While every college coach loves fast recruits, producing such athletes is a task generally left up to high school teams and local clubs. But rather than waiting around, Jed Friedrich has decided to do something about it himself.
For the past three years, Friedrich, a Michigan alum and head coach of the Nordic ski team at Gustavus Adolphus College, has hosted a training camp for junior skiers entering grades 8-12.
“I try to reach out to kids who most likely don’t belong to a summer training program. We tend to bring in skiers who don’t get invited to REG camps and some kids who have never raced on the JO circuit,” Friedrich said of the camp’s selection process in an email to FasterSkier.
Twenty-three athletes from across Minnesota attended this year’s camp, spending a week taking advantage of the dormitories and dining halls on the Gustavus campus in St. Peter, Minn. 2010 NCAA qualifier Jens Brabbit and a handful of other team members assisted Friedrich with coaching, granting the junior athletes a chance for more individual attention.
Because of the athletes’ wide range of experience levels and abilities, “a large goal of ours was to expose these younger skiers to a variety of training methods that they can take home and share with their teammates,” said Friedrich. While volume occurs naturally at a camp, the primary focus of athletes and coaches alike was education and technique.
Friedrich always hopes that the camp will inspire students to attend Gustavus, whether or not they participate in a varsity sport when they enroll. But in terms of skiing, Friedrich says, “the highlight every year is helping skiers who just want to get faster. I always love seeing a skier who has a ton of potential and encouraging them to pursue a higher level of ski racing.”