Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - Coaching
Haywood Report: Moving Forward

- By: Dave Wood

The past few months have seen many exciting developments for cross-country skiing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, confirmation that World Cup skiing will return to Canada in 2005 and the Canmore Nordic Center upgrades. The next years hold great challenge for the National Ski Team athletes and staff and great opportunities! It is up to the Team to build upon the momentum of the past three years and show how capable we are.

Currently the Senior Team is in New Zealand for a three-week snow camp. A main goal for all the National Teams is to spend more time skiing in the summer. This will allow an increased workload without some of the wear and tear that goes with dry-land training. An advantage to heading south for the summer is improved quality of skiing, relative to the glacier skiing we normally have at this time of year. Here at the Snowfarm we can have great tracks in the morning and in the afternoon. The 2010 and 2014 Teams have also accumulated increased skiing time this year, between late spring and glacier camps. We believe we can make big increases in our physical and technical capacity with this program.

In recent years the competition calendar has expanded. It was not too long ago that the racing season began in mid-December and ended at the end of February. As the racing calendar is extended into November and March, the premium placed on summer and fall preparation grows. The days of “racing yourself into shape” are long gone. As well, teams are looking for new ways to train and prepare. The preparation for the NST is much different today than it was ten years ago. We constantly strive for better ways to develop our athletes to a level that will allow them to compete with the best in the world.

However, I believe that the biggest challenges for most Canadian athletes are in other areas. Do we believe we can be competitive at the highest level? Do we recognize what the real challenges are? Are we ready to commit 100%, not 99%? Do we realize who the competition is? Can we develop a culture of excellence? Will we become good at being good?

For the 2002 OWG, the Canadian Team went to Salt Lake City (SLC) believing and practicing these points. I believe that this was as big a factor in our Olympic success.

Imagine the level to which cross-country skiing in Canada could rise if all skiers and coaches practiced and worked in these psychological areas, as well as the physical training.

Imagine the results that could be achieved if all challenges – not just the obvious ones - where met head on and surpassed.

Imagine the productive environment that could be created if all coaches and all athletes contributed to a stronger Canadian program with positive rivalry and pride.

Imagine the level an athlete could attain if the focus was on planning, execution, evaluation and learning instead of “overtraining”.

The next years can be great if we can rise to these challenges and meet them head on.

“It is only the truly committed that can rise above mediocrity”.

Haywood WC Report is powered by Haywood Securities Inc., proud sponsor of the Senior National Cross Country Ski Team

Source: Cross Country Canada

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