Our very own MHRC Coaching Mentor, former racing athlete and long-time member of the club, Ally Dandy, participated in the 2020 Raymond James Women’s Nor-am Cup from Feb 4th to 8th in Collingwood as part of Alpine Ontario’s Women in Coaching program. This unforgettable and valuable experience allowed Ally to train alongside experienced peers and gain new coaching skills and insights from some of the top Canadian Alpine Ski Team coaches and athletes.
Plus, the Women in Coaching program, with support from Ali Hunter from Craigleith, led 75 female athletes (including our own MHRC female athletes) in a 2-day SL skills camp. The skills camp concluded with a Fast and Female Champ Chat and the Canadian Alpine Ski Team girls made a visit!
Between the Nor-am Cup and studying for exams at McMaster for Nursing, MHRC caught up with Ally to get the inside scoop on her experience at the pinnacle racing event of the year.
What was your most memorable moment as a female coach at the Nor-am cup in Collingwood?
ALLY: There were so many moments to choose from! But ultimately, by the end of the week I was so grateful to have 17 female coaches in the province to call friends and colleagues in the sport of ski racing. The opportunity to be surrounded by this community of female coaches is so advantageous for our sport. I also really enjoyed being on course interacting with many national and provincial coaches while watching some of the best female ski racers in North America compete.
From your overall experience as a female coach, what do you think is the most challenging barrier to overcome?
ALLY: I think the most challenging barrier as a female coach is the internal mentality of being afraid to make mistakes. As women, we may choose to pass on opportunities because we are not fully confident in completing the task perfectly. When coaches pick up the drill to set a course for example, mistakes may happen and that is okay! In order to learn and grow, we need to push ourselves and work outside our comfort zone!
You witnessed great female coaches and top athletes in action, which female athlete or coach inspired you the most and why?
ALLY: A fellow participant in our program, Shelley Johnston really inspired me last week. She has experience at all levels of high performance ski racing, and was so willing to share her knowledge. Her passion for ski racing was very evident in our discussions throughout the week. She has a ‘can do’ attitude that inspires me to continue to follow my passion of coaching too.
Which new skill will you be applying the most and why?
ALLY: This week I really worked on developing my ‘eye’ for ski racing technique and tactics in athletes skiing in courses. This skill can take time to develop and can change depending on the age group of skiers you are coaching. With the other coaches we discussed many of the fundamental skills and how even at the Nor Am level they are so important!
What advice would you share with female athletes looking to pursue coaching?
ALLY: Coaching ski racing is an opportunity to give back to the sport that you love so much! As many of you may know, there are not many female coaches in our sport, so use your passion to encourage the next generation of ski racers!!! Everyday may not go as planned, yet that is okay! Don’t be afraid to take risks, ask questions and challenge yourself outside your comfort zone. P.S don’t forget to pick up the drill 🙂
What else do you want to share with us about your week at Alpine Ontario’s Women in Coaching program?
ALLY: We began the week with being on course at Georgian Peaks for 2 days of GS racing, followed by 2 days of SL racing at Osler Bluff, and the final dual slalom event at Craigleith. We shadowed provincial and national team coaches on the course, completed inspection with the jury, and shadowed many of the course setters in their sets. One evening, we also attended a workshop by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport (CAAWS) about leading with confidence. Other days, we observed the team captains meeting and watched video review with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team coaches, Ontario Ski Team coaches, and Alberta Ski Team coaches.
Thank you Milton Heights Racing Club for your support! #shecancoach