Having engaged in the usual Christmas day indulgence I’m sure many of you, myself included, awoke this morning feeling a little guilty. I managed to get out for a run to try and alleviate the guilt but I wasn’t breaking any records. Think now about those who have to compete this boxing day.
In both South Africa and Australia, cricket internationals are taking place. Test cricket requires a massive amount of psychological focus and even though the players will have spent the day with families, one eye would’ve been on today’s match. Add to this being away from home for the time surrounding Christmas and it makes for a fairly stressful period. Obviously the players are well remunerated for this but the mental side is something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
For those athletes in preseason training it’s possible to be a little more “festive”, and with some clever designing and use of a transition period it’s possible to attain a little normality this time of year. Whichever situation you’re in though I hope the festive period is relaxing, productive and successful and the new year proves prosperous.
I spent last week in Italy with the British Development ski team. Initially there was a plan, I should have arrived just after their first races of the season with a view of spending the week on snow and getting some dryland work in wherever possible. Instead, those races were cancelled and a lack of snow meant the first 4 days were given over to strength and conditioning sessions. Great, a rare in season chance to get a solid few days training in before some on snow days later in the week and the first races of the season.
For me, one of the best parts of being a Strength and Conditioning coach is having to think on your feet and be adaptive with your session design. Our weights were in a dusty garage with no squat rack, no mats and limited number of plates. Our bikes and turbos weren’t accessible, there was snow/ice on the ground, it was drizzling rain and the temperature barely got above freezing during the day. This meant some new sessions for the guys and what ended up being four days of real quality training.
After this we headed to Champorcher. The hill wasn’t open to the public yet but they opened the lifts and a giant slalom course just for the team. The guys had zero distractions around resulting in some excellent technical training and video analysis throughout. For me it meant some more adaptation; warm ups in the car park, stretching sessions on a rug in the hotel lobby and a few inquisitive stares from other hotel guests…an excellent week.