By Martinique Davis
by Martinique Davis
Sep 08, 2005 | 698 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If there is one thing freestyle skier Caleb Martin knows - an athlete who made the U.S. Ski Team at age 16 - it's the importance of coaching. Last week, the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club promoted Martin, former top-ranking U.S. Ski Team member and last year's TSSC freestyle head coach, to program director. Martin will continue his duties as head coach, while expanding his reach to shape the growing program.

"I don't plan on changing much at the outset," Martin said. "In the last three years, there has been great improvement, and I plan on continuing that growth and maturation process. But I do want to work on keeping kids in the program, and providing the best coaching they can get."

Martin spent eight years with the U.S. Ski Team, culminating in 1999 when he was ranked third in the world and first in the U.S. in mogul skiing. However, five knee surgeries in four years ultimately forced him to leave competitive skiing. Through Martin's experience with the ski team, he not only learned that he wanted to become a coach, he also gained a first-hand appreciation for the value of quality guidance.

"I learned a lot from my career," he said. "The importance of having goals and of reaching out to all aspects of being an athlete. My coaching style reflects this, but it primarily is based in giving the skiers strong fundamentals. You may only have a handful of kids who want to compete at the highest levels or that even want to take freestyle to the limit, but all the kids in the program will learn skills that they will be able to use all their lives."

For the handful of kids who do have their eyes on the prize, Martin is dedicated to helping them get there. He cites an especially proud moment seeing TSSC's Jimmy Discoe on the podium at nationals last year, and promises to help similarly aspiring skiers achieve their grandest ambitions.

"Training, competing and working toward something you set for yourself gives people a work ethic, and everyone on my team will have a goal," Martin said. "We have a real opportunity right in our back yard, and though everyone may not have the same goals, when you are raising the bar for everyone, you bring up the level of the whole program. If a kid wants to make the World Cup, we'll set out the steps needed to get there."

TSSC Executive Director Justin Chandler also sees the dedication and experience Martin brings to the program as the ultimate fit for this booming discipline, which has gained national recognition in recent years.

"The program will only continue to grow under his direction," said Chandler. "He specifically has had huge success with the mogul team, taking as many kids to nationals as any other program. He has a vision of new directions and is dedicating some focus to freeride and big mountain, which all sprouted from freestyle."

Martin, who moved to Telluride from Rumford, Me. at age 12, has called Telluride home ever since. And though he loves the small mountain community, he also feels that travel and the exposure kids get through the ski program can be one of the greatest benefits.
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