Key Concepts

The USSA Training Systems for each sport provide recommendations for athletes, parents, coaches and clubs in six primary areas:

  • Sport participation - how many days or skiing/riding, number and time period of competitions, and training to competition ratios
  • Conditioning - volume and content for physical training outside of skiing or riding
  • Technique and tactics - specific skills for the sport
  • Equipment selection and preparation - the essential equipment needs for proper development
  • Performance psychology - mental strength activities
  • Competition - appropriate type and level of competition

There are recommendations in each of these areas based on the athlete's developmental phase. Looking at development phase is a better way to target the needs of an athlete than simply going by age.

The descriptions for each phase are based on the following ideas:

  • Children are not simply miniature adults. They need a program that is geared to their developmental needs that will prepare them for the demands of their sport when they are an adult.
  • Training and competition plans should be designed based on individual needs.
  • Children develop and mature at different rates. Age alone does not give the full picture.
  • We should consider the child's physiological, cognitive and emotional development when planning their training.
  • There are certain periods in a child's development where they can make maximal gains in certain areas, so different aspects of training will take priority during different phases.
  • Competition at each age level should reward their efforts in training as much as possible. Since their training focus will vary through the phases, the competition format should look different from that of a fully mature athlete.
  • A long-term approach to success may run counter to a short-term approach focused on results.
  • The athletes have to enjoy what they're doing to commit to it at higher levels and to pursue it as a life-long sport. Skiing and snowboarding are great life-long activities!
What's the number one reason kids participate in sports?

To have FUN!

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