Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club

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Club News

Word of the Week, Opportunity

Happy Winter Carnival! This weekend we blast out a new word of the week – opportunity. As former U.S. Ski Team alpine head coach Sasha Rearick always reminded me while I worked for U.S. Ski & Snowboard, “every single day is an opportunity to get better”. This could be a cornerstone statement for all of us in our mission to be the best at creating champions on and off the mountain.

Going into an important period of qualification and championship events for our competitive athletes, let me relay a story about opportunity that helps represent where our perspective and focus should really be for our athletes. Moguls skier Kenzie Radway is having a terrific season. At just 15 years old she earned a start in a World Cup in January. Then a week ago, Kenzie won and took second in the first NorAm Cups of the season and all of a sudden is the Grand Prix leader atop the NorAm Cup standings. Opportunity to go after the NorAm Cup title? How cool would that be? While no doubt that prospect is tempting, Kenzie’s long-term goals are more about developing her full set of skills to be able to perform at the top level in the long-term. With that in mind, rather than competing in the next NorAms and seek the title, Kenzie came back home to take advantage of the opportunity to train more on her air skills, an opportunity to continue to improve her skiing and be better prepared for the next competitions. Choosing the right opportunity is not always so easy to do.

Kids in Steamboat have more opportunities than most every other kid in the world in skiing and snowboarding. Opportunities to do any discipline on skis or a snowboard or both. Opportunities to train year-round on plastic, water, roller skis, skateboards and bikes. As coaches it’s our job to guide the kids into taking advantage of the best opportunities for them. Each kid is different, and our opportunities here in Steamboat are different, so our best opportunities often times are not on the road most traveled.

Waverly Gebhardt is featured on our poster this week. Waverly is a cross country skier who has used a host of available opportunities to bring herself into the top physical condition that’s demanded of her sport. In the poster you see her leading the pack in a snowstorm. When conditions are less than ideal, do our athletes look at it as an opportunity? Do we make sure they are the ones that can keep mentally focused? As we consider training, do we take the opportunity in these conditions to teach these lessons?

One of the best ways to teach our athletes to take advantage of their opportunities is to teach them to be grateful for the opportunities they have, to never take opportunities for granted. Both specific to their sport and more generally. Ask your athletes to identify some of the opportunities they’ve been afforded. Ask who helped them realize these opportunities. Did they express their appreciation to those people? What opportunities do they see ahead of them? Have them identify who to express their gratitude for these. It might be teammates, it might be their coaches, their parents, teachers, a best friend.

Thank you as always to Downtown Conoco for giving us the opportunity to share these words of the week with our athletes. Have a blast this weekend at Winter Carnival!