The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) recently hosted USA Bobsled/Skeleton (USABS) coaches and staff at their facility in Lake Placid for a first ever Coaches’ Camp.

Based in Lake Placid, USABS is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton, and though the organization’s leaders and coaches have long worked closely with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), the camp is part of a new continuous learning experience designed to give coaching staff additional tools for success.

Participants in the USABS Coaches' Camp hard at work around a table in a Mt Van Hoevenberg conference room.
USABS coaches and staff hard at work together during the Coaches’ Clinic August 12 and 13, 2022.

The two full days of the Camp held Friday and Saturday, August 12 and 13, involved practical discussion and instruction to support coaches, advance their skills, and optimize their development of sliding sport athletes at all levels. The program was facilitated by Chris Clements of the USOPC and Dr. Mara Smith, USABS sports psychologist. The USABS team in attendance included eight staff coaches from the facilities in Park City and Lake Placid as well as three development coaches, plus the Director of Skeleton Programs, Eric Bernotas and the Director of Sport Performance, Curt Tomasevicz. The organization is also seeking to add a ninth coach to their staff.

With this initial Coaches’ Camp, USABS has kicked off an ongoing program of ongoing education and improvement. “This is not a one-time clinic, “says Tomasevicz. “Our plan calls for check-ins with coaches and the people assisting coaches, follow-up meetings, and other continuous opportunities for growth and learning.”

With a range of coaches of all different backgrounds working with an even broader range of athletes at every level of development, the Coaches Camp is a program that both levels the field and raises it in order to better help athletes along the path to success from the very beginnings of their careers all the way to the Olympics.

Says Tomasevicz, “This was an excellent opportunity for us to go into 2026 quad with an all-new program in place and to turning a page and be more transparent with all involved to help coaches be better coaches and to help athletes grow, no matter where they are in their development.”

The educational program was delivered in three distinct segments. The first was coaching education that offered tactics for coaches to relate more effectively to their athletes, teaching techniques, insights on different ways athletes learn and develop, and information on technologies that boost training effectiveness. The second segment highlighted resources, tools, and approaches available for coaches to maintain their own health and resiliency, noting that the cycle of work, rest, and recovery is just as important for those who coach as it is for athletes under their guidance. The third part of the two-day program detailed the USABS plan to identify, recruit, and develop young athletes and was designed to align the coaching staff and pave the way for successful overall programs.

In addition, the group toured Mt Van Hoevenberg, a venue that’s seen massive building and improvement projects in recent years and has been entirely remade to provide truly world-class facilities for recreation, training, and international competition. The investments include a new state of the art ice house with an indoor push track and sprint track for athlete training, and as the only facility of its kind in the country, athletes and coaches use it extensively throughout the year. “The ice house is an incredible asset,” says Tomasevicz. “Having an American facility like this is a huge benefit for athletes and coaches.”