U16 Rising Stars Coaches Report

ACA Rising Stars Camp, Dec 2-10th, 2017, Panorama B.C.
Submitted by Ontario lead Coach Andy Holba.

The theme of the ACA Rising Stars camp at Panorama this year, led by renowned ACA coach, Domestic Director, Dusan Grasic, was “TEAM”.

“We as Canadians are all on the SAME TEAM,” said Dusan.

With this in mind Grasic, also known as ‘Duge’ (to all who know him which is quickly established with a big warm smile and firm hand shake) was as much a part of our week long adventure as were the rest of the coaches.

“We all need to deliver the same message, consistently” said Duge.

Our goal was for all the coaches to coach all the athletes. According to Duge, “the kids are the priority, technical skill over going fast makes better skiers; be sure the kids learn to enjoy skiing and training.”

With this in mind, the timing clock NEVER came out and the coaches were sharing instead of ‘keeping their cards tight’. The result of this philosophy: the athletes had a blast skiing, training and getting to know one another. Many lifelong friendships have been established.  ACA hammered home, “keep it simple”. With this in mind the technical focus for the entire camp was an “Athletic Stance over the Outside ski, driving through the turn with shin pressure”. Then give the athlete the chance to self-discover.

“They will figure it out” said Duge.

We had as much fun free skiing as we did gates.

Mid-way through the camp we were joined by Jenn Stielow, ACA’s Senior Manager, Coach Education (i.e. in charge of coaching the coaches for Canada). Jennie instilled professionalism, safety protocol and routine, including proper activation and warm up prior to training.

“We are creating neural pathways”, said Jenn, “we need to make sure they are the correct ones”.

“I will not let anyone go out without being ready” insisted another Ontario native now Whistler coach, Henry Yeigh.

All coaches would load the lift at 7:30, prepare the track, check all safety, and then Jennie would

put the coaches into their safety positions and proceed to captain another successful session.

In conclusion this was a profoundly professional camp with the utmost of safety in mind, a

simplified approach to coaching while instilling independence. It was important that the athletes “figure it out” with help from ALL the coaches, with no coach being singled out as “the best”.

I am honoured to be a part of it.  I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL parents in AOA and ACA, for their time energy and participation in this great sport of ski racing. Without you, the true fans, none of this could even happen.

I leave you with a few quotes of my own…“Fuel up, Warm up, Inspect, Race, and Learn.  Take one day at a Time, one run at time, and remember before you know it you will be doing the same thing at the highest level, with the best in the world.

All the best and a great season to all,
Andy Holba

(L to R: Sydney Basil, Alpine Ski Club, Kyle Blandford/TSC,  Ashley Campbell/Georgian Peaks, Annie Deeks/Craigleith, Zach Hyland/Craigleith, Oleksa Mojsiak/Georgian Peaks, Elizabeth Sullivan/Alpine Ski Club, Mackenzie Wood/GPeaks



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