This post is going to be a little long and meandering. Feel free to just skip to the bolded question below. I just wanted to write some of this stuff out and get it off my chest, and thought it could provide a little background information on me to set up my main question. But it's probably not necessary to read all this fluff.
First, let me start with a brief overview of my history as a ski racer. I started ski racing when I was eight years old and quickly fell in love with the sport. In my area (Alberta, Canada) at this time, ski racing programs split into two different streams at age 11, a provincial series and a regional series. Due to a number of reasons and constraints that I won't get into here, I entered the regional series.
At their core, the two series have different goals. While the provincial series is competitive and aimed to prepare young racers for the even more competitive, higher levels of competition they will face later on in life if they stick with the sport, the regional series is aimed at providing a friendlier, less competitive environment. An unfortunate side effect or consequence of this is that the regional series tends to have a large number of underwhelming coaches and far poorer training opportunities on very limited terrain. There are still many great things about the regional series, but athletes in the regional series tend to improve far less than their provincial counterparts and tend to be plagued by bad technical habits.
Now, to bring this wandering back to me. I raced in the regional series for seven years, and while I had a couple of season with very good coaching, I had many more seasons with, for lack of a better term, underwhelming coaches. I think that most of my progress in these years came from the occasional weekend camp I managed to sneak in with the provincial kids. But while I became one of the best skiers in the regional series, in the big scheme of things, I still wasn't a particularly good racer. After I graduated from high school, I seized an opportunity to take a year off before going to university and race FIS for a season. I was 18, still a junior. I dedicated the year to ski racing, and spent most of the time I wasn't skiing or training working a manual labor job to help my parents pay for the considerable expenses ski racing tends to rack up.
I have a hard time putting into words just how much I learned that season with my awesome coach. My eyes were opened to a whole other level of ski racing, I learned that I had major misconceptions about the fundamentals of good skiing, and did tons of work to unlearn my terrible habits and correct my movement patterns. In races, I had an awful lot of crashes, straddles, blow-outs, and massive mistakes, and I think the best I managed to score in SL and GS was about 130 points (and I never finished a speed race). A lot of my struggles to put in solid top-to-bottom runs came from my ongoing battle to unlearn my bad technique and fundamentally reshape the core of my skiing mixed with some mental games. The bottom line is, I was still learning and improving, but still definitely wasn't a great racer and still hadn't finished reshaping my technique.
But just as I was on the cusp of a major technique breakthrough, my season ended in the middle of February when I crashed hard in some GS training and got a very serious concussion. I'll gloss over the details, but I've had a real roller coaster of ups and downs in my recovery, and I'm sitting here 11 months later, doing better, but still dealing with major issues and symptoms from the concussion and not able to go out and do much of anything. I can't know for sure how much longer it will be before I'm fully recovered, but I'm still trying to get things together and do some life-planning and figuring-out.
My neurologist says it's pretty much impossible for him to make a good prediction about when I'll be able to start getting out and doing stuff again (the science and understanding of concussions just isn't there yet), but he figures it's more likely than not that I'll be at least good enough to start doing things again next winter. But even once I'm totally symptom-free, he doesn't want me doing any moderate to high risk activities until I've been totally symptom free for a full year, because I'll still have a highly elevated concussion risk until then. Timeline-wise, that means I won't be doing any skiing more intense than sideslipping and putzing around on groomers at all next season, and there's a reasonable chance I won't be able to get back to "real" skiing for even longer than that. I'm already just a couple months shy of being 20. So for better or for worse, I think my racing career is over, and I don't think I'll be able to get back into gates and improve my technique further.
But I've accepted that, and the way I really want to stay involved with the sport long-term is through coaching. However, I'm not particularly fond of or good with small children, and ultimately, I'd like to coach somewhat higher-level skiers (like U16 or up). I know just how much it sucks to have a poor coach and how impeding bad habits can be, and I really want to become a great coach. And I've noticed that a most job postings for coaches for higher-level coaches list much higher-level racing experience than I ever had as a requirement. So this (finally) brings me to my question.
I wasn't a particularly great racer, and while I think I now understand the fundamentals of good skiing, I definitely have not mastered them, and I really don't have much for super-competitive racing experience. Is it still possible for me to be a great coach?