From Head Biathlon Coach, Maddie Phaneuf:
I had the opportunity to travel across the country to Juneau, Alaska in January, to be a guest coach with the Juneau Nordic Ski Club! Juneau may be the capital of Alaska, but there is only about 45 miles of roads and you can’t drive in and out of the town – which means, there aren’t that many racing opportunities for these young skiers! Very different from our little corner of the country in Lake Placid. Since they don’t race much, the club likes to bring in fresh and new faces, like me, to bring in a new perspective and different coaching styles for their athletes.
It was a wonderful experience for me. The ski community was similar to that in the East Coast, where everybody was super friendly and welcoming. Though we got about 5 inches of rain (not exaggerating, the streets were flooded!) the kids were hearty and happy to be out skiing. I worked with several groups over the weekend, from the Junior Team (think DEVO age), their Middle School Team, and the High School Team…in total I worked with about 100 kids! I also had the opportunity to host a Coaches Clinic and worked with 15 coaches.
The sessions were mainly focused on ski technique in both classic and skate, the fundamentals/basics of skiing, as well as including some fun obstacle courses and games to their sessions! I had a lot of fun working with new kids and coaches, and the entire experience really boosted my confidence as a new coach. Not only did I teach, but I also learned a lot from the other coaches here. I’m excited to bring my recent experience back into NYSEF and continue working with our kids this season. I know there were a few kids who are really interested in traveling to Lake Placid this summer for a potential training camp with our NYSEF XC and Biathlon JRT – so keep an eye out this summer for some new faces on the trails!
(Group photo is Maddie and the other Juneau Nordic Ski Club coaches during our Coaches Clinic at Eaglecrest)