Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Dear MAST Families:
Today at 4:41PM, I received notice that Minneapolis Public Schools is delaying the start of winter sports until Monday, January 11. I received no explanation for the delay. I was not given any information about how or why this decision was made or whether or not it is going to change again. Obviously, I am crushed that we will not be starting on Monday. I know you that are equally disappointed, maybe even more--although I am not sure that is possible.
I will continue to send drill progressions through next week. Please use these drills if and when you go skiing. Meanwhile, wear a mask, stay socially distanced, eat your vegetables, and say thank you to your parents a minimum of three times a day.
Hang in there.
.... therefore Pod 7 consists of 7th graders, Pod 8 of 8th graders, Pod 9 of 9th graders, Pod 10 of 10th graders, and Pod 11/12 of 11th and 12th graders. I should have made this clear in Update #15.
MAST Update 15
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Dear MAST Athletes, Families and Coaches:
We are getting very close to carving beautiful turns together. Please read this email for important information about our season and how we will be operating next week through the end of the season.
I. Are You Cleared To Participate In Alpine Skiing By Your HS Athletic Director?
Attached to this terrific email is a roster of athletes who have been CLEARED to participate in alpine skiing with MAST. If your name is on the list, you are cleared to start skiing with MAST on Monday, January 4. There are a handful of you who have not been cleared, either because you have not submitted any forms to your high school athletic director, or because you are missing one of the forms, or because your Physical Examination Clearance Form is expired. So, if your name is not on the attached roster of CLEARED SKIERS, please contact your high school athletic director to find out why, or turn in the forms if you have not done so already.
For Washburn athletes: The Washburn athletic staff has been working remotely since sometime before break, so if you turned in your forms the last week of school they have likely not been processed yet. I know the staff will be back in the office on Monday, January 4 so please give Mr. Perkins or Ms. Lilly a call then to clarify your situation. You are not allowed to practice with the team until you a cleared to participate by your high school athletic director.
II. Training and Racing Schedule
Attached is the training and racing schedule. The training schedule is subject to change, but this should give you an idea of what we hope we will be able to offer in terms of training and racing. The MSHSL has not yet scheduled dates for a Section Championship or State Championship. No invitationals are allowed this year.
III. Pod Training and Racing
In accordance with the guidance we have received from the MDH, MSHSL, and MPS, all MAST athletes and coaches are organized into Training Pods with a designated lead coach.
As you can see from the schedule, training pods are assigned a training time and a training lane. Each pod can consist of 25 athletes and coaches or less. Given that not everyone shows up to every practice, we should be able to comply with this guidance even though a couple of pods roster over 25 skiers. The schedule has been created to even out attendance at each training time. Our goal is to have each pod assigned its own lane. For this reason, Pods 9 and 10 will see their training times move around a bit, depending on lane availability. Sometimes we have more lanes at 3:30 and fewer at 5:15 so in those cases Pod 10 will train at 3:30. When we have adequate lanes at 5:15 then Pods 9 and 10 will train from 5-7:15. You will also note that there are certain days when Pods 7, 8, and 9 will be training at the same time but on different lanes. The bottom line is to look at the schedule and plan ahead.
FOREWARNING: IF YOU CANNOT MAKE YOUR POD’S ASSIGNED TRAINING TIME ON A GIVEN DAY, YOU MAY NOT ATTEND A DIFFERENT PRACTICE AND TRAIN WITH A DIFFERENT POD.
The purpose for this restriction, I believe, is to aid contact tracing efforts should there be an outbreak within a Pod Training Group and limit the number of athletes who need to quarantine should an outbreak occur. Should someone test positive, then it will be easier for contact tracers to track down those who have been potentially exposed and perhaps we can limit the number of people who have to quarantine as a result. If people are switching in and out of training sessions then many more people will need to quarantine, perhaps bringing our season to a complete halt. So, our guidance is to adhere to training in assigned pods as much as possible.
As for races, we are limited to field sizes of 36 boys and 36 girls per race. Only three teams can be entered in a race. Hyland has graciously accommodated our request to hold races on either Saturday mornings or Friday evenings. We are not allowed to have spectators at our races this year. We can however have race workers. On race days, we will split the team into Varsity and JV teams. The Varsity race will run during one time slot, the JV race in the other. Once the race is over, all racers leave Hyland. No sticking around to watch and cheer your teammates in the other race unfortunately. Skiers will race in Pods. Pods will socially distance. We will have staging areas for Pods to “wait”... a warm up staging area, a load-the-lift staging area, a start arena staging area, and a quick-talk-with-a coach staging area. Athletes move as a pod from staging area to staging area. We don’t mix Pods at races either. Weird I know, but if we want to race this how we have been told we have to do it. Look for more details about races when we get closer to actually racing.
IV. Daily Training Routine
ALL practices and races will begin with DIRECTED FREE SKIING. This means that you will spend focused, intentional, joyous time at the beginning of practice performing a series of drills outside the course to perfect your technical skills. No one skis a course until they have worked through the directed free skiing progression workout of the day. In the past, a coach has stood at the top of the hill and told you individually which drill to perform and even how to perform it. This year, we will not be doing this. Our expectation is for athletes to come to the hill knowing the directed free skiing progression plan ahead of time. I want to minimize if not eliminate the need to give instructions regarding the day’s training plan. Every time a coach has to explain what drill you should be doing and how to do the drill, we are taking time away from skiing and taking time away from giving feedback to someone who is already doing the drill. So, we want YOU to know what the plan is for each practice BEFORE you come to practice. This means that before coming to the hill you will know which directed free skiing drills the coaches want you to perform that day, how many runs of each, and how to execute these drills. If we don’t have to explain all this to you in person, we can instead focus on watching you perform the drills and give you feedback.
So how will you know what drills to work through each practice? You have two options.
Option 1: Follow @mplsalpineski on Instagram. As many of you know, we used Instagram this summer to post our virtual strength and conditioning workouts and for the past two weeks we have been using our MAST Instagram account to post daily drill progressions for you to perform on your own until we can ski in person together. We will continue posting a daily drill progression once we get on snow together. Each post includes 5 to 9 video clips of 60 seconds or less. Each clip is a video demonstration of a drill with verbal instructions about how to execute the drill and why it is important.
Option 2: Daily Email with Sprongo Video. I will send a daily email out every morning (or after practice the evening before the next practice) listing the drill progression for the upcoming practice. You can then go to Sprongo to watch these drills on the PLAYLIST titled DRILLS FOR SKILLS. You will have to search for each drill within the playlist.
Again, our expectation is that you will come to practice having viewed and studied the drills either through our Instagram post for that practice or on Sprongo. If you have questions about either of these platforms, please reach out to your lead coach for assistance. They will be happy to assist.
V. Additional Resources To Learn The Drills and Deepen Your Knowledge Of The Sport
Many of these drills are also posted online by other organizations, coaches and instructors. We have posted many of these videos produced by others on Sprongo in the playlist titled VIRTUAL TRAINING TECHNIQUE AND TACTICS.
Finally, there hundreds of great resources available on the internet. We have linked many of the more helpful sites on our website at https://www.mplsalpineski.org/technique--tactics.html
Use these resources to educate yourself about ski technique and tactics. They are wonderful tools to have at your fingertips... literally.
Thank you for your attention. I will likely send one more email over the weekend to communicate some last-minute instructions before we gather on Monday. Please look for this.
Meanwhile, get set up with Instagram or take a deep dive into the Drills for Skills Playlist on Sprongo and get started learning the drills, trying the drills, and loving the drills.
Always hoping for a wonderful New Year.
MAST Update 14
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Dear MAST Athletes, Families and Coaches:
The good news is that we are slated to start skiing TOGETHER on January 4, 2021. The bad news is that at this point, we are only allowed to train. However, I see this as good news because we have a lot to do to build our skills before we can start racing.
Virtual Training Review
For the past three weeks we have offered four virtual training sessions a week. Each day, the captains led the team in warm up movements and core exercises. Coaches Daniel and Will put together a 15-minute strength and conditioning workout with the added touch of a trivia question for each exercise. A visual training session covering one of the six fundamental skills of alpine technique followed the conditioning session. We watched and dissected video of world class skiers and introduced over 30 drills the athletes can use to develop these same skills into their skiing. The final act of each training session was to breakout into our training pods with the lead coaches and volunteer coaches to simulate the movements discussed in the visual training session and spend some time getting to know each other. It was great to see faces and hear voices. Thank you for participating.
I want to thank the captains for doing a wonderful job leading the team through this experience. Also, a big thank you to Daniel and Will for putting together the workouts and daily trivia. Thank you to all the lead coaches who were online every day with us and led the breakout sessions with their skiing pod. Thank you to the many volunteer coaches who joined us for these sessions. Finally, thank you to the athletes for your participation. You hung in there for the three weeks. Our attendance was in the 60’s and 70’s most evenings so that says a lot about your commitment to the sport.
We have two more weeks to go in our “pause” before we can meet in-person. The coaches understand how eager you are to be skiing. We also understand that many of you have been skiing quite a bit already. The decision to ski is entirely between your parents and you. If your parents are asking you to shelter in place over the next two weeks, that is what you should be doing. No arguments. You can still train your brain over the next two weeks. (See below.) If you have permission to ski, the coaches encourage you to take these two weeks to work on the skills we examined in our virtual training sessions. Regardless of whether you be continuing to shelter in place or will have the chance to ski over the next two weeks, I want you to utilize the ample supply of resources we have created for you to continue your development over Winter Break.
Resources For Training (Visual and On Snow)
1. Virtual Training Strength and Conditioning Workouts on SPRONGO.
All 12 workouts that you enjoyed are posted on Sprongo under the playlist titled Virtual Training Playlist: Workout. Utilize these workouts to continue building and maintaining your physical conditioning. Make sure you have activated your Sprongo account. I will resend an invitation to those of you who have not done this yet. Please look in your MPS email for the invitation.
2. Virtual Training Drill Videos are on SPRONGO.
Many of the drills we introduced over the three weeks are available on Sprongo in the playlist titled Virtual Training Technique and Tactics. View these videos to recall and deepen your understanding of the drills presented in our virtual training sessions.
3. Virtual Training Videos are on our website at mplsalpineski.org.
All of the videos I presented of world class athletes as well as those drills that we could not upload to Sprongo are available on our website at https://www.mplsalpineski.org/technique--tactics.html
I encourage you to watch these over and over again. Memorize the movements, the images, the concepts. Pack this stuff into your bones. MAST alum Ben Anderson (WHS Class of 2020) graciously offered to build out the Technique and Tactics page on our website. YOU NEED TO USE THIS PAGE RELIGIOUSLY. Ben did a magnificent job. Take a look at the Fundamentals Pyramid he created with links that go live when you click on one of the skills in the Pyramid. Thank you, Ben! Not only is it incredibly user friendly, it is artistically pleasing.
4. MAST Drills For Skills
But wait, there’s more.... Luke (WHS Class of 2020) graciously agreed to spend a day with me performing the drills we use in practice so that I can film the drills. We are half-way through the MAST list of drills-- 45 so far. All 45 are posted on Sprongo under the playlist titled Drills For Skills. Each drill is presented in under 60 seconds, in regular speed and slow motion. Yours truly narrates each drill so you know exactly what skill(s) the drill is designed to develop and how to execute the drill.
Starting tomorrow, we will post a progression of 5-10 of these drills on the MAST Instagram account (@mplsalpineski). If your parents give you permission, please follow MAST on Instagram so you can take advantage of these drill progressions. For those of you who are skiing, use these progressions over the next two weeks to build your fundamental skills. For those of you who are sheltering in place, please watch these many times over so that you become familiar with the drills before we meet on snow.
Luke and I still have another 30-40 drills to film, edit and post. By the end of the week the entire inventory of MAST Skills for Drills will be on Sprongo.
Once we get on snow, we will continue to post progressions on the MAST Instagram Account (@mplsalpineski) for you to use for your daily on hill warm up and directed free skiing sessions. This will help minimize the amount of time coaches are spending giving instructions on the hill and keep you skiing more.
5. Pod Virtual Meetings and the Covid Skiing Sprongo Playlist
We want to give you a break from online learning. You need it. So no more 6PM virtual training sessions over break. However, the Lead Coaches will be setting up several very short meetings over the next two weeks to review and answer your questions about the drill progressions we are posting and possibly analyze athlete(your) video.
I want to encourage those athletes who are skiing to send us short clips (45 seconds or less) of yourself skiing that we can post on Sprongo. We will create a playlist called Covid Skiing and post any clips we receive from you to that playlist. Your lead coach will be happy to analyze your video with you in your pod meeting or individually.
Please send your video clips for posting to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MAST apparel order has been placed. We do not have an estimated date of delivery yet. We are working closely with the supplier and will reach out once we have more details.
Coming Soon....A Virtual Retreat?
I am hoping to offer a virtual retreat that will give us an opportunity to cover some important topics before we get on snow together.
Hyland Operational Changes
I am posting an email I received from Hyland two days ago. Just in case you didn’t receive this, please scroll to the end of this post to read Hyland’s latest announcement regarding the operational changes we need to appreciate and honor.
Please know how grateful I am to all of you for your patience and support as we make our way through these difficult times. Hopefully, we will be skiing together soon.
Peace and joy to all of you this Holiday season.
Just a quick and very friendly reminder to order you MAST 2020-21 short sleeve t-shirt. The sale closes TOMORROW. Friday will be too late.
Here is a link:
Hi MAST Athletes, Family and Friends,
Here is an update on the apparel. The black joggers were not available due to supply chain issues, but fortunately we were able to get a navy jogger in place of the black jogger.
We have a cool short-sleeve T-shirt in Unisex sizing! This is on the store site today. Please place an order immediately if you are interested. The store will close on Thursday, December 17.
Here is a link:
I don’t have an estimated date of apparel arrival yet. I’ll let you know when I get this confirmation.
Good Morning MAST Athletes, Families and Coaches:
Virtual Training continues this week, Monday through Thursday at 6PM.
Please continue to use your MPS Email address to log in.
Governor Walz is scheduled to make an announcement today regarding his current orders to pause winter sports. Look for a new MAST Update Tuesday or Wednesday.
Kirsten, Melissa, and Mike will be at Washburn from 5-6p to distribute coffee & salsa orders. Look for them in the 49th street lot where you load the buses.
MAST Update #13
Friday, December 4, 2020
Dear MAST Athletes, Parents, and Coaches:
Three quick notes tonight.
I. SATURDAY 9AM--TOMORROW 9AM--SATURDAY 9AM--TOMORROW 9AM
Sprongo Orientation --Saturday, December 5 at 9AM
Coach Will and I will offer a short orientation to SPRONGO, our video sharing service, tomorrow morning. Who should participate? All new MAST athletes and any returning athletes who have limited experience working with Sprongo.
Link to join the google meets: meet.google.com/hqg-vyhk-mjr
II. Virtual Training Update
Thank you to all the athletes and coaches who have been participating in our first week of virtual training. I am really grateful to our captains who have done a stellar job leading warm-up and the core workouts.
I know everyone would prefer to be skiing. However, these virtual training sessions will prepare you for the work we will do on snow to master ski technique and tactics. By the time we make our first turns together, you will have a deep understanding of the six fundamentals of alpine ski technique and the drills we utilize to develop these skills.
Please join us on Monday at 6PM for Day 5 of Virtual Training.
Strength and Conditioning, Technique Training, Movement Training in Pods. Here is the link: meet.google.com/jgj-gnvo-pfv
Most of the videos we have been showing and discussing are posted on our MAST Sprongo site. And the workouts are posted as well. I encourage you to utilize the workouts on the weekend and review the videos we discussed last week.
III. Coffee and Salsa Fundraiser Update
Pick Up Coffee and Salsa on Thursday, December 10th from 5:00-6:00PM
Washburn High School 49th Street Parking Lot
It is so good to see everyone, even if it is on a screen.
Have a great weekend. Get outside and exercise.
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Sprongo Update--Please Read Carefully
Dear MAST Athletes, Parents, and Coaches:
MAST uses a video sharing service called Sprongo. Sprongo was created by a former ski racer who has a deep understanding of how performance can be improved through visual learning. The MAST coaches shoot video clips of our athletes in training and sometimes at races. The video clips taken at a practice or race is then uploaded to the playlist created for that day on the MAST Sprongo account. The only people who can watch those clips are the coaches and athletes and anyone you give your username and password to. Otherwise, video of you skiing is inaccessible to the general public. Each clip can be tagged to the athlete featured in the video. All video uploaded and tagged will be listed in both the playlist of the day and in the athlete’s Sprongo account. Consequently, when an athlete is a senior, he or she can watch video taken when in 7th grade. Pretty fun to see how much improvement you have made. Mostly though, the coaches want you to study your video and that of the better skiers of the team. Coaches talk into the camera and give you tips as they are filming you so that you can remember the advice you were given that day in practice. It has been a tremendous coaching tool for our skiers over the years. I want you to use it. Besides, we pay for this service so use it. Otherwise you are wasting a great opportunity.
Tonight, I sent an invitation through Sprongo to our new teammates to become members of the Minneapolis Alpine Ski Team Sprongo Site. The invitation was sent to your MPS email address. Please check your MPS email account for the invitation to join Sprongo. If you are a returning MAST skier who does not have a Sprongo account set up for yourself, let me know and I will send you an invitation to join as well. If you have a Sprongo account, please make sure you know your username and password and make sure it works.
Finally, do this by Saturday morning. Will and I will be holding a Sprongo Tutorial for any interested MAST athletes at 9AM on Saturday. Look for an invitation from my MPS email address. I will also send a link to the tutorial on Friday. Log in to the tutorial from you MPS email account.
Thanks for a great first week of Virtual Training.