What Makes an Exemplary Nordic Ski Coach?

Posted by on December 3rd 2007 in practice, Team Communication

Arne RoheimI have been coaching nordic skiing since the ski season of 1990-1991. I have now reached the point where several of my former athletes have become coaches themselves. I currently have two former skiers of mine working with me coaching the next generation of skiers. On my walk home from practice today, I started to reflect on what a beautiful thing it is to watch skiers that you nurtured and cared for now nurturing and caring for the next generation of skiers.

This reflection drew me to think about this craft called coaching. What is it that makes a coach? What are the indicators that show a person is worthy of the honor of being called coach?

Expert at Encouragement: Several years ago, I was walking past a speech coach talking with one of his students. While I have forgotten the specific vocabulary he used, I can still feel the tone of his words as he spoke to the young lady. He praised her effort, pointed out an area of needed improvement and then said a few more words of encouragement. Just in that short encounter I could tell that he was a master coach, he understood the value of positive words and tone.

Master of Management: According to Dr. Mike Hieb; coaching a nordic ski team of Jr. High and High school students is most closely related to herding a group of cats. Each athlete has their own agenda, desires and needs. A coach needs to recognized this and then craft a program that takes all of these individuals and turns them into a team. The defining moment in the movie

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3 Responses to “What Makes an Exemplary Nordic Ski Coach?”

  1. Ben Dubay Says:

    I would like to add “become a student of your sport”. Things change over the years and technique is evolving as well. Watch some old world cup tapes and watch some new ones. There are definite differences in technique, both skate and classic.
    This also applies to waxing. New waxes are always coming out and learning how and when to use them can take a bit of time. I find this to be pretty fun.

    Great write-up, I think you hit the nail on the head.

  2. Mark Westlake Says:

    How about master salesman and creative genius? On those days when it is forty degrees and raining, a master coach can convince his athletes that the workout is not only important, but can also be fun. I have watched coaches play ultimate frisbee in freezing rain and ski tag on a tiny patch of snow, all the while teaching students ski skills and the value of working hard. Coaching is easy when you have a foot of snow and it is twenty degrees! The very best coaches can make “a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

  3. Duluth Cross Country Ski Club » Blog Archive » Nordic Skiing: Commitment, Coaching and Skiing Says:

    [...] What Makes an Exemplary Nordic Ski Coach? [...]

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