Getting all Coach Carter on Ski instructor training.

Written by Tom Waddington, New Generation Verbier resort manager and coach on BASI level 4 ISTD training programmes and BASI 1,2 & 3 ski instructor courses.

So I was watching the film ‘Coach Carter’ the other night and I heard this amazing quote:

“Now, I cannot teach you the game of basketball until your conditioning is at a level that allows me to do so. Gentlemen, report to the baseline.”

On every ski instructor training programme we run we are starting to focus more on fitness.

This is exactly the same for skiing. I would argue that when going into the realms of high intensity performance skiing, it is unproductive to start if you are not conditioned. In fact, BASI’s new PIA’s (Performance Indicators and Actions) a pre-requisite before looking at performance is to be “Powerful enough to cope with the forces generated, and remain agile and reactive”

Here is a video of myself training over a 4-month period leading up to the current winter season. I managed to drop my body fat by a large percentage, increase my power to weight ratio and become a lean mean skiing machine:

Skiing uses so many different movements and energy systems that you have to have a really good all round fitness level. Some of the elements that are important are the following:

  • Strength (especially leg strength)
  • Power
  • Core stability/strength
  • Balance
  • Speed/Agility/Quickness
  • Anaerobically fit
  • Aerobically fit
  • Muscle endurance
  • Mobility and suppleness
  • Strength over range of movement

It is simply not enough to turn up to a technical ski instructor training programme and expect to get conditioned especially in the realms of power and strength.

If you want to get stronger you need to be following a programme now that should cover most of the above elements at least 4 to 5 times a week – following the principals of overload.

Being conditioned for skiing will make your performance better due to improved ability to handle/generate forces and balance on the ski, however this is not just the main benefit.

The benefits better conditioning will give you are:

  • Being able to ski for 6 training hours a day over 1 week, maintaining performance.
  • The ability to not get injured, more strength means your muscles can handle greater forces thus they do not tear and your body can take the hits.
  • You can put more of your own training hours in during free time. This is essential to your development.
  • You can recover quicker, both in-between runs and after skiing.
  • Better stability of joints. For example, having a weak glute can affect the stability of the knee, which can cause many problems including not being able to remain stacked on the ski.
  • Better mobility and range of movement generally helps in different strands especially bumps
  • Once you are at a decent level of fitness it is easier to maintain that level throughout the season without tiring yourself for skiing.

Over the years I have seen many BASI level 4 technical courses and I would say that a lot of people on the courses are not fit enough to last the week. Often some of the people at level don’t pass because they can’t keep up with the pace. This should not be the case.

Accepting the ‘norm’ is not one of our goals at New Generation and every season we try to improve our programmes so that we give you the best opportunity to pass.

In the summer we help our athletes out with conditioning programmes. For next season we will be implementing 3 different fitness tests that you have to pass before coming on the BASI level 4 ISTD training programme.

Train Hard!