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10 Commandments of a ski racer
By:  Colin Abbott   (2014/11/08)


10 Commandments of a ski racer:

  1. Thou Shalt have no other sport before skiing.

If you want to be good at skiing, it needs to be a priority. You canít expect to race your best if youíre doing another sport most of the time.

  1. Thou Shalt not ski faster than you have trained

How much and how well you train is directly proportional to how good you are. At anything. However, this comes with some caveats. Training too much can be as bad for your racing or worse than training too little. Knowing how to ride the line between too much training and too little is a skill that is developed through experience. Rest is key. How much time you devote to sleep, afternoon naps, stretching, physio and mental relaxation is the yin to the yang of physical training. Also, you actually have to train fast to race fast. Intensity, speed and explosive strength training are essential to learning how to move your body faster and more efficiently.

  1. Thou Shalt not curse thy skis, or thy wax tech.

The problem is probably not your skis. Or your coach. Or your wax tech. How well do you know your skis? Probably not well enough. How much GOOD feedback do you give your techs? Probably not enough. Saying ďI was slippingĒ probably isnít good enough. Take responsibility for your training, your skis and your race prep, including testing. Learn what conditions your skis are good in. Donít bring more skis than necessary to a race. Keep things simple: 1 pair of klister skis. 1 pair of hardwax skis. 1 pair of zeros. 1 pair soft snow skate skis. 1 pair of cold skate skis. If your skis are reasonable good, this will have you covered for 95% of all races, and the races they wonít cover you for everyone else will be screwed too so it wonít matter.

  1. Remember the Rest day, to keep it holy.

See commandment 2. Ideally, a rest day is a break mentally as well as physically. True recovery happens when your brain is relaxed as well as your body. This can be difficult but not impossible to do while attending university or working.

  1. Honor Thy team and Thy coach.

Your team is your support group, your friends and your family during race season. Some of the only people that really understand what you do are your teammates. Respect them, suffer with them and celebrate with them. Your coach is your best resource. They want you to be the best you can be and can offer a unique perspective on how to get there. Discuss your strengths and weaknesses and goals and be open to critical feedback. Remember, they want to help you.

6.Thou Shalt finish thy race.

Finish your race. Do it. The walk of shame back to the stadium is a terrible feeling and itís possible to make a habit of it. When you start a race, you should never be thinking that dropping out is an option. If something goes wrong, use the rest of the race as a training opportunity. Refocus, and as long as you arenít really injured, get it done! youíll feel better about yourself in the long run and itís good training.

  1. Thou Shalt not race in another racerís bib.

This covers other dumb stuff like showing up to a classic race with skate boots, testing skis that still have travel wax on them, missing your start, forgetting your wind briefs etc. Most of this stuff you wonít get in trouble for, but taking someone elses bib and racing for them will, especially if you win the race: http://fasterskier.com/article/dubay-discusses-mistake-birkie-dq/. As a side note, this is probably one of the most commented on articles on Fasterskier, ever.

  1. Thou Shalt not dope.

Donít even think about it.

  1. Thou Shalt respect thy competitor and honor his race.

At the end of the day it doesnít matter if youíre first or last, no matter how much it might seem that way. This is easy to know superficially and difficult to understand deeply. You should know if you had a good race before you see the results. Satisfaction with racing needs to come from your ability to push your body, ski beautifully and do the best with what you have on any given day. Know that everyone out there is probably trying just as hard as you are and is probably suffering just as much as you are. Therefore, respect your competitor and respect their result.

  1. Thou Shalt not covet thy competitorís ability.

This ties in with #9. In most races, on most days, someone will be faster than you. We commonly interpret this to mean they are ďbetterĒ than us. This can be a discouraging thought and is probably the main reason more people donít race. Why race when you are constantly compared to others and judged to be inferior? A different way to look at this is necessary if we are to enjoy racing. Know that everyones ability is temporary. In a few years, the skiers that are the fastest now will start to slow down, and the skiers that are mid-pack will be faster. Someone will always be younger and faster than you, and someday you will be older and slower than you are now so why worry about it? Instead, do only what you can to ski your fastest. Frame your results within your ability. Was that the best you could do on that day? If yes, then be happy! if no, then learn what you can from that race and move on.†

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