Five Keys to Promoting Superior Performance on Race Day

Jon Nolting, USSA Sports Education Director wrote an amazing piece about what we can do as parents to help our kids get the most out of their races. We thought we’d share the condensed version of “Five Keys to Promoting Superior Performance from their Children on Race Day” as we head into this busy race weekend. Definitely check out the full article, it will help you do all you can to make your kids weekend successful.

Jon Nolting’s Five Keys

  1. Be prepared and plan ahead. This means getting organized and ready ahead of time to reduce stress. This includes everything from arriving at the hill on time, to having the right clothes, food, equipment etc. Encourage your child to play a key roll in the preparation. Nolting says, “as parents, we want to help teach and model good preparation habits to our children, and make sure they take ownership when they are ready.
  2. Make competition day routine. “A sure fire way to set your child up for inconsistent performance is to make competition day look much different from any other training day. … The more routine race day is for your child, the more relaxed they will be and the more they can focus on performing well.”
  3. Focus on the right things. We all have a tendency to over-emphasize results. Focus on effort, preparation, sportsmanship and discipline. “If you want the best results for your child, don’t focus on their results. Don’t bring it up before the competition. Not even once.”
  4. Inspect your competition day actions. “Do your actions tend to elevate the pressure your child feels on competition day, or are your signals re-affirming? … The worst thing we can do as parents is to add to (our child’s) pressure.” Nolting suggests that although it’s normal to feel emotional on race day, we should try strategies such as volunteering, cheering for every athlete, slipping away to ski before and after the race to diffuse our own intensity and keep it from adding to our kids’ stress.
  5. Have Fun. “If you’re relaxed and having fun on competition day, your child is much more likely to enjoy themselves as well.” On race day try to focus on the things we all love about the sport – our connection with nature, the joy of skiing, being with great friends. Because in the end, this is what it’s really about!!

As Dave always says: Have Fun, Try Hard, Take Chances, and Ski Fast! Have a great weekend everyone!