So here we are: racing season is well underway. The young skiers are working hard in the course gates, hurtling down the slopes before an enthusiastic crowd composed largely of excited parents.
Cell phone in hand, the parents try their best to immortalize their offspring’s run against a soundtrack of shouts of encouragement. The atmosphere is supercharged, but don’t lose track of the main objective, which is to have fun, to enjoy.
From my perspective, the way parents manage racing season has a direct influence on the enjoyment their kids experience during the competitions. How can you make it as pleasant as possible for the kids…and for the parents?
As a father and coach, I’ve often noticed that parents intervene during the first race of the season to try to coach their child. From my point of view, at this stage, the work is already done. The kids have been in their club, training with their coach. Now it’s time to let them have fun and discover what competition is all about.
The important thing is not to pressure the kids, particularly when they’re really young. I’m thinking of the U-12 group and under. It’s crucial not to have expectations and not to focus on medals, but rather on their progress and their enjoyment in spending time with friends.
The idea is to have the young person fall in love with skiing. The competitive spirit will show up later, particularly if the child is enjoying the experience. The important thing is to improve, and to have fun at the same time. That will pay off over the long term.
How to talk about the race with your child
It’s also important to pay particular attention to how you talk to you child about the race after it’s done. Once you’re in the car, heading home, you can ask how it went, how he/she felt.
What were they working on and did they manage to apply it in the race? Did they have fun? The idea is to ask lots of questions.
This will have a much more positive impact than a “Yeah, your race wasn’t really that great, eh?” Or perhaps, “Why didn’t you ski the way we were working on?”
This kind of approach reflects only our own impression and is very likely to produce the opposite effect from the one desired.
A young champion?
If the race went well, so much the better and you should encourage the young skier. But instead of a simple, “Way to go, champ,” you could ask your young racer what he or she was working on to produce such great results.
Why, according to them, did it go well? And again, to avoid having the racer feel too much pressure, you avoid saying that they’ve already got the next race won.
Advice on waxing the skis
To wind this up, I think it’s crucial to keep preparing the skis for the race in the same way you did for training. If you’re in the habit of taking them to Daniel Lachance or Max Ski Service, keep doing that. Same thing if you usually do them at home.
A change of adjustment before a race will be of no help to the young person during the run. If, however, you decide to make a change, consider doing it at least a week before a race to allow the young skier to get used to their skis.
Happy skiing and happy racing!
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Erik Guay16 Posts
Détenteur de deux titres de champion du monde, Erik Guay est le skieur alpin canadien le plus décoré de l’histoire. / Holder of two World Champion titles, Erik Guay is Canada’s most successful alpine skier.