XCZone.tv studios is a trusted source for instructional and motivational multimedia. They are the producers of many cross-country ski action adventure movies as well as demonstrative videos. Most skiers in the Ottawa area will be familiar with the faces behind the cameras; athletes, coaches and ski enthusiasts Dave McMahon and Lise Meloche. Dave and Lise have been making a unique contribution to our sport by bringing spectacular and innovative footage of all kinds of cross-country skiing and aerobic sports to life on video, helping to promote the sport and modernize its image.
I received a copy of the "Nordic Ski Training Secrets for High Performance Sport" DVD in October and have slowly watched/listened to the entire 9 hours. There's beautiful cinematography and action clips, but what this set of DVDs attempts to do is answer any and all questions about xc ski training. It's an all encompassing look at the requirements and training methods of cross-country skiing. In their own words...
"... [it] reveals the most successful methods of World Class athletes, and is guaranteed to streamline your efforts, build sports-specific fitness and deliver tangible results. Begin a deep-dive exploration of applied sports physiology, psychology and pedagogy - a journey that exposes the secrets of elite fitness in high-performance sport. The product is a complete synthesis of the most successful medal winning programs and advice by a pedigree of scientists, coaches and elite athletes."
These DVDs definitely provide a lot of in depth knowledge of sports physiology, general training principles, ski training exercises and techniques, as well as looking at the training methodology to other sports. If you can think of any word specific to skiing, I would wager there is a chunk of time devoted to a discussion of the topic in these DVDs someplace. Just have a look at the list of topics: http://www.xczone.com/newskitrgcontent.htm
14 minute video about the book from xczone
Along with the educational information are candid interviews, discussions and frank advice from athletes that have experienced the theory and application of all the topics. This video brings together not only the ski training knowledge of Dave and Lise, but that of many, many others - athletes, coaches and sports physiologists . Athletes include Thomas Alsgaard, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Beckie Scott. Coaches are interviewed from biathlon and skiing as well as other sports like canoe-kayak and running. This is where the "secrets" as mentioned in the title are revealed. Listening to all the interviews you learn that there are no secrets, just fundamental truths that apply to all sports. They start with learning about the sport and training, practice and eventually experience. That's what it takes to succeed. Have a look at the talent and credentials of those making appearances: http://www.xczone.com/newskitrgtalent.htm .
So if it's an in-depth study and set of interviews, it's only applicable to elite racers right?
Not true. If you're the parent of a child who has joined a ski club or someone just getting started in skiing the DVD can be used to familiarize yourself with ski terminology, training fundamentals and the development path for ski training. You will learn "why" behind the workouts that ski coaches prescribe. This makes it a valuable tool for coaches, parents and young athletes. At the same time the demonstrative nature of a lot of the material will provide insight and inspiration to spice up any training program; useful for intermediate to skiers and coaches alike. There's a lot in there for anyone interested in skiing for fitness or racing.
Like all XCZone.tv videos the cinematography was beautiful and fluid. While I'm not usually one for watching talking heads I did really enjoy the athlete and coach interviews. You won't find the cliche filled interviews you get with pro-sports athletes, but rather candid and forthcoming answers and information. For those two reasons alone it is worth purchasing. Add to that the demonstration of all offseason training methods; drills, strength exercises, plyometrics, etc. and it makes the price a real deal.
However, I did find the narrator distracting after awhile. I tired of his voice and found that it gave the impression you are watching an infomercial. That's unfortunate, since the actual content is first rate. Don't let this dissuade you from watching the entire DVD though. My advice is to break up your viewing into manageable sittings. Maybe even have it on in the background for several days while you do other things and tune in when something catches your attention. Just like a university lecture you can only absorb so much of this dense information at one time, so pace yourself.
This leads me to my second criticism. While the DVD is broken into chapters, it's hard to navigate to the content for reference. It would be nice to have a time line as a reference so that you don't have to search through all 9 hours of video for those drills or exercises you wanted to try. This maybe available in the Coaches Toolkit that provides ipod/mobile videos as a portable reference, but that's a separate purchase. A better indexing system would have been nice.
Overall this offering is solid. If you are a skier at any level, beginner to elite, there's something in these DVDs you can benefit from. It will provide coaches with a means to quickly bring athletes and parents up to speed on training plans, help athletes learn to plan for themselves and provide skiers with much to discuss on those long skis.
Full disclosure: XCOttawa skiers are featured in this DVD. We don't profit from it's sale. We do strongly support its sale, however, in order to encourage and inform skiers about the sport we love.
XCZone.tv have numerous other videos, DVDs and CDs on the market including: On Snow, Tao of Skiing, The Fundamentals of XC Skiing Technique, Learn to Nordic Ski, Unlimited Nordic Skiing, Nordic Skiing Technique, Nordic Ski Walking, Art of Nordic Skiing, Original Cross-Country Skiing Technique Fundamentals, Ski Fitness and the XC Ski Club DVD.