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.