Your coach will always know best when it comes to what you need to work on to improve your racing. That being said, here are some helpful tips that all Junior racers can benefit from:
COACH'S TIP #1
Constantly maintain your equipment. While prepping and tuning your skis for three to four hours before a race is great, spending 10-15 minutes every single day to tune them makes your skis more consistent from training to racing.
COACH'S TIP #2
While most people don’t think of skiing as an aerobic sport, junior racers need to develop a good aerobic base to reap the benefits from all of their other dry land training. Running is very efficient in terms of achieving heart rates and breathing rates.
COACH'S TIP #3
Workouts off the hill are just like ski tuning. Athletes should be consistent with their routine and build upon the previous workout. It’s also very important that exercises be sport specific. Plyometrics are great for skiers, especially lateral cuts, explosive moves or jumps.
COACH'S TIP #4
While good lower body strength is a must for any ski racer, it’s important not to ignore your upper body so you can be balanced over your skis. Make sure to connect your lower body to your upper body by developing a strong core during dry land training.
COACH'S TIP #5
Proper hydration is the key to any successful athlete and junior skiers are no different. Drink not one, but two sport drinks with dinner, or any time before 7pm, the night before a race. That way you wake up hydrated on race day.
COACH'S TIP #6
Make sure your skis are ready for your race the night before. They should be fully prepped, waxed, scraped and brushed. And always have tools on the hill to ensure your skis are as sharp as possible out of the start. Bring a file, file guide, gummy stone and diamond stone with you to the course.
COACH'S TIP #7
Rest is important. Taking yourself mentally and physically away from the sport so that you’re refreshed can be beneficial. The same is true for resting one muscle group while focusing on an entirely different muscle group. Active rest and inactive rest can both be beneficial. Depending on how you use them.
COACH'S TIP #8
To achieve the best possible start, junior racers should keep their poles fairly close to the start post. This gives more leverage so that athletes are almost diving out of the start with their upper body. The last thing that should go through the start is their boots. Then skate and pole as hard as you can for as long as you can.
COACH'S TIP #9
Downhill can be a little scary for parents to watch, but kids love to feel like they’re flying. In this discipline, athletes should raise their center of mass as they approach the lip of the jump. By getting their center of mass forward, racers take on as little air as possible to maintain the best aerodynamic position. And give the parents a chance to breathe a little easier.
COACH'S TIP #10
Super G racers should always keep their hands in front of their body to ensure the most aerodynamic position. It also helps if skiers maintain ankle flex to better absorb the terrain at high speeds.
COACH'S TIP #11
When racing in a GS event, the skier’s body needs to track over their feet. This puts the racer in a stronger position during the turn. A good area to focus on in GS is to think about hitting the gate with your shoulder. So that your chest is pointed to the outside of the turn.
COACH'S TIP #12
Slalom racing is a quick tempo sport, so it’s important to stay balanced over the center of the ski. A good pole plant helps the athlete re-center between turns and results in improved times while on course.
COACH'S TIP #13
A balanced breakfast is a must the morning of a race. Even though skiers only race two short runs, it’s important to get enough carbohydrates to keep them fueled throughout the day. And resist the urge to hit the lodge for a juicy hamburger between runs. It will only slow you down. Instead fuel on the hill with water, sports drinks and simple sugars in the form of sport beans, blocks or gels.
COACH'S TIP #14
The hole shot is the term used to describe the snow conditions of the first few gates. This is where wax builds up on the snow from previous racers, potentially creating a lackluster start. Your coaches should have you covered – literally. By putting an overlay on top of your skis, coaches ensure you get up to speed more quickly by making your skis glide over the wax build-up on the snow. If your coach forgets to add an overlay, it’s your job to remind him/her.