How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

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How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

Postby skijim13 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:59 am

Lorie and I had been helping a friends granddaughter improve her skiing for the past two years. She had showed great improvement in her turns and control. This year they put her on the race team and in eight weeks made the following changes:

1. Stands up more with no flex in the knees
2. Pushes and skates into turns
3. Leg steers
4. No round turns and faces the skis with no CA
5. Tipping of skis are gone

How grandfather showed me how good she got and commented she is so fast he can't keep up with her. I could not comment because I could not agree with him. They think she has major potential as a racer.
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Re: How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

Postby HeluvaSkier » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:58 am

Often with young skiers, it is less about how they are being coached, and more about who's skiing they are trying to copy (don't assume it is their coach). Young racers are often far smarter than we give them credit for. They know who the good skiers are and they will watch and try to copy them (some more successfully than others, of course). This, more often than not, means generally ignoring their coaching in favor of "I'm trying to ski like coach so-and-so or the fastest U16/U19." The questions you should be asking are who is it, why them, and who might be a better model (hint: if they didn't choose you outright, it probably isn't you they are interested in watching... topic for another conversation)?

I tend to prefer a more "do as I do" approach to inspiring young ski racers versus a "do as I say" approach. Just this past weekend, one of our head coaches asked for my help to help correct the kids' line in a course. Instead of telling him 'your kids don't know how to choose a proper race line,' I got in the course and set the line for him, and he followed me and dropped brushes where I skied (admittedly a very direct race line, but it showed the kids what is possible). The second day it was: "hey kids, everyone line up at the top of the course to watch Greg ski the line that you'll be targeting today" (first day I had done it before the kids made it over to the course). Now they know what is possible and they saw it with their own eyes. Then the questions come piling in: "How did you make such and such gate?" "how do you wait so long?" "how do I not blow out?" Now a real conversation has started without preaching anything to anyone... just a bunch of kids saying "I want to do THAT."
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.

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Re: How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

Postby h.harb » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:12 am

I use a different approach. I ask the kids who their favorite world cup skier is. Then I show them strong use of the Essentials that that skier portrays. After the racer sees the Essentials I tell them if you have them you are golden, but if you don't you need them. You can also show them skiers who don't use the Essentials. Then on snow, I have them do exercises that require the right movements using the Essentials and that demonstrate the "Essentials".

Video is mandatory if you want your athletes to understand their lack or wrong movements. This is for validation as well and that way you convert their understanding by giving them goals they can see and understand, without coercion or any command style coaching.

5 Essentials are easy to learn and remember. They also build a high level of skiing understanding quickly. Instead, USSA coaches jump around from one useless tip and hint to another. USSA kids and coaches know little about how to build bye-in and explain how and where to use different Essentials to keep their technique helping them instead of hurting.

The danger in letting the kids determine how to advance by watching the best skiers or fastest skiers in the club is that those skiers may be fast for now, in the short term with what they do, but it may not get them to the National or world cup later. For example, even trying to copy Ligety or Bode would be a mistake for 99% of young racers.
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Re: How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

Postby skijim13 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:37 am

Great advise, doubt any of our race coaches would listen. I watched them ski they do not make turns as good as anyone in our Superblue camps. Many of these high level race coaches are former ski instructors and they use these same dead end skiing skills. They believe that forcing the kids to run gates will teach them to ski better. The coaches never work on key skiing skills or take video. If I had more time I would join the team and teach my group of kids the essentials first and use video feedback every session. Many of the coaches never were racers but were former ski instructors. The parents don't know they are getting ripped off and think the kids have a future as a pro.
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Re: How the Blue Mountain Race team Ruined Someones Skiing.

Postby h.harb » Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:46 pm

It is all in how you set up the training standards for coaches and the accreditation. USSA has such low standards anyone can become a Level 1 or 2 coach, which basically useless, but it pays the bills for USSA.
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