The most important factor and the underlying difference between conventional sporting programs and one which has been created for freesports is that it operates in a ‘no pressure’ environment. Without having a certain focus for each individual structured in a week by week schedule it allows us to remain flexible. As a freesports coach it is arguably our biggest challenge to remain flexible allowing us to cater for each individual based on energy levels, enthusiasm, concentration and the facility limitations are just a few factors which must be taken into account.
For example there may be a split in the groups desires for the session. There may be group who would like to come along and have a good time snowboarding (it is worth remembering this is why most people choose to snowboard or ski) with no particular focus in mind in which case I see myself as the sessions ‘fun facilitator’. Whereas there may be a group or individual who has a very specific area or trick they would like to improve on or learn, which is something I will always establish at the beginning of a session.
With time there is always opportunity for development, whether that be solely by being on a board, it will regularly develop an individual’s proprioception skills and subconscious mental boundaries. Often, this time on board will lead onto the development of a more specific focus they’d like to work on for the rest of the session, at which point we can facilitate that and develop that particular area. For those who wish to have a particular focus we are able to promote progression in a healthy way and having been there myself as a participant in coaching sessions, I am able to relate to feelings. Whether these feelings are mental or physical, it is imperative to remain conscious of that fact that most individuals will learn differently and at a different pace. The safety of the participant is the number one factor in progression and is something I take very seriously in a progression calculation.
Over the next 20 hours of direct coaching contact, with myself and potentially other coaches, areas in which I will look to improve on for each and every individual are as follows:
- Board control; Pop, pedalling, effective use of side cut & board shape and pressure points.
- Posture on board; each individual has their own style and the foundations for that will be their posture on board, the better posture we can encourage the easier learning will become.
- Self Confidence; pushing each individual outside of their comfort zone & social skills.
- Trick progression; whether that be the initial attempts at a trick right the way through to refinement and putting their own style on a trick.
- Most importantly promoting the enjoyment of the sport and giving each participant a life skill they can take to whatever level they will.