Sports

Mastering Gladwell’s Rule – practice makes perfect

 | March 10, 2012

What does it take to become the best in any one thing? Dedication, time on task, passion, the right opportunities at the right time, funding, talent, and practice. To become a World Cup skier you have to have all of those things and more.

There are a million factors that can affect your constantly changing training environment, and because of that, you simply don’t get that much, if any, perfect training.

A World Cup women’s slalom race (like our very own Elli Terwiel races) lasts about 60 seconds. To train for that, you need to train 60-second courses. On a typical day it takes the coach 45 minutes to set up the course, longer if elements are less than ideal. It takes the racer 20 minutes to inspect the course, and before you know it, an hour’s gone and you haven’t done one run.

You train the course, you ride the lift, slip the course, watch the video, and train it again for roughly eight runs on a typical day. What do you have at the end? Eight minutes of time on task, eight minutes of race practice, only eight short minutes in a day’s training. So to make it to “Gladwell’s Rule” of 10,000 hours of practice to become the best, a racer’s got a lot of 60-second runs to make!

In order to become great, you need to maximize your time on task and to do that in ski racing you go somewhere that provides great training opportunities like Sun Peaks and the Nancy Greene International Training Centre.

We all know we have great temperatures and great snow, a great run that’s fenced for safety, but did you know the amount of work that goes into making such a great run for training? Tons of snowcat time, early season snowmaking, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fencing, and, most importantly, a mountain with staff that’s willing to go the extra mile to help our kids become the best. The groomers are constantly working the snow to make it hard and consistent as possible, the lift operations team are getting us up, early and late, so we can maximize the day. The managers are always looking for ways we can improve and do better. So from all ski racers, coaches and everyone that enjoys skiing down the OSV: thank you Sun Peaks for a world-class training centre!

Sun Peaks Racers had a fun time with the Elli Extravaganza! The highlight was the night dual slalom on Sunbeam and, because of its success, we’re going to have an even bigger dual slalom on Sunbeam on March 23: the K1 Sunbeam Rock ‘n’ Roll Night Slalom! Watch for it!

Sun Peaks K2’s (13 to 15 year olds) just returned from the Provincial Championships at Apex Resort. Claire Madill, Anna Bruce, Hannah Watson and Chase Duff all battled it out with B.C.’s best in four days of racing. Madill was our top performer and had multiple top 10 results. Our K1’s are off to the B.C. Winter Games in Vernon on Feb. 25, so stay tuned for those results. Ski hard, ski fast.

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