Agenda Freeski Club Case Study
Ontario’s Park & Pipe Ski Team and the Agenda Freeski Club experience with HeadStartPro
Before the 2017 competition season, the Agenda Freeski Club, based out of Mount St. Louis Moonstone Ontario, and the Ontario Park & Pipe (OPP) Ski Team joined forces to take HeadStartPro’s coaching course. Their collaborative approach to coach training made for an energetic and inclusive learning environment.
Agenda Freeski’s core values include innovation, excellence and ‘fun.’ For these coaches, taking the HeadStartPro training was a pivotal step towards improving their ability to innovate and achieve excellence. In HeadStartPro’s training, sharing stories and incorporating funny videos is all part of the ‘fun’!
Freestyle Ontario is responsible for producing some of the world’s best freestyle skiers. Their roster includes the likes of Olympic Gold Medalist, Dara Howell, and fellow Olympian, Evan McEachran, who took the training alongside their Canadian teammates in 2016.
Following the workshop, Patrick Walsh, Head Coach of the OPP Team, had this to say about his experience with the training:
“I was very impressed with the content and felt a real connection with the material that it contains. I'm excited to start putting my team through the training. I can see a real connection between the concept of states, errors and Critical Error Reduction Techniques, and how it can not only help us with reducing injuries but just as importantly how they can help us improve performance by reducing errors.”
- Patrick Walsh, Head Coach, OPP Ski Team
At Agenda Freeski, three coaches and 25 of their athletes took the in-person training. Both organizations were excited about the approach to minimizing critical errors and enhancing performance in HeadStartPro, but Agenda Freeski recorded some impressive injury-prevention results too. Only one of the athletes who took the course got hurt compared to six the year before, which represents an 83% reduction in injuries among that group of 25 athletes!
Agenda Freeski achieved their goal to create a safe training environment for their team. Sian Llewellyn mentions that their priority for injury reduction is paramount, but their desire to improve their results is still a top priority.
In the Ontario Provincial competition series, Agenda Freeski athletes collected an astounding 27 gold medals, seven silver medals, and nine bronze medals for the Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines. At Canadian Nationals, this developing team took home one silver medal, three bronze medals, and multiple top-ten finishes. To cap things off, Agenda athletes recorded personal bests including two top-ten finishes in the Canadian Open Tour.
Feedback from the Coaches
“When Mike Shaw first approached us, our initial interest in the program stemmed predominantly from it’s potential to reduce the risk of injury. However, after completing the program with our athletes, and beginning to put what we had learned into practice, it became clear that, for us, the true value of HeadStartPro lay not only in injury reduction but in the possibility of improved performance.”
Sian also shared this about her team’s performance routines after taking the course;
“Talking about [rushing, frustration, fatigue, and complacency], identifying potential performance errors, and developing strategies to combat them, has become an important part of our team’s coach/athlete dialog. Arming athletes with the tools they need to deal with the psychological challenges of our sport is a key element in their continued success, and the reason we will keep using Headstart with our team.”
- Sian Llewellyn, Head Coach, Agenda Freeski
Like the OPP Team, the Agenda Freeski coaches are the foundation for the success their team has experienced. Their delivery of the HeadStartPro concepts started in the classroom and transferred onto the slopes. The feedback we received from the coaches was that the practical tools for the mountain and outdoor arena were the most valuable.