|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.