On the Team GB SBX programme we have allocated training days and rest days in our season, as well as time set aside for competitions and travel which make up my calendar. The training days will be coached by one or both of our coaches; Simon and Jimbo.
Video analysis is a big part of training, being able to actually see where we can improve is very important for me and other team members. Below is a video showing a typical day at the track training, however there is a lot more to our training!
Their are four main aspects of our coached training:
Turning smoothly, holding your body postion correctly and being able to control your speed without losing form is A LOT harder than you’d think. Getting the basics of turning and snowboarding right is very important, especially on variable terrain. Believe it or not a lot of mistakes occur and time is lost in races are due to improper carving technique rather than the big technical features, so we spend a lot of time learning how to carve properly!
Training on a common snowboardcross track feature which has been shaped by a resort park crew such as; a set of rollers, a drop in ramp, a wu-tang/pyramid, a bank or berm is a key part of training for us. Being able to directly transfer our carving skills onto transitions is essential practice for helping us get comfortable on a snowboardcross track. In many training sessions we will practice features over and over, to improve our approach and technique to the feature.
At our team base in the Portes Du Soleil ski area we are lucky enough to have access to Les Gets, which has a snowboardcross track and are often given exclusive access to. So we will often mix up training with whole track runs and feature training, taking our training from each feature and putting it together on the track. We’ll often race against other GB Team members, practicing our racing technique for heats; chasing, defending and overtaking our peers, it’s a lot of fun!
Avoriaz which is also a resort at our base in the Portes Du Soleil has a great selection of snowparks, as well as a banked slalom run and a well maintained half-pipe. The team spends a lot of the time riding Half Pipe as it is all about holding your edge and line, carving across the pipe and being able to hold your speed riding the transitions, and if you’re good enough at it getting some airtime!
Switching from edge to edge, moving and holding your body up and down the transistions simulates a lot of the skills required to ride a snowboardcross track so it is a great subsititue for a track. Although some may find the high walls pretty daunting, after time and practice you get used to them, I personally love half-pipe, one of my favourite aspects of snowboarding!
Being able to ride and launch off kickers (jumps) in the correct way is very important especially when riding at high speeds on a track, both for performance and for safety. Being able to absorb the take-off to reduce airtime and get back down onto the ground is essential, as you lose speed the longer you’re in the air, and it can also get a little dangerous and scary going too big off kickers.
Taking off on a flat base and having a smooth straight run in to the kicker will prevent you from being out of control in the air too. Once you are in the air having good air awareness is very important, once you are in the air holding your body in a central position and tucking yourself up will hold speed and prevent falls, avoid winding down the windows at all costs! Pumping the transition out of the landing is also important to maintain and increase speed.
Being an experienced freestyler for a number of years will help your ability to safely riding kickers and be in control. We spend a fair amount of time in the Avoriaz snowparks on both small and large kickers practising this.
Another valuable form of training when coaching is not possible is just riding all of the mountain. Riding all elements of the mountain whether it be on the piste, in the park or off the piste will greatly improve your board control. Board control is essential and that is what really defines a good snowboarder, and a good snowboardcross rider. Being able to comfortably ride a variety of slopes, transitions and conditions will prepare you well for snowboardcross.
Carving Training - Heel Carve GB Rider Tom Akass
Carving Training - Toe Carve GB Rider Myles McNeany