Originally Posted by CaptainKirk
Many good points here.
Warning: Rant On!
Vonn, Miller, Ligety, Mancuso, and Schiffrin are successful despite of USSA, not because of it.
Schiffrin skis like everyone on the Austrian team, let's see how fast her fully funded position in USSA can destroy it.
As long as USSA coaching education is tied to PSIA, our junior development at the club level is going nowhere. I'm convinced that the PSIA concepts do not help that many recreational skiers, not alone racers.
Too many club coaches can spout PSIA "concepts" but very few can show the kids actual drill progressions on how to really improve their skiing and racing. In this country, any good football or baseball coach can teach young kids specific skills for specific positions while still seeing the big picture in their development. Why can't USSA seem to do that????
The entire USSA coaches education process needs torn down and redone. At to many clubs, you see a few really great kids, who seemed to figure it out naturally, and many kids just skiing with bad technique. The really sad part is that almost every kid who club races is by default a natural athlete, and could "get it" with a well thought out coaching progression, and inspite of their obvious faults still skis better that the majority of American recreational skiers!
One other thing: I personally don't have a problem with getting younger kids on straighter GS skis, as long as the flex is made correct for their weight. The problem is too many kids have really never learned to turn a ski properly and use the PSIA induced super wide stance, ride the sidecut method of skiing WHICH doesn't work for less shaped GS skis.
Also many good points, specifically:
- Agree completely that the current top USST racers became winners in spite of USST, not because of it. That's not to say that there aren't excellent coaches on the USST, it's just that winning racers...this goes back to the Mahres, Bill Johnson, etc., figure it out before they got to the team or on their own while they were on the team.
- I am L3 Alpine PSIA and Level 100 USSA coaching, and I couldn't agree more re how little sense PSIA concepts make, most of the time, especially for racers. Have no idea why Sasha Rearick had the USST go through PSIA clinics and certification.
- On the other hand, I think the concepts that you get from USSA are pretty good. The alpine skills DVD I got from my L100 clinic had some decent concepts/drills as did the clinic itself. I really like the fact that USSA is looking at the bigger picture re stuff like turns in a tuck, using terrain to get racers comfortable with getting air the right way, etc.
- Agree that these concepts don't always translate into actually coaching on the hill. Our local junior program has outstanding quality of coaching...but I agree it's not a given across the U. S.
- There is also a basic issue that I don't think we look at. Which is, what are our individual and organizational goals? Ski racing is, at base, an individual sport. I've seen tons of coaches just jump in and start making changes to an athlete's skiing without asking where the racer wants to go with all this. It ain't all the same. Some kids want to win races at the junior level and haven't thought much beyond that. Others want to ski well enough and win at a junior level to get a Div 1 skiing scholarship, because they don't have any intentions of pursuing USST racing beyond the J1 level. Others definitely want to make the USST. And just a few others want to win WC races.
It's kind of a different coaching style for all of those variations, and the toughest one, possibly, is to coach someone who wants to win WC races...and maybe that can't be done. There is a position, not unrealistic, that champions make themselves, either with or without the help of others.
Then there's organizational goals. Let's go all the way up to the USST level. For Marolt, it was "Winning at all levels." Great, and it happened...but did the USST have anything to do with it? There's a school of thought that says Miller/Ligety/Vonn/Mancuso was just a perfect storm, like Sampras/Agassi/Courier/Chang in tennis a few years ago. As I've said, it'll be real interesting to see how the USST goes about winning at all levels, especially in the WC arena..once Miller/Ligety/Vonn/Mancuso leave the sport...