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What is a reasonable junior training programme?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I wish to understand with your help what is considered appropriate (adequate, normal) in the USA and Canada as a training programme for junior racers, say age 10-18.

Up to now, our city-based ski club (Italy) had a programme based on about 40 days of on snow training, starting in september with a week in a glacier and then bi-monthly training sessions in the glacier or the mountains nearby (1.5-2.5 hours drive) until the racing season (8-10 races) begun.

For the 2008-9 season, our new Head Coach has proposed a programme of about (up to) 100 days, with multiple trips to different glaciers, in different countries, ski dome, training every month in the summer.

My questions for you are:
1. What is the usual training programme for junior city racers in the USA/Canada?
2. What is your impression of the new programme of my ski club?
Thanks
post #2 of 21
I don't know what you mean by "city" racers.

Here in the US, kids compete in essentially two different venues:

USSA racing that is based out of a ski area and has an organized team. That in theory, puts the racer on the path to compete in FIS events down the road.

Here in the mid-east, dry land training is one day a week between the end of November and whenever the hill has enough snow cover ..... that is usually about mid December. From that date, on-snow training is generally two nights a week and weekends till the race season starts between Christmas and New Years with the two weeknights and one weekend day continuing through race season. To the north, they will start training toward the end of November.

High school race teams are the second most common in areas that are very close to the hills. Generally, they are more casual and less organized and training is very limited.

By my math, because snow cover is a factor, the average USSA J-racer will train about 50 days on snow with about eight races.

Glacier training is limited here to Hood, or Whistler in Canada. Some clubs don't go at all, some for one week and some for two.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Yuki, very useful.
Here in Italy, the main difference is between ski clubs/teams which are based in a ski town or nearby and those which are located in a city, as mine, which is about 100 miles from the nearest mountain. City-based clubs usually have less ambitious race programmes, although a few kids will compete also in FIS-Junior races.
From what you say, even in the more aggressive USSA J-racer programmes, kids train for about 50 days and have a ski-free summer.
The 100 on snow days proposed here appear therefore a bit much, right?

Any other ideas on what is reasonable / too much / too little?
Cheers
post #4 of 21
Most mountain based teams will try to have at least a one week program during the summer.

My son attended a ski school and they started dry land in September, two weeks at Tux (Austria), in October, two weeks at Hood and then he would hook up with his old gang for two more weeks at Whistler during the summer. He was logging about 60 "off season" days on snow in addition to the daily training at school where they ski every day but Saturday from Late November till April. In his case, he was probably hitting about 150 on snow days.

Now, what is reasonable? It's easy to burn a kid out. Each kid is different and can tolerate only so much training and travel. Exclusive of the parents budget.

With hindsight, doing school work in the car on the way to the hill for night training and then going to a school where it was .... train, train, train some more .... it was too much for him. In his words last year, it was a job, it was no longer fun. He quit. After all that work and when it became work .... I don't blame him.

Take careful stock and watch how your kids are reacting to it. Do they get time to free ski and socialize. They didn't at the ski school and I think that was the straw that broke the camels back.

It has to stay fun .... or .... they are going to be a rare one in 10,000 that is driven by the fire in the belly devote all their time to it.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Yuki, again thanks.

Your son's experience is very important and very meaningful. How old is he? For how long was he involved in the intensive training you described? I bet he had to be good!

Your comments and advice are wise; I'll show your post to the Directors of my Ski Club.
post #6 of 21
Here is a reasonable guideline:

http://www.albertaalpine.ca/pdfs/aimonline_b.pdf

Hope that helps.
post #7 of 21
This depends alot on the distance to the closest summer skiing. For example, my town is 2+ hours from a summer ski area and many of the kids will hit the mountain for multiple race camps during the summer.

The more serious the kids are about excelling in the sport the more time they spend on the snow.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks

Thanks for all the significant input.

BigE: the document is really very well made and useful. It is dated 1999 and I wonder if there has been an update or if the schemes proposed in the paper are considered still current in Canada.
Are these guidelines which are actually followed by most or are they just recommendations?
A document like this should be required reading for all Ski Club Presidents and coaches here, at least as a starting point for discussion.

Is there a similar official document in the USA or other Countries?
post #9 of 21
As far as I know, it is still current.

The guidelines are recommendations.

Some clubs follow them very strictly, but that is not their true intent -- athletic development can vary +/- 2 years.

I think it it best to look at a a resource that tells you what is possible, what is a "good" path, and what is a wrong path. for example, drilling hardcore technique at the age of 6 is silly.
post #10 of 21

Athlete Development Programs: Aca Aim 2 Win / Ussa Nds

I believe that ACA (Canada) has released an updated version of AIM (Alpine Integration Model) now called AIM 2 WIN.

For more details go to ACA Development Programs at http://www.canski.org/webconcepteur/...tprograms.html especially

Development of Young Elite Skiers http://www.canski.org/webconcepteurc...ite-skiers.pdf

Husky Snow Stars Program (manuals & videos) http://www.canski.org/webconcepteur/...&iddoc=78 341

Long Term Athlete Development LTAD http://www.ussa.org/magnoliaPublic/d...urce_Paper.pdf


The Canadian folks can speak to the differences between AIM and AIM 2 WIN.



Also USSA has http://www.ussa.org/magnoliaPublic/u...velopment.html especially the NDS (National Development System) section with the project reports.

Club level examples of USSA Alpine Athlete Competencies from USSA M.A.P (Managed Athlete Program)

http://spacracing.com/old/Info/Athle...mpetencies.pdf

http://www.bristolraceteam.org/downl...ormation.pd f
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

A further question

SkierScott: excellent, these are the sort of documents I was looking for, thank you.

However, I am also most interested in your thoughts and ideas. I have a further question for you all.

Suppose you have a kid who does races, he likes skiing, but does not show the abilities or motivation to try and become a champion. What would be a reasonable training programme?
Although their parents would disagree, I think that most kids in my club, including my own son, are like this.
They might become excellent skiers, maybe coaches, or just life-long skiers, but I see that many (most?) of them give up and in some cases abandon skiing entirely, before they are 18.

What to do with the good young skiers who are not going to be champions?
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missile View Post
What to do with the good young skiers who are not going to be champions?
I don't have an answer and am constantly looking for one. You are not alone on this one.

Mine probably doesn't have what it takes to get to the very top but she is a decent skier/racer even training on a part time schedule (she is also a full time competitive gymnast). If it's up to her, she will turn down every opportunity to give herself an edge (any sports). She enjoys accomplishment and success, and doesn't even mind doing the hard work getting there, but she's very afraid of the unknown and the potential intimidation (e.g. sent away to summer camp). It is all in the personality I guess.

She was a first year J4 (12yo now). I have to tell myself to give her another year or so before we make the "push", if she makes it that far without quitting that is. In the sport of skiing, she still has time -- even for the big time. I'd much rather cut her some slack now and have her burned out altogether (preteen/teen love to use that as a threat). If she decides to keep racing, then we'll kick it up a notch and start summer camp next year.

Very frustrating indeed.
post #13 of 21
The ranks thin each season. You start out with an unruly mob of fun loving and wild J-5's and each year a few will drop out.

Parents don't realize how much support, money and early in the morning trips take their toll.

Some kids go through awkward "growth spurts" and the kid who was doing so well one season is taller but his/her arms and legs seem to go in opposite directions. Boots always hurt because the feet are growing like weeds.

Competition .... there are only so many times you can finish near the bottom and feel good about yourself.

Towards J-1 time you are down to a few maybe five of the original twenty. Cars, girls/boys and sadly ..... beer and drugs.
post #14 of 21
This season I joined a ski team for Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire after skiing for my high school's casual and laid back ski team for two years. I have been skiing for as long as I can remember but only at the USSA level for this season. I would say that with my high school team and the Sunapee team I logged about 50 days on the slopes. My high school team races at a small mountain and we have practice for only two days a week for about two hours, and the Suanpee team started around thanksgiving and was every weekend from then to early April(we had tons of snow this year!). On the Sunapee team there are only two J2 kids who stayed on from mighty mites(a step below J5 I think). As far getting 100 days on the slopes, I would love to be able to ski that many days, but I live near Boston, MA so it's not that easy to go to a summer ski camp unless you're willing to pay for it. I think it really depends on the team make up and the coaches as far as someone getting burnt out. If the kids on the team can mesh well and become friends and the coaches aren't super strict then it can still be fun while you train
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
The ranks thin each season. You start out with an unruly mob of fun loving and wild J-5's and each year a few will drop out.
Or, the even younger J-7's! Which is the group I coach so I don't get real involved in the upper level stuff. But, if it's helpful, my team's website is www.teamsummit.org which would give you an idea of their training schedules and programs.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
I'd much rather cut her some slack now and have her burned out altogether (preteen/teen love to use that as a threat). If she decides to keep racing, then we'll kick it up a notch and start summer camp next year.
post #17 of 21

Anything beyond continued love of skiing is a bonus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missile View Post
SkierScott:
What to do with the good young skiers who are not going to be champions?
I think the best result is to keep them engaged so they still like ski racing. For many kids, its about socializing and fun. That shouldn't be an issue (as long as it's not disruptive.) A minimum goal should be to keep the flame for skiing burning...

Some of these kids grow up to be coaches who post in forums.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

I made up my mind (with your help)

Ok, again thanks all of you for the comments, experiences, links, private messages.
It's all precious stuff, very useful to me.
This is what I have understood, and what I'll do with my son:

1. Since he wants primarily to be proficient at school and to be able to enjoy other activities (tennis, guitar, girls) a reasonable amount of on-the-snow training days is about 40 and about 8 races.
2. To justify more than that, other factors should be present: deep motivation, great talent, physical structure, lìving in the mountains.
3. To justify the obvious consequences on school proficiency, one should be prepared to take risks for the future (in case he does not become a champion) or be in a situation where this occurrence would not be a great problem (being very affluent). Among the parents who choose for their sons to try the "skiing career" I have seen a sort of "nothing to lose" attitude or the desire to experience, through their sons, something that as not possible to them.
4. With about 40 days of training, one is not able to compete at high level, it is therefore necessary to select different races, in order to socialize with similar-level kids and not to always finish last, which is discouraging.
5. Believing that (almost) only by racing one can really learn the technical nuances, and that the 100 plus days programme would burn out my son, apart from exposing him at great risks for his future, we'll change ski club and follow a more reasonable (as defined above) programme.
6. Hope this will be useful for keeping him interested in skiing and in competition and hopefully for becoming a coach (though this is exceedingly difficult, and expensive, here in Italy).

Thanks again for helping me reach this conclusion; all the best.
post #19 of 21
well this is my first post here and i am 14 almost 15 years old. i have skied since i was three i have raced since i was a first year J5 at our small "mountain" in the midwest. (it is a bluff on the mississippi river) we race in a midwest league that is not very competitive and i have never raced USSA. i have really enjoyed my years racing and have made many new friends. unfortunately, i will not be racing next year. as many people have said, other things distract you. (i.e. basketball, girls, etc.) i also have kind of reached my peak as far as how good i will get. i get top 3 every race (unless i wreck) without practicing at all. (one time i hadnt skied in a month and got 2nd place.) i would like to try USSA but it is just too much money, too far to travel, and too much of a commitment. it is loads of fun and i think i will sort of miss it. however, i will continue skiing and work more on other parts of the mountain like freestyle and powder (even though we hardly ever get "powder" here ) kids who do not become champions usually are gone by J3 time. also if they do not seem as good as other kids, they usually do not get the new and "fancy" equipment. some parents, however, will buy their kid new equipment in order to motivate them and give them confidence. this usually does not work and results in me getting a good deal. i had to earn all of my "nicer" equipment. i used the same pair of skis for 4 years. they were about a foot and a half shorter than me too. but i did well that year and my dad bought me new equipment because i had earned it.

as for the training time, throughout the whole ski season (whenever there is snow) we have practice three times a week for two hours per practice. tuesday is slalom gate training and drills, thursday is gs gate training and drills, and sunday is usually crowded so we do drills and no gates. (on rare occasions we will run whiskers).
as for dryland training, we dont have it. i would say just about every kid on the team plays another sport so i really dont see it necessary as far as fitness. we do dryland instead of practice if the weather is bad or if there is no snow. (happened a few years ago, had to close for a week. i know you have already made your decision but i thought i would contribute.

stadelp
post #20 of 21
Nice post stadelp ..... better coming from the real deals than the old farts on the sidelines.

post #21 of 21

Keep them involved...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Missile View Post
Suppose you have a kid who does races, he likes skiing, but does not show the abilities or motivation to try and become a champion. What would be a reasonable training programme?
Although their parents would disagree, I think that most kids in my club, including my own son, are like this.
They might become excellent skiers, maybe coaches, or just life-long skiers, but I see that many (most?) of them give up and in some cases abandon skiing entirely, before they are 18.

What to do with the good young skiers who are not going to be champions?
In Southern Ontario, we have two racing streams: league and individual.

The league programs are still competitive, but require less of a time commitment for the athletes. The basic program will be something like 9 or 10 weekends, a 5-race series, and with a few extra camps & events available.

For the really competitive athletes, the individual programs will provide at least three days of training per week over roughly a 15-week program cycle. There is also a strong focus on summer training, including a guided dryland program and summer/fall on-snow camps.

There are opportunities to move between league and individual programs, so a stream decision at 12 one way or the other does not close any doors for a developing athlete. There is such a wide range in development levels - physical, emtional, skills - that it is really important to try to keep options open for the athletes.

For our graduating K2 athletes (who will be turning 15), they can continue to race in J League, J Individual or FIS programs. Since 15-year olds are eligible to take CSCF Entry Level and CSIA Level 1 courses, they can also become a coach, or move to instructional programs. This can be a good option for kids who want to take a year to get caught up physically rather than jump right into J level competition, with competitors three years older. The goal is to keep them active in the sport, with a number of options available.

A note on the AIM documents: the original still has useful and relevant information. AIM 2 is an update with emphasis on achieving the best long-term development through building the right skills at the right time, using key "windows of trainability" identified through multi-discipline sports science studies.
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