Regional Freestyle Squad


I have been mulling over the idea of squads at both regional & national level (as I am also now the England Park & Pipe rep on the SSE Freestyle committee). I was also fortunate enough to be able to witness the training & preparation of the GB team at the Contamines Half pipe world cup in January.

Here are my thoughts so far, let me know what you think.

So bottom line what are squads for?

It seems to me that currently the only purpose of the squads in Freestyle is:-

To recognition that an individual is on a path that might lead to representing
GB at FIS W/Cup/Olympic level in the Half pipe, Moguls, Aerials or Skier cross, currently there are few if any formal inter regional or national level competitions held. Unfortunately the most popular Slope Style & Big Air events are only supported by commercial competition and are not FIS recognised, this creates a strange divide in the sport which is a challenge to bridge.

For squads to be worth doing we need to make it a bit more than just a name on a web site, it needs to something skiers want to aspire to & help to shape their ambition.

It will only suit those who are truly interested in FIS style comps however at a

Regional level we can be more open to the bigger range of Freestyle areas.
Slope style / big performance is a good indicator that a performer may have
potential to go on to some of the FIS areas.

Some skiers will be just happy to enjoy the popular slope style & big air at club region level that should still be fostered & supported, that is the sport that most want to enjoy we are here to serve the skier & no the other way around. The squads are for people who want to move from a fun competitive hobby to a more disciplined sport.

So we need at both regional & national level:-

1) Annual selection, recognition by discipline, on web site with clothing, badge

or vest.
2) Links to coaching support
3) Advice on training, progress & support
3) Progress tracking (communication with the skier is key)
4) Squad training
5) Competition (& with that better / official judging)
6) Commercial support (England team gets discount on Ripcurl clothing for example).

At the England level I am clearly going to be focused on Half Pipe (other people have responsibility for Moguls, Aerials, and Skier- cross)

But at the regional level I would see there being 3 levels of squad covering all areas.

A – Performers who are showing an interest & ability to move up to the National level in one of the FIS disciplines
B – Performers who are getting good showing in national recognised commercial comps & have expressed an interest in specialising.
Development – Fairly open area of performers who seem to have great potential but as yet due to age, inexperience, have not really had a chance to show true
ability or desire.

Next is the question of how we select & what numbers & age range. I think it is important that the various regions use similar criteria & similarly sized squads. I think the lead as been taken by Yorkshire & we need to review & follow their example which I think is what Kathryn has done with her selection criteria for Lon & South East & we should also do in the SRSA. We will need to pick a selection committee & appoint a squad lead/coordinator/coach.

Small steps at first, year 1 (2009)
1) Southern Freestyle Club to join SSE by end Feb.
2) Selection committee/ criteria in place by say end of March (3 to 5 people), with requests for squad applicants to SRSA clubs.
3) Initial Squad selection announcement in early April together with a squad training day/wend announcement.
4) Plan for a bi regional (LSERA & SRSA) training /friendly comp in N Les Mines in May – should include all disciplines that slope can offer, Moguls, Half pipe as well as some slope style.
5) Promote Judges training & continue coach training & registration
6) Seek commercial support.

In 2010 – Squad to be supported with coaching staff at key events such as the Brits
Squad to get opportunities to go to dedicated snow training, possible linked with other squads including the England & GB squads.

Daren & Dave – if you are happy with this approach I will try to bring a
teleconference together with a few interested parties from the region to set the ground rules later this month.

Cheers Paul Webb
SRSA Freestyle rep