The NENSA Bill Koch League Vermont Parent/Leader Workshop was held in Woodstock, Vermont at the Woodstock Elementary School this past Sunday October 22nd. Parents and coaches from all over New England participated in the workshop which was filled with thought provoking discussions and ideas for practices.
The morning started with a presentation by Amber Freeman, NENSA’s Youth Program Director on Bill Koch Youth Ski League basics. She covered the philosophy of the BKL, including the BKL way of teaching, and competition principles which have been the same for many years. She introduced new research from Aspen Institute’s Project Play, and other development models such as the American Development Model embraced by the United States Olympic Committee, and Canada’s Sport for Life and the Long Term Athlete Development Model which all support the Bill Koch League philosophy.
Jamie Hannon, a Professor of Adventure Education at Plymouth State University presented on creating a positive team culture in a Bill Koch League.
Jamie lead everyone through the mousetrap exercise, where pairs lead each other (some barefoot!) through a maze of set mouse traps. This was a demonstration on how risk can factor into a league practice, and that fear of these risks can undermine learning and optimal performance.
Stratton Mountain School’s Nordic Ski Coach Poppet Boswell presented on agility, balance and coordination, demonstrating many ways to create drills for practices.
Here are participants trying out different speed ladder drills.
Poppet brought bands that can be used for “chariots” at practice where skiers can tow a friend. This fun tool can emphasize the need to have high hips and bent ankles and allow exploration of a forward lean. She also showed how to incorporate cones, slalom courses, and obstacle courses into practices. Here is Poppet’s Handout on the ABC’s.
Mary Anne Levins presented on how to run Bill Koch League events. Mary Anne has been the race secretary at many races including the Bill Koch League Festival for 17 years, and the former chair of NENSA’s BKL Committee for just as long. She shared her advice and experiences with running races, and gave some funny and insightful stories of how she “learned the hard way.”
Mary Anne set up a finish line demonstration at the end, showing how a timing crew can be set up. She also expressed how important it is for parents to volunteer at races so they can learn how they function and how its a great way for them to be involved in the club, and that many hands make light work!
If you are interested in hosting a race at your club, but need to purchase BKL ribbons, want to borrow BKL bibs or have questions on how to run a race, please reach out to Amber Freeman ([email protected]) for more info and resources.
Thank you to the presenters for sharing your knowledge, and the parents and coaches who participated and who work with our Bill Koch Leagues and youth in New England. You are the ones on the ground building a brighter future and creating an outdoor sport oriented community! Thank you to Chris Henderson and Gretchen Czaja from the Woodstock Ski Runners for helping organize the event.
The next coaching clinic is coming up November 11th in Sudbury, MA, click here for details. Following that there will be an event on Thursday November 30th for Middle & High School aged skiers and their parents and coaches at the L.L. Bean Bike Board and Ski Store in Freeport, Maine. Click here for details!