Photo: Jeff Books with Zahli Books 7 years old Skiers Essentials

Key Message


Have fun while being physically active with your friends and family while skiing and participating in complementary sports. Aim to improve concentration, focus, and imagery skills. Share and talk about your experiences with your friends and family. Use positive self-talk and positive action statements to foster a growth 


Create a positive, safe and fun environment in which children have the desire to play with friends on skis and participate in ski club activities. Modify training drills to match the appropriate challenge zone for each skier include positive reinforcement for any effort, progress, and learning. Listen to and acknowledge their feelings and experiences. 

Introduce primary goal setting during each training session; keep goals simple and within the skier's challenge zone. Introduce imagery through the memorization of simple courses, have the skiers tell you about the course and their plan of attack with their eyes closed.


Offer different types of physical activity on a daily basis through organized sports participation and unstructured “free play” time. Share your happiness and support your young skier when they show enjoyment, effort, and creativity. Listen to and acknowledge their feelings and experiences, be engaged and attentive. 

Core Principles

  • Skiers participate in complementary sports in structured and unstructured environments through simple games and play. Ski clubs can offer this opportunity during physical conditioning or in cooperation with a reciprocal sports club.
  • Fun, creativity and effort play a pivotal role development of a passion for skiing. 
  • Introduce the basic concepts of relaxation, breathing, and imagery in simple, creative and fun ways.
  • Necessary focusing skills are introduced through memorization of simple courses.
  • As skiers begin to develop their self-esteem, it can be nurtured by reinforcing their efforts and encouraging positive self-talk and thinking.
  • A skier’s experiences, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings from their participation in alpine skiing requires acknowledgment from coaches, parents, and relatives. 
  • Introduce the basic rules and ethics as it relates to skiing using simple concepts and scenarios. 

Mental Fitness Activities

The following chart highlights mental fitness activities to maximize optimal messaging to young skiers. 

Phase Mental Fitness Activities
  • Talk about different kinds of physical activity and skiing positively.
  • Introduce simple relaxation and body awareness exercises in creative ways. Simple cue words can be given to the skier when completing specific skills or tasks. 
  • Introduce simple imagery exercises in creative ways, like visualizing the color of grass on a field or have the skiers describe their line down the course. 
  • Emphasize fun and enjoyment while skier’s complete activities together.  
  • Explain the basic rules of ski racing and principles of fair play as an introduction to competition.  
  • Give each skier opportunities to participate in all activities and encourage any effort and creativity they display. 
  • Introduce positive self-talk and simple focusing activities. 
  • Encourage skiers to try again after successes and mistakes and introduce ways to maintain a positive perspective when faced with failures. It’s ok to fail and encourage a positive learning experience from mistakes. 
  • Reinforce the principles of teamwork and fair play (i.e., teammates celebrating together and encouraging each other).
  • Use teachable moments to reinforce sportsmanship, teamwork, and ethics, i.e., attending awards ceremonies even if they are not on the podium. 
Post Performance

Highlight and help the child reflect on the experience he or she got from the activity:


  • Was it fun?
  • What were the rules of the games?
  • Reiterate any positive messages.

Stimulate creativity and imagery skills, (i.e., when at home, use different modalities like drawing or painting to re-create the sporting activity and playing games with friends.  

Cognitive Development

  • Skiers in this stage are beginning to increase their attention spans but will still have difficulties listening or staying attentive for long periods of time. 
  • Coaches and parents should be prepared to challenge the skiers with an array of skills and drills. The varying of an exercise is achieved by adjusting the terrain or location; repetition is critical. Changing one variable from one run to another adds contrast and allows drill repetition without repeating. 
  • Each skier should receive positive reinforcement; activities should foster creativity and problem-solving. Skiers should feel comfortable to ask questions and enjoy a warm, supportive relationship built on mutual trust with their coach.
  • Young skiers tend to be enthusiastic and often impatient, they will want to move and not stand around, keep them skiing! Spending two minutes inside, during breaks, reviewing the plan reduces time spent talking on the side of the ski hill equaling more time spent skiing. 
  • Do not bombard the skiers with technical information, keep directions short, simple, and provide a good demonstration. 
  • Skiers in this stage love to be led because they have insufficient reasoning ability.  A well-planned training session should provide continuity and build on previous training sessions; coaches need to prepare in advance and communicate this plan with both parents and skiers. 
  • Introduce primary goal setting activities by keeping training sessions focused and fun to promote the achievement of a daily goal.

Talk less, SKI more and have fun developing skills!