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Son's Snowboard competitions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I know I'm in the ski racing threads, but thought I'd get a better response here vs the less frequented snowboard section and cuz I'm a skier:)

The story goes something like this...my 13 yr old son has been part of our local mountain's competitive snowboard program for the past 2 years (this being his second season). The kid loves to board and loves to be with his buddies, but he doesn't seem to have a deep passion to compete like some of the other kids. He competed 2 or 3 times last year (coach suggested that he go easy the first year). As expected, he did not do all that well and got very frustrated with things. He did one boarder cross and a couple of rail jams.

As a sidebar, he's good, but he's not as good as some of the kids on the mountain who have stood on the podium at Nationals at Copper Mountain. I've gotten him additional help ala gymnastics dryland training and a personal trainer, but he still lacks something to get him to the next level...not sure if its natural ability or the fact that he's got a decent fear factor going.

I keep trying to get him to compete more, but I don't want to push him into something he's not comfortable doing. In the same breath, if he's just looking to shred down the mountain with his buddies, then why be in the competitive program??

I could really use some guidance from others who are more knowing in this area.

post #2 of 5
It sounds like he shouldn't be competing seriously, at least not now.  Maybe things will change in a few years.  Stereotypically, snowboarders typically don't want to train hard and focus on perfecting their technique, strength, etc.  Snowboarders like to just hang out and take a casual approach to their sport.  Ski racers tend to be a different breed and totally hardcore, at least that's how I am.  My dryland starts in April (by my own choosing).  Again this is just the stereotype, but it is fairly accurate from my personal experiences.

Fear is probably a sign of weak underlying technique.  I find understanding the physics, analyzing videos, etc to be the most important thing.  Of course, I am a mechanical engineering major.  Athleticism is for getting the last tenths at this level, but it most likely isn't your son's biggest issue.  Also, getting alignment ie canting, ramp, forward lean, etc are EXTREMELY important to have proper technique.  In fact, I think the majority of skiers' problems are equipment/alignment based assuming one knows EXACTLY what they need to do.  Disclaimer: I have never so much as put on a snowboard.
post #3 of 5
I'll go against the grain, perhaps of this board, and seemingly of the culture as a whole, and say:

It's okay to participate in a competitive sport just because you have fun doing so.

think that was sort of an accepted world-view when I was a kid. Anyway, I participated in a number of sports, all the way through high school, that I was never particularly good at, or likely even to pose a threat of getting very good at. It's entertaining to do something active, to set goals and try to reach them, to participate in something that has the feeling of being an "event" rather than just another day in the life, and - of course - to spend time doing stuff with a bunch of others your age who like to do the same things.

The problem with "If he's not going to win, why bother?" is that it eliminates almost everyone except for the freakishly talented and the highly unrealistic.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

sjjohnston: well said!...and the way you describe yourself is the way I would describe my son. He may never be on the podium, but he loves to be on the mountain and loves his sport of snowboarding. He's not a superstar athelete, but he's got a ton of passion and desire to ride.

On my end I'm just trying to decide whether or not he should be part of a "comp" program if he's not really competing or simply let him freeride each weekend with his buddies (conflict there is most of his buddies are part of the comp team!). He also seems to have aligned himself with others on the team that just love to hang at the park vs compete.


For now I'm not planning on pushing him to compete unless that's something he really wants to do. 

post #5 of 5
Look, you mention fear so, let's look this monster square in the eye for once.

Fear is a natural thing.  Sometimes we suck it up and go for it .... all with proper training and prep .... but still face it.

A few kids are lost each year.  There is a legitimate "fear factor" and even sometimes the "best" screw the proverbial pooch.  I remember watching my kid when he was like nine years old on a day of boilerplate ice ... when they brought in extra patrol for the race .... and I had to go and round up a few guys that were tired at the end of the week and wanted to bag out.  I watched my kid come by ... and everyone was just struggling to stand much less ski ... and thinking that I was an old man living his life through my kid even though it might kill him. 

I knew a few guys who had the same attitude about flying "gliders" and a few who had "the need for speed and they are not here to respond.  I'd still run gates if I was able and still take my Corvette off it's leash on occasion ... but ... Well, there still is one guy who lost his one son, he (IMHO), is not any shooting star himself and seems hell bent to kill the other (perhaps) and IMHO, he freaking nuts.  Now, that said, I like my fruitcake with extra nuts .... but not that kind.
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