The Lessons of Coaching

I was inspired by Beth’s awesome road trip lessons post to share a few lessons that I have learned these past few days (plus, i’m way overdue on posting). I have just returned from a terrific few days at Soldier Hollow, Utah coaching the Far West Juniors at the Super JOQ. This was my first weekend as a “real” coach…by which I mean I had to apply some wicked expensive, cancer-causing stuff called fluoros and actually test skis instead of just guessing. It is a very steep learning curve but under the tutelage of the older, wiser Far West Coaches, I managed to survive the week. Here are some handy lessons for newbie coaches:

1. Being in charge of making sure athletes don’t miss their start times is harder than it sounds- it may include running and screaming and waving your hands to get an athlete’s attention who is zoning out listening to pump up music as they do their 500th lap around the Biathlon range with no concept that the announcer has been calling their bib number for the past three minutes.

2. Just because you’re not racing, doesn’t mean you don’t get nervous and anxious too.

3. Coaching is more exhausting than racing: you stay up late applying fluoros and wake up early to test wax. and brushing is a serious arm workout.

4. Testing wax is a good interval session. Log it.

5. Wearing a red coach’s bib would be cool except when you are 5’0″ and it looks more like a ridiculous dress

6. If the bib doesn’t do it, you are constantly reminded of your height when waxing next to Ambrose all day

7. Carrying a radio IS wicked cool and a huge part of why I became a coach in the first place.

8. Boys don’t know how to scrape their skis…or just get distracted in the process so you’ll probably have to do it for them

9. Being a coach, and therefore all mighty and powerful, doesn’t mean you’re good at bowling.

10. When you are a coach you automatically get to either drive a large van (totally sweet) or get shot gun…which sounds sweet except on a ten hour drive with ridiculous high school boys pestering you the entire way.

11. Coaching is the best job ever because you get to chill with awesome kids all day.


Coaching is pretty much as sweet as it looks (photo: Stacey Herhuskey)


About Holly Whitney

Hi Everyone! I hail from midcoast Maine and graduated from Williams College in 2012 with a degree in Sociology. I’m so excited to return to Truckee for my second year on the elite team and to continue coaching at Truckee High School and Auburn Ski Club. Last season, I had the opportunity to compete for the first time at US Nationals and the American Birkebeiner and I’m looking forward to continuing to improve this season on the national circuit. I am also excited to race locally in the Tahoe area and compete once again for the Fischer Cup. Think Snow!