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coaches/J-2 FIS troubles - Page 2

post #31 of 45
A-man, while you're are quite right about the long history of good racers being produced on small hills, give irip credit for his recognition of the damage that can result from over focusing on winning by coach's and parent's. The points he makes on this topic are spot on. I've seen way too many of the negative outcomes he speaks about first hand over the years, and have spent a career trying to avert them.
post #32 of 45
Originally Posted by iriponsnow
As someone who grew up racing in PA, you have to keep things in perspective. You're not going to the WC if you are still in PA & a J2.

My response was completely limitedto this comment only! Talk about a defeatist attitude. I have talked to many EX US ski teamers who told me they felt like their racing career didn't really begin until they were a J1 or later. I just don't buy that where you are a s a J2 means anything about your long term possibilities. We are talking about immature kids who are not even big enough to be on legal skis and he is saying they have no chance at ultimate success in the sport.

post #33 of 45
I think success on the world stage is a combination of natural athletic ability, the athletes personal motivation level, and the quality of the race program in which they acquired their fundimental base as a youngster. The size of the slope really has nothing to do with it early on. Later, to continue ascent up the ladder of success, most kids will need to move to the academy level so as to have access to a higher intensity program, training on a daily basis with other high skill level kids on a more challenging training slope.

Typically, the top kids have moved from their home town (mini slope) program at the JII level. Do exceptions occur, you betch ya. I'd never down play a kids realistic potential, but at the same time I want to make sure that success is defined so that some form of it is within the grasp of each of my racers. This CAN be done without better skiers having their dreams squelched, or lesser skiers being left behind as road kill.
post #34 of 45
My point was never ment to say that you're done at 15. If you are in the east here, you will be somewhere along the feeder system if the wc is the direction you're heading. Most kids with that potetial end up at an academy at 14-15.

The last point I will attempt to make is that success should never be measured by moving up. A good coach will id success in relative & meaningful terms. Your techincue improved, your points went down over the season, ya finished 8 of 11 races, ya learned to tune your boards, figured out that SL ski, you're gonna have a ski plan post high school, you talked to a few college programs, heck.. you lowered your nastar handicap, you signed up for masters, ya learned about asra racing, your participating in a lifelong, healthy sport, you did not give up!!!!

too many kids quit racing & skiing, why? b/c of we as adults & coaches dont show them the real benifit of the sport. If you've got a 15 year old thinking what matters most is "I gotta ski a 180 plank & to make it to the WC" & that is the measure you're using, the racer has already lost out.

What is wrong about being a racer who goes out races & has fun at it, if moving up is the only thing that is important you'll always be disapointed. There is always someone faster for most of these kids & there is only one winner (timewise) at any race event. Using winning and rules ment for WC comp on a small sized kid at a ussa event in PA, those folks are completely missing the point / lessions handed out by the sport.
post #35 of 45
irip - you forgot the best measure.... I stood up one more time than I fell down.....
post #36 of 45
Right on Ripper
post #37 of 45
don't nbe so tough on yourself or the parents, although tI mujst admit there are many parents completely over the top.

Fortynatley, I feel and have been told by otheres that I have kept things in prospective and maybe that is why my boys continued to race.

I treated my kids the same whether they were Damn near last (which they were and are at times) or in the top 10 at JO's (which they have been at times)

I am not a coach, but have the unique opportunity to "Just Hang" with a lot of ski racers this age, I don't think it is fair to put all the blame for the attrition rate on parents and coaches. This really comes into play at about 15 and crescendos once they can drive.

My younger boy is a 1st year J2 and 15 and is still racing (although we still have no snow) and my older son is 19 and raced until last year as a senior in hgh school.

You are completely discounting the social implications of being gone all the time training & racing every weekend. These kids miss "hanging out" with school friends, school dances, school related sporting events, and just being one of the "Guys or Gals" in regard to their non-racing friends. The curiosity of and natural urge to hang out with the opposite sex is huge. Kids priorities change at this age and many would just rather go to the "Prom" than spend another 6 hours in the car to go freeze their butts off, screaming down the hill in a blizzard in their underwear!

I believe these social pressures far outweigh equipment issues or pressure to "Make Iit" from coaches or parents.

I know I forget about the intense feelings of wanting to belong and not being alienated at school, that many kids experience at this age.

On the Academy subject, I know quite a few kids who never went the academy route who made the ski team & World Cup.

All & all, the travel, being gone from friends, other sports and interests and sometimes believe or not even academics, make kids stop racing, but that doesn't mean they still don't like to freeski. I think these are the reasons kids quit in many more instances than success pressure from coaches or parents. And don't under estimate the pure "time" commitment. It is huge. Academic pressures and time management put a lot of pressure on the kids.

Is it really that rewarding and that much fun if you are finshing 50th out 60 racers all the time?That has gotta get old. No matter how much moral fiber and terpitude you have that has gotta a get old. I have even seen kids quit who were winning all the time. @ come to mind. One is playing football and made that a priority and the other is racing karts hoping to become a professional race driver. He was one of the most talented and very successful racers I have seen. He quit to race cars!

At least in other sports your whole team wins. All 60 guys on a football team get to participate in that win in some way. Only 1 winner per race in ski racing! And yes that is difficult.

I think Vince Lombardi said, "if winning isn't important, Why do they keep score." Kids are really pretty damn smart. You are not going to get away with telling them that winning isn't important and continue to have the timed and placed in a race. if winning isn't important than at somepoint maybe you should go freeski. Afterall a race is a "competition.

To put winning in perspective, I don't think it is the most important thing, but I think it is an important thing. And yes you can consider many other things than coming in 1st a win. But lets not be condescending to the kids. They still know that if they fininshed 50th even though they made some greatly improved turns that last run, they still lost. Adults lose a lot of credibility when they patronize kids.

I have coached a ton of baseball over the years from kids 7 to 18.

Guess what? Ski racing isn't that unique or special. We lost lots of kids about the same age. They quit because of social issues and other interests, not because the bats & field were bigger or the parents & coaches expected them to sign with the Yankees some day.
post #38 of 45
To me A-man, it's really about what a kid derives from participating in my program.

I want to have each and every kid acquire a solid understanding of the principles of achievement, an acute awareness (through personal experience) of the vast power the application of these principles have over outcomes, and the understanding of how to transfer this practiced knowledge into every new challenge they will encounter (outside of skiing) for the remainder of their lives.

To meet this goal, concepts of success must be individually designed for each racer. Each kid comes to me with unique physical and mental attributes, and ultimate potentials. My job is to recognize those individualities and to design a plan to help the racer realize his/her (hir) true potential.

Often, this entails redirecting the racers focus on goals that fly in the face of self defeating expectations imposed on hir by family, friends, society or self. And, often, the racers true potential can exceed hir internal conceptions. When, through dedicated application of the principles of achievement, those self concieved boundaries are breached, the power of the system hits home for the kid and s/he carries it with hir to be called upon and used throughout life.

Now, that is true success. For me, this is how I measure the results of the efforts I commit to coaching ski racing. I always considered myself more a coach of how to achieve success in life (regardless of how my kids would grow to define it), and I simply used the ski racing environment as my classroom.
post #39 of 45

If in fact you operate in the way you have described and I believe you make every effort to do so, you are truly a gem among many thorns. I wish my kids were coached by someone like you!

I couldn't agree more with what you have said. I hope you can instill your philosophy in others who coach youth in any activity.

Keep up the good work, sounds like your way of teaching is truly awesome!

post #40 of 45
Atomicman - for a while I thought Rick was my ski instructor.....

He was determined I would ski as well as a normal person when everyone else (including me) would have been happy with being "OK" ....

I don't know if it is a 'race coach for younger people' thing or just coincidence.... but that was the thing I liked best.... He never said I would win anything or beat anyone - but he told me in no uncertain terms that no-one knew my limit until I reached it.... that I had to allow myself the possibility to ski as well as anybody else .....

I think I skied well past my limit many days just because I knew he would not accept anything less.... so I kept trying.... many days of tears... much frustration... but also MUCH happy laughing time & great success....
& now I am game enough to learn to surf.... (at >40 years)

These sort of coaches SHOULD be those teaching kids..... we just need many more of them...
post #41 of 45
that's great. Rick seems like a really helpful, level headed guy. Not nearly as emotional as a goofball like me!

Anyway, I still contend a lot of kids quit for other reason besides , bad coaches , equipment issues and pushy parents.
post #42 of 45
A-man: I would agree, kids drop out for a host of reasons. I still think kicking a kid out for a selectivley enforced rule sends the wrong messege. Sure rules are there for everyone's benifit, but I can't help to wonder who was benifiting from this case.
Still really good ppoint made by all. What we should really do is put this energy into sending this kid a pair of fis legal skis to use.
post #43 of 45
They should either enforce them across the board or not enforce them across the board!

Although a very "sweet" altruistic idea. His parents need to step up & get him some legal boards!

I have FIS legal skis coming out my ears, but none of them were the right size form my 1st year J2, and he had almost brand new skis he could ski on from last year that were not legal.

We put him on new legal appropriate sized gear for this year! They said they were going to enforce the rules.

So although I have empathy for this kid, his parents cheaped out & he is paying the price.

What if he had that break thru run & suddenly finished in the top 10 or some of the top guys fell & he had a real break thru run and podiumed and didn't get his trophy. I bet his parents would pay any price at that point for a pair of legal skis.

This really isn't that tough, a 21M 180cm Gs ski with a reasonable flex and a 165 11-12M slalom is not all that ridiculous. As usual, it probably comes down to the root of all evil.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ !
post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 
I know this family very well. They did not cheap out. The shops in Pennsylvania and one in NJ that deal in race, would not sell him a 180 at his 100 pound weight.

I did speak with some folks up in the Stratton area this past week, they have heard of this case and will be working with Jason to get him on a ski for the next season.

To date, this is the only case I am aware of regarding "enforcement" of the rule.

How about enforcement of the full coverage helmet rule suddenly put into effect at the J-3 Blue Mountain race? Pennsylvania Alpine put this into effect (via their web site), on January 31. Enforced at the Blue event on January 27? This is an FIS rule, how many of you were aware of that and despite the helmet provisions. One rumor/theory is that it was the result of the snowmobile crash that resulted in the death of the J-3 racer this year.

I do support the use of a full helmet and have never even considered the use of a half shell for either myself or my son but.

They also cited any "Protrusions or Spoilers" on a helmet as being illegal. Now I just knew what constitutes an "illegal" spoiler or protrusion? Would have been helpful since they have asked the starters to enforce this.
post #45 of 45

I do have empathy for the kid, but that can't be the only shops available and theere are other ways to get a hold of an appropriate ski.

I have never seen a racer in a PNSA or Western Region race with anything but a full helmet!
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