“Tactics in Ski Racing” Training Update from Coach Linda

A famous French sculptor, Auguste Rodin, once said…”Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”

Apple Cup provides us with the perfect experience for our athletes because they return to training ready to learn about going faster and having a better line.

Given our captive audience, our focus the weekend following Apple Cup is always on line and tactics. Our purpose on Jan 30-31 was to grow our understanding of “Tactics in Ski Racing” and to help our athletes better understand where to place their turns in relationship to the gates.

First, all athletes U10-U14 (Sat and/or Sun) came inside and watched a short 5 minute video by Dave Lyon on the fundamentals of running gates facilitated by either myself on Saturday and Dave Lucas on Sunday. Below are keys from the video.

• Fall line-directly down the hill
• Rise line-directly up the hill from a turning gate/pole

Phases of a Turn:
• Transition-a few moments in time (usually one ski length) between turns where we switch edges. This is where we are transitioning from one turn to the next turn.
• Rise Line-this is where the shaping of a turn happens and athletes become in charge of what their skis are doing

**The goal after passing through transition and before reaching the rise line, is for athletes to be continually moving forward until they reach the rise line where they begin shaping that turn.

Lastly, the outcome of sharing this video is for athletes to begin to understand that effective, fast lines start with shaping each turn at the rise line and by having each turn completed by the time they pass under the gate. This requires patience on the part of the athlete, because moving forward and waiting for the rise line to begin shaping each turns ‘feels’ slow, however, once understood and mastered is very, very fast.

At the end of our indoor session, athletes were encouraged to share this learning with family members. For new learning to occur, athletes need to be mentally active, reflective and collaborate around new information. Having the opportunity to share ‘what they learned’ with family members gives them the chance to deepen their understanding as well as ‘be the expert’ and that’s always a boost to morale and confidence as well.

Thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to ask your athlete about training last weekend: what did you learn, why is this important and how it will help you going forward this season?

We want you to know that over the weekend, all athletes worked VERY hard, taking notes, sharing their thinking and then actively applying their learning back out on the course both days.

Lastly, click here to see a short video I filmed right after our indoor session Saturday afternoon. The goal was specific: try to ‘apply’ what we just talked about regarding tactics and ask yourself, “Where is my turn in relationship to the gate?”

All coaches would agree-it’s an honor working with your athletes each week.

Questions? Email anytime.
Linda Cowan