January 13, 2010: Trust Thyself

Nendaz, Switzerland – We trained on a different hill than tomorrow’s race slope in snowy, flat-light conditions. After two days off of snow, it felt good to be back. Tomorrow’s race is a Europa Cup, with the Olympic qualifying World Cup on Sunday.

My first run was conservative. After seeing a few people blow out on just the first few gates, I took it easy to make sure I got through them. But that conservative first few gates set the pace for a conservative run.  Coach Mark told me that I wasn’t carving the first few gates, and it wouldn’t be until the 6th gate that I would find the rhythm, and that wasn’t going to be fast enough. He said the focus should be to trust myself. Well that’s easy, I thought, if my only focus is to trust myself. I don’t have to think about anything technical and just know that I was going to have a good run? Easy-peasy. So with that simple focus of trusting myself, I went for it. I really put myself out there, had a lot of intensity in the run, and it felt good and a lot faster than the first run. I trusted myself that my body and equipment would do what it knows how to do and hold up through it, and I just looked ahead and went for it. I made a mistake by getting in the back seat but was able to get through it. For the next two runs Coach Mark told me that I needed to carry my speed from the first few gates into the flats, and in order to do that I needed to start my turn higher, even if it meant taking a rounder line. I gradually pulled it up, and on my last run of the day I felt I had my fastest first few gates of the day, but I lost focus and slid out coming into the flats. But overall it was a good day.

I found Dr. David Cook’s “Mindset of a Champion” on my itunes and listened to it last night and again after training today. Here are a few key points:

  • Trust yourself and let it happen. Let the talent come through.
  • Define yourself by that which you have control over, not by success or failure.
  • Set your foundation first and understand what is really valuable in life. Those that know that have no fear of failure and are the ones that can really go for it.
  • Trust your instincts. Game day is about trust, and mental toughness is about making the decision to trust.
  • 5 points: 1) embrace pressure, 2) know your response in emergency situation, 3) put on game face, 4) trust your instincts, 5) persevere –make it happen.
  • Mental toughness is a choice.

At this point in the game, I just have to trust myself. I’ve done the work and given it my all. I have to know and believe that I will make it happen. And no matter the outcome, I’m happy knowing that I gave it my all. It’ll still be a fight to the end, but one that I’m looking forward to and ready for.

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