Archives & Appendix
Within the archives you can look for information or PDF documents that has been posted on the previous website. As soon as the Club Handbook and Sample documents from the Appendix are posted, most of this information will be obsolete. Here is where you will find a majority of information and documents that were posted on the pages labeled as "Athletics", "Club Planning", and "Organization and Structure".
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is an Olympic sports organization that is value driven and built around excellence, with a vision and mission of being best in the World. As the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the USSA facilitates participation in national and international competition, providing structure for competitive skiing and snowboarding.
From grassroots programs to governance of sport, management of rules, competitions and athletic rankings, the USSA oversees athletic pipelines for sport development. The USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream while maintaining a strong adherence to core values.
The USSA is fueled by the passion of Olympism – family, friends, volunteers and partners united to help young athletes follow their dreams in the spirit of the values and ideals symbolic of the Olympics.
The USSA’s over 425 local Clubs Are the Starting Point for the journey. A national education system and sport development program provides consistent knowledge and insight to clubs nationwide. The USSA’s National Training System provides club leaders and volunteers with a roadmap through the athletic pipeline. Talented athletes are identified through the National Development System in each sport and further their progress through participation in USSA development projects.
Elite athletes who have achieved a high level of athletic success can further their abilities through coaching and integration with the USSA’s High Performance athletic programs. Elite athletes have complete access to world class programs in sport science, sports medicine and nutrition, as well as an opportunity to train in the USSA Center of Excellence, a national training and education center at the organization’s home in Park City, UT. National Teams provide a support structure and world class coaching.
While athletics is the primary focus of the USSA, it also takes a broad approach in providing guidance and support to athletes with a “complete person” approach. Career counseling and scholastic education are integral components of the USSA’s support.
Each individual sport has its own specialized Training system matrix, which can be accessed at http://trainingsystem.ussa.org/. Although these winter sport disciplines vary significantly, the training system for all of these sports encompass the same stages and phases of advancement, which include the Foundation Stage, Pre and Post Puberty, and Full Maturation.
The Domains of Competence (National Training System Athletic Pipeline Emphasis')
"Domains" are general areas of skills, ability, behavior, or knowledge necessary for athletic achievement in skiing and snowboarding. These general areas; ski/snowboard technique/tactics, physiological/motor skill preparation, psychological/social behaviors, training/competition behaviors, and equipment knowledge. Each domain is further delimited to characteristics, or aspects of that general skill area. Competencies are levels of achievement attained by the individual athlete in those characteristics of each domain. Each domain included is indispensable to the total athletic preparation program performance.
This domain relates to the level of fitness and what type of exercises athletes should focus on depending on their biological age, training age, and participation levels.
This domain encompasses all aspects of the sport specific skill demands of ski and snowboard competitions. It includes skiing and snowboarding skills from basic balanced stance to elite exploration of new limits in specific events/terrain. This encompasses tactical knowledge and application of skills in the areas of snow conditions, terrain adaptation, and event-specific situations.
This domain is derived from the fact that performance is based on a foundation of motor skills development and physical fitness. This domain encompasses all of the following: strength, endurance, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, and nutrition. Athletic development begins with the establishment of a sound base of motor skills learning and continues through the mastery of detailed sport-specific requirements. A progression of steps constitutes a recipe for planning the appropriate sequential acquisition of necessary physical skills.
This domain reflects the reality that development is a social process. Athletes develop within the context of sound relationships, particularly with family, fellow athletes, and fellow students. Performance, especially high-level performance at all ages, is a profoundly mental activity. Specific mental skills and techniques have been shown to enhance performance. These skills can be learned, many at an early age. The psychological domain takes on more importance as the level of competition increases, becoming the dominant characteristic of competition performance at the highest levels.
This domain describes competencies in the planning and periodization of training loads and training program content in balance with appropriate competition exposure. Purposeful, goal-directed training leads to the most efficient results. Similarly, competition is included in the overall athletic program in the planned, purposeful manner with events and training loads added or deleted at specific points along the time continuum, according to the athlete's goals. In this model, competition should first and foremost validate the training program for skill acquisition.
This domain reflects the fact that ski and snowboard racing/competitions are greatly dependant on the use of the correct equipment. Selection and maintenance of skis, snowboards, boots, binding systems, clothing, and protection devises (such as helmets and mouth guards) is critical to success in the sport. Competence in this area is an important element in an athlete's overall preparation.
USSA Sport Education is committed to providing coaches high quality and relevant opportunities to learn and grow their abilities as a coach. For USSA coaches, the primary delivery of content is through our coaching clinics. USSA also hosts or participates in several national and regional coaching conferences and symposiums, offers live and recorded web conferences, and offers the USSA National Coaches Academies to upper level coaches. USSA member coaches are encouraged to pursue continuous professional development and have their achievement recognized through USSA’s coaching certification program. To participate as a coach in National Development System (NDS) training and competition projects, coaches must be at least a Level 100 certified coach. Starting in the 2012/13 season, all USSA member coaches who are not currently certified at Level 100 or higher will be required to take an entry level on-line certification course before their membership will be active. This course is available to take this season. For details and coach clinic schedules, refer to the USSA website under the sport specific web page in the 'Programs' box > coaches tab.
Clinics and educational materials are built around the USSA Training System, which outlines the long-term athlete development progression for skiers and boarders. The sport specific training systems were developed by USSA club leaders, national team coaches, and USSA sport science staff. Coaches, parents, and athletes are encouraged to learn more about the USSA Training System at the website http://trainingsystem.ussa.org/.
A wealth of information for coaches is available on the USSA website under the sport specific web page in the 'Programs' box > coaches tab. Video lessons can be found on our Center of Excellence TV channel www.dartfish.tv/ussa. Educational manuals, DVDs and CDs are available at the USSA on-line shop http://educationshop.ussa.org (USSA members receive discounts on all educational materials). Coaches can follow USSA Sport Education on Facebook and Twitter to get updated on Education events and to network and share ideas.
USSA Sport Science has recently unveiled a significant addition to the training model prepared by the Sport Psychology division for use in the coming seasons by both the elite teams, National Development teams, and the camp projects of the National Development System (NDS). Although mental skills training have been a part of the menu of services of the Sport Science since its inception, the performance psychology model has undergone a steady evolution keeping pace with developments in elite and developmental levels of sport preparation. Read on to find out the essential addition to sport psychology for the coming season.
Mental skills are an everyday part of the development and application of athletes in all of the USSA's sports. The importance of learning and applying these skills has been recognized as a critical success factor for performance in Vancouver and Sochi, Russia by all of USSA's coaching staffs. These skills are integral to moving ahead in performance at all levels.
The good news is that many mental strengths, important to superior performance, are skills. They are tools and can be used like the skills of a fine craftsman to perfect a performance. As tools, these skills can be learned and perfected.
Specifically, these skills are:
As described so far this constitutes the basics of mental training components for ski sports. As an athlete ascends the levels of the national team, from a national development program through C and B teams, the team coaching staffs assesses how well the athlete has acquired these, as well as all of the other necessary components of performance skills. This continuous assessment guides the training plan in each area.
The 'mental' piece of performance is always there. Communication is a mental aspect of performance and training. Teamwork is a mental aspect of performance as in team harmony or team conflict. Effort is a mental aspect of performance and training. Perseverance is a mental aspect of performance and training as is motivation, as is attribution. The tools described above are a means, not an end. They are however a great place to engage and a good place to start.
Fitness & Nutrition
Fitness & Nutrition
Within the National Training System's Athlete Development Pipeline types of and levels of fitness is dependent on the age of the athlete. Please refer to each sport's Athletic Development Matrix for more information.
Proper nutrition is vital for athletes at all levels of competition. Ultimately, what you eat will affect your performance. An eating strategy and proper diet can support an athlete's training, performance and overall health.
Your body needs the right carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fluid to fuel it for exercise. A proper, clean diet can also delay the onset of fatigue and aid in your recovery from a work out. With the right diet you can achieve peak performance.
It is important that athletes create and maintain a diet and hydration plan that will assist in their training regime. Clubs and athletes also need to be aware of the USSA's Supplement Classification System, so that if supplements are being used, they are not being abused.
To attain additional information regarding nutrition and fitness for athletes, USSA has posted articles, modules, and fitness tutorials in various locations, such as USSA's AMP website or at http://www.dartfish.tv/ussa.
The build in of recovery and training are important to set the athlete up for optimal performance when it is time to compete, but there is another critical component. Athletes must have a performance plan to make sure the hard work they've done can be managed for success in the competition. Too many athletes and coaches neglect this important key step toward optimal performance. This article gives athletes and coaches guidelines for preparing to perform their best.
Competition Preparation, Peak Performance, and Wrap-Up
Skiing and riding are brilliant sports. The results are the same – a life-long love of the sport that is passed on through the generations. Ages 5-12 are the most impressionable ages for young athletes and it is important to keep them interested in the sport during this time. The USSA population of skiers and riders peaks out at around the ages of 10-12 then starts to drop off, much like all other specialty athletics and arts. Below find principles relative to training and competing that will help keep young athletes in snow sports.
• Practice and master fundamental movement skills before sport specific drills are introduced.
Learning to Train
• Further develop all fundamental movement skills and guide general, overall sports skills.
There may not be a more emotional roller coaster for a coach and athlete then competition day. The hopes at the start of the day are often dashed with a high speed crash, or left in the woods on a long cross-country hill, or in the aftermath of a spectacular fall in the pipe, now, how do you pick up the pieces? Below are some suggestions for competition day wrap-up and managing expectations.
Lay the Groundwork: Before the first competition, talk frankly and candidly about competition. Coach/athlete relationships must be built on trust and confidence.
The Immediate Hours: Knowing which athletes can take immediate feedback and which ones can't is vital. Some athletes cannot, for a number of reasons, think rationally after a setback, give them space and time. Others are willing to review the competition plan for the day, reflect, and even with some objectivity, on how and why they didn't reach their goal. The more the coach focuses on the process and not the outcome, the more the program philosophy is one of long term athlete development and sport enjoyment, the easier it will be for the athlete to accept and work on the results of the day. It will vary by athlete, by age, and by the significance of the competition.
In the end, athletes need to become less dependent on their coach by becoming their own best coach. While a J3 and J1 may share the same dreams and hopes, they are worlds apart on being able to objectively and coldly evaluate their results. Even though five years will make a big difference, each athlete reacts in different ways to success and to the hard lessons of a crash or slow race. Focus less on the outcome and more on the process, because the process of working towards a goal will be the greatest lessons earned and learned. The odds are against all of us when we enter the competitive arena but that is why we take the chance. The thrill of competition is still the same, win or lose!
Club Planning Archives
Striving for EXCELLENCE is the mission of every USSA Club. Planning is the process of establishing your vision and leadership. Planning and evaluation will result in "best practices" that will expedite the process of achieving EXCELLENCE. There are numerous components that are crucial to the aspect of planning for your club.
Here are a few listed below:
**Look foward to Modules on these topics in the near future.
This sample letter from the Park City Ski Team demonstrates how one of the premiere USSA clubs collects information from their stakeholders through the use of suvery software. Within the letter there is a link to view the survey.
Thank you to the Park City Ski Team for sharing their "Best Practices" ideas!
USSA Member Ski and Snowboard Clubs want to improve athletic performance, increase membership, raise funds, attract and retain volunteers, develop coaches and officials, enhance facilities and maintain good financial and governance management practices.
Club Directors - simplify the planning process with this one page summary of definitions that will facilitate getting your leadership and staff on the same page.
While the success of the Olympics is still fresh in our minds and the competition season coming to an end, it’s a great time to start planning for next season. It’s important to evaluate your club by reaching out to your members and asking them for their feedback. The USSA has completed the club, coaches and parent surveys on your behalf, assisting in your club’s planning for next season.
Planning is a critical success factor for athletic organizations; it brings focus and support to achieving the mission, vision, goals and activities of your organization.
Use this planning template to evaluate your club on many different levels.
USSA Child Protection Guidelines
USSA is committed to helping clubs ensure that our young athletes are in a secure environment. These guidelines can be adapted to your club handbook.
Clubs and Coaches are often faced with the challenge of reprimanding an athlete code of for conduct or sportsmanship violations. The procedure for carrying out this important job is very important. The goal is to change the behavior of the athlete. Often times there can be conflict from the athlete and the athlete's parents that interferes with the important reprimand.
The United States Olympic Committee has a useful checklist to utilize as when carrying out a disciplinary action. Utilize this due process checklist to insure that you are taking the proper steps with the reprimand or sanction.
Successful grant writing involves advance planning and preparation. This guide will help focus your clubs efforts while ensuring a professional presentation and follow up.
USSA New Sports
Inspired by motocross, Skicross is a fast paced event, where 4 people race head to head over a series of rollers, bank turns, table tops and jumps. First one across the finish line wins.
Alpine athletes, coaches and officials
Important documents that have been prepared for the 2012 Alpine Competition Guide.
FIS Alpine Junior and Kinder Age Realignment
Beginning is season 2012-13 alpine competitors will be required to be 16 years old in order to inscribe to the FIS list. This is one year older than the current system.
This decision is driven in consideration of athlete safety and athlete development and will provide all nations an opportunity to evaluate and reform competition systems with a focus on the welfare of alpine competitors and long term athlete development.
Tentative proposal for realignment would capture this new nomenclature, age groups, skill and competition focus.
Organization & Leadership Archives
Club Organization & Leadership
The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body (NGB) for Olympic skiing and snowboarding in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The USSA is also the national association representing ski and snowboarding sports at International Ski Federation (FIS).
Standards for Excellence
This very effective rescource is a must for club leadership and board members. The Standards of Excellence booklet will guide you through the process of establishing all you need to run a successful club.
USSA Member Clubs can utilize this information to assist with coach-parent-club communications and education. These materials are available on the USSA Sport Parenting CD, which can be found in the USSA online shop here.