CXC Spotlight: Coaching is a Way of Life

An Interview with Ken Schoville, Jonathan Stone and Larry Myers 

As the CXC Central Region continues to grow athletic programs, improve training opportunities for athletes and become more competitive, expectations for coaches are increasing as well. Many high school teams and junior clubs are strongly encouraging  coaches to receive continuing education and be either Level 100 or 200 CXC/USSA Certified Coach.

Luckily for the Midwest coaches, such certification can be completed over a weekend and is here in our region. Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC) will be hosting its 4th Annual CXC/USSA Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference on October 23-25 in Cable, Wisconsin. The conference honors Wayne Fish and his initiative encouraging coaches to continue their education and developing cross country skiing.

2014 CXC/USSA Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference

2014 CXC/USSA Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference

We sat down with three veteran coaches from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan who have attended the CXC/USSA Coaches Conference since its inaugural year. They share with us their experience, knowledge and love for the sport.

Ken Schoville (Hazelhurst, WI) Started skiing in 1973 and immediately became hooked. Ken eventually began coaching upon relocating to the Minocqua area for a teaching position. He has coached for the Midwest Junior National Team, the Lakeland Nordic Ski Team and currently is a “Special Projects Coach” who fills in where needed.

Ken Schoville Coaching at the 2015 Igor Legacy Camp in Iola, WI

Ken Schoville Coaching at the 2015 Igor Legacy Camp in Iola, WI

Jonathan Stone (Houghton, MI) has been coaching the Copper Country Ski Tigers for 14 years since he moved to Houghton with his family. Jonathan has coached the youth, middle school teams and currently serves as the high school team’s assistant coach and President of the Ski Tigers Ski Club.

Copper Country Ski Tigers Photo Courtesy of Ski Tigers Website

Copper Country Ski Tigers Team, Photo Courtesy of Ski Tigers Website

Larry Myers (Plymouth, MN) began skiing in 1972 when his family moved to Minnesota, providing a way to get out into the cold and have fun. Larry started coaching the Wayzata High School Team 18 years ago and has also coached for the Minnesota National Guard Biathlon Team.

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Coach Larry Myers

Although these veteran coaches may be rivals during the winter racing season, they all have one thing in common; to be the best coaches they can be for their athletes. They all believe continuing coaching education is one way of achieving this goal.

“I believe continuing education for coaches is extremely important, which is why I have attended the CXC Coaches Conference every year. The conference is very ski specific,opposed to general high school coaches training which focuses more about concussions and other injuries. The Minnesota High School league also has a requirement that coaches must attend an event or conference that focuses on coaching education.” Explains Larry Myers.

Wayzata Girls Team Wins MN State High School Championships

Wayzata Girls Team Wins MN State High School Championships

Not only is continuing coaching education important, but attending the CXC/USSA Coaches Certification and Conference gives participants valuable benefits that coaches can continue to use throughout the season.

“The information presented is top notch. Level 100 the first year and Level 200 the second year continued to keep me updated and confident in my skills. Having Bryan Fish, US Ski Team Development Coach, who wrote the coaching manuals there to answer questions was an additional bonus. Secondly, connecting with coaching peers (old and new), hearing their struggles, stories, and successes interested us all and makes you feel a part of an elite fraternity. From youth to Olympic level, ski-coaching skills are elementally the same and seeking common goals and solutions binds us together. Finally, coming in late October, the conference turbocharges my enthusiasm. Full of new ideas, bouncing energy and ideas around, and realizing snow season is just around the corner, I come away ready to rock!” Exclaims Ken Schoville.

In addition to the excellent benefits the Coaches Conference give to all participants, it also provides a view into how a coach can learn to mesh an athlete’s ability with team and individual goals along with their personal training.

“By attending the CXC/USSA Coaches Conference over the years, I became a better coach because I have better comprehended the athlete development pipeline. By better understanding this concept, I started focusing on quality coaching not the quantity of hours I have my athletes train, especially if the athlete is not ready. I have learned how to create better training plans and different ways to teach my athletes different ski techniques and how it helps with skill, strength, endurance, and balance.” Says Jonathan Stone.

Coach Ken Schoville at Senior Nationals with athletes from the Lakeland Nordic Ski Team

Coach Ken Schoville at Senior Nationals with athletes from the Lakeland Nordic Ski Team

Coach to coach tips and tricks can sometimes be the best information shared. So we asked these long time coaches what their advice to new coaches and any coach looking for advice, here are their thoughts.

“After 30 some years of coaching, to new coaches, I’d say, “You’re special!.” Nobody but other ski Coaches know the level of commitment involved, the hours, the hoops, the communication, the details, the weather (the good, bad, and ugly), wax home runs, wax bombs you’d like to forget but haunt your dreams, and the feeling of success, not just for the high achiever, but also for the kids who just love the sport. So keep the faith, keep growing, challenging, and connecting with kids.YOU are the future of our sport.” Advises Ken Schoville.

“You Have to love what you’re doing because the financial benefits are not great. If you don’t love coaching kids, you shouldn’t be a coach. Get the continued education because it will make you a better coach.” Explains Larry Myers.

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“Anyone can say they are a coach, but making the investment to become the best coach possible, is something that coaches should take seriously regardless of the sport. Don’t just hang a whistle around your neck and call yourself a coach. This is some of my key advice and wishes for all coaches:
-Be with kids not just as athletes but as young men and woman and try to make them the best people they can be.
– Be passionate about coaching and bring energy to the sport and to the team.
– I would like to see every coach within CXC have some USSA coaching training.
– Whether it be Level 100 or something similar. I would like to see a coach at every level coming together for a CXC Coaches conference to be challenged and equipped as coaches, and to take that home and bring that benefit back to the clubs.
-Passion for coaching and the sport only gets you so far, then you have to have the skill set to draw from. Especially now when you are seeing the pipeline across the nation growing and getting stronger.” Said Jonathan Stone

The foundation of a solid team and strong region is coaching. Attend the 4th Annual CXC/USSA Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference October 23-25th to learn from the veterans in our sport and become the best coach for your athletes.

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Wayne Fish was an avid skier who was also active in the skiing community. When Wayne Fish passed away, his friends asked son Bryan (U.S Ski Team Development Coach) and wife Barb Fish, about donating funds towards a Wane Fish legacy project/event. Bryan and Barb decided to use those funds to support the CXC initiative to start a regional coaches conference since sport development and education was important to Wayne. Since the inaugural year the Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference has benefited over 100 coaches and continues to help grow the sport of cross country skiing.

The CXC/USSA Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference has many benefits for coaches in attendance.

  • Earn a Level 100 Certification: Recommended for coaches working with all ages and levels of cross country skiing, from youth to adult introductory level to world class. It is designed for the coach to learn the fundamentals for effective coaching in cross country skiing and to demonstrate basic knowledge in these areas.
  • Earn a Level 200 Certification: Focused primarily on physiology and training methods for developing cross country skiers, while giving coaches more tools to teach effectively and to prepare their athletes for competition. The Level 200 education track consists of a coaching manual with contributions from over fifteen different authors who are experts in the various domains of the course.
  • Complimentary CXC Academy Subscription: All Coaches in attendance will receive this valuable online subscription providing professional training plans created by the coaches of CXC for cross country skiers of all ages and skill levels. Annual CXC Academy Subscriptions are $119.40 value.
  • Complimentary Birkie Entry not only for certified coaches who attend the CXC/USSA Coaches Certification and Conference, but for all coaches who keep their Certified Coaches Membership active from year to year. 

The benefits of the certification and conference really do outweigh the cost.


Mary-Kozloski

Mary Kozloski is CXC’s Communication and Media Coordinator. Mary has a Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she majored in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration, competed as a member of UW-Grean Bay Nordic Ski Team and was team captain for two years.

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