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Coaching J5s... ideas?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm new to coaching J5s, and after a few weeks of working with the kids, I'm finding that at this age it's critical to make practices fun and exciting.  Otherwise, they tend to lose interest and don't improve.

Please share your experiences with coaching J5s and suggest some ideas?
post #2 of 3
 Don't over stress when coaching with J5s. They just want to ski. Bumps, trees, gullys, some park, whatever. Try and "teach" and you'll lose them fast. Show them a good time, be a good role model, entertain them. From a development perspective, J5s need to spend most of their time free skiing terrain that challenges their neuromuscular system in terms of balance, stance and reactivity, but not so challenging that they develop bad habits, i.e., leaning on the back of their boots, over-rotating and constantly braking. If you introduce a new concept or skill, make it a game, perhaps with a competitive angle, which can up the focus and intensity level of the kids. When free skiing, progressively introduce different concepts such as cross-hill turns, short-to-long/long-to-short turns, mogul skiing in the troughs, then tops, then shoulders. One-ski skiing, etc. Gate training at that age is primarily with brushes and stubbies because they are less intimidating than tall poles, and call the training session just before they get tired or bored, i.e., leave them hungry for more. The kids learn technique on the open slope, but when in "gates" focus on developing an early appreciation for line with helpers or dye marks. Too many kids move into older age groups with poor line appreciation, running directly at the gate and turning or skidding under it. Speed starts to come later as they get a little bigger and stronger. Periodically visit the training areas of the FIS level kids and let them be blown away by the skills and speed of the older athletes. That can be hugely motivating. Within every age group there is usually one or two that are skiing way over the ability of the group. If they are really amazing, it's best to move them up to the J4 or next older age group (if they want to), or try and spend some time with them outside of the normal scheduled group setting to address their specific needs for more advanced work. These are just a few opinions, but the focus is that the foundation of good racing is good skiing with strong fundamentals and that age is key for learning the basics. Develop their skills by keeping your message consistent and simple while progressively challenging their current ability level in a fun, flexible all-mountain learning environment. 
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice georget.  Very helpful.

Anyone have ideas on games with a competitive twist that can be used to introduce J5 appropriate concepts and skills?
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