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attn: race coaches

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 18
I love it.. Makes me wish I had of not gone to University and devoted all of my time to ski racing!

[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] To that guy!
post #3 of 18
So there's hope for this 33 year old guy after all. Watch out World Cup, here I come.

There's something to be said for not pressuring athletes at an early age and letting them develop at close to their own pace (a little nudge here and there isn't too bad), especially since the burnout rate among ski racers is pretty high. I'd infer from what I've heard of him that he had access to some top level coaching along the way, and made use of it when the interest struck him. Better for the motivators to be internal than external.
post #4 of 18
I had a level II clinic in January with his mom (she's an examiner). At some point we were talking about racing and she told me she had two kids on the world cup circuit. I remember her telling me that her son wasn't any good till he was about 18. We talked a bit about development and she was saying she really was getting them to glide when they were younger. For most kid programs she thinks they do too many gates.
post #5 of 18
Remember that Herman emerged out of obscurity also, he was an instructor. Gee, maybe you quys do have a shot!!
post #6 of 18
Fastman, you've done a lot of coaching what are your thoughts on balancing running gates with skier development? It seems like in programs for kids coaches become a little obsessed on things that don't matter. For instance, having slip skis for the course and race skis. Fine if you've got exactly the same type of ski in the same size, but a lot of kids will slip and warm up on say an older gs ski and then race on a slalom ski. All for what? to save the edges and keep the wax fresh? When kids are several seconds from the leader this doesn't even make sense. I'm sure it takes the body a few turns to adjust to a different ski length and sidecut so they're loosing more time there.

[ May 09, 2003, 08:36 AM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #7 of 18
Jesse Marshal isn't the first USST member that never won a JO. Joe Levins from Buck Hill was in that catagory a few years ago.
A number of years ago one of my racers did pretty well at the J IIIs. The kid didn't have much money and the Team was doing a summer development camp. I called Bob Harkins who was development director at the time. He said "we aren't interested in how these kids do at this age" "everything changes as they get older" Over the years I've seen a lot of JO champions who faded as they got older. Jean Claude Killy said in his autobiography "when I was 12 there were a dozen kids in my club that could beat me". As he said it,"over the years they discovered life".
Most Central racers put way too much emphasis on gates and racing. I'm constantly dealing with parents who want "more race starts". On a race day the kids take a few training runs and 3 or 4 race runs and go home. Not much learning going on there. On weekends when there is no USSA race I go out and work on my own skiing, where my racers will come, stand in line all morning for a couple runs in the club race, then go home. Later at training they complain that I always tell them the same thing to work on. It's hard to fix your techinque in the gates(especially slalom).
As far as having race skis and "inspection" skis, I feel it's pretty important to keep your race skis clean and sharp. If the kid is very familiar with their race skis there should be little problem. There's not much simialarity with what they do on them to inspect as opposed to racing(anyway there shouldn't be).
post #8 of 18
I think that as long as the kid doesn't develop into a complete gearhead that equates every success with new equipment, let them have the inspection skis. I like to see kids taking responsibility for the condition of their equipment. Makes it easier on the parent financially (which is a big thing in this sport).
post #9 of 18
In the "Best of all possible worlds .. ", kids have a matched set of race and inspection skis. A few of the kids on my sons team are a bit better off, read .... money is no object .... and they do pretty well. My son uses the "race edge/inspection edge" method. He just swaps the edges before the race after we slick them up a bit.

I would have a hard time jumping on a different pair of skis and I think the edge swapping is a good compromise if you can't afford the matched set.

Some of the kids on the team just train and go home and do very little free skiing. Nine out of ten I have a hard time getting him in the car, he just wants to keep going and I think his attitude will carry him well in the sport.

A few of the other parents are very ...... hell, it getting outright cut throat ..... "don't tell anyone that little Freddie is going to train with Fritz this summer" ..... more training, steeper training ..... One parent used to tell his kid that when she was second that she was the "number two loser". How longer before she burns out? :
post #10 of 18
I believe young racers would get more out of skiing variable conditions such as powder, chopped up snow, slush etc. than they do skiing gates. I'm always amazed when I see such conditions and kids are being pushed into the gates. They'd be much better off learning the feel for such snow and the touch required to ski it. A lot of pretty decent racer kids "hate" such conditions. This should not be.
post #11 of 18
Originally posted by Tog:
Fastman, you've done a lot of coaching what are your thoughts on balancing running gates with skier development?
Tog, I feel in many programs there is too much time spent in gates and not enough on fundamental development outside of a course. There are a few reasons this occurs.

Many programs are primarily weekend programs and with race competition designed on a progression system of qualification to higher levels of competition, state and regional teams, etc., it makes it hard to justify blowing off races to train. With what few days the kids do get to train often the most benefits with respect to immediate race results are derived working on course tactics and individual technique as best possible within the training course forum. Sadly, the decision is made to sacrafice future rewards for present.

But the problem is not limited to weekend programs. Even full time programs fall victim to it. Pressure from parents who view anything but running gates as NOT GETTING WHAT THEY PAID FOR can influence training structure. Coaches more interested in immediate results than reaching long term potential can be a problem. Coaches without a good grasp of the elements of fundamental development can be a problem. Lazy coaches can be a problem.

Also small areas with little vertical or terrain variation can offer limited benefit from pure free skiing. Though this is no justification for not focusing on structured fundamental development it can be easy at these areas to fall into the constant gate syndrome once the initial early season basics and balance review period passes.

As to your question about inspection skis, here is my thinking. In speed events it's a definite. The race skis should go over the shoulder straight to the start and not leave till they're going out of the starting gate. Wax and edge prep is crucial in these events.

Technical events are another story. I'd like to see the kids be careful to avoid trashing their edges slipping through a course on inspection because a hard surfaced course can do that quickly. Switching your race skis, left ski on right foot can help. Skiing in and out of the line to take a look rather than continuous side slipping would help. But the best would in fact be to use something other than race skis to inspect.

I do however want my kids making some warm-up runs on there race skis prior to the race if they don't have duplicate training skis. I have kids make sure both edges are tuned equally well then warm-up on their training edge and race on their race edge. They do a preliminary light scrape to clean the edges for warm-up runs then final scrape and brush at the start. In GS and SL so little time is spent on a flat ski that my thinking is for those who don't have duplicate training skis the wax issue carries less importance than getting some quality warm-up runs on the skis the athlete will be racing on.
post #12 of 18
It all depends on the individual. But from my limited research I found that most top world Cup racers were very, very good by ages 13-15. Also, I don't think you can really train too many gates. I really haven't seen this being a problem. You can train lots of gates badly or without enough intensity, but most racers don't get enough training in. To get real good you have to ski almost every day. However a weekend training day should be 1/2 gates and 1/2 freeskiing. During the week 3 or so nights of gate skiing with some freeskiing thrown in.

Hermann Maier was one of the top 15 year old ski racers in Austria when bad knees made him quit racing.
Ingemar Stenmark trained lots of gates often by himself and was winning on the World Cup at Age 17.
Phil and Steve Mahre were both racing World Cup by 17, Olympics at age 18, they were named to US ski team at age 15 and 16). And they were "victims" of too much gate training. "Nearly every night they would set up 10 or so gates and ski them two or three hours a night, racing and pushing each other."

Pirmin Zurbriggen won and came in second at Toppilino races (World Championships for 11-12 and 13-14 age classes) as a 12 year old.

Adreas Wenzel skied in World Cup Championships at age 15.

But,I also remember when the Best US technical skiers were 2 brothers that weren't on the US ski team. The had their own coaches and were beating the US gates skiers. The older brother was considered too old at 21 (or so) for the US ski team.
post #13 of 18
Yeah, I remember those guys too. I think Dave Kerwin was their coach and Jeremy Nobis and maybe Schlopy joined them for awhile. They gave it a good shot but didn't get too far. The USST didn't have very good gate skiers then. Being the best in the US didn't mean much.
That youth emphasis went out years ago. The average WC winner is mid to late 20s. Alberto Tomba never made it to Topolino. My 92 program had a list of past winners. Mark Ghiridelli and Teo Fabi(F-1 driver) stand out in my mind. Most of them I'd never heard of.(I think Stenmark was in there) The last time I remember a fast skier not making it was when Brett Williams(NCAA Slalom Champ from NMU in 80)split Phil and Steve Mahre in the National Points list and didn't get a tryout. I guess Heidi Bowes was pretty fast in the late 80s but was considered too old too. On the other side of that, Thomas Vonn got on the team as a result of his NCAA results.
With girls the youth thing seems to have more validity. I was one of the Central coaches at the 87 J III-IVs in Winter Park where Koz was 4 seconds ahead of the other J IVs. Another Central girl Erica Walz was hot on her tail then but she dropped along the way about 16. I also remember Schleper at the J IIIs, more recently Lindsey Kildow and Kaylin Richardson.
I wish my athletes had the attitude of your boy. Not many like that anymore.
post #14 of 18
Here is a list of famous skiers who raced at the Topolino childrens race. Tomba was there in 1980. Stefan Eberharter was apparently there 4 times years 1981-1984.
you might need to click on "Topolini Famosi"
post #15 of 18
Thank you. I'll stand corrected on that.
My program was from when I was there in 92 and I though Tomba was not listed. I seem to remember one of the hosts telling me that. It was during the Olypics and a couple days later he won the GS.
I got lost in Trento looking for a store that had one of those Italian Team Conte hats. Everyone had sold out. They were only 40,000 Lira. Interesting adventure though.
post #16 of 18
How about this "masters" racer that won the GS at the Western Region FIS Elite Spring Series at Mammoth.
A 27 point result. Real good skiing. It looks like he's been getting faster all season. He started the season at 82 points.


I hadn't heard that Brett Williams was ranked so high on the points list and didn't make the US team. That sucks. My cousin and Brett were teammates at NMU. So I met him once or twice. Brett is pretty much a bad ass skier.
post #17 of 18
Originally posted by NordtheBarbarian:
How about this "masters" racer that won the GS at the Western Region FIS Elite Spring Series at Mammoth.
Well I'll be damned, that's great! I have a special reason to enjoy seeing this because I was Nathan Schwing's coach when he was a JI-II. Nate was always a gifted skier and super hard worker and it's great to see his continued dedication to the sport paying off for him.
post #18 of 18
I saw that list. It was the fall list in 1980 I believe. I was taking my Level I coaches test and someone had it. Brett turned pro that fall.
What was your cousin's name? I knew alot of those kids. I raced against Francine Malinzak(spelling?)(another NCAA champ from NMU of that era)in a "beer league" race at Marquette Mountain this spring.(she kicked my butt) I haven't seen Brett in years. Last I heard he was trading futures on the Chicago Grain Exchange.
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