Provided by Rob Boyd Whistler Mountain Mountain Ski Club
May 7, 2014
Well, it seems like the skis are barely dried off from a long winter of playing, training, racing and zipping around the hill - but next ski season for most racers starts in mid May (if it hasn’t already!).
While National teams are selecting their new recruits for the 2014-15 season and Provincial teams are planning out their summer fall and winter training plans, the clubs are working out summer camp logistics and athletes are setting their goals for next season. And the coaches? We’re all figuring out how we can do a better job at inspiring, challenging, motivating, enabling and firing up our racers to surpass their wildest dreams next season – with an ultimate goal of one day, having some of our athletes stand atop a World Cup or Olympic podium saying “Thanks coach!!”.
But for us to be able to help you reach those goals we need to know – what is your dream goal and how badly do you want it to become reality? What is it that you really want out of ski racing? Is it the competition, the camaraderie with your friends, is it to become a better person that can handle pressure and adversity, to conquer fears and become a victor of your own destiny? Perhaps it’s to be able to beat your parents or siblings down the hill… whatever your reason for ski racing, you will learn many life lesson from the commitment, dedication, preparation and goal setting to reach whatever you want in your life.
So, I challenge you now to reflect back on the past season, think about what it was you wanted to achieve… Perhaps it was qualifying for BC Winter Games, podium finish in Western Champs or to win Whistler Cup… think about your past goals (hopefully you wrote them down in your journal) and check off what you achieved, what you didn’t and then start to jot down what your future goals are.
Here’s a quick exercise for you – on a piece of paper, title the top of the page My Ski Racing Goals for 2015, then draw a big cross in the middle to make four quadrants. Label them Physical, Technical, Mental and Equipment. Now, what’s the first thing that comes to mind for each of these areas that you could improve? Write them down in their respective boxes. If you have more things come to mind, write them down too.
Now, pin, tape or staple this sheet to on a wall, fridge or mirror where you will see it often and be able to add to it as things come to mind.
If you wan to get more detailed with each of these goals (which you should over the summer) think back to your physical preparedness from last season. What did you do leading up to the winter that was really helpful? What was worked best in preparing you for optimal performances? What do you want to improve on, fix or learn for next season? Write those down under Physical.
Same thing for Technical, what part of your turn needs improving to build and carry more speed? What are some common mistakes that cost you time and speed? Many of these technical goals can be worked on in the off season by applying them to the next section which is Mental.
Mental rehearsal and positive self image is a huge factor in reaching goals – at all levels! Yes, even Erik Guay, Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shifferin and Tina Maze spend a lot of time improving their mental skills. If you can see it and feel it (whatever the technical skill is you’re focusing on) being done correctly in your mind’s eye, then you will be able to do it correctly when you get back on snow. Mental skills are vastly overlooked and undervalued at the development levels. The sooner you can master these, the bigger the advantage you’ll have over the competition.
Are your skis tuned, waxed and put away properly for the summer? Boots in good shape or do you need new ones for next season? Any equipment needs, changes or upgrades should be jotted down as reminders…
Your coach should have shared with you (or will be soon) a summer dryland plan which is should outline optimal progression of the energy systems. This is all pretty technical/scientific stuff that specialists have shared for our dryland planning needs, but it’s good for you as athletes to become knowledgeable to understand the why, how and when to get the most out of your workouts.
· Aerobic (endurance) – good to work on lots in early off season, helps with recovery during and between workouts;
· Anerobic Alactic (sprint/explosive power) – gets you out of the start gate fast, builds speed in the first 5 - 10 seconds of the course;
· Anerobic Lactic (continual power output with the lactic acid building and flushing) – this is the most important energy system for ski racing.
So, in essence, I’m saying if you really want to get good, better or become the best in your sport, then a clear set of goals are essential. It’s like a road map to get you to your destination. Trust me, I know. I’ve experienced it as an athlete and seen it as a coach. If you don’t have a fitness program yet, ask you coach for advice. Get a training partner, join a group or gym and get going on next year. And… I look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Alpine Athletic Challenge!!
Rob Boyd skied in the World Cup for 12 years, won several medals, and is currently Sport Development Manager - athletics, coaching, DMNTC for Whistler Mountain Ski Club firstname.lastname@example.org