Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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

The short story is that Tiger Shaw has the new position CEO of US Skiing and USSA, and can address the inadequacies in USSA and US Ski Team Development immediately, not next year. Nothing has been done yet, but we are waiting to see how this happens.

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 skiing movements are recognized, presented, discussed or demonstrated in Skills Quest or by USSA Coaches Education.

Key missing ingredients of modern skiing that USSA does not recognize in their programs are: teaching or coaching of inside foot and ski use, transitions or edge changes, tipping skis into angles, creating and coordinating upper and lower body movements. Compare Skill Quests to the PMTS Check Points, 3 are posted on this Blog!!

The USSA programs use ineffective PSIA, (ski instructor origin) movements that don't apply in 40 mph ski race speeds. PSIA teaching and movements aren't designed to use Balance, and it doesn't present how to achieve it, how to modify it, regain it and how to create it. These are areas that are not delivered or addressed in "Skills Quest" either 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"The USSA Skills Quest program is so out of date and old fashioned, it's regressive."

We coaches in the US were using rejected some of the "Skills Quest" approaches 30 and 40 years ago! It's time to move to the modern era. Basic fundamentals are important agreed, but the ones in Skills Quest are not the ones you want to develop. And the single one that is reasonable,  Skiing on the outside ski", can easily be completed by 7 year olds. However the other tasks in Skills Quest shouldn't be done by 7 year olds, because they will hold a developing skier back..

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.