For the Thrill of the Shred
Written by Lily Hogan, Coach Intern Session 4 & 5
It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I had a female coach. Chelsea Marshall is my original badass, a veteran of the World Cup speed circuit, she taught me what quiet hard work is. I felt confident committing to a PG year with Park City because, amongst other reasons, I’d be working with Jess Kelley, another U.S. Ski Team alum. Studying the sport under women who had personally endured the lessons they were teaching made the dream tangible.
I’d been hearing about Keely’s Camp for Girls from both Chelsea and Jess for the last four years, so when Keely gave me the opportunity to both train and coach – I was thrilled. What could be better than a coaching crew of accomplished skiers (that liked dancing almost as much as I did) and a girl party of athletes? It was my chance to share and inspire my passion for the sport with the next generation of female rippers. I had a couple epiphanies while trading off between my coaching hat/sunglasses, and training helmet/goggles.
I have given a lot of power to coaches’ comments and feedback; reading into their intonation and body language to decipher what they really thought of my run. I’ve let positive feedback dictate my mood for a chairlift ride just as I’ve let negative feedback blow a cloud over an afternoon. I’ve gone to great lengths to impress and appease. With the coaching hat on, I could see the weight of my own words had on these young girls. I realized that during all those years of trying to please my coaches, I wish someone had reminded me that I loved the sport for the thrill of the shred. So, when a girl slid down looking for advice, I learned to ask how she felt. This forced her to vocalize her emotions. Consequently, her mental energies weren’t concentrated on technique, but on how fun that right footer was.
Although the days were exhausting (it is a mystery why I thought little girls get tired quickly) coaching rejuvenated me. It dispersed my focus from personal growth, to the growth of others. I had been so obsessed with getting faster that I treated every turn as a drill. Time on snow was a rare and precious opportunity that had to be taken full advantage of. These girls not only allowed me to stop thinking so hard, but reminded me of the fundamentals. Vocalizing basic concepts such as the segments of a turn, how a ski generates energy, and the power of an athletic stance not only helped my athletes but simplified the sport for me. Last but not least, I learned of Beyoncé’s ability to turn a group of speed suit clad girls and pre-caffeinated coaches into a dancing wave of energy at 6:30am.