Emma Carrick-Anderson explains how important the right attitude is when you are a young racer. No matter how far you reach in your career its important to be able to look back with great memories.
I remember when I was a young racer, veteran racers would say ‘enjoy it, it goes too quickly.’ I also vividly remember a great racer friend of mine saying when things were tough, ‘remember why you got into skiing when you were a child, what you loved about it and how it made you feel.’
I thought Id write this article aiming it at young racers as its now 7 years since I retired from International competition and since then my life has changed quite considerably giving me a very different perspective on things.
When veterans told me to enjoy my racing and not make it my ‘everything’, I never really took their comments on board but now looking back I can see exactly what they meant.
I don’t mean take your racing less seriously. I mean work as hard, be just as dedicated but really love every minute of it and don’t get bogged down in the odd bad race. I may not have won an Olympic medal but I certainly gave it my best shot and for me that meant dedicating everything to the cause. I’m so glad I did that but I do wish I had realised just how lucky I was to be out there training and racing day in day out in some incredibly beautiful places and with amazing people. Even when things get tough and aren’t going your way, look around you and remember why you are doing it. To be honest, one, two even three bad results aren’t the end of the world and for me, it’s the competitors who can get back up quickly after a blow who are the real champions. Its not that they don’t care as much, its that they realise that wallowing wont help. It was my best friend and top ski racer, Gitti Obermoser who asked me to go back to why I skied as a child and what I loved about it. She said when things weren’t going her way and she felt too much pressure around her she went back to the days she was 5 or 6 years old. My own boys are exactly that age now and for them each day on the mountain is just endless fun in an incredibly big playground. It’s a joy to watch! You improve when you’re enjoying it.
I’m now very lucky to be doing what I love most, hooning around the mountains full time but without the pressures of what international sport brings. How much better could my results have been if I could have brought more of these feelings into my racing career. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved my racing but there were times that I forgot why I was doing it and sometimes I got bogged down in less than satisfactory results. I often dwelt too long on the down days rather than focusing on what I had done well even if it hadn’t meant standing on the podium. If you do your best nobody can ask for more.
There are only a few who can make it onto the podium but does that mean the others all failed? Absolutely not! Often though if an athlete sets their heights so high they may feel like that. It’s up to your coach and the people around you to help you deal with the ups and downs. By all means, set your heights as high as you want and if like me, you dreamt of standing on the podium from a very young age then go for it but PLEASE enjoy each step of the journey. It wont be easy and there will be highs and lows but don’t beat yourself up over the down days. Focus on the feelings and emotions that a good training run or even better, a good race brings and take these with you. If things aren’t going your way then revisit these feelings and make these the times you focus on.
Here I am now the veteran passing on exactly what others told me-If you have chosen sport (whether its skiing or a different sport) as your career then you have embarked on an incredible journey-Enjoy it!
Emma Carrick-Anderson, Director of Carrick-Anderson and Snoworks Race Camps
Emma runs race camps throughout the summer and autumn in Tignes
click here for details