Train to Train
BUILD THE SKI RACER
In the Train to Train stage of development, ski racers are at different levels of physical development. Physical fitness becomes a priority at this stage. Ski racers begin participating in formalized ski conditioning off-snow training sessions. Both aerobic and strength trainability depend on the maturation level of the skier. Ski racers are encouraged to continue to practice the fundamental movement skills through the growth spurt along with maintaining flexibility, speed and strength.
- Boys 12-16
- Girls 11-15
- Adolescent Growth Spurt
- Rising Stars
- Club Level
- Local & Provincial level events
- National Championships
- Beginning International FIS events
- Growth and Development
- Physical Literacy
- Strength & Conditioning
- Movement Preparation
- Physical Training for Para-Alpine
Growth and DevelopmentThe "phases of growth chart" is an excellent graphical representation of where skiers are at growth and development wise in the Train to Train stage. Rapid growth and development make this a very challenging time, resulting in poor coordination and skill execution; this can be difficult and frustrating for the ski racers, coaches and parents.It is essential to maintain fundamental movement skill development in a variety of environments. Ski racers need to understand that they will experience a gap in progress while going through this growth period. If they stick with it and practice the fundamentals on and off the snow, they will push through and increase their chances of success in the Train to Race stages and beyond.
Early maturers can have an advantage at the Train to Train stage due to their weight and stature if they have maintained their fundamental movement and technical skiing skills. Late maturers may get discouraged. It is essential to remind ski racers in this stage to focus on their individual goals and where they are in the process of achieving their goals. Encouraging the development of a growth mindset will help young ski racers through this challenging period.
Education of parents and coaches is crucial. Young ski racers should continue to engage in appropriately designed strength and conditioning program. The physical fitness objective at this stage is to build a strong aerobic base with the onset of peak height velocity and develop speed and strength towards the end of this stage. Coaches and parents must monitor the ski racers individual growth and development to ensure to reduce the risk of injury and prepare them for the demands of ski racing.
Fundamental movement skills are critical in the development of a ski racer 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.
Ski racers should maintain their fundamental movement skills during this time period of rapid growth and development. Proper maintainence of their fundamental movement skills allows the ski racers to excel in ski racing and the various complementary sports that support the development of their athletic abilities throughout their skiing career.
OUR SKI RACERS 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.
"An instructional climate that develops movement skill competency early in life will set the stage for more advanced training strategies later in life" (Faigenbaum, et. al., 2017).
PHYSICAL LITERACY RESOURCES:
Physical Literacy Concept Paper Ages 0-12 Years
Learn more at http://physicalliteracy.ca
Download the Physical Literacy Consensus Statement
Watch the Sport for Life video: What is Physical Literacy?
Learn to teach the fundamental movement skills with one of the Coaching Association of Canada's Fundamental Movement Skills Workshops for Parents and Coaches.
BUILD THE ENGINE
Aerobic training remains a priority. In the sport of ski racing, a good aerobic endurance base is required to maintain high levels of skill execution run after run in training and competition.
During this period, the heart and lungs are rapidly growing, and blood volume increases. The production of the sex hormones, Estrogen and Testosterone, increase resulting in an improvement in the tolerance to lactic acid accumulation.
- Continue to make aerobic training a priority through participation in endurance events at slower speeds.
- Introduce ski racers to moderate anaerobic training at the beginning of this stage with short sprints, fartlek type training.
- High-Intensity anaerobic training 1 to 2 times per week can begin after peak height velocity has passed, near the end of this stage.
Ski racers should aim to achieve 180 minutes of activity per day, with 60 minutes spent on completing some vigorous physical activity. Every ski racer should engage in physical activity for the maximum amount of time each day.
Both aerobic and strength trainability depend on the maturation level of the skier.
Strength & Conditioning
In the Train to train ski racer, strength training should be monitored to ensure the ski racer has passed their peak height velocity and is ready to begin weight training. Ski clubs are encouraged to create physical conditioning programs including a summer dryland camp to foster team bonding and culture.
Physical activity should include the use of resistance bands, medicine balls, small kettlebells or dumbbells, physio (Swiss) balls, and their body weight can strengthen the whole body and improve coordination while going through peak height velocity.After the ski racer has passed peak height velocity, they can begin formal strength training. Previous strength activities performed with resistance bands, suspension training, and medicine balls can transition into the use of dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells.
Ski racers can be introduced to more advanced weightlifting movements using a wooden dowel or an unloaded barbell. Ski racers who gain experience in their abilities to perform these movement patterns will be able to execute the more advanced weightlifting moves with more confidence and competence at the end of this stage moving into the Train to Race stage.
Ski racers should not progress beyond their level of motor skill competency and proficiency. Performing all the exercises mentioned above with correct technique is the best way to make strength gains safely.Core and balance exercises will continue to promote the development of dynamic balance, challenge ski racers with simple balance drills to assist in the development of their ability to re-centre their body requiring the interaction of the more significant and smaller muscle groups.
- Core strength training including the legs, hips and glutes is encouraged.
- Continue to challenge and develop a ski racers sense of balance.
Strength training guidelines for this stage include the use of a combination of 8 to 12 different exercises that enhance muscular strength as well as fundamental movement skills including agility, balance, coordination and power. Gradually introduce more precise and coordinated movement patterns that require the interaction of smaller muscle groups. Progress from one set to three sets with 10-15 repetitions in each set.
Female Ski Racers:
Female ski racers will reach the onset of peak height velocity earlier than males during this stage allowing them to realize the benefits of training aerobic capacity and strength capacity before males.
- Functional training and resistance training should be regular components of programs for females (Harber, 2007).
- Rapid physical changes are occurring, coaches should be aware of and address any changes in movement patterns, agility, balance and coordination.
- Coaches and female athletes should be familiar with the high-risk movements associated with ACL and Patellofemoral joint injuries during deceleration combined with a cut/change in direction, or when landing from a jump.
- Preventing injury in female ski racers requires proper instruction in the correct ways to execute lower-body and shoulder movements. The appropriate technique to prevent anterior cruciate ligament and patellofemoral joint injury can be introduced to athletes and reinforced by coaches (Harber, 2007).
REINFORCING PROPER TECHNIQUE DURING THESE MOVEMENTS MAY REDUCE NONIMPACT INJURY RATES.
Strength and conditioning exercises should be ground-based, the whole body, and contain multiple joint movements to promote the development of a ski racers functional capacities. Introductory strength building exercises include simple movement patterns performed with correct technique:
- Squatting movement: include the introduction of body weight double leg squat progressing to single leg squat progressively increasing the range of motion.
- Hinge movement: starts at the hip by touching the toes with fingers or hands in both a sitting and standing position.
- Lunging movement: start 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: learn 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: learn how to pull 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: carry 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.
Due to healthy 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 ski racers to complete a proper movement preparation warm up and perform all exercises and activities with appropriate technique.
Every ski racer should complete an activation (warm-up) and proper movement preparation series before starting any training activity, and it should become part of the normal routine. An appropriate session of activation can last between 5 - 15 minutes dependent on the upcoming training session. An activation session can be a lower intensity version of the workout you are about to do, or it can contain individual-specific movement preparation exercises for the ski racer. It should always involve the muscles you are about to use.
A proper activation session before beginning training or competition will:
- Increase the heart and respiration rate causing an increase in available oxygen for the working muscles (gradual increase).
- Increase muscle and body temperature, required for training and competing in cold weather.
- Increase range of motion and mobility.
- Dial in the mind-body connection optimizing the ability to perform; engages the nervous system.
Including fundamental movement skills in the activation session will:
- Promote the development and maintenance of physical literacy.
- Enables ski racers to strengthen their body using simple movement patterns.
- Allows ski racers to adequately prepare the body for movement and improve or correct their movement patterns which can reduce the risk of injury while skiing and participating in unfamiliar activities.
- Promote a feeling of success by acquiring skills resulting in an increased motivation to overcome challenges because they have prepared the body and mind for training or competition.
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.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE COACHING STAFF AND INTEGRATED SUPPORT STAFF (IST) COMMUNICATE AND ARE AWARE OF EACH ATHLETE’S FUNCTIONAL STATUS, TECHNICAL LEVELS AND ABILITIES. THIS WILL ALLOW FOR BETTER FLOW AND ALIGNMENT OF PHYSICAL, TACTICAL, MENTAL AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT TO CREATE THE BEST POSSIBLE ENVIRONMENT FOR MAXIMAL OVERALL GROWTH.
Malina, R. M. & Bouchard, C. (1991). Growth, maturation and physical activity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Faigenbaum, A.D. & L. Meadors, An Update on Building Healthy, Strong, and Resilient Young Athletes. Strength & Cond Journal 2017