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An Open Letter to Bruce Butterfield


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  • Baller

I have always wondered if there is a constant or driving theme in raising children to be or do or participate in pretty much what we want them to. You and Kim have seen your children move into the elite of JR skiers, on a path to the top 1% of athletes worldwide, and I know it makes you extremely proud.


But what was the key? What is the current track to improve? I’m not talking of watching our kids put on a pair of skis and go to the lake every now and then and maybe enter a tournament. I’m talking of just your case, where they enter that rarefied air of elite.


If you can take a little time, write out what you think has been significant over the years in pushing or not pushing, forcing or not forcing, listening or coaching, etc. I understand it is not simple at all, but am curious to hear of what you believe are the key(s) to the outstanding success your kids have enjoyed.


Congratulations to your children, but maybe even more to the proud parents.


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  • Baller_

@lhoover - have you seen this? Future of our sport


Much of that article is equipment recommendations, but also has steps for progression in the early stages. As with many other things in life, the earlier you start, the farther you will progress.


As for advancement beyond the early stages, there are many factors

1. Each child's basic athelitism

2. individual motivation to improve

3. the fine line between encouragement and pushing too hard

4. opportunities for coaching once they reach intermediate to advanced levels

5. having fun with their friends - watch groups of kids at tournaments when they are off the water

6. probably most important is simply time on the water - there is no substitute for repetition of good habits. Living on a lake really helps :) During the summers, they will each ski 3-4 sets a day. 3 eventing takes a LOT of water time.

7. I'm a firm believer in kids being active in more than 1 sport. Everyone needs a psychological and physical break. Year round skiing at a highly competitive level is a receipe for burnout.


Another big factor for any parent is simply to spend time with the kids whether its skiing, soccer, homework, or any other family related activities.


You also have to keep in mind that each child will migrate toward what they like best. Some kids will love skiing, while others will favor band or football. If the kids don't have the fundamental desire to ski, it is a loosing battle to force them into something they really don't like (IMO). A parent really has to let them choose what they want to do, with some gentle nudges (or well placed kicks in the tail) along the way.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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