2023 US Pettit Junior Development Camp

As July ends, so does the US Pettit Junior Development Camp. The camp ran from July 18th to July 29th, with 25 skaters from different speed skating teams in the United States and China participating. The camp was hosted at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The camp was led by Ming Gao, and assisted by Hongyang Wang and Jori Kola. Ming Gao was a former Chinese Short Track National Team Member, World Champion, the coach of the Chinese Junior National Short Track Speed Skating Hungary-based Team, and is a level 2 US Speedskating Certified Coach. Coach Hongyang is a level 3 US Speedskating Certified Coach, and Jori Kola is a level 2 US Speedskating Certified Coach.

At the camp, skaters took on incredibly difficult workouts, including exhausting volume workouts, interval training, and practicing relay and speed laps. Here, the coaches demonstrated their excellent ability to coordinate the skaters together, as well as organize groups efficiently. Coach Gao was amazing at motivating the skaters when they had nearly nothing in the tank and gave them his personal coaching advice from his rich background of teaching world-class athletes. When asked about the goal of the camp, Coach Gao stated that “The group of skaters that I have coached over the course of this camp are on the pipeline to being the next generation’s elite national level speed skaters, and besides teaching them all the important elements of speedskating, this camp is designed to pave the path to long-term athletic development for the youth skaters in order for success to come.” Coach Hongyang, as an assistant coach of this camp, showed the skaters his advice on the technical side of speedskating, while Coach Jori assisted in this as well as continuously pushing the skaters to never give up.

Alongside the strict training regiment, the skaters were given world-class advice from Dan Jr. Fiorenza, who is an International Speed Skating Union Level 5 Referee. Dan gave the skaters an in-depth explanation for the regulations, rules and when and how these rules will come into practice on the ice. The skaters took away a plethora of speedskating knowledge from this seminar, especially during the interactive Q & A section.

In conclusion, the Pettit Junior Development Camp was a success for many skaters to maximize their skating ability. In the words of Carolyn Spiewak, the speedskating director of the Pettit National Ice Center, We really thank everyone for participating in this camp at the Pettit. As a designated training site for US Speedskating and host facility for the Jr National Development Program Regional Training Center, we are so proud of you. Everyone did a fantastic job, coaches and skaters alike. We especially want to acknowledge and thank our tremendous coaches for bringing their expertise and positive coaching style to practice every day. Their leadership helps us all to grow both on and off the ice.”

By Aidan Liu – short track speed skater from the Pettit National Ice Center Short Track Junior Development Program