INTRODUCTION TO COACH EDUCATION

Alpine Canada Coach Education (ACA-CSC) in partnership with the territories and provinces develops our Canadian ski coaches by providing coach education, certification and professional development opportunities. Our coach certification program is part of the Coaching Association of Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). As a partner of the Coaching Association of Canada, Canadian ski coaches must meet or exceed minimum competency requirements to be recognized as trained or certified. To be eligible to coach with any Alpine Canada club, coaches are required to be a licensed ACA-CSC member in good standing. 

Our Alpine Canada coach certification pathway mirrors our long-term athlete development pathway to ensure coaches are knowledgeable in their specific coaching context, i.e., Entry Level, Development Level and  Performance Level. 

LICENSING

Alpine Canada requires all active coaches to complete annual requirements including professional development to maintain their ACA-CSC yearly license. To view the ACA-CSC licensing policy visit www.canskicoach.org

TRAINED VS. CERTIFIED RECOGNITION STATUS

Within each coaching context, i.e., Entry Level, coaches progress along a continuum from beginning to coach (Trained) to becoming a more experienced who is recognized as being a competent coach in their specific context after undergoing an evaluation (Certified or Certified Advanced). 

CERTIFIED and CERTIFIED ADVANCED statuses are required if the goal is to continue coaching in one context, i.e., Entry Level, to effectively lead a group and become a head coach.

The higher the recognition status, the more competent the coach is likely to be to develop athletes and coaches in one context efficiently and are considered experts in their respective development stages.

  1. TRAINED status - the coach has completed learning opportunities to acquire or refine the skills and knowledge required for coaching in a particular context (e.g. U12 Entry Level). 
  2. CERTIFIED status - the coach has completed evaluation activities demonstrating the ability to perform in areas such as training session planning, performance analysis, ethical coaching, supporting ski racers during training and in competition. 
  3. CERTIFIED ADVANCED status - the coach has completed a broader scope of learning and has completed a further evaluation of their enhanced abilities in their respective coaching context. The certified advanced coach knows how to lead a program, athletes and coaches, within their level of certification.

It is not necessary to achieve a certified status in one pathway before starting in another path, for example moving from Entry Level to Development Level, except for coaches who do not meet the minimum age requirement.             

There are many paths coaches travel through the coach certification program. Coaches will choose their path depending on the level of skiers they are coaching, employer requirements or personal interest.     

Entry-Level Coach in Training 

The Entry-Level Coach in Training (EL-CIT) program serves as an introduction to alpine ski coaching for athletes transitioning from competitive ski racing, volunteer coaches, and parents interested in assisting a certified coach with the management of a group at the Gliding Start and Skier Essentials stage of development. This program is meant to pair up a prospective coach with a mentor coach during the initial stages of learning how to be a coach while supporting young developing ski racers.

Educational and safe sport components that are required to become a general Entry-Level Coach in Training:

  • Minimum age of 15 years:
    • Age 16 years by September 1 of the following season
  • Completes the following membership requirements before coaching on-hill with athletes:
    • Sign the Coach Code of Conduct
    • Complete background screen (if over 18 years)
    • Sign annual general liability release waivers
  • Completes the following curriculum before coaching on-hill with athletes:
    • ACA-CSC Risk Management online module
    • NCCP Coach Initiation Module
    • Attend a 4-hour on-hill safety review and introduction to group management skills
  • Restrictions:
    • Can only work at the home club and home mountain
    • Cannot be a travel coach travelling with athletes
    • Will not be solely responsible for any group at any time, and must always be working, at all times, with a senior certified ACA-CSC coach 
    • Required to complete annual professional development of 2 educational and one risk management credits annually 
    • Coaches must complete the Entry Level course within two seasons 

Components required to become an Entry-Level Coach in Training for the 1st Time CSIA Level 1 & 2 Instructor:

In our policy from 2015,http://www.canskicoach.org/documents/policies/ACA_CSCF_coach_certification_policy_en.pdf, we do state that clubs can hire CSIA members as a 1st time new hire if they are coaching athletes under the age of 12 years for the period of 12 months from the date they start coaching. They must complete the EL course within this time period to coach the following year.

For clubs seeking to utilize CSIA certified individuals, we will require a list of names from the club so ACA-CSC can verify their current status and certification level with CSIA. Once verified we can manually input them into our database as a temporary member since they still need to be licensed members in good standing with ACA-CSC to work with developing ski racers. 

  • Minimum age 16 years of age
  • Must be an ACA-CSC member in good standing:
    • Sign code of conduct
    • Complete background screen check (over 18 years of age)
    • Sign general release waivers
  • Completes the following curriculum before coaching on-hill with athletes:
    • ACA-CSC Risk Management online module
    • NCCP Coach Initiation Module
    • Attend a 4-hour on-hill safety review and introduction to group management skills
  • Restrictions:
    • Can be responsible for a group under the direction and supervision of a senior certified ACA-CSC coach
    • Can travel to assist fully qualified ACA-CSC Coach

ENTRY LEVEL COACH - Gliding Start and Skier Essentials

The Entry Level (EL) certification pathway provides new coaches with the tools to efficiently run a training session in the free ski and gate training environments for the Gliding Start or Skier Essentials skier. 

Entry level coaches understand how to plan a daily training session, set up a proper, age-appropriate training environment while considering skier safety at all times. Entry level coaches are focused on developing fundamental ski technique through use of the Snow Stars program

This certification status will allow a coach to work in a ski club or ski school and coach at an entry level ski racing program with U6 to U12 skiers. 

DEVELOPMENT LEVEL COACH - Learn to Train and Train to Train
 

Development level (DL) coaches are working with skiers in the Learn to Train and Train to Train development stages. 

Coaches in this pathway understand and use specific drills and exercises to develop fundamental ski technique in the free ski, gate training and competitive environments in preparation for the Train to Race stage. 

Development level coaches are educated in the course setting principles used in slalom and giant slalom at the U14 and U16 levels. Coaches safely apply fundamental teaching and learning principles during training and competitions to promote the consolidation of a skiers technique and application of tactics in giant slalom and slalom. Development Level certified coaches have the knowledge and expertise to safely guide skiers when learning speed and ski cross terrain management skills. 

Development level coaches focus on the coaching core competencies: valuing, leading, interacting with people, problem-solving and critical thinking.

PERFORMANCE LEVEL COACH - Train to Race and Race to Win

Performance Level (PL) coaches are working with ski racers at the Train to Race and Race to Win stages. Ski racers at these stages are following the competitive pathway to compete at the highest level of ski racing.

Performance Level coaches are skilled at performance planning, analyzing performance, environment setting, sequencing of training to promote the consolidation of technique in a variety of tactical situations, and supportive of ski racers during training and competition.

Performance level coaches focus on the coaching core competencies: valuing, leading, interacting with people, problem-solving and critical thinking.

Ski Cross Coach

Trained ski cross (SX) coaches understand the proper sequencing involved in developing terrain management skills over SX terrain features, setting considerations for SX, inspection skills required in SX, heat racing, rules and regulations related to SX and course safety requirements. 

Trained SX coaches are also, at the minimum, Entry Level certified coaches who have completed an online safety and training progression course in addition to attending and completing the ACA-CSC Ski Cross on-snow module. 

The Ski Cross trained status is a specialization status much like para-alpine and focuses on developing skiers in the sport of ski cross from the Skier Essentials stage through the Train to Race stages preparing them for the high levels of competition experience at the Race to Win stage. 

Para-Alpine Coach

To best introduce coaches intending to work with Para-athletes in an alpine ski racing context, is to consider the philosophical baseline from which a coach can approach the situation.

Three key statements that a coach should consider prior to entering a Para-alpine coaching scenario are: 

  1. As is the case for any other participant or athlete, sport represents a vehicle for personal achievement, development, health, enjoyment, etc. for Para-athletes. 
  2. You are a coach and they are athletes; do not change your coaching philosophy or the way you deal with the athletes or their parents because you are now coaching Para-athletes. 
  3. You are not alone! There are many experienced people and groups who can help you, and quality resources that are available. 

Coaches can follow the ACA-CSC Para-alpine coach certification pathway at the Entry Level (EL) and Development Level (DL). This includes elements of the able-bodied EL and DL pathways and a Para specific module compatible for both EL Para and DL Para programs. 

The Performance Level (PL) context will be the final stage, but will require the least modification, as working with Para-athletes in the high-performance setting follows very similar protocols, both on and off-snow.


REFERENCES

Click on the logos for more information about Alpine Canada - Canadian Ski Coaches and the Coaching Association of Canada.