Largest to Date
The 15th edition of the Youth and Children’s Seminar
Photo: Cross-Country skier and FIS Athletes' Commission member Martti Jylhä

The 15th edition of the Youth and Children’s Seminar on 4th October in Zurich (SUI) was the largest to date with 137 attendees from 51 countries.

This year’s seminar explored the topic of “Parenting in snow sports”. To begin the programme Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General gave an insight into FIS activities and decisions relating to Youth and Children’s activities over the past months and previewed the day’s topic. She highlighted some resources available for parents, including the WADA Parents’ Guide to Support Clean Sport.

The first speaker Alpine athlete, parent and doctor of psychology, Dr. Jim Taylor presented the role of parents in clubs. Dr. Taylor gave an insight into involving parents in clubs, the benefits of doing so, tips on keeping them engaged in a club.

Following Dr. Taylor’s presentation, thecoach of the Finnish national Cross-Country team and father to World Cup Cross-Country skier and member of the FIS Athletes Commission Martti Jylhä, Rijo Jylhä introduced the audience to his story as a parent and coach. Of interest to the audience was his support for a multi-sport approach. Reijo said “enabling Martti to try different sports actually increased his love for Cross-Country Skiing.”

Following the key note speakers the audience was divided into two groups for a workshop with each speaker. There, audience members could ask more in-depth questions and gain a further insight into life as a parent and a snow sports coach. Secretary General of the Armenian Ski Federation Gagik Sargsyan remarked: “The workshop was a highlight for us and we have a lot of ideas that we will be taking back home.”

The afternoon session saw a round table discussion with the morning speakers as well as Andrew Yule, father of Swiss World Cup Alpine Skier Daniel Yule and Hugues Ansermoz former coach of the Swiss and Canadian Alpine Ski Teams. The round table discussion presented a wide range of views on topics such as the maintaining of kids focus in snow sports and the changing role of a parent from when a child is young to when they are an adult.

Andrew Yule commented “Its great opportunity to share our experience with the National Ski Associations. We hope the information presented will be useful in their programmes”.

To round out the afternoon session, the Youth and Children’s Seminar received a presentation from the Head of Sports for the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games, Simone Righenzi. Simone showed the outstanding progress of the Games and highlighted how the Olympic Agenda 2020 has helped shaped the event to focus more on the other aspects of sport such as health, nutrition and studies, all vital points for parents of young athletes.

Finally Chairman of the FIS Youth and Children’s Sub-Committee Ken Read, summarised the key points and shared his experience as a parent to FIS athletes.

He commented: “I think this FIS Youth Seminar may be one of the best, most useful seminars we have had. We are seeing a significant increase in the direct participation of parents in the competitive field and have always needed the support of parents throughout the life of a young athlete - from inspiration, to driver, to helping run events or coaching, leading ski clubs - and for our sport to remain healthy, we need to have a positive and constructive environment so parents can learn how they can best help our sport.”

FIS would like to thank all those who attended and participated in this year’s Youth and Children’s Seminar and invites everyone to join the next seminar on 16th September 2018.

To download the presentations click the link below:

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