What is it that we’re training?

Easy, right? We’re training ski technique, turn concepts and mechanics. We’re training jumping through trampoline skills, form and even working into routines and sequences of bounces. We’re training strength, power and speed in the weight room, on speed ladders and on the box. If you go a step deeper than that we’re learning ideas and principles of sport. Through regular practices we’re learning commitment to sport. Balancing school or work and the demands of training we’re learning to prioritize and balance our lives. We’re getting ready to compete, but what is it we’re really training?

If you look at the sheer volume of the training and the variety of the training it would be hard to find the common element that holds it all together. Does better performance in skiing really justify all that we do? What we really train day in and day out is the ability to bring out our best effort. So, no matter what the avenue of the training, the goal is to fully engage in that day’s training. If it’s a ski training, we’re seeking the right energy, feeling and focus for our best skiing. If it’s trampoline, it’s the same. Even for a team sport like soccer, it’s the same, too. We train to bring out our best energy and to meet that day’s challenges.

Arguably, that’s what you face in competition: what are the challenges that day and how will you face them, how well can you respond to everything that is thrown at you?

It begins with your warm up. Your warm up preparation is not just an exercise you go through because it has been proscribed by your trainers. Your warm up routine is telling you what you are going to need physically and mentally that day to ski your best. The question is: are you ready to receive the information that you need? Are you receptive to how you are feeling and to getting information from your own body? Likewise, if your coach is feeding you information about a tactic or a technique are you able to put it into action? Are you coping and processing information from others or are you only ready to accept certain kinds of input given to you in certain ways?

The variety and complexity of training should prepare you for any event to deal with information from a variety of sources both internal and external. If you are ready to engage in all forms of training, then you are learning to engage in sport. If you’re only willing to engage in bits and pieces of training, then you’re not preparing, you’re defining your limitations. If you can only engage in competition on your own terms, then you’re not ready to compete. Competition happens when everyone agrees to engage, it doesn’t wait for you to be ready or conform to your wishes.

“You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you comeback and prepare to win again.” – Pat Riley