In my final post of this past winter, I exhorted you to buy into the notion that Next Season Starts…NOW! With the prep period in full swing and the fall not far away, focusing on your mental training has never been more important. The prep period is an immensely important time to pursue your ski racing goals. You can get stronger, improve your ski technique and tactics (if you are getting on snow), and it’s also a great time to develop yourself mentally as well.
Confidence is one really important “muscle” you can strengthen in this off season. Building confidence is a slow process that takes time and a whole lot of effort. You can build confidence in every aspect of your summer training, from your conditioning to your on-snow training, even getting ahead in school.
Your motto during this important prep period should be: “Money in the bank, baby, money in the bank!” (it won’t work unless you say “baby”). What do I mean by that? Well, you should think of all of your preparations as deposits that you’re making in your ski racing “bank.” Your goal is to put as much “money” (i.e., effort, improvement) in the bank because the more confidence money you have in the bank, the bigger the withdrawal you can make when you’re in the starting gate next winter. What makes ski racing different from a bank account is that, in ski racing, there is no overdraft protection, meaning you can’t make withdrawals you can’t cover. In other words, you can only take out what you put into it.
I have two recommendations as you progress through the prep period.
First, as you work hard during this off-season, acknowledge all of the deposits you’ll making to your ski-racing bank account. Think of the hours of hard work you’ve put in in the gym, on the road, track, field, trail, and, of course, on the hill. Recognize the improvements you’ve made physically, technically, tactically, and mentally. Add up all those deposits and make note of the size of your account. Use those deposits to gain confidence in your ability to achieve your goals next season; the more “money” you have in the bank, the more confidence you will have.
Second, in these summer months, ask yourself how you can put even more money in the bank. What do you need to really work on during this period? Building your power and explosiveness? Some technical tweaking? Better nutrition? More sleep? Getting better at tuning your skis? Or honing some mental area such as your intensity or focus? Whatever it is, identify what you need to work on most and really commit these next months to making the most deposits to your bank account as possible.
Your goal, when you get in the starting gate next season, is to be able to say to yourself, “Money in the bank, baby, money in the bank!” Simply translated, this statement means “I’m as prepared as I can be to ski my fastest. Now it’s time to cash out!” When you kick out of the gate, you’ll know you’re ready to make a big, fat withdrawal that will enable you to ski as fast as you can. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee success, but, at the end of the race day, what more can you do.
Want to make mental training a part of your off-season training program? Take a look at my online mental training courses designed just for ski racers, coaches, and parents. Team discounts are available and coaches can attend for FREE with an enrollment of 15 athletes from a team.
Note: This article is updated presentation of a previously published article that never gets old.