Sports Performance Season Overview

Check out this newsletter that covers all of the developments our Sports Performance Program has embarked on this year!!!  The Winter Park Competition Center is very proud of its commitment to supporting every avenue of athleticism and personal growth, and we are very thankful to our sponsors and support from programs like the Winter Park Ski Education Foundation for enabling us to do so!

16 17 Season Overview Newsletter

Proper Parent Protocol

Check out this blog article by Amy Cheney-Seymour on the “Proper Parent Protocol” – Hilariously accurate!!!

Congratulations. Your child participates in Nordic skiing. Wow, they made it to Junior Nationals, bravo!

How is your self-esteem?

That bad? Not surprising since unless you are part of the 1% of happy parents, your child is pretty much disgruntled, distant and disinterested in you. If you are not a one percenter, she or he hasn't hugged you after a ski race since the age of six.  Instead she or he complains, or swears when results are not as she or he imagined. Stop the madness, join the 1% of duck parents, who let results and emotional turbulence roll off their back.

Scenario:

Race day, 7 am. You are a short order cook. You would do anything to assist his nutritional performance. You spend an hour whipping organic free range happy hen eggs into a frenzy, pouring your homemade maple syrup on the multi-grain waffles you carefully kept warm, not dried out.  Skillfully browned organic turkey bacon, from farms where the turkey’s die of old age is on the platter. Cut fruit. A candle. Ta-dah!  Enter your cherub, who sits down, grunts, and takes out a yogurt from the fridge. You urge the steaming plate forward, on the place mat, next to the sparkling orange juice. He hastily eats the yogurt, leaves the dirty spoon in the cup, and begins the treasure hunt for his suit, socks, wind briefs. You feed the pancakes to the dog.

A week ago the child decided she need energy gel. A specific energy gel that helps her propel tirelessly forward. All natural energy gel that friend Henry says is the best. You like Henry. You like all natural.  It’s a victory.  You commit yourself to finding this energy gel, which does not exist in stores, but the all mighty Amazon sends it right along.  It arrives with cardboard fanfare and you present the gels to your child, on race morning, with an expectant air of, well, expecting a thank you. Your child grumbles, thumbs through them and asks if they have strawberry-kiwi- mango-lime because that is her new favorite flavor as of one hour ago. She sighs, shut the box and wanders away. Your happy morning further crumbles. You do the dishes, pack the lunch.

Upon departure you notice the child has forgotten the water bottle, energy gel, and gloves, your new gloves she requisitioned without a so much as by your leave.  These items go into the Parents Emergency Back Pack, which contains enough food for a week, surgical kit, an array of clothing for weather from -10 to 50 and raining, nine feet of ribbons, twenty pounds of wax, an iron, a portable wax table and cowbells. In the car you realize you forgot to eat your own breakfast and only had three gulps of tea.

As the child is in the zone, you let him plug in and listen to music. He doesn’t like your music. He is sick of you playing Pearl Jam in the car every day. This is against car rules, but you want happy.  So you let him plug in noticing on his phone that Given to Fly is currently playing. You say nothing, you say nothing, because you want harmony.

You experience this happy moment at drop off. Someone else can deal with your cantankerous brat, a brat you love, but one who is grating on your nerves.  Your child has a literal team of coaches to wax, urge, prep and direct his or her efforts. “Goodbye, honey. Good Luck.” Grunt.

You should wander down the hill, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the scenery.  You should chat with friends about your similar morning spent with an ingrate. You do not do this. You do not do this, because you do not understand Proper Parent Protocol. You don’t put your oxygen mask on first.  You miss the fleeting moment of solitude, instead you hover.

Admit it. Come on. I do it, I hover too.

Maybe you are a patient hoverer. You wait the appropriate 20 yards away trying to catch a glimpse of him so you can hand over the forgotten water, energy gel, and gloves (I barge right over. After 20 years of this skiing gig, I have no patience.) When you try and hand the forgotten items over, he doesn’t want the gel, but take the gloves and the water, and hurriedly commits himself single-mindedly to the pre-race anxiety routine (PRA).  PRA consists of pacing, leg swinging, changing head bands, braiding, unbraiding, and changes of hat, sunglasses and gloves. This can also include ski changes, including insisting the un-waxed skis are faster (which are not faster, and you will also pay for this poor choice later in the car ride home).  They may decide that 20 degrees is balmy, and to wear just a bib, or a bib and a jog bra. When you mention it is a bit nippy for such scantily foolhardy wardrobe changes, he glares at you like you are a very bad or very stupid person.  You are not bad or stupid, but you are the person who will be nursing him back to health in a week.

Now, feeling injured and unappreciated, you saunter down for that cup of tea, your heart weeping on your sleeve. You stand in line for that tea, squishing the energy gel back and forth in your pocket, sick to your stomach. You recognize you are anxious. Why? Your child has successfully transferred their angst to you. You are stress sponge at saturation point.

Where do you put his nervous energy? You manifest into Crazy Ski Parent. Own it, go ahead, choose from the following: All knowing: You know too much. Former coach, former ski racer, former super star. Every subtle nuance of the race day is weighing you down like retro doc martens.  You’re worried about the kick, or the glide, or ski. Have they double poled enough? Did they peak at the right time? You have checked the relative humidity, the humidity of the snow, the wind, angle of the sun, migratory patterns of native birds and placed all these factors into a mind bending Nordic skier algorithm that Will Hunting can’t solve.

The Organizer: You know all the players. You have a spreadsheet of all racers on your child’s team, what their average time is for each distance and discipline as well as their projected success on in varying conditions. You have told your child where he or she should finish. You spend hours collaborating the information after each race, in a color coded chart which you explain, at length, to your bored child. You play it super cool at the event, but you home crunching numbers until the wee hours.

NOTE: Danger Ahead

The Cheerleader: Woo hoo! Race time! You wear out three cow bells a season. As your child comes by, in Banshee like screech, you yodel the obvious statements such as:

a) Faster! Faster! Faster!

b) They are catching you!

c) You are ____ (insert random number) seconds out of ___ place.

Or you run uphill, screaming incoherent instructions. I asked a real, live ski racer if he heard his parents yelling. “No, I tune them out.” Honestly, you're gonna pull a hamstring. Tone it down.  You are embarrassing me.

Super Parent: Food and party person, yup you’re the planner!  You organize the food table, bring hot coffee to coaches, and spend hours creating the right atmosphere so the skiers have yummy food after the race. You bake individual cupcakes for the gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. The names of each skier is on the cupcake.   You organize purchasing team hats and off season trips. You were going to send your child to college, but you just dropped $200 on oranges, banana bread and 7 crock pot dinners.

The Parent Coach: You didn’t ski race, but you were an athlete back in the day, and have a background in coaching. You spend hours creating analogies that will “sink” into your child’s brain. You create a mediation schedule, and a nightly visualization planner that are both ignored. You refer to these things often when you child is ensconced in the aforementioned pre-race anxiety routine (PRA). You arrange the salt and pepper shakers at breakfast to display proper drafting technique, with the forgotten maple syrup acting as a sharp corner, the crumpled napkin is the tuck. See how low it is, the napkin hand just in front of it’s napkin-like- body, but not out so far it is scooping in air and causing resistance. See? Are you listening?

Author’s Note: Guilty as Charged

Join the One Percent. The club is free. It is quick to join and there are no dues. Everyone will be happier if you join, but I warn you, it ain’t easy, but it is simple. Let your child grow up. Follow the protocol.

Walk Like a Duck

Become impervious to the drama.

Proper Parent Protocol has rules:

1.    You cannot make your child happy.

2.    Let it go.

3.    Have fun.

4.    Repeat #1

That is it. Welcome!

Let it go. Let it all go, the sleep, and wax and their time and just let your child own it. Ignore their habitual bitching, the complaints about why their crumpled, wet suit they left in a backpack didn’t get washed. Give them a map to the laundry room. Continue the routine. Buy the food. Fold some clothes. Shake the cowbell. Remind yourself that your child is healthy and able to compete and the centrifuge of emotions involved in sport, puberty and life is a whirling you cannot control. Ultimately you got into this mess because you want your child to be happy. You cannot make them happy, but you can get real. Set real expectations. If your son made it to JN’s by the newly sprouted hair on his chin, remind him he is 15 and he will probably not win the sprint final if he was 29th in qualifications. This is ok. If your daughter is more concerned with her hair ribbons than her V2 on flagpole hill, buy her matching sparkles and celebrate her hard work that got her to this point. A glass slipper might not be in her future. This is also ok. While you’re getting real with your child, get real with you. Make breakfast and leave the kitchen. Leave the gel on the table. Let them fall a little and forget a lot, so they become responsible. Finish your tea and take the dog for a walk and let them wash their own clothes.

Set some boundaries. While you are letting it go, let yourself have fun.  Enjoy this fleeting time with your child, and try not to internalize his or her mood swings lest you be in traction. Plan something fun for after the race, and for the love of Skade, don’t bring his or her results up unless they do.  Be grateful they are dedicated to sport that requires them to put themselves on the line and they are surrounded by a really great community.

Finally, when they do come to you, panicked 14 minutes before start time asking for that energy gel they left on the table and didn’t want an hour ago don’t take it personal. This is not a time to lecture. Hand it over, say “have fun” and waddle away.

Amy Cheney-Seymour is a freelance writer who lives in Vermontville, New York. amycheneyseymour@gmail.com

Return to Sport Program IN THE NEWS!!!

Winter Park Competition Center has made it a priority the past couple of years to make sure that injured athletes are supported throughout every stage of their rehabilitation and eventual return to snow.  Through providing psychological, physical, social, and emotional support, our goal is to make the transition from injury to kicking back in the skis feeling CONFIDENT and POWERFUL as easy as possible for the athlete, coaches, and families.

Check out this article on Sports One Source, featuring the WPCC Return to Sport Program!!!  Check it out HERE!

 

Own Your Name

It was my first day of preschool, and I was nervous.  All these kids seemed to know exactly what they were doing – when snack time was, which cubby was theirs, which bike everyone wanted when recess came around… Feeling anxious, I decided to take solace by pulling a chair up to the fish tank to watch the fish swim around.  As I’m sitting there watching little gold fish swim in and out of their coral home, a little girl named Brittany comes up behind me and suddenly pulls the chair out from underneath me!  Shocked and now on the ground with a bruised bum, I looked behind me to see the perpetrator, who glared back at me from across the room.

Ever since then, the name “Brittany” has always left a bitter taste in my mouth (no offense to all you Brittany’s out there!).

Funny how one memory, one experience, can shape my perceptions almost subconsciously YEARS later!

But then I started thinking of other names – Like how the name Grace will always be associated with warmth and kindness.  And how the name George will make me think of grand adventures and living freely.

This past May, I found myself in the commencement ceremonies of the local high school, proudly watching some of my athletes graduating.  The honorary speaker, a much-loved science teacher, spoke about reaching new heights, opening new doors, cherishing the past, and moving forward with love and support, but it was his advice that really stuck with me:  Whatever you do, wherever you go, own your name.

Own your name.  When people think of YOUR name, what will they think of?

So maybe today is the first step towards making your name stand for something more:  Tirelessly pursuing your goals.  Being a fiercely loyal friend.  Staying strong when things get tough.

What do you want your name to represent?  Live that each day.

Attitude & Gratitude – A post from our RTS Team

“Our attitude towards something creates the mental space that it lives in” – Colin Green

As the RTS team (Return to Sport), our whole M.O. is thinking about and considering the mental side of sport; more specifically, the mental side of sport injury and what it takes to return from it. Injury is no joke, and it’s definitely not in the winter sports realm. You, athletes and parents, put a lot on the line to be successful in your (or your child’s) chosen discipline. The same is true for so many winter sport athletes out there.

We will be doing a series of posts- including articles, videos, and stories- about what it takes to come back from injury. This is an initial post that is a serious example of injury but we like it for the reflections. This spreadstoke.com author went through a serious injury and came out on the other side successful and grounded. Check this article out for some inspiration and hint- there is some sport psychology in there too!

Click Here!!!

STEP right up: Are you shoes helping or hurting you?

The other day I went to go buy shoes – nothing fancy, just something to work out in, and I found myself in rows and rows of all kinds of tennies: running shoes, weight training shoes, cross-training shoes… What do I pick??  A little bit intimidated, I took a look at my criteria for choosing a “good shoe:”

  • More supportive than my current shoes
  • Cool colors, sweet designs, STYLE (obviously!!!)

Turns out, this decision was more important than I thought.

The body is not symmetrical, and for a lot of motions and demands put on the body, this is an extremely positive thing.  Because we develop or experience dominance in one side or the other, we can cause this asymmetrical system to dysfunction, which can lead to instability (higher potential for injury), weakness (muscles over- or under-compensating), and chronic pain (my lower back knows this one REALLY well!).

What might this look like in athletics??

  • A skier feels more comfortable and confident in their left footers than their right footers
  • A snowboarder may feel more comfortable and confident spinning left as opposed to right
  • Favoring or landing on one leg more so than the other
  • Walking or running with toes pointed outwards
  • Jumping and landing with a slight inward collapse in the knee
  • Having tight hips that pinch in a squat
  • Being able to bend over to touch your toes and find that you can easily rest your palms on the floor (or maybe the complete opposite, the floor never looked so far!)

Postural Restoration Institute (or PRI for short) offers a new way of looking at performance enhancement and injury prevention that focuses on addressing the imbalances of the body so that it can function the way it was built to function.  Through adjusting the positioning of the pelvis and rib cage, as well as integrating diaphragmatic breathing, PRI restores range of motion, joint mobility, and potential for strength and functional movement that has been stunted by unilateral or bilateral dominance.

We have had the pleasure of working with Lisa Kelly, a PT and PRI Certified Practitioner out of Louisville, CO.  And oddly enough, her number one piece of advice for athletes is this:  For your skiers to train smarter, pay attention to the quality of their shoes.  And I suppose this makes sense – how can we expect the body to function properly if it is standing on an unstable foundation?  A good shoe allows your body to be better positioned to train out of your compensatory pattern – in other words, the RIGHT muscles have a better opportunity to work at the right time!  The “bad shoe” on the other hand, doesn’t give enough support where needed, so your body will find support and stability elsewhere (leading to those tight hips, limited mobility, and some of that chronic pain).

Take a look at this: 2015 Shoe List June 2015 – I bet you will be surprised by the difference the quality of a shoe can make.  I know I, for one, will definitely be revising my “criteria for a good shoe!”  And if PRI is something you want to learn more about, check out their website, or contact Stephanie Zavilla, Director of Sports Performance for WPCC at szavilla@winterparkresort.com or Lisa Kelly, PRI expert, at info@triplanarmovementtherapies.com.  You’ll be glad you did.

Living a No Barriers Life

Last week, we had the privilege of going to hear Erik Weihenmayer speak, and what I assumed would be your typical “motivational speaker,” quickly turned into one of the most enlightening evenings of my life.  You see, Erik Weihenmayer is an incredible man.  But it wasn’t the fact that he has kayaked the Grand Canyon that got me, nor the fact that he has climbed the Seven Summits, the highest peak on each continent including Mount Everest.  It wasn’t even that he did all of those things and countless others being blind.

To me, Erik Weihenmayer is an incredible man because of the way he lifts those around him to reach new heights.  It’s the way that he allows you to see the greatness within yourself, and see the greatness in those around you.

In one hour, Erik taught me that we have a choice.  Bad things will happen to us – that is undeniable.  However, between the time that something bad happens, and our reaction, there is a space.  A tiny little space, but that space makes all the difference.  In that space, we have a CHOICE.  Will you let what happens to you define you, or will you define it?  Will you CHOOSE to react in a way that serves you and those around you?

Simple but powerful beyond measure.  Let’s say you get injured – you could choose to think about how far behind you will be, the competitions you will miss, the hard work it will take to get back to where you were.  OR, you could CHOOSE to see this as an opportunity – an opportunity to let that hard work fuel your fire to become an even better athlete and human being than you were before.  You can choose to see this obstacle as something that will build you up, not tear you down.

“What’s within you is stronger than what is in your way.”  This is the statement that is the cornerstone of Erik’s “No Barriers” foundation.  A foundation thats sole purpose is to empower people to push their comfort zones, to live with vision and purpose, to build connections with others that inspire community and trust.  To help people realize that the key to turning lead into gold is within themselves, the world, and the people they surround themselves with.  I encourage you to check out the website: http://www.nobarriersusa.org.  I can guarantee you will be in awe of the things that people have accomplished simply by CHOOSING to believe in themselves and their inner strength.

IMG_2308

Sweet Summertime

WOOOO!!!  It’s summer!  No school and sunshine for days, what could be better??  After a long and exhausting winter of managing training, travel, competition, make-up work, and school, sitting by the pool for some well-earned rest and relaxation sounds like the perfect way to unwind.

And it’s true – you’ve worked hard, and you’ve EARNED the right to chill out.  Here’s the thing:  We’ve got a few months of glorious weather and time on our hands to fill however we choose.  Why not choose to use it PRODUCTIVELY, taking purposeful steps towards your goals??

Summer can be an OPPORTUNITY.  An opportunity to:

RECOVER

  • Active Recovery – Go out and do something you love to do!!  Whether it’s bombing down some single track or playing soccer with your friends, the sunshine is begging you to get out and enjoy its rays.  The cool thing is that by playing other sports and engaging in other physical activities, you are developing other muscle groups and aerobic capacities that will help make you a more well-rounded athlete – and guess what?!  That will make you a better skier!
  • Rest!!!  I know it’s fun to stay up late, but your body needs rest!  Get some recovery sleep – it is incredibly important in both physical and mental functioning.

STRENGTHEN

  • Build Muscle – Spend some time in the gym building muscle, functional movement, range of motion, and power – all of those are things that we need to not only perform at a higher level, but to stay injury free!
  • Nutrition – Start dialing in your performance diet – fuel your body for what you want it to do!  With each healthy, smart choice you make, your body will thank you, and your mind will start developing healthy eating habits.  And as always, don’t forget to be drinking lots and lots of WATER!!!

DEVELOP A PERFORMANCE MINDSET

  • Imagery – See yourself getting runs in, or perfecting a certain technique.  Not only is it motivating and confidence-building, but it is actually strengthening the neural pathways in your brain – so you are actually getting “practice!”  The better you get at imagery now, the more it will help you on competition day.
  • Self-Talk – We are constantly talking to ourselves (no, that doesn’t make us crazy!  That makes us human) – in some competitions, that self-talk can get pretty harmful (“what if I crash?” or “that skier is better than me”) – practice using helpful self-talk in your other summer activities – let the harmful thoughts go and choose to focus on thoughts that help you in the moment

RESET

  • Your BRAND NEW season starts NOW!!!  Learn from last year, and move FORWARD.  Your success and progress this season starts with the hard work you put in this summer.

Live every day with a purpose!  Set some goals for the summer and get started!  READY, SET, GO!!!

Let us know if we can help you – we have an awesome staff that can answer your nutrition, strength and conditioning, and sport psychology questions.  Just email us here: szavilla@winterparkresort.com.