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Timed training in the gates

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Should gate training be timed at all times? Sometimes? Never? Discuss.

(IMHO, it should be kept for race simulation purposes or else it keeps you from experimenting with tactics in fear of posting a slower time: ie. you stop trying to ski with your head and get feelings in order to only go all out. And going all out for 7-8 runs is detrimental, even dangerous: you only need to nail 2 runs on race day.)
post #2 of 6
As a racer I think timed runs are great. If you are working on something specific you can see from run to run if it is faster or not, depending on how well you executed the specific task (whether it is line, technique, mental, start, etc). We don't do it all the time, but when we do run the wireless timer it is very helpful, and fun. As a racer you live for getting your time, so there is some bit of satisfaction in getting instant results after every run - even if it is only one night a week.

As a side note, when I am running for time in practice, I usually treat my first run like a "race" run. You are skiing the course completely fresh at that point, versus having time to run it and get used to it. It is (for me) the best indicator of how I will perform in an actual race. The rest of the time is spent changing tactics to make that first run faster.

Later

GREG
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
As a racer I think timed runs are great. If you are working on something specific you can see from run to run if it is faster or not, depending on how well you executed the specific task (whether it is line, technique, mental, start, etc). We don't do it all the time, but when we do run the wireless timer it is very helpful, and fun. As a racer you live for getting your time, so there is some bit of satisfaction in getting instant results after every run - even if it is only one night a week.
True, and I think you underlined the main point I was trying to make: timed runs are a tool, an indicator of if you're faster, and should not be used everytime (this might seem paradoxal, but in my opinion, gate training isn't about always going faster and faster, especially when you're practicing new stuff). The same way technical elements should be gradually included in all of your freeskiing runs (even the most difficult), tactical elements should be gradualy included (go 60% on the course, then 80% then 100% with a new line).

Quote:
As a side note, when I am running for time in practice, I usually treat my first run like a "race" run. You are skiing the course completely fresh at that point, versus having time to run it and get used to it. It is (for me) the best indicator of how I will perform in an actual race. The rest of the time is spent changing tactics to make that first run faster.
Very interesting approach, I'll try it this week: instead of going all-out and trying to get faster, I'll try to not overski the course (something I do a lot in gs) and ski faster with my head instead of with my guts.
post #4 of 6
Put me in the sometimes camp. It helps train people to get into the race mindset, keeps them motivated to train in inclement weather, and provides instant feedback. After all, the clock is the final judge of what is fast and what isn't- not a coach's opinion of what looks correct. Why wait until race day to learn what's working.

However, it can be overdone. I prefer to only time occasional practices, after drills and practice have developed desired patterns in technique and tactics.

I'm not a fan of full-length courses for every training session. For the majority of training days, I prefer a series of short drill courses or courses on a short hill so that athletes can concentrate on good movements instead of recoveries from bad movements.

I could be wrong, though.
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike
Put me in the sometimes camp. It helps train people to get into the race mindset, keeps them motivated to train in inclement weather, and provides instant feedback. After all, the clock is the final judge of what is fast and what isn't- not a coach's opinion of what looks correct. Why wait until race day to learn what's working.

However, it can be overdone. I prefer to only time occasional practices, after drills and practice have developed desired patterns in technique and tactics.

I'm not a fan of full-length courses for every training session. For the majority of training days, I prefer a series of short drill courses or courses on a short hill so that athletes can concentrate on good movements instead of recoveries from bad movements.

I could be wrong, though.
This is good advice.
To be most effective training runs should have a clearly defined purpose, with or without timing in support of the purpose. If you are trying to build more consistancy in quality of movements, do not time. But do time if you are trying to push for more speed and find out what tactics or line changes gain, or lose (time).
post #6 of 6
If the athlete is in the right mindset, then by all means, timing should be used all the time.

The mindset is simple: Play around with different lines, techniques, and skills, and see what results in the best times. As a coach, if the athletes have been taught the correct decision skills, you should simply be able to say "find the fastest way through this course, I'll be timing you and giving you your times after each run" and have them go from there.

I believe it to be very important to train athletes with an accurate sense of what fast feels like, as opposed to what 'busy' feels like. It's very common for the skier to think they're fast just 'cause they were late at every gate, or flailing around lots, or whatever...yet they'll be slow as heck on the clock. So introducing the element of timing allows them to learn what true speed feels like.
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