We are living in the end times - My daughter is a freestyle coach

I’m not sure how many know that my daughter is working as a coach this winter. I recall writing about it on the old site. After 8 years of ski racing, she decided to move to coaching, as many racers do. The club is always looking for new coaches, especially if they might stick around for more than a year before they head off to university.

She did some ski cross races last year, got along with the head coach of ski cross (who was alone with 4 racers all year) and he asked her to coach this year.

Normally, a racer who is not a star would coach the very youngest racers - 6 and 7-year-olds. This is what Claire was assuming would happen. It’s frustrating, the days drag on, but it’s coaching and if you like little kids, it can be fun. I coached that age group for a year. It’s often a stepping stone to an older team next season.

Instead, she is with eight 10 to 14-year-olds, coaching a sports she’s competed in twice, with kids who largely come from freestyle disciplines like jumps and moguls. So, essentially, teach crazy kids who have no problems jumping, how to go fast.

That’s what she signed up for.

Then her head coach was sidelined with medical issues. He missed all of Christmas camp - about 9 days. Now he’s out again. Claire has coached alone more than she has had mentoring. They text and/or talk after every session, but she’s often out there alone.

Then there are aspects of the actual sport - especially the starts - where she didn’t know what she was doing. So she spent many late afternoons by herself, working on her craft. Cold and tired, she stuck it out until they closed the lifts some days so she could demonstrate the starts better.

When she’s not working on her own craft, she has “session” where freestyle coaches work together to teach each other. Two weeks ago, they gathered and the leader of that day decided to start by having everyone do a “360” - one full revolution in the air off a jump. Well, homey don’t play dat. Claire is a racer - not a freestyler. And then she feels awful that she can’t do it.

I check in with her at lunch some days to see how she’s doing. Last weekend, she wasn’t doing so well. It’s daunting to come up with lesson plans, balance what the athletes want to do with what the head coach wants her to so, keep the malcontents in their place, plus she’s still learning the lingo and how everything works. When I saw she was struggling, I came with the group for a bit, just to keep the troublemakers in line. Claire recovered and took control of the group, and I moved away.

It’s really, really difficult to watch at times, but so damn rewarding overall. She has been tossed into the deep end, and while scrambling at times, has pulled it together and the kids are responding. She’s got them looking more like racers every week.

On Family Day, we finally got to ski as a family again. We had a fun family run down the cross course, and then it was just her and I on the course for 2 more runs. First one, I didn’t push out of the gate at all - just fell out and let her get a lead. I assumed I’d pass her. I never got close.

Second run, I pushed. But the technique she had worked on still propelled her to a lead. I was on her tail, I have 50-60 pounds on her, and I was catching her so slowly. Almost at the finish I pulled alongside. She reached out, grabbed my jacket (we’re flying at this point) and threw me backward.

I laughed for a solid minute.

So I got a good break from this place.

You should feel proud. Good kid you have there

Yes, but she cheated.

Wow, she’s come a long way from I first met you. I can see this young lady going far, indeed. Congratulations to the proud father, who is pretty clearly an inspiration. Else she wouldn’t have felt the need to cheat to beat you. :rofl:

No provincial champs this coming weekend. I was supposed to drive her to North Bay to coach. This was the event she medaled in out of nowhere last year, leading to the coaching job offer. There are like, no ski cross coaches. It’s such a new sport.

They’ve made the call. The snow we’re getting now won’t reverse it, I dont think.

It would have been good to see her coach in a big event. I get reduced to ski technician for the athletes. I have waxed a lot of skis at the top of the course in the past year. Her head coach is the hype man at the top of the course, getting the kids psyched up. Claire typically receives them at the bottom with congratulations or a sympathetic shoulder and reviews what happened on the run with the athlete to improve any future runs. They are suited to their roles.

Me? I stand back and wax skis, and I’m happy to do it. I’ve been in both their shoes. This is her time.