HOW THE EAST TEACHES LONG-TERM
ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT FOR DOWNHILL
AND SUPER G By Dave Peszek
COURTESY RICH SMITH Rich Smith coaches young Easterners in the fundamentals of speed.
The North American speed races at Lake Louis and Beaver Creek can be the most
challenging, fun and rewarding events of the White Circus.
How to get there? It doesn’t involve buying an airline ticket. Each athlete who pushed
through the wand at Lake Louise and Beaver Creek underwent years of skill develop-
ment. Rich Smith and Alex Krebs recently shared the Eastern approach to developing
speed skills and fundamentals with youth ski racers throughout their region, including
at a series of J3/J4 speed camps. (We’ll examine the speed fundamental work that
Central, Rocky, and the Western regions are doing in later issues.)
“Our goal was to get them while they can learn,” says Krebs, referring to a prime skill
development period before kids start maturing.
Adds Smith, “We’re preparing them for the future, not the weekend.” He brings up
an example from the NorAm speed series in Aspen last year. “I remember watching
Kucera forerun the event; [I got some] great video [of him] at the Dago road jump,”
recalls Smith. “Then I watched junior athletes launching off the same jump that Kucera
had properly set up for. We showed the athletes on video that they were setting up for
air far later than Kucera, and that was sending them skyward — an unsafe situation.”
It was clear, says Smith, that junior athletes needed more speed development earlier
so that they could achieve success later.