Nordic Ski Coach for boys and girls Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman
Newton North High School
Chandra Wisneski began Nordic Skiing as a freshman in high school. She joined the Nordic team at University of Maine at Presque Isle and studied a dual major in Cross Country Ski Coaching and Athletic Training. After graduating, she was part of the coaching team for the New Zealand National Development Team. She furthered her education with a chiropractic degree, and continued coaching Nordic Ski as the Ski School Director at Weston Ski Track. She is the Newton North High School Nordic Ski coach for both the girls and boys teams. In just two years, the team grew from 38 to 58 members, with half the team new to the sport.
The biggest difference between girls and boys that I’ve noticed is that boys are encouraged to play sports and get sweaty growing up. In high school, boys tend to enter sport with more experience but girls just don’t have that feedback. Girls want to work hard but they are more shy about working out. For example, when I brought the team to the weight room, the girls sat in a corner and didn’t participate while the boys strutted around as if they knew what they were doing, even if they didn’t. Doing a sport is really intimidating especially if it’s for the first time, so I think girls need more encouragement to get messy.
I think if the coach is having fun, then the team will have fun. How I always had fun was when we used to do these crazy workouts that we’d talk about afterwards. If you do something that’s so ridiculous that no one is going to believe you, that makes for the best stories and that makes it more exciting to do. Going out running four 400s isn’t fun, but if you do it as a scavenger hunt, then you have a shared experience with your group.
I worked as a summer camp counselor for a number of years, so I got a lot of experience turning everything into a game. For Nordic Ski dry land workouts, I’ll design a scavenger hunt by putting locations on puzzle pieces. Each group finds a puzzle piece and then runs to that location and back. If they get a duplicate puzzle piece, they have to get another team to do that run. They have to find all the puzzle pieces until they complete the puzzle. They end up running for an hour, but it ends up being really fun. An added bonus is that it fosters cooperation and team chemistry.
For games to keep it fun, please read How To Coach Girls coming out March of 2018.