FORM THE FOUNDATION
In the Skier Essentials stage, young skiers begin to be more independent and physically active. They are more involved with friends and start thinking in more complex ways.
Development of the fundamental movement skills through participation in complementary sports promotes the development and consolidation of fundamental movement and skiing skills. Young skiers should play complementary sports two to three days per week beyond time spent skiing.
- Boys 6-9
- Girls 6-8
- Snow Stars 1-5
- Club Level
- Local Club and Inter-club skill events
- Growth and Development
- Physical Literacy
- Strength & Conditioning
- Movement Preparation
- Physical Training for Para-Alpine
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Young skiers will experience a period of slow-steady overall growth and development.
The focus is on the execution of proper technique and movement patterns, development of strength, agility, balance, and coordination, and the refinement of the fundamental movement skills to support the appropriate development of fundamental sports skills. Repetition will promote the consolidation of most movement patterns.
Balance training should be heavily emphasized in the physical fitness program at this stage.
Young skiers should be encouraged to develop flexibility, agility, balance, and coordination as the balance mechanism in the ear gradually matures. Plan activities that provide for differences in physical and emotional maturity, a well-balanced program will provide challenging, success-orientated activities.
Use playful activities to enhance body awareness and incorporate agility and coordination activities that begin to develop quickness.
Children should aim to achieve 180 minutes of activity per day, with 60 of those minutes spent completing some vigorous physical activity. Every child should engage in physical activity for the maximum amount of time each day.
Parents should limit “screen time” and create environments conducive to free play. Parents should be active with their young skier and role model the positive benefits of being physically active.
Fundamental movement skills are critical in the development of a skier as they provide the foundation on which to participate in complementary sports and ski racing. Previous research demonstrates that without the development of the fundamental movement skills, many children and youth choose to drop out of sports participation.
Skiers consolidate their fundamental movement skills during this stage. Proper development of the fundamental movement skills allows skiers to excel in ski racing and the various complementary sports that support the development of their athletic abilities throughout their skiing career.
OUR SKIERS NEED TO BE PHYSICALLY FIT AND LITERATE IN A BROAD RANGE OF SPORTING ENVIRONMENTS. THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEVELOPING A PHYSICALLY FIT AND LITERATE SKIER ULTIMATELY RESTS WITH PARENTS AND GUARDIANS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THEIR COACHES AND LOCAL SKI CLUB.
FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILL CATEGORIES:
Stability Skills - the ability to sense a shift in one's body that cause one to be off balance and the ability to adjust rapidly and accurately to maintain stability with the appropriate compensation movement. Examples include balancing, twisting, dodging, pushing, pulling, and turning.
Locomotor Skills - movements that are responsible for transporting the body from one place to another. Examples include walking, running, jumping, sliding, and skipping.
Manipulative Skills - movements that are responsible for either sending away, receiving, or travelling with an object such as a ball, or a puck.
Physical Literacy Resources:
Learn to teach the fundamental movement skills with one of the Coaching Association of Canada's Fundamental Movement Skills Workshops for Parents and Coaches.
Heart size increases relative to the rest of the body which provides an adequate endurance capacity to meet the demands of most low intensity, aerobic, training sessions for longer durations.
A young skier’s anaerobic system is not yet fully developed resulting in a limited ability to benefit from interval training. Swimming is an excellent environment for improving the cardiorespiratory system while minimizing the stress on joints, ligaments, and connective tissues.
Young skiers can complete short 5-10 second bursts of activity when participating in agility and coordination exercises.
Strength and Conditioning Considerations
Larger muscle groups are more developed than smaller muscle groups at this stage. Gradually introduce more precise and coordinated movement patterns that require the interaction of smaller muscle groups. Challenge young skiers with simple balance drills to assist in the development of their ability to re-centre their body requiring the interaction of the larger and smaller muscle groups. Balance training should be heavily emphasized in the physical fitness program at this stage.
Physical activity should include the use of resistance bands, medicine balls, physio (swiss) balls, and their body weight in fun and creative environments. Simple core exercises are introduced to assist in developing stability.
Introductory strength building exercises should include the necessary movement patterns performed with correct technique:
- Squatting movement including the introduction of body weight double leg squat progressing to single leg squat progressively increasing the range of motion.
- Hinge movement at the hip by touching the toes with fingers or hands in both a sitting and standing position.
- Lunging movement, starting with simple forward lunges onto one leg progressing to stepping back into a lunge followed by learning to lunge laterally; progress to lunge jumps with proper technique.
- Pushing actions by learning how to push up properly, push against the wall and floor, push a med ball away from the body and overhead, push against the ground and jump into the air. Push off the snow and ice using a skating motion.
- Pulling actions by pulling yourself up and performing a chin up or pull up, pull an object toward the body, play tug of war, learn to row.
- Carrying movements by carrying items from one place to another with the weight close the body, progressing to moving the weight on one side or the other progressing towards carrying weight further away from the body to cause the body to be out of balance.
Strength and muscle coordination will improve rapidly through participation in complementary sports that promote the development of physical literacy. Strength gains are mostly a result of nervous system development and muscular growth.
Due to normal growth and development, body tissues are susceptible to injury. Ligaments and connective tissues are becoming stronger, but the bone ends are still in the process of calcifying or hardening. Select a suitable number of repetitions to match individual skier needs and encourage young skiers to complete a proper movement preparation warm up and perform all exercises and activities with appropriate technique.
Participate in movement preparation sessions before starting any training activity.
Proper movement preparation:
- Warms up the mind and the body by priming it for physical activities.
- Promotes the development of athleticism, resulting in better skiers.
- Enables young skiers to strengthen their bodies through increased participation in physical activity.
- Allows young skiers to adequately prepare the body for movement and improve the way they move which reduces the risk of injury while skiing and participating in unfamiliar activities.
- Promotes a feeling of success by acquiring skills resulting in confidence and increased motivation to overcome challenges because they are developing physical literacy.
Movement Preparation Resources:
Physical Training for Para-Alpine
Much like the development of a long term plan for skiing, the same must be looked at for the physical aspect of a participant or athlete. For the Para-Athlete we must make certain considerations based on the physical impairment of the individual. It is necessary to realize that due to the nature of differences between each athlete’s needs, every aspect of the program will be considered on an individual basis. Training does not differ from an able-bodied regimen, however extra considerations should be taken into account for each category.
Goals: develop proprioceptive awareness and balance to increase confidence in spatial moving, if possible, increase chemistry and communication with a guide.
- Not usually any physical restrictions, no modifications on testing procedures.
- Need to educate and progress through bodyweight movements to movements with external objects and object manipulation.
- Landing and jumping progressions can help to build spatial awareness, which can increase balance and coordination.
- Outdoor conditioning workouts will most often require a guide with experience.
Goals: Develop and improve sitting positioning, balance, core strength, scapular, rotator cuff and potentially hip stabilizers.
SAFETY: GAIN AWARENESS OF THEIR ASIA (AMERICAN SPINAL INJURY ASSOCIATION) STATUS AND LESION LEVEL. GAIN A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR CURRENT FUNCTION (BOTH SENSATION AND MOTOR) PRIOR TO STARTING A PROGRAM.
- Orthostatic hypertension: gradually change positions.
- Autonomic dysreflexia (T6 and above): ensure they have used the washroom prior to their workouts and there are no bladder infections, restrictive clothes or other potentially noxious stimuli present.
- Respiratory function: do they need an assisted cough.
- Caution with overtraining as this will affect their ability to carry out activities of daily living.
- May need more help than normal with the movement of themselves and equipment around the weight room or training area
- Be aware of areas without feeling and rubbing, pressure points during certain movements.
Goals: Address muscular imbalances that may occur. Engage and encourage proper movement patterns, but understand that they may not be perfect.
SAFETY: IF WORKING WITH AN AMPUTEE, ENSURE THAT SKIN CARE IS MANAGED, PARTICULARLY IF TRAINING IN A HOT ENVIRONMENT.
- Understand the differences in the range of motion, strength and optimal positioning with each athlete.
- All of the facets of training (strength, power, agility, etc.) can be trained, however, they all may look different between athletes and possibly within an athlete (i.e. left and right sides).
- Some athletes (eg. Cerebral Palsy or stroke) may need different movements for each side of their body, don’t neglect the less functioning side.