Over the summer USA Nordic has gathered data to learn more about participation and club needs across the United States. After analyzing the data and looking at athlete participation numbers, a couple of themes emerged:
- We need more coaches.
- We need more and better coaches education.
- Our retention of young athletes can be vastly improved.
In fact, there is a pretty consistent 40 – 45% reduction in our number of skiers from age 10 on (using 2-3 year increments) until we hit age 20. There are lots of hypotheses as to why this is happening, and most likely it is a combination of many factors, but the bottom line is we need to do a better job at keeping kids jumping beyond 30 meter hills. This is exactly what the New England Ski Jumping Nordic Combined (NESJNC) organization is trying to accomplish. This new organization, started by ski jumping coaches, officials, club organizers, and former national and international competitors, intends to promote and facilitate the progression of U18 ski jumpers in New England from smaller hills to Olympic size hills.
To accomplish this goal NESJNC will identify and recruit a team of qualified U18 athletes to train and compete on K50 meter and larger hills around the Northeast. They will also hire a USSA Certified NESJNC Travel Coach to support these athletes while they train and compete in events across the region and possibly outside the Eastern United States such as Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Nationals.
In addition to hiring a NESJNC Travel Coach, NESJNC intends to recruit volunteer NESJNC Assistant Coaches to assist with training sessions that will be located at the Storrs Hill Lebanon Outing Club (LOC) or the Andover Outing Club (AOC) ski jump facilities, depending upon hill conditions. The NESJNC Assistant Coaches will also attend New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA also know as High School Jumping) and USSA/USA Nordic events to identify new U18 ski jumpers qualified to jump 50 meter hills and larger. NESJNC coaches and volunteers will assist LOC in recruiting and training additional volunteers to assist LOC in hill maintenance and conducting competition events.
NESJNC will raise funds to conduct NESJNC programs, compensate the NESJNC Travel Coach, train coaches, cover NESJNC coaches’ travel expenses related to NESJNC activities, and provide NESJNC Team members with team uniforms and paraphernalia. NESJNC team members will be required to pay NESJNC membership fees as well as travel expenses and entry fees for events.
Anticipated annual NESJNC Team activities include:
- Two summer training days in the Lebanon/Upper Valley area to test athletes’ physical conditioning.
- Three weekend trips to train and compete in New York Ski Education Foundation (“NYSEF”) events in Lake Placid, NY on the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) K25 and K48 meter hills during the Summer/Fall season.
- Six weeks of training (two training sessions per week) at Lebanon, NH during January and February.
- Two competitions in Lebanon, NH, three competitions in Lake Placid, NY, and one competition in Salisbury, CT.
With the help of USA Nordic, NESJNC leaders also intend to organize and conduct clinics and seminars for the benefit of coaches and officials assisting New England Clubs and New Hampshire High School programs. It is the hope of both the NESJNC and USA Nordic that this effort will help all jumpers, both club and high school, be able to progress from 30 meter hills to 50 meter hills and larger. This will allow young athletes to continue to jump well into their teens if not beyond, and have fun doing it.
For more information about NESJNC please go to the NESJNC website at www.nesjnc.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NESKIJUMP/. You can also contact NESJNC Chairman, Tom Oddy, at 802-318-1970 or email@example.com.