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A Note on Team Selection

Thu, Jan  25, 2007 - By Pete Vordenberg -

Small reminder...

(I stole this from a posting from before Nationals last year.  The J1, world junior, U23 and World's teams were named just a while ago...)

When it comes to team selection there is generally a small crew of racers who are clear choices to the national team or to championship teams such as an Olympic or World Championships.  These are the skiers who consistently place among the best in the country and who in some cases have been among the best in the world.

There is generally a larger crew of racers who are on the bubble of being named to such teams.  They are on the bubble because they are either inconsistently among the best in the country or because they consistently place just below the best in the country.

When you are on the bubble you are either one of the last people to be picked to a National or Championship team or one of the first to be left off the team.

I am familiar with life on the bubble.  I spent the first half of my career looking up at the bottom of the bubble, the too-short middle section of my career established within the team and the latter part again riding the bubble.

There were coaching decisions that I disagreed with and which had they been different might have been beneficial to my career.  That is difficult to say, however it is easy to say that I was the one who put myself on the bubble rather than on the team.  I was in charge of being either a clear choice or a questionable choice.  Too often I was a questionable choice.  My results, my performance and my preparation were my responsibility.

Good results result from performance and performance from preparation.  Preparation is not just training.  It is also a matter of taking care of your health, making smart choices when it comes to racing, training, resting and lifestyle.  It is often simply a matter of being honest with yourself, putting yourself in a position to be lucky rather than unlucky and ultimately making the most of every opportunity.

Athletes must take responsibility for their preparation, performance and ultimately for where they find their name on the result sheet.

All of this being true perhaps the biggest mistake I made as an athlete was not the things I did which put me on the bubble but losing momentum when I wasn’t named to a team.  I quit too soon.

This sport takes a long time to perfect not only because the time it takes to develop physiologically but because it takes time to dial in all the small aspects of training, resting and lifestyle, and to learn to make good choices.  This, including not being named to teams, is all a part of the process.

Do Not Quit Now.  Keep training, keep learning, keep dreaming and keep going.  There are races next week, races next month, world championships next year, and Olympics in four more years.  Now is the time to recommit not quit.

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