Learning from a champion - There is no off-season!
The 2020/2021 World Cup Ski season is now over and preparation for the next season has already started. Some athletes will go home and rest and catch up with family and friends, while others will stay on snow to test new skis for the upcoming season. Whatever an athlete decides to do, it is part of the overall plan to get ready for the opening races in October.
For the very best in the world, every day is a work day, whether sleeping in late, spending time on a faraway beach or testing skis, nothing is taken for granted in the preparation process. This process also includes analyzing the season and looking for areas that need improvement. Whether it is a physical deficit, technical weakness, equipment issue or staff question any and all problems are addressed to make the upcoming season better than the one just finished.
With all of this data from the season that just ended a champion racer creates a schedule such that every training session has a specific goal. While the overall goal for any great champion is to win every race, reaching that goal requires that every training session is done with intent and purpose. There is no “easy day” as even easy days are part of the plan.
Having a preparation plan and then completing such a plan allows a racer to stand in the starting gate on opening day ready to win. A racer who stands in the starting gate and knows that he or she has done everything possible to be ready for that moment cannot help, but to be absolutely confident. Because at that moment, when the timer starts to beep and the racer is about to push out of the gate, that racer knows that he or she has spent every day and every moment preparing to ski that course.
One of ski racing's greatest racers of a generation and a definite for the list of all time greats told me during our interview - "I was eating in July so that I could win ski races in the Fall". This mindset, during the preparation season is what it takes to be the best in the world.