others in their age groups, and LOVE skiing with me.

I make it a point to do all of my boot only (skis off) training right out in front of the race building where all the parents can watch. We Walk The S-Line most every morning (oftentimes exaggerating movements we are currently working on), do lots of stationary tipping, I set up a few ski poles to talk about rise lines and gate strategies, all where the parents and supervisors can see. Nobody else is doing it, and I got word today that many parents, even the ones skiing and watching the groups on the hill, are impressed to see me have structured and thought-out exercises and daily plans for my kids. One parent mentioned to my wife this morning how great it was to see such structure, he was used to his kids “just skiing around” with their coach the last couple of years. I watched from the lift, one of the other Dev coaches say to his kids,

“Uhhh, alright. Yeah. So... uhhh, whaddya guys wanna do now? Wanna do edging? Like, I guess we can do some edging this run, right? Or no? OK, let’s do some edging. OK. So let’s ski down and we are going to do more what? C’mon, speak up... EDGING! OK. Let’s see some edging in those turns now. OK? Follow me.” No exaggeration.

This is what parents are spending primo money on. I have no words.

I’m very happy where I am right now on this team, I feel my sweet spot position may be in Dev team to U10-12. I can see how crucial that stage is for developing racers, not only in technique but for excitement and love of racing. If I endured a few years getting coached the way I see most coaches doing it, I doubt I’d want to continue racing if I was a kid.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:16 pm

And for those of you following the US Ski Team the past handful of years, Nolan Kasper was skiing our practice courses with the U14's and 16's today. He grew up here in Northern NJ, his father (Joe) and I used to teach together back in our PSIA days (around the time Harald was on the PSIA Demo Team). I remember skiing with Nolan when he was 7-8 years old. His dad drove him up to Hunter every weekend for the race program there, and eventually relocated to Vermont where he raced for Jay Peak and attended Burke.

Nolan is good friends with one of our coaches whose parents own the ski area, Kei Kullberg... he was a U19 GS National Champion.

Quite a sight watching those two come down a course.

I understand that Doug Lewis also likes to make a few appearances here during the season. I've read what Harald thinks about him. :lol:
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby h.harb » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:55 am

it's amazing to me how much stock these traditional coaches put in USSA and PSIA certifications.


This happens when it's all you know and you are desperate; when you have no reference to good skiing or have limited experience, few skiers will step out of the box and say, this shit doesn't work. Fewer still will figure out for themselves that they can make awkward kids look like they can ski well. Fewer will go looking for a better method because they either think one doesn't exist or they think USSA and PSIA must know what's right. Unfortunately, nothing could further from the truth.

There is a family in Vermont where the Dad has taken the bull by the horns and read everything I've published. He has his kids aligned at our shop, I've worked with them. They know their stuff and the kids can recite PMTS movements step by step. The kids are 8, 10 and 12 years old. Don't treat kids like they are stupid, they can understand PMTS and skiing better than their coaches. His kids are the best skiers and racers in their age group. he doesn't let any other coaches near them. He doesn't have to worry the kids already know the difference between good coaching and USSA coaching.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby precisionchiro » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:16 am

h.harb wrote:Don't treat kids like they are stupid, they can understand PMTS and skiing better than their coaches. His kids are the best skiers and racers in their age group. he doesn't let any other coaches near them. He doesn't have to worry the kids already know the difference between good coaching and USSA coaching.


I never truly understood this until I was (am) inside a race program and coaching a group of kids autonomously, and also watching the other coaches and groups on the hill. After following PMTS for the past 10+ years for my own skiing, and now applying PMTS skiing and teaching/communication principles to youth racing, I can fully empathize with PMTS parents whose kids are in a traditional program... and even empathize with parents who are uninformed with any models of skiing and racing technique, but instinctively know good skiing and coaching when they see it.

Just yesterday, my wife caught up to me in the lift line toward the end of my daily training with my group. She socializes with the other race parents, and skis on her own during race training days.

She looks at me and says, "The word is out."

"What word is out?"

"I rode up the lift this morning with one of the fathers of a Dev team kid."

"One of my kids, in my group?"

"Nope. His son is in Coach XYZ's group."

"So, what are you talking about, 'the word is out'?"

"We met on the lift, started chatting, he mentioned his son is in the race program, so I told him that my son is too, on the Dev team. He asked which coach he was with, I said, "Well actually, my husband is one of the Dev coaches, and my son is in his group." He asked which coach, so I told him the coach with the blue helmet. He said,

"Yup. Coach precisionchiro. He's the best one." (coldly, some aggravation in his voice)

"Oh! I... um... I'm sure my husband would be happy to hear you think that."

"I'm sure he would. But it's obvious." (aggravated)

She's sizing up the situation, and isn't sure what to say... she doesn't want to badmouth the other coaches, and admit that his kid is is getting crap coaching.

She blurts out quickly, "Well..... my husband has high standards for himself when he coaches." (she immediately thinks, that may not be a good thing to say right now)

"It shows. Everyone sees it. Mrs. So and So asked last week why her daughter wasn't in the ADVANCED Dev group with your husband." (aggravated)

(Mind you, my kids were in the bottom half of the Dev program in the beginning ski-off)

"Oh. I... I'm happy to hear that." (she's trying to not make this worse, but feels pressured to say something else because it's getting awkward and she is nervous) "Well my husband is a little nervous because this is his first year as a race coach... well, he was a ski instructor when he was younger... but he knows parents will be watching him and asking him lots of questions, so he likes to plan out each day and make sure he has the right games and exercises set up, otherwise he will forget and lose his focus....."

(At this point, she is now thinking that she should just SHUT. UP.)

"Yeah, well I can see that. My kid has been doing this for 3 years, and all I've seen the coaches do is ski them around and play follow the leader." (clearly pissed off at this point)

She lets an awkward pause go by, and carefully says, "Well, again, thank you for the compliment."

"Yeah. You're welcome."

-----------------------------------

I'm sorry, but........

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I do feel bad for those parents and kids. But this kind of feedback makes me happy.
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Re: Race Coaching lesson plans

Postby h.harb » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:42 pm

Max501 also did the parent learning program and became an accredited PMTS coach. He coached his own kids because he could see the regular coaching wasn't what he wanted.
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