The principles of psychological training do not differ between sports, only the specifics of the sport change. I will start this series of articles with information specifically dedicated to the seasonality of downhill skiing to consider at the end of the season, but the information will be useful to many athletes. After a long winter and a quality training process, at the beginning of the off-season, it is finally time to sort out the school, relax and prepare for the summer, but later also for the new winter season. However, when thinking about the end of the previous season, it would be advisable to follow the principle of an old saying: those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past will repeat the past. In other words, if you are not fully aware of the positive things of the past season and do not evaluate the negative ones so that they will not be repeated, your way up is likely to be delayed.
Evaluate the season wisely
First of all, look back at the season just ended and evaluate how you went about it. Ask yourself (including your coaches and parents) several important questions:
- Did you reach your goals last season? If so, why? If not, why not?
- What are you grateful for last season?
- Which three things did you enjoy the most and why?
- Which three things failed, what is the plan to fix them?
- What are your goals for next season and summer?
- What qualities do you want to strengthen before the start of next season?
- Have you found your routine or a specific thing that helps you be in the best shape?
- What was missing from the training last season (physical, technical, tactical, mental)?
- How willing are you to work to achieve your goals for next season?
- What psychological qualities do you want to improve to take yourself to the next level?
Once you have answered these questions yourself, evaluate with your trainers and parents what has worked out in your training and what should be improved. By gathering all this information, it will be possible to create a better plan that will help you better prepare for the next season and allow you to drive faster and endure more during it.
After a long training and competition season, the schedule is significantly different. The snow has melted, the training on the hill is over, there are currently no trips abroad. This is the right time to relax and recharge for a long time next season, starting with physical training. Throughout the season, we have tried to do our best, to get better and better with each training and to achieve the highest possible results in the competition, so at this stage my recommendation would be to start calmly and gradually.
Until the next winter competition season at least another six months. There is a lot of time and your maximum form of preparation should be reached only then. Therefore, my recommendation from the point of view of physical and psychological fitness would be to start gradually with light physical activity, increasing the load by weeks and months, not days. Not all forces are put out, but the form is gradually brought to the maximum over a period of six months.
Preparation is important
How you do next season depends on the work you do this spring, summer and fall. Improving your physical condition, strengthening your technical qualities, as well as developing your psychological skills will be a determining factor in achieving your goals. Here are three directions to focus on to maximize season readiness.
First, commit to intense physical training. Downhill skiing is becoming an increasingly physical sport. It takes muscle, strength and speed, as well as endurance, dexterity and, of course, courage. The only way to improve each of these qualities is to have an organized training program throughout the preparation season.
Second, most downhill skiers spend part of the preparation season on the snow. This is a very important aspect of preparation, because when skiing in the summer, it is possible to pay more attention to the basics without too much pressure, waiting for the dates of the competition. This is the time to get used to new equipment, strengthen your posture and cutting trajectory, work on the details and eliminate mistakes.
In conclusion, but just as important – this stage is the best time to work on mental readiness. Like physical and technical characteristics, psychological ones take time and effort to strengthen. An organized psychological training program can significantly help you move closer to your goals and achieve higher results.
In order to get ready for the season well, it is important to be aware of how important it is for you to achieve your goals and prove yourself in sports. Before the summer stage, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- How big are your goals for next season and do you believe that you will be able to achieve them?
- How much are you willing to work to develop yourself in the best possible shape?
- How much do you want to achieve your goals in sports and how far are you ready to go?
The key to next season’s goals is to start now! It’s easy to say you want to be a good athlete. It is a completely different thing – to be aware and do the necessary work to become one. If you have set big goals for yourself, the only way to achieve them is to get in the mood and do intense physical, technical and mental training until the beginning of the season. Your goal should be that when you get to the start of the first race, you are confident: “I did my best in the preparation phase!” To take over the feeling that you are fully prepared to show your best performance. And with the content of all the hard preparatory work you have stored in your readiness bank, the chances of achieving your goals and having a successful season are high enough.
Good luck preparing!
Also read the article in the magazine Sports Newspaper in the June issue! If you want to read the contents of the magazine in printed format in the future, you can subscribe to it HERE!