The Skiing Skills Assessment is a tool to measure a ski racer's skills. Junior skiers often find success in ski races without strong fundamental skiing skills. As these athletes get older, the lack of fundamental skills causes them to hit a plateau in performance. The Skiing Skills Assessment should be used along with race performance to give a more complete picture of the skier's progress and to help focus their training.
The objective of the SkillsQuest skiing skills assessment is to promote skills as a basis of technique by providing a resource where fundamental skills can be taught, measured and tracked over time with a rewards system that motivates young athletes to improve their skills. It is built on a progressive battery of drills covering each of the fundamental skills in skiing that are appropriate developmentally based on age and experience in sport. By working toward mastery in their phase of SkillsQuest (based on their developmental phase as outlined in the ATS), skiers will acquire the necessary skills to gain speed on the race course for the long-term.
The drills are organized by developmental phase, with a drill emphasizing each of the four primary skiing skill areas - pressure, edging, rotary and balance - as part of the assessment for the particular phase. This structure makes it easy for coach and athlete to identify relative strengths and weaknesses in the key skiing skills areas. Additionally, the drills across each row are all related, getting progressively more challenging as the developmental phase of the athlete increases. This allows athletes to continually work toward achievement while experiencing successes along the way.
How To Use The Assessment
First, the coach should determine the developmental phase of the athlete(s). Use the drills for their phase, and work toward mastery in those drills. Using the testing protocol, evaluate where the athletes strengths and weaknesses are. Then use a variety of exercises and progressions to work on the skill areas where the skiers are deficient. While the drills in each column represent a complete set of skills for evaluation, practicing only these drills will not lead to the overall skill development that is desired. There is a difference between testing and training. Using this assessment should inspire focused training designed to improve skiing skills. This training will generally take place outside of the gates.
U.S. Ski Team racer Mikaela Shiffrin tells how she uses skiing drills to come back from a disappointing performance.
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