February YSCA Updates: New courses, running marathons and 5 reasons for success in youth S&C

Dear All,

I hope that the beginning of 2018 has been good for you? From the YSCA perspective, I was delighted to deliver the first Specialist Course with Brendan at Firehouse Fitness in Leeds recently with a group of excellent youth coaches who are completing great work in their environments around the UK. They are definitely giving young people an excellent training experience! If you would like to check out our upcoming specialist courses click HERE.

I was extremely impressed with their level of knowledge and competence but more than that, their enthusiasm and passion was inspiring. You can see from the photograph that perhaps I enjoyed Christmas a bit too much so I am signing up to do the Leeds half-Marathon with Brendan in May!

I wanted to share a short piece with you this month about my colleague and YSCA tutor Jason Ellis-Woodley. Jason is a fine Strength and Conditioning coach who we appointed initially as an intern working with myself at Reed’s School in 2012. He has developed tremendously as a practitioner in the last 6 years to become a leading Strength and Conditioning coach in our programme at Reed’s and YSCA tutor. He has an excellent athletic/ sporting pedigree himself and is currently in the Welsh Hockey Development squad as a player.

He has been a great support to me over the years and certainly he has guided much of our analysis of or training modality decisions with young people in relation to PHV and cumulative RPE data factors. More importantly he is a superb role model to the young people he works with.

He is also fearless on a ski mountain (unlike myself, I typically cry in fear- snow ploughing down a green run!) which we have utilised as he has recently come back from taking our boys to the British Schoolboy Ski Racing Championships in Wengen, Switzerland.

We were delighted to bring home the team overall victory at Under 16 level which is no mean achievement when you consider one of the rival schools is based in an alpine setting in Europe.

Here is one of our boys Adam putting it all on the mountain:

5 Reasons for success

I was asked to explain what I thought the reasons were for our success in youth skiing over the past few years and my thoughts are as follows.

  1. Firstly we have a tremendous group of supportive parents who invest hugely in their children’s skiing and support our programme brilliantly.
  2. We have a passionate Ski Academy Management team- led by teachers Mark Vernon and John Allison who have put an excellent group of coaches from Ambition Racing around our racers when they train and compete and they lead the logistics of a structured programme.
  3. The school has embraced flexible education when our top racers need to have absence and the teachers work very hard to support our pupils when at school and when they are on the ‘racing road’.
  4. We have made their Strength and Conditioning a priority with all of them following a focussed Injury prevention (particularly ACL rupture avoidance protocols) programme and also strength and power development being a keyfocus in each training week.
  5. We have bridged the gap between the gym and the slope and Jason has led this. I didn’t fancy coaching the team and standing as a gate judge (falling over down a race slope!). Joking aside Jason has integrated into becoming part S and C coach on the road, part team coach/manager.

 It is always great to see young talent developing as you move into becoming one of those ‘older coaches’. I hope you are developing and enjoying your coaching and can come on the YSCA journey with us in 2018.


Ben Haining

YSCA Chairman

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