Coaching Tips for U14 Racers by Gordie Real

How do we as coaches get our athletes to…

  • Be in a strong stance at the start of the turn?
  • Start to bend the skis?
  • Have upper body discipline throughout the turn?
  • Not get pushed onto their heels at the end of the turn?
  • Have their body moving to the next turn to pick up a clean edge?

There’s a lot going on in a 2second GS turn. It’s not like golf or hockey where you just hit the ball, or shoot the puck on net. But golf and hockey are not that cut and dry either, every golf shot is different from the last. And a hockey player is moving fast on the ice trying to find a small area to shot the puck while not having it taken from him/her.

Developing your skills before you enter the start, or take the shot will definitely improve your chances of victory.

As a coach, it is our job to make sure the athletes “put in the work” before the race. This is a challenging process at the U14 age group. So it’s up to us as coaches to be creative and to keep the athletes engaged. Here are a few examples of how we can do that?

  • Working on their starts, time them and the fastest start wins a prize.
  • Work on balance, have them going off small kickers. Then with no poles, then with arms crossed.
  • Setting a course in a ski cross-type environment, rollers, banked turns.

By being creative and not preforming the same standard drills I think we as coaches will see the difference.

And if the athletes are smiling and having fun then YOU ARE WINNING!

Top athletes “put in the work” before and during the season. It’s difficult for athletes to make changes in their technique while running gates, take a step back, slow it down, and do some drills. There’s a skills competition that I love to watch every year. The skills are basic, best passer, best shot, hardest shot, and fastest skater. It’s the  NHL all-star game, you can watch the best hockey players in the world having fun at skills event.

Good luck out there and remember…

Work Hard
Ski Fast
Be Humble ~ Bill Read “Gordie”, AOA U14 Consultant, Coach at Searchmont Ski Runners.


Watch for Bill “Gordie” Real at the U14 Mid-Winters series late January and ask him about his favourite ski skill to coach and evaluate.  It may involve soaring through the air with no poles, hands behind your back, ski jump style!  Gordie will also be leading the Mealey Cup Speed Camp leading up to the Mealey Classic. Learn more here>

Jan. 31 will be the Mackenzie U14 OCUP Mid-Winter Skills Day at the Toronto Ski Club.  See the race notice here for more.  After the successful, sold-out Dec Kick Start event at Mt St Louis Moonstone, which ran athletes through the Skills, Drills and Thrills curriculum, the return of the U14 Skills Day will be another showcase of the importance of skills in an athletes toolbox.  Thanks Gordie, for reminding us about the true meaning of WINNING!