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Input on coaching a freestyle team?
Alright, possibly a shot in the dark here asking for advice on Newschoolers but I figure there could be some people on here with experience and tips. And if you say "get full tilts" I'm gonna have eheath ban you.
Long story short, I got put in as head/lead coach without any experience officially coaching kids before. Don't get me wrong, I'm hyped for the season but definitely feel like I don't know enough about coaching currently.
Team demographics are a lot of younger kids that are just getting into freestyle and a few experienced skiers in the mix. I'm thinking an emphasis on having fun will be the way to go, because tricks seem to come easier when the vibes are high.
But yeah, if anyone has anything to say about coaching I'd appreciate hearing it! Especially input on how to coach entry level park skiers.
Damn, congrats! Also @CalumSKI
may be able to help, he coaches freestyle.
Congrats on getting th position:)
I'm a freestyle coach at my local hill and last year I worked a bunch of different age groups and skill levels. I mostly worked with the younger kids aged 7 to 10 on the lower end skill wise. They could all ski well enough that I didnt need to worry where I took them, it was only in the park where they had less skill. What I did throughout the season was make my main goal for them to have as much fun possible. Every day I asked them what they wanted to ski, and if it was park that means i could teach them park while still keeping it fun by letting them take laps every other run, and if it was trees we would just ski for fun while working on turn initiation.
The key to coaching the young kids is to have fun. Most of them dont care about comps or any of that, they just wanna have fun
Get full tilts.
But really it's not too bad. I'm guessing it's something you think you'd enjoy. A lot of time you'll know the kids can do a trick you just convince them.
Push them within reasonable limits. You can tell what they can do from watching them ski and other tricks they have on. You might know they could 2 onto that one rail based off of how they ski But don't just say "Hey try a triple cork of that jump bro. You got it" and watch them eat shit.
I've def seen a few people push too hard imo like that. Sure maybe the kids might learn something crazy, but if they get hurt or don't trust you, that's no good.
Try and keep the hype levels high. Pay attention and give good feedback. Maybe there's a rail they haven't been getting because they're taking a weird angle into it. Show them the angle they're taking and the line they should take. Then if they grease that shit right away they'll be like "Oh word this guys ok".
All my friends that are coaching are pretty good at keeping everyone reasonably in check but also keeping everything fun as hell. Kids are getting stoked pushing each other to learn new stuff.
Have fun out there.
I'm a freestyle coach on the weekends and it's a ton of fun. I'd say sessioning a box/tube/rail can be huge, and it's a good way to deal with kids telling you they're cold. My team runs drills at the beginning of the season, so that you can get an idea of skiers general ability levels. I will have them stop at an area out of the way, where I can wave them one at a time. This is a good opportunity to explain how to do the drill, then provide an example of what you want them to do. I use this primarily for switch skiing, but I have plenty of other drills that we run (PM me if you want a list).
I think overall ski control and confidence play a substantial role in park skiing ability, so I like to ski the whole mountain. Our team competes in slope, moguls and aerials, so skiing tight trees can be a good way to work quick turning without getting too repetitive, the way moguls often do for skiers of younger ages.
Also keep in mind that inexperienced tend to fall/get stuck skiing trees, so it's good to stay close and have an agreed upon spot to meet. Had an incident last year where I took my group to my favorite spot in the trees and it was waist/chest deep for the 9 year olds with 70mm youth park skis... This is in NH btw, so just keep in mind that conditions that may be a literal walk in the park for you could appear treacherous for some.
Group dynamic can be pretty difficult to read at that age, because kids often get embarrassed about the weirdest stuff. Ride the lift with them, listen, and if you think you hear bullying, squash it. Sometimes having the whole group do push ups because of the actions of a few can prevent anyone from feeling alienated, as well as provide disincentive for bad behavior. The last thing a kid being bullied wants is to get flamed with 6ix9ine jokes after getting special treatment.
I coach the freeskiing weekend program at my mountain, honestly its the most fun job Ive had on a mountain, I mostly coach ages 13-15 but we have a few younger kids that come ride with us as well. Idk how your mountain is structured but we have 2 programs that feed up to the comp team that I coach so for the most part I dont have to deal with a big ability split.
Id say even with coaching the comp team we don’t ski 100% park, the kids definitely dont have the attention span or desire for that, but when we’re out of the park the conversation always turns to making the whole mountain a park, whether thats jibbing in the trees, hunting side hits or doing butters in rollers, honestly if you’re stoked, they’re going to be stoked. You’ll have kids that dont want to hike rails, but if you can convince them thats the most fun thing in the world they’ll follow that energy.
The way the other coach and I run the program is really not focused on drills or structured learning, I mean how many of us learned to hit rails and jumps through drills? Honestly the role of a park coach is to be a role model, stoke up the kids that need it and reign in the kids that are going to break themselves off trying dumb things.
I coached for 5 years for the team i competed on while i was in college, and it was super fun and rewarding...plus its a great way to get a ton of days on snow
The most important thing is to keep it fun...even if you have a few kids that are really into competing and are strong skiers, most kids don't make it to the olympics. I've seen a lot of kids burn out from racing and freestyle programs, and they barely ski anymore. If you can get your kids to love coming to the hill, hanging out with their friends, and skiing, you have given them the greatest gift of all. Tell stories, feed em candy, and keep the vibes incredibly positive
I would also spend at least a few runs a day focusing on actual skiing fundamentals...that is crucial for a lifetime enjoyment of skiing. No one really skis the park after age 30, but everyone wants to ski until they die. So make sure the kids can edge their ski and transition weight properly, and when they are bummed they are working on wanky racer stuff like that, tell em why its important in an honest way!
T Hall basically invented steezy gorrilla swag, but he is also on the FWT skiing the gnarliest lines on earth cause he learned how to edge his skis as a young kid skiing crappy moguls. The more you can control the ski, the more you will be able to have deliberate and unique style, which is important in every freestyle discipline
I have been coaching for about 8 years now and have started 3 clubs, now I run the provincial team as well as managing the clubs here. If you need any help just message me I have a fair amount of infoi could send you!
coaching is a blast!
Tell em this is the winners circle and if they don't come to you already knowing how to both way dub 9, 10, 12, 14 then they should go and get some ski instructing lessons. This is freestyle coaching
Make them do everything all 4 ways
Remember a huge part of park skiing is being good at shredding in general make sure they’re good skiers first or tricks will be hard to learn and kids will be frustrated.
First of congratulations!
I don't have experience in coaching skiing but from other experiences I'll echo that make sure everyone has a good strong foundation of their basics. Which is pretty much another way of saying making sure they're good skiers but Anyways have fun!
Threads. Newly hired ski coach myself. I grew up skiing with the team I work for so it might be a pretty easy transition already knowing a lot of the head coaches ill be working under and some familiarity with competing but I'll be doing Big mountain and Development stuff with the younger groms.
Understanding each kids goals will help you best help them. Some just wanna fk around, some wanna get serious and learn tricks, others will just want out hang out with you as the "cool older skier". In the case of progression, the key to helping a kid progress is a lot of overcoming and dealing with fear, rather than the technique itself. It's easy to explain how someone needs to lean forward or back, more speed or less, spin harder, set their foot down, etc. It's much more challenging to get inside their head, figure out what it is that scares them, and what motivates them that can overcome that gripping fear. I did it with my D-Team kids and I do it to homies I film with now. Sam and Kian will both vouch for that. An important complimenting factor to that is that 100% commitment when attempting a trick will always result in a better outcome than halfassing on takeoff or initiation. Most straightforward example to that would be a backflip. Lastly, some kids won't want to learn or do much other than cruise around. Don't waste too much time trying to get them to. Certainly each practice, make an attempt or two to see if they need anything but other than that, just facilitate them having fun in their own way and in many cases they WILL progress whether they realize it or not. But anyway, just some babble off the top...
Get full tilts and all the kids full tilts.
Actually though teach them to do whirlybirds both directions until they are really good at it, then teach them how to ski switch comfortably over both shoulders. After they can do it without thinking, they will be able to get out of hairy situations easily because of their solid edge control.
Less crashes --> a way better time
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