Category Archives: The Internship

Agility training for Alpine Skiers (and all sports!) involves “Reactive Work”

If you’re not familiar with the sport of Alpine Skiing, it is essentially a race down a snowy mountain with continuous changes of direction around poles and on skis of course.  From technical to speed disciplines (SL, GS, SG & DH), gates get further apart, skis get longer and speeds get much faster.  In my opinion, this makes it an agility-based sport.  As recent definitions of agility seem to include the “response to an external stimulus” aspect alongside the “whole body change of direction” I’d understand if you were to argue against me.  (Again if you’re not familiar with the sport, athletes do inspect the course before the race so they have the opportunity to memorise and visualize each turn, thus you’d think most movements are preplanned.)  However as athletes speed toward each gate, I’d argue they are still adjusting to what’s in front of them, it’s unlikely that every turn will be perfect, snow moves, you can lose balance for a split second or make a mistake and thus reaction speed is also a huge key to their change of direction ability when competing or even training for that matter.

marc oliveras slalom

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What some Universities don’t tell you: An open letter to all Sports Science/S&C students, especially those considering it

Working in elite sport or any sport for that matter is an extremely rewarding career.  I consider myself very fortunate to have the position and experience I hold and consciously appreciate it every single day.  I’m all about pursuing your passion and doing what you love in life.  I understand why it appears so attractive to young individuals/aspiring coaches.  I would like to offer some simple advice and an honest perspective.

caution-sign

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Adaptability part 2: The Athlete (and a few coaching principles to live by)

In the last post (part 1), I tried to highlight the importance of being adaptable as an S&C coach by illustrating some examples and exercises based on my experiences.  Mostly this was focussed around adapting to technical coaches.  In this post I’m going to focus on the athlete and try to illustrate that whilst theoretical case studies are great at university, in the real world nothing ever goes perfectly to plan and physical development is a messy non linear process.

nothing goes to plan

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Adaptability part 1: The Coach

One of the greatest things I think I’ve learnt from working in Alpine skiing is the importance of adaptability.  Or even what it really means to be adaptable.  I can’t say that this has been the easiest of lessons for someone who likes structure, processes and effective organisation; for most of my experiences have been gained from sports with regular schedules that rarely change and work towards fixed events that aren’t likely to change (Rugby and Diving).  So what does it really mean to be adaptable and why is it so important?  Well hopefully I can illustrate that through a few short stories of my own experiences.  For the sake of making this easier to read (and write!), I’m going to break this down and publish it in two parts.

Part 1: Adapting to the coach

adjust sails

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The Internship

interns

I’ve had this idea for over a year now and it’s about time I made it a reality.  Originally I was going to build a website specifically for the task, but as its not as important as my paid job and my workload is forever increasing, in the words of Seth Godin I just need to get on and “ship”.

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