Coaches Corner – Meet Lindsay Mann
Monthly interviews from our all star female staff on how they are empowering, inspiring, educating, and connecting girls in skiing.
Meet Lindsay Mann
Lindsay Mann is currently the Co-Head U16 coach at the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. She has coached for Keely’s Backcountry Camps since 2015 and spent this past summer as a coach for Keely’s Race Camps at Mt. Hood.
She is working hard to combine her mountain guiding experience and coaching/ski racing experience through these camps and creating more programs for ski racers to be exposed to mountain safety and backcountry awareness at an earlier age.
KSC: How did you get into coaching ski racing?
LM: When I realized I was graduating from college and that my ski racing career was over I wanted to find a way to continue to be involved in the sport. Ski racing provided me with so many life skills and opportunities that I wanted to find a way to give back to the sport. Since I think teenagers are funny and continue to keep me on my toes, I gravitated towards coaching, and 10 years later, I am still doing it!
KSC: Besides being a ski racing coach you are a mountain guide on Mt. Rainer, WA & Denali, AK and the lead guide for Keely’s Camp in the Backcountry. What lessons do you think backcountry skiing can provide girls?
LM: One of the favorite parts of my ski racing career was ski racing in college and the team aspect that it brought into racing. Backcountry skiing is all about working as a team and provides an opportunity for these athletes to connect with each other away from competition. Additionally, I think backcountry skiing also provides an avenue to develop life skills that not only transfer to their ski racing, but goes way beyond that. The ability to speak up in a group, communicate with your partners are some of these skills that we work to develop in backcountry.
These girls also spend so much time in the winter on their skies focused on racing. I think that getting into the backcountry can be a refreshing break, and show these athletes the opportunities and places that skiing can take you after their career. My hope with these camps is to also show the girls a different aspect of skiing.
KSC: Did you have a powerful female coach growing up? If so tell us a story about how she impacted, you. If you didn’t have a female coach would you have wanted one and what role do you think she would played in your development as an athlete?
LM: I did have a few female coaches growing up and had a female coach as my primary coach in college. When I was racing, I don’t think I realized the influence that having a combination of male and female coaches had on my skiing. As an athlete, it was more about what coaches I connected with at the time and less about their gender.
In hindsight and as I have gotten into coaching and being a mountain guide I appreciate more the role that these female coaches played in my career. When I first started working as a mountain guide 9 years ago, there were not any female senior guides at the guide service I worked for. It was hard for me to picture where I would fit into the company after a certain point. I have found women in guiding who I look up to but it took some time. I have never felt this way in my career as a ski coach. In hindsight these female coaches taught me important lessons and showed me that women do have a place in a male dominated profession. If you work hard and are a professional, there are lots of opportunities for you. I appreciate how they helped shaped my mentality and show me the possibilities.
KSC: We are always evolving & growing as coaches, that said, what is the greatest lesson you have learned while coaching?
LM: The first lesson is that your attitude as a coach directly affects the athletes’ attitudes. Both in coaching and guiding there are a lot of factors that are out of our control – the main one being weather. If I embrace the days where the plan changes or the weather isn’t what we predicted and look at it as a fun challenge instead of something that is ruining our plan, the athletes notice that. I think BB Hall, one of our athletes and campers summed it up best, “A change in plan can be the best start to a new adventure.” I try to remember to be flexible and embrace these changes rather than dwell on them because sometimes the days where the plans change end up being some of the best days.
The second lesson is to be honest and genuine. Again, I find that the athletes I work with can tell when I can’t give a good answer to their question. If I can’t answer a question instead of making something up, I tell them what I do know and where my knowledge stops. Then together we can have a discussion about how to solve the problem at hand and together we recognize what we know and what we don’t know yet. These conversations help me to continue to learn and grow as a coach.
KSC: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your fifteen year old ski racing self?
LM: Ask questions, keep it fun and you be confident in expressing what you need as an athlete.
KSC: You skied for Dartmouth when they won NCAA’s in 2007. We heard you won the second run of slalom. What was your secret to slalom success that you share with kids you coach today?
LM: I still get emotional talking about this day in my ski racing career. In my mind the common factor in the races I won or skied up to my potential in wasn’t about tactics or technique – it was about the support system around me. The races that I won and this day in particular, it was about the team.
I didn’t feel pressure or really think too much about what I was doing. The main contributing factor to us winning NCAA’s as a team, and me skiing well as an individual was that I really felt that my teammates and coaches had confidence in me. The times I was lucky enough to stand on the podium it felt like my teammates were up there with me, and on this day, we were literally all at the top of the podium together. Sharing this experience and excitement with the team and the energy is really what contributed to all of my successful days during my career.
KSC: Lastly, define what a spirit animal means to you and what is your spirit animal?
LM: Giraffe. I have always just really respected them as an animal. Aesthetically, they are beautiful creatures, but I also respect their goofiness. When I first saw a giraffe at a zoo, it was sometime when I was under 10. At the time, I had quite skinny legs and although I couldn’t relate to their upper body structure, I immediately noticed that they had the same legs as me and how strong they were.
For me a spirit animal is just one that you find you connect with or relate to. For some people it may be a hybrid animal or a mythical creature but if it inspires you that’s all that matter.
Thank you Lindsay!