If you ever watch a kid do anything (ski, run, bike, pogo stick, etc), you’ll notice that its usually at 110%. Kids like going fast…going slow is BORING! So its no wonder that kids love racing in whatever sport they’re into.
I coach the Devo Nordic Ski Team at Soldier Hollow so I’m particularly biased towards these kids but I know this much: they love to ski hard. Whatever we’re doing, whether it’s racing each other without poles, playing sharks and minnows on skis or hitting a step up over and over until we nail it, they are fully committed.
Watching today’s Wasatch Citizen Series at the White Pine Touring Nordic Center as a nervous coach was no different. Split up by age groups, the younger kids raced 1, 2 or 3km, which can be pretty tough when you go as hard as these kids do. Any coach just wants their kids to be smiling after the finish, at least after they’ve caught their breath and had a cookie. So, standing at the last climb before the finish line with a friend who coaches the TUNA team, we just hoped that all the kids out there finished happy, despite their tired faces. And, for the most part, they did.
Some kids were disappointed with a crash that took them out of the top group, a pole that got stepped on when they were skiing in a pack or being a bit tired from all the hard practices we’ve had this week. Overall though, everyone was pumped about their races and that they gave it their all. Five minutes later, they were all ‘cooling down’ in their various ways – skiing the obstacle course set up by the race volunteers, charging hot laps on the steep hill or chasing ducks out of the pond on the golf course.
Making sure kids have fun is the main objective of coaching Nordic skiing for that age. Keeping the energy level high, workouts fast and fresh, and teaching technique in a fun way should top the list. Kids love to charge so the only hard part is ensuring that they aren’t too tired to keep on doing so. And that is harder than it seems!
post by: Evelyn Dong