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Old 01-06-2014, 03:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question proper ability level to compete in pipe?

This is a question for any of you snowboard coaches or athletes who have actually competed in USASA level events (or something similar).

I work weekends as a snowboard coach for kids ages 9-15. All know how to ride, and can ride almost all of the mountain. The program is there to boost them to competition level for slopestyle, pipe, slalom, and boardercross. Iíve got one rider who really, really wants to compete in pipe but only has been in a pipe a couple times. Sheís still a beginner in slopestyle too, she can do one or two grabs, but thatís it. Definitely not spinning yet.

Thereís a halfpipe competition coming up and one of the other coaches thinks this athlete should just enter it, if only for the comp and halfpipe experience, all other expectations of getting on the podium not included. The only plus I can think of is that sheíd be on of maybe two or three other girls in her division, so the odds of her getting on the podium are actually pretty good, but only b/c of athlete numbers. Iím not so sure of this decision, and was curious what you guys think. When should a younger athlete be entering pipe competitions? She would be training the day beforehand so she would have a little bit of experience.

Basically, do you think itís OK to throw an athlete into a competition even if they really arenít ready for it? I should clarify that she is intelligent enough to know not to throw huge tricks, Iím not worried about her getting hurt. At this point I can see 90% of her run being simple airs off the walls.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nothing like competition to motivate an athlete so let her rip.
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Old 01-06-2014, 03:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Tell her to sit this one out if she can't do any tricks. I'd find it a waste of time to be honest when you could be working to get her better. Instead, go to the competition yourself and watch the athletes in her age group. When she can confidently do what the girls that get a podium spot are doing, then let her compete. I never got the whole "just enter for the hell of it" thing. Especially with next to no experience even riding in a pipe.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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She should compete if that is what she wants to do. There is a lot more to learn about competing then just tricks. Those things can only be learned through experience and there is no reason not to learn them right now.
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Old 01-07-2014, 08:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks all. I was on the fence about this but had a discussion with the other coach and we agreed to let her compete. Our idea being that she'll get a taste of competition and see where she needs to be in the future. I'm worried that the advanced riders will blow her out of the water and she may develop a dislike for pipe but hey...she wants to do it....lessons to be learned I hope.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I entered a (non-pipe) competition last year and clearly wasn't ready for it. The other competitors go on a bit of a tour doing these events, and I participated when they came to my local hill.

It was fun, but I probably would have had more fun just riding around for the day. That said, now I know where they run, what to expect, and what I need to do to actually make it through the qualifiers and get to day 2.

So for a young athlete it might not hurt, and might be a lot of fun! If she can train like crazy for a couple weeks before hand it might really help. Even just getting her confidence up to get bigger airs out of the pipe.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Well the embarrassment will either humiliate her and discourage her for a while or motivate the shit out of her. If you think her heart is in it go for it.

Plus looking back when I was competing as a young gun I thought I had a chance every single comp. Nothing puts it into perspective like embarrassing yourself to figure out how much more you need to go to reach your goals.
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