Bunny / Jackrabbits

Our Jackrabbit program is at the heart of Chelsea Nordiq as it opens up a world of winter fun, creating new friendships in our natural environment, and building a lifetime love of skiing.  The program is also the foundation for the rest of our club as it puts our future racers, adventures, coaches and all round awesome kids on skis and teaches them the basics of what being involved in such an incredible active community means. However, it is just that: a community program. Without volunteers to fill these crucial roles, awesome programs like this simply do not happen. Not only is there reward in volunteering and seeing this come to fruition, Chelsea Nordiq recognizes volunteers by providing training, coaching support and access to adult technique development. 

Role of the Coordinators

Coordinators (one for Saturday and one for Sunday) ensure volunteer coaches are assigned to groups of children. They are on-site for lessons to open up our equipment storage and make sure everything is returned at the end of the lesson. They answer parents' questions during the season. They answer coach's questions and steer them to the information below that outlines the full program plan. Coordinators also ensure the end-of-season Jackrabbit Jamboree gets organized (directly or via another volunteer).  

Role of the Coach

The coach’s role in the program is to lead, motivate, and allow athletes to reach their maximum potential. Are you new to this?  Not to worry as almost all of our JR coaches start when their children enter the Club and we are here to help. The program is created in a format which allows coaches to work as a team to provide their group with the best experience. Each JR group will have a lead coach and an identified assistant coach, usually one of the parent’s interested in participating each week, who will be in charge of executing the lesson plans each week.

As the lead coach your key role includes:

  1. Teaching an effective series of skill development sessions to children in the FUNdamentals stage of athlete development;

  2. Providing a comfortable, safe, age-appropriate, ethical, encouraging, and enjoyable learning environment;

  3. Motivating children to learn more, ski more, and continue in the sport;

  4. Educating parents on the objectives and methodology of the program;

  5. Introducing children to the full-spectrum of cross-country skiing, encourage them to try every activity so they can pursue any opportunity in the sport.

Ref: (Coach Workbook, Sect. 1.2, p. 5)

For the duration of the 8 week program coaches will be using lesson plans for each practice, provided by the club, with an invitation for you to add your own flare to each session. An emphasis on fun activities to build skills according to the appropriate ski levels is the best way to keep focus during the session. The most important part of the program is building a love of skiing, having fun and developing friends that will support a positive self-image for children while being in the outdoors. Each lesson is structured the same way and there is plenty of time and space to modify the technique plans, games, and snack times to ensure a smoothly run practice.

Ref: (Community Coaching (CC), Sect. 5.2)

Each week you are in charge of coaching your group, observing skill progression, setting up your ski playground, and adding to the activity/lesson plan provided. It is always useful to over program and have a few games up your sleeve to avoid long pauses between activities.  When in doubt play a game or go exploring to give yourself time to think.

Along the lines of safety it is important that you have regular check-ins with every athlete and parent participating, it is easier for children to get cold so be mindful of that. After the first practice it will be clear which athlete isn’t appropriately dressed and it should be discussed with the parent’s before the next session. It can be difficult for parents who are new to the sport to not overdress (risk of sweating, getting wet, becoming cold) their children, or underdress (risk of being cold, frostbite).

Engaging children who may not want to be in the program can be one of the most difficult things to overcome as a coach, but there is always one activity that sparks motivation in any kid. Don’t be discouraged after the first session if something didn’t go as planned, children can be the most stubborn people, the way to overcome lack of engagement is over programming. Be prepared to switch the game as many times as it takes before having full participation, over programming is the key to always having something new to move onto when something doesn’t work. One might also consider making a game centred around learning technique or balance to avoid a typical “coach explaining something and then kids following along” situations. The more creative, hands on, and goofy you can be as a coach the more response you will get from the children. Each level of Jackrabbits has different technical skills. Each week they are outlined in a lesson plan and at the end of each session each athlete is given an evaluation on the learned skills.

Ref: (CC, Sect. 4.3)


Each level of Jackrabbits has different technical skills. Each week they are outlined in a lesson plan and at the end of each session each athlete is given an evaluation on the learned skills.

Season Plan

The Jackrabbit season begins the first weekend of January and runs until about the first weekend of March each year. It is an 8 week program the ends with a special celebration called the Jackrabbit Jamorbee!

The 2017 season begins January 6-7 and will end March 4. 

Lesson Plan

Lesson plans are designed on a weekly basis and they include a review of the previous lesson, new technique, game time, ski play, and snack break. The lesson is broken down into suggested time blocks for each activity and a description of the activity is also provided. The lesson plans provided are concrete examples that can be used directly or modified to meet your coaching needs or the needs of the group. 

Training Examples


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