10 Secrets To Skiing Success

10 Secrets To Skiing Success

By David Benzel

It’s common for the up-and-comers in any sport to wonder, “What does it take to make it big? What are the secrets to success?” There’s an underlying assumption that the secrets are hidden deep within the inner circles of the sport’s subculture, and nobody’s talking!

The secret of all secrets is that the successful development of a winner depends more on attitude than anything else.

I. Practice Being Passionate. Let your actions speak loud enough that you, and those you train with, are convinced you are committed to being the best you can be. The way you talk, walk, care for your equipment, encourage others and ski transmits a message about your true desire.

II. Assume Success. The question is not, “Will I ever reach my goal?” The only question should be, “When will I reach the goal I’ve set?” And then you should set that date so even this question has an answer. Self-doubt is an athlete’s worst enemy. Erase the possibility of failure from your mind. It is a “done deal.” Pick a reasonable time frame and build a plan around it. Target dates can be adjusted.

III. Be Patient With The Process. Becoming a champion is a process, not an event. Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first. Impatience breeds frustration, and frustration is an emotion that ruins concentration on the water. If you were certain of success, then patience would become your friend. Patience means every missed attempt and every missed attempt and every fall brings you one step closer to your goal.

IV. Celebrate Your Progress. Pat yourself on the back daily. A skier once told me he couldn’t pat himself on the back until he could jump 200 feet. I told him that in that case, he’d never jump 200 feet. Those are pretty strong words, but confidence comes from daily doses of self-encouragement. It takes a lot of confidence to jump 200 feet. Reward yourself for little accomplishments along the way.

V. Create “Newness”. In an effort to develop consistency, some skiers accidentally get stuck in a rut. When this happens, they stop experiencing new things and get stale. Experimentation is a tool for learning new sensations and staying fresh. Push your limits by trying new techniques or equipment. The status quo is comfortable, but growth comes from getting uncomfortable.

VI. Compete With Yourself. There are few things as rewarding as beating your best. Learn to focus on your performance goal rather than compare yourself with others. The performances of other athletes will always serve as a distraction, keeping you from the thoughts that produce your best results.

VII. Pay The Price. The great running back Walter Payton developed a training ritual of running up an extremely high hill in suburban Chicago as part of his private strength-building program. He would repeatedly run up the hill until he reached exhaustion. Then he would ascend the hill again anyway. Other players would come to run Walter’s hill with him, but they could never keep up or run it as many times as Payton. It is claimed that Payton’s ability to carry tacklers down the field for extra yardage was result of his “paying the price” over and over again on that hill. You too will pay a price. You will make some sacrifice to reach your goal.

VIII. Accept Ownership. Make this project yours. Blame no one for anything. Accept responsibility for your goals and dreams. Most of all, solve your problems. There will be times when you want to complain about everything from the weather to your boat driver. It’s your dream, and it’s your problem.

IX. Find A Role Model. When rookie fire fighters join a department, they are often assigned to a veteran who serves as a mentor. They respectfully call this arrangement “going with an old guy.” Why does a young rookie want to hang around an old guy? Because he’s alive. Experience is an incredible teacher. Find someone you admire and observe the training and performance behavior of this individual. If possible, develop a relationship that gives you the opportunity to talk about what works and what doesn’t.

X. Work In The Present. Glance at the past to see how far you’ve come. Look forward at where you plan to be, but spend the majority of time working in the present. Stay focused on each day’s training task. Do the work by skiing the passes. Those who do what others will not do will someday have what others cannot have.

Firsthand knowledge of these concepts will be yours if you treat them like healthy habits. They represent the side of skiing that some skiers never grasp because they assume this to be a purely physical sport. Well, it’s not. Learn the secrets.