Moving forwards toward future snowsport

Irish Interski Team training report from day one the 3rd of September 2018 at The Snow Centre

Preparation for the Interski 2019 Congress in Pamporova, Bulgaria, kicked off in earnest today for the Irish Interski team at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead. Twenty instructors and team members gathered for the two training days, a clear reflection of the rapid growth in the IASI organisation since the last Interski event in Argentina, where the Irish delegation totalled six.

After introductions to the new faces on the team and reuniting with old friends, it was straight into a review of the The Four Key Concepts that underpin IASI training, in presentations led by Derek Tate, IASI Chairman and Irish Interski Team chef de mission, and Jamie Kagan, IASI Head of Education and Irish Interski Head Demo Team Coach.

This was followed by a video review of the skiing standards set by IASI for all Alpine levels from L1 to L4. Needless to say, when you put 20 ski instructors in a room together, and show them technical skiing videos, it is bound to generate discussion. There will no doubt be more of the same at the IASI AGM next month when these standards will be more widely released.

At noon, it was the moment we had all been waiting for…….the handing out of the Interski kit. Our deepest thanks go to Columbia, who provided our uniforms, and to Rossignol, who provided the team’s skis etc. Our green, white and orange kit, in the colours of the Irish flag, will not be missed on the slopes! Twenty minutes later we were all on the snow, working the summer cobwebs out of our skiing legs and getting the first batch of team photos taken.

Lunch was followed by more presentations. Derek talked us through elements of his new Mindfulness and Flow training models which are under development, mindfulness in sport being an increasingly important area of focus for sports psychologists across the world. A simplified way of thinking about Flow would be “being in the zone”, and completely engrossed with a sporting activity. At IASI, much of the work being done by our Educators is about helping our clients experience such moments. In the last 10-15 years, mindfulness has become increasingly popular as a way to help enhance performance in sport, and whilst some research has been done looking at the link between mindfulness and flow, no specific studies have been carried out on the subject within snowsports. This will not be the case for much longer, as The Irish Interski demo team members have been asked to participate in a study, looking at this link, as part of Derek’s Masters’ Thesis.

The day ended with a review of the new IASI Training Manual which is nearing completion. A huge amount of work has been going on over the last few months to completely rewrite the manual and reflect some of the more recent developments in the IASI training system. The manual will be launched online in October, with the intention that this will be a “live” document updated on a regular basis with new material. The manual will form the basis for all IASI examinations going forward.

All in all, a great first day with some outstanding new developments making their way through the IASI system for the 2018/19 season. Excitement around Interski at Pamparova is building up nicely!

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