Birkie Masters Camp
August 12, 2009
The August 7-9th Birkie Master’s Camp held at Telemark Resort in Cable, WI was the first CXC camp that was solely for Master’s skiers. The turn out was better than expected with 25 participants (17 masters skiers and 8 of CXC Master’s Team members) and we certainly will look forward to continue to grow the successes of this first camp into the years to come.
The goal of the camp was to disseminate the information to masters that we have continued to develop from all of our programs. Unique topics were addressed such as ski selection, waxing protocols and Matt and Garrott discussed first-hand experiences from World Cup and the Birkie. Also, Dr Jim Mullen from Premier Wellness led a core strength and stretching session on Sunday morning. The goal was to provide inspire as well as provide valuable information that participants could take home and use.
Much of the camp revolved around ski technique and with 6 coaches (Bill Pierce, Igor Badamshin, Kelly Chaudoin, Matt Liebsch, Garrott Kuzzy and me) there was a great opportunity for small group and individual attention.
My belief is that the fundamentals are timeless and valid whether advanced or beginning; young or old. Skiing is a technical sport, but I believe the actual movements are quite basic with 6 movements in classic and 5 movements in skating. My analytic background has tended me to dissect problems down to one single black and white answer. By breaking movement patterns down into too many segments results in mechanical movements. People start to think too much instead of simply calling on basic movements that have been developed over the years. It is critical to keep technique training simple and integrated. I’ve learned the hard way that the statement, “The whole is greater than the sum of the independent parts,” as it relates to learning ski technique is indeed true.
This basic premise was eminent throughout the camp. We did basic skill acquisition exercises like running and jumping mechanics exercises, for it is our belief that skiing mechanics are primarily derived from basic running, jumping (jump, bound and hop mechanics) and skate mechanics. The goal was not to talk or over-analyze but instead do.
We set up progressions from general to specific and slow to fast. Also, people learn different and the challenge of a coach is to find the cues and drills that are effective for that particular individual.
Learning dynamic balance on skis is typically the most challenging for any skier. The movements of skiing (5 skate and 6 classic) are easy to do when standing still, but the demands of forward movement on a 2 inch ski makes these basic movements exponentially demanding. The progression from dryland to skis is challenging, but by learning off skis first typically accelerates progress.