Tuesday, September 2, 2014

file:///Users/HRHARB/Movies/Two%20footed%20release%20to%20Brushed%20Carve.movTwo footed release to Brushed Carve.mov

Monday, September 1, 2014

There is no searching for what to do or how to ski in Harb Ski Camps and racer development groups.

Harb Skier and Racer Development groups know exactly what they need to do, to become skiers with world cup movements.

These boys and girls can ski very fast, this is steep and hard snow.

Above, Zach is 10 years old. All the rest are 13 years old.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

USSA Skills Quest Programs, are inadequate for alpine athlete education and preparation.

The short story is that Tiger Shaw has to address the inadequacies in USSA and US Ski Team Development immediately, not next year. Nothing has been done yet and he has been there for months.

Every year, month, week you wait and leave this program in place will take years to repair the damage. If you are a parent or a program director you should be very concerned.

Reviewing USSA Skills Quest leaves me walking away so unimpressed it's the reason for this Blog topic. The key, most important areas of skiing are not mentioned or addressed and no movements that accomplish the high level movements in skiing are even recognized by USSA Education.

Key missing ingredients of modern skiing that USSA does not recognize in their programs are: inside foot and ski use, transitions or edge changes, tipping skis into angles, creating and coordinating upper and lower body movements. The USSA programs use ineffective PSIA, (ski instructor origin) movements that don't apply in 40 mph ski race speeds. Balance, how to achieve it, how to modify it, regain it and how to create it; are areas that are not delivered or addressed in Skills Quest for the levels needed to be a world class racer. These are the most import aspects of skiing and developing skiers to the highest levels. The Skills Quest program is so out of date and old fashioned, it's almost regressive.

We coaches in the US were using the present "Skills Quest" approaches 30 and 40 years ago! It's time to move to the modern era. Basic fundamentals are important sure, but the ones in Skills Quest can easily be completed by 7 year olds.

There are many programs in the US that are far beyond the understanding of skiing that USSA is presenting. My advice to parents is keep your kids in good home programs (like Burke, Rowmark, Snowbird, & Waterville Valley) not self-interest programs promoted by USSA.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

US Ski Coaching in trouble!!!!

The kids in our camps are making amazing progress. They are learning "movements" that world cup skiers make and use. (Stay tuned I have photo coming after camp.)  I watch other camps and groups at Mt Hood and many are working on wedge turns, wedge hopping and pivot slips, these are totally incorrect movements for development of proper skills, and not for development athletes or expert skier development. Or anyone really? These are maneuvers that are biomechanically opposite to the movements racers need. The strange thing is that I rarely see expert movements being coached or taught to kids in camps. There are a few very few lights in the dark tunnel and they come from some of the established programs like Burke Academy. Well each to his own I guess, but if I was a parent and my kids were being made to do hop wedge edge sets, at a race camp, I'd be very upset?

And this is coming down from the US Ski Team and coaches education these people are at a loss and kids are learning skiing that will hold them back.

Fortunately many of the bigger programs and academies (like Burke) are not adhering to the US Ski Team's ski school instruction based development philosophy, and approaches in recent years. There is a division in philosophies between the well established programs and the US Ski Team, as there should be. The US Ski Team is on the wrong course.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Why is Coaches Education under the USSA umbrella so difficult to establish.

What happened at a coaches educational meeting during the winter of 1980 in New Hampshire? Georg Capaul, at that time,  Head Coach at Waterville Valley and I, at the time, I was program Director at MWV Ski Ed. Fd. George and I saw a need to work together not apart as program competitors, to get coaching more constant for New Hampshire race programs. We invited coaches from around the State to attend and we introduced a series of basic ski racer needs. We came up with some fundamental skiing requirements for developing racers. The coaches that attended put together a skiing movement program for racer development and we presented it to the clubs.

Comments by Crawford Pierce: Ex-US Ski Team Coach, Burke Mt Coach and Rocky/Central Development Region coach about that event.
"They were the most innovative and instructional coaching clinics I have ever attended."

A few years later USSA formed a US Coaches Association. With it, coaches education began at a national level. Unfortunately, coaches education at the National Level didn't get much traction, although there were accreditation levels established with certain criteria. This languished for a few decades; and two or three coaches education directors were hired by USSA, but no real viable coaching approach or system developed that US Development coaching could use. Definitely nothing that "US Coaches Education" did  lasted and carried over into anything worthwhile for today's coaching needs. Most of the well established race programs and academies gave the National Coaches Education programs lip service and continued to do what they thought was the best way to develop their racers.

Now to the present day. There are numerous coaches education titles such national educational director, or development director, being throw around at Park City the center for all US racing. However none of these positions, individuals or committees have come up with a viable US coaches system. Sure they have the "Skills Quest", actually this is in my opinion, a horrid system of contrived skiing maneuvers that has very little to do with teaching basic racing and skiing abilities needed for kids. And now it's part of the selection process, a disaster. The more we go forward, further we go back.

However, they did choose the correct name " Skills Quest"?? Shouldn't USSA know how to develop skills and tell coaches around the country how to develop these skills, not be on a "Quest" for Skills??? The irony in the name tells the story.

Now USSA had really done it, thrown in the towel and admitted defeat: they are using and going to PSIA for their ideas about the coaching of basic skills. This is a huge slap in the face to any coach who has been working in the USSA system for the last 20 to 30 years.

USSA is telling the US coaches that they have failed and they are saying with this, that USSA  has failed, as well, with the Coaches Educational programs over the last 5 to 30 years.

Now the present brain trust rather than coming up with a universal movement based teaching system for racers, from reputable national level race coaches, they have relinquished this responsibility to PSIA, the ski instructors of America.

 I have been with PSIA, for 4 years I was on the National Demonstration Team. I was also a trainer and an examiner in PSIA for 4 years. I left it because it had nothing to offer me and it is stagnated. My background before joining PSIA was with USSA and development coaching, in three major race programs.  I also was Head Coach of two US Ski Team development programs, one for Harald Scheonhaar and one for Bob Harkins.

When I make the comparisons between what the reputable coaches in the country know about ski racing and coaching compared to PSIA's trainers and technical base, it's amazing to me that anyone would encourage the use of PSIA for ski racing technique. PSIA technique and racer needs and development are incompatible and have technically opposite needs and outcomes.

Why has the brain trust at USSA reached out to using a ski teaching program that has not shown success with the general skiing public, let alone with elite or development athletes?

Few of the general skiing public take PSIA lessons, beyond beginner levels. There are so few middle and upper level lessons given in PSIA because skiers don't see advancement. In my opinion this is because skiers at middle to higher levels don't get instruction that helps then become better skiers. Yet USSA is applying PSIA training methods to ski racer development at the national level.

The general public in general doesn't take PSIA teaching, especially at the middle to upper levels for their development.  If  recreational skiers see limited progress or have little desire to take lessons to become better from  PSIA, I shouldn't have to enlighten anyone about what this means for the nations junior racers.

How desperate is USSA Education that this is their answer for teaching and coaching ideas? Anyone from mature, major race programs,  I mean Ski Academy coaches, in the East and West, can develop a coaching program that meets the needs of 90% of racers. There are programs in the East and West that are doing an outstanding job, for example: Burke back east and out West, Steve Bounous's program at Snowbird. And why can't USSA develop a task force of established coaches, who have a wealth of experience, and can be called upon to create a development coaching program?

USSA is glad and immediately ready to take credit for the Shiffrins and Goldbergs, even if they had nothing to do with their development. We are in a cycle where we have to wait for the next "child phenom" to show up. We don't produce top skiers in this country from the development pipeline .

Let me have a guess at why a development pipeline doesn't exist and why it is not happening?  Are the wrong people in charge of USSA Coaching and Development? Are they totally out of touch with racer development? Do they have a racing background?  Can they communicate with the development programs. Do they understand or know US ski racing and how it's structured? In my opinion, they don't understand the needs of racing at the highest levels. It could be any one of these and probably a combination of them.

This is just the tip of the systemic failure of USSA development, that needs immediate addressing. The racer numbers are down, the athletes are paying enormous amounts of money to train and prepare for a shot at the US Ski Team. The development pipeline is weak, empty or even non-existent.

Tiger Shaw has some serious issues to address in his new position, he will either go with the status quo or he will shake things up. If the second of these two options is not chosen,  USSA is in line, in my humble opinion, for the biggest drought in it's racing history.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

US Ski Team is not the answer to domestic coaching and development.

Whenever there seems to be a drought or a crisis looming in US ski racing everyone starts to point fingers. Tiger Shaw basically said, " There is not much talent in the pipeline."

Sasha Rearick, Head US team coach,  "“We’ve fallen off the mark in the technical disciplines, slalom and GS, without a doubt."
US Ski Team coaches have finally realized what I've been saying for the last 15 years. However, do they have the "technical coaching skills", to raise the level properly or quickly?It's too late for the 16 years olds, you have to start with the 8 year olds or 10 year olds, in their home programs. This isn't anything the US Ski Team can solve, it needs to be done at the entry levels. By the time it gets to the US Ski Team level, it's too late.

More details in this Ski Racing article,  however this is a public relations article it has little content or offers no real solutions.

I'll make these statements not because I want to damage USSA coaching, but the reality is this. I've observed domestic racing for 35 years. The US national coaches association is where the trouble is, it's not the kids.. And USSA should not try to blame the US domestic coaches. USSA has the power to dictate what and how skiing is coached in this country, but it has failed. Now even a branch of USSA, the Ski Team, recognizes this.

It's easy to identify the problems,  they are obvious, at least to me. These problems go right to the top racers in the US, look at Ligety's slalom? Technically it's terrible and he's been working on it for the last three years, without change, that's a coaching issue. This has been documented in detail on this Blog. 

It's another thing to know what to do about your overall skiing problems. Where is the solution? USSA needs to totally revamp the coaches association and start to educate coaches, starting with biomechanics and movement fundamentals. But it's not getting done, because human nature is, not built to look internally. 
And the changes needed,  will never happen with PSIA as the driving force for, US coaching and athlete development, that should depend on elite world class skiing knowledge. PSIA isn't designed to for this, they don't develop athletes,  and doesn't have the credentials to coach elite racers or train US coaches. That's like asking your lawn mower mechanic to build you a Ferrari racing engine. PSIA is a ski instructor organization, it's strength is to give tune-ups to recreational skiers.

Do US ski team coaches have the skills, time and influence to make it happen? Can they make happen what they have identified as problems in US development? 

Is a one time spring ski camp the beginning of a national development resurgence? Even if the coaches did have the perfect program at this camp, is it a development solution or a PR attempt. The problems for US skiing go much deeper and require much more attention.  This has been substantiated (not that I needed this confirmation) to me by numerous coaches who attended the national forums at Park City this spring.
US skiing is in world of hurt, there is at the moment very little going on in the pipeline behind the present team, sorry.
This may sound negative, but it's not, you have to identify the problems to be able to fix them. I'm not against US Skiing, but I am very critical of the way it's been managed.

Tiger Shaw has his hands full, and not just with this issue. It's not going to be solved with a few camps and a Press release, it will take a mini revolution within the US Coaching and Education. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Harb Ski Systems Summer Race Camps, Mt Hood.

                     Another great skiing experience coming in August

                                   Harb Ski Systems

This isn't just another Ski Race Camp, it's not just silly drills to keep kids busy. This is an education about skiing and skiing the way the best skiers ski. It's focus is on learning movements, not words and silly maneuvers. This is a ski education that will last and that you can use when you need it to ski fast, but in control. This camp has no fancy World Cup  names or celebrities, just honest to goodness ski education and improvement.

Here is the information  about our junior race camp at Mt. Hood, in August. Please contact us with any questions you have after reading this.

Our camp is private, and not offered to the public. It is offered by special request and for invited athletes. We are not one of the mass-production camps that stays at Mt Hood for the whole summer. We are interested in working with highly-motivated athletes who want the best coaching and educational experience. Our involvement with attending athletes is usually long-term: once they experience PMTS race training, they want to continue with that program and level of coaching. We provide a technical skiing base and technical understanding of skiing that the athletes will carry with them as they evolve as skiers and racers. This is not just a week's ski camp experience; it's an education for their lives in skiing.

Parental/coach involvement:
We ask that a parent, guardian, or a current coach be involved in the camp, including:
  • providing lodging & meals
  • supervision during the non-ski hours
  • transportation to and from Timberline Lodge each day

You can stay at Timberline Lodge, which has dining options. This simplifies access to the lodge and slopes each day – no driving needed!

The town of Government Camp offers many different options for lodging, from renting private homes, to condominiums (Collins Lake), to hotels & restaurants, to hotels with meal plans (Huckleberry's)...

You can find private homes & rentals on vrbo.com

A google search for “government camp or lodging” shows many results...

Here is the web page for Huckleberry's, if you prefer not to cook...

August 4-10, 2014
The camp offers 6 days on snow. The starting plan is 3 days on / rest day / 3 days on. We will adjust this schedule if needed for weather.

Please contact us.

Coaching groups:
We plan to have 4-5 racers per coach (maximum 6). Coaches are Harald Harb & Diana Rogers. We will have one or two assistants to help with set up.

Skis & equipment to bring:
Athletes should bring slalom and giant slalom skis (ok to bring GS only). We will be running GS gates. We will not be running SL gates, so you do not need full armor.

Ski & training plan:
The first three days of camp are technical free skiing. Day 1 is on SL skis; days 2 & 3 on GS skis. Days 4-6 are GS gate training. We may modify the schedule if weather or conditions dictate.

Daily plan:
The coaching is from lift opening (scheduled 7 AM) to approximately 12 PM, with a snack/rest break on-hill. Video and technical review will be held each afternoon, for approximately 2 hours total, at a location to be determined. No other physical activities or dryland are scheduled. The athletes should be working on physical preparation before and after the camp week, but we want full energy from them on-snow during camp. There are plenty of fun, light activities in Government Camp after the video/tech sessions.

Attending athletes:
So far we have 5 athletes confirmed from West Virginia. We tentatively have 3-4 coming from Alaska and the Midwest.

Deposit and payment:
Since enrollment in this camp is very limited, please send us a deposit as soon as you enroll. We accept payment by check/money order; Paypal; and Visa, Mastercard, or Amex credit cards.

Gate training


Harald and Diana

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring days mean mountain roads and lots of twists.

First day with the 911 on an extended mountain trip.