.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Athlete's Diary: Tom McCarthy - Winning and Learning
By:  Tom McCarthy   (2006/01/30)


Iím sitting here in a Vancouver hotel room, on beautiful Burrard Street, with some time on my hands. Iím here for work, and my thoughts are turning to the Eastern Canadian champs this weekend. I hope I wonít be jetlagged, because I return on Wednesday! Although it would have been nice to race against Ivan, he is off to a bigger race Ė the biggest on the planet Ė with a fair to good medal chance, and I wish him all the best at that event.

Maybe now I can win Easterns!! I know, youíre never supposed to say that, but winning is one of the things I want to talk about in this entry. Two weeks ago, I won the Quebec sprint championships Ė sprint racing is hard to win, mentally, with a whole bunch of little races packed into one. I donít mean to sound cocky at all when I talk about winning, because I have not won many races in my time as an athlete. What I do want to say about winning is that I think it is hard to learn; it requires a different mental approach. It is almost a different skillset that you have learn. Itís about walking into every race with the goal of actually winning, and racing with that in your head. But itís about more than that; itís somehow about knowing you can win. And I think, in order to do that, you have to Ďwork your way upí with winning. You have to start by winning the littler local races; focus on those until you can win them, then go up a level, maybe to provincial races. Win those, and every time you win, learn from winning. Keep moving up levels. Hey, and if you need to, organize your own race so you can win!!!

Anyway, thatís just a thought; maybe itís right and maybe it isnít. If it is right, I certainly didnít learn that soon enough! But Iím gonna see if I can win Easterns this weekend; itís worth a try, right?

The next thing I wanted to mention is about self-improvement. I did a classic interval workout last week, and it was terrible. I felt terrible, almost got dropped by Ed and P-O, and coach John confirmed that I looked terrible. I couldnít choose a technique, had no grip on a pretty easy grip day, and every time I transitioned techniques, I would basically stop. So the next I went out and worked on transitions, and tried to figure out what went wrong. Well, I think I got it; I think I wasnít bending at my knee enough or staying low enough when I went to transition to striding. I remember the ski-striding drills of the summer, when John would tell us to get low. I skied a bunch like that, and moving from double-pole kick to stride seems to grab more when the knee is very bent. Anyway, the point of the note is just to say that when something is wrong, itís worth taking the time to think about it and play with it to try and fix it. Donít just assume itíll get better, because it probably wonít.

Thatís all for now.


Interesting Reading. . .
Interested in supporting XC Ottawa or advertising on our site? Email: info@xcottawa.ca.
© Copyright 2001-2006, www.xcottawa.ca. All Rights Reserved. Contact us before re-publishing anything seen here.