It is Light Bulb Time
A Note from Pete Vordenberg, Head Coach of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
This is a message to the U.S. Cross Country Ski Racing Community. If we want to win medals internationally two basic things are true and vital. One – this task rests on us. We are the solution; there is no one else. Two – Now is the time. There is no tomorrow; it is all about what we do today.
The U.S. Ski Team has solidified its plan for the year. We have two teams. One team is focused on international success now – the World Cup team, the other is focused on more long-term goals – the Continental Cup team. These two teams fulfill the two top levels of the U.S. development pipeline.
We are also expanding our efforts below the continental cup team. While there is overlap and partnerships between the USST and the community at all levels of the pipeline it is the work below these levels that require more focus. There are athletes on the USST who are also members of other teams. This gives us a great opportunity to work together at the World Cup and Continental Cup level with other teams, coaches and athletes in the community.
Beyond this the USST has for over 8 years been attending Regional Elite Group camps as its key grass-roots effort. At many of these R.E.G camps we’ve done additional coaches education workshops and clinics. Every other year we also run a national coaches conference. To kick off our education material efforts we have created a technique video. We view this video as the beginning to the development of our education materials and program.
(look for the video and other great education videos at http://shop.usskiteam.com/store/home.php?cat=251 ).
While we continue to develop all these programs we felt it was necessary to make one thing very clear and address it immediately. Our youth athletes must raise their level of training in the most basic way: they must train more. The best junior women in the world took medals at both Junior World Championships and at Senior World Championships. These juniors are training over 600 and even over 700 hours of good, quality cross country ski training a year.
While the U.S. Ski Team has been stepping up it programs at all levels Team Today too is hard at work. Team Today’s first step in this direction was hiring Jonathan Rova as its new leader. Jonathan has been busy restructuring Team Today as well as working with the USST coaching staff on developing a program aimed at addressing our very basic junior training needs as well as helping bridge the gaps between the USST, junior clubs, coaches and athletes, the ski industry and ski supporters.
This program is the Team Today U.S. Ski Team Club Kilometer Contest. The goal main goal of contest is dangerously simple: reward those who train the most. I say dangerous because more isn’t always better. And in some cases more is worse. Skiers and coaches must monitor themselves and their athletes for over-training, raise training volume correctly, skiers should generally take one day off per week, skiers must monitor their diet and sleep and make sure they are maintaining the appropriate weight for short and long term health... AND, this is the simple part, if they want to win Olympic medals they had better train at least as much as their peers. Please read below for more information on the contest.
All are invited to participate in the contest – clubs, coaches and athletes can measure themselves against their peers, and step up their training. They can also get info on training from the USST as well as their peer coaches, industry can volunteer donations for the winners of the contest and supporters of U.S. skiing can donate money or miles to Team Today and/or the U.S. Ski Team.
Boulder Nordic Sport (www.bouldernordicsport.com) has already pleged a donation - we are underway! Why don't you be the next?
A light bulb must go off above all our heads simultaneously. BING! We are all where the buck stops. BING! Now is the time. BING! We must prepare to win!
Lastly – BING! Our energy use is affecting our weather and our planet. Besides the much grander environmental, health, social, political, economic and even national defense reasons to cut our individual energy use we need snow to ski on! That is no joke. As another part of this contest we are asking each of you to swap out at least one inefficient light bulb in your home for an energy efficient bulb.
No one but us will do it. And tomorrow is too late.
Lets do it today.
Shaping the future of our sport, on and off the snow.