Not always, but most of the time athletically we can not go as far as our strengths but rather we are limited by our weaknesses. What this means is that in training and in preparation, it does not yield much good to continue to focus on strengthening our strengths (training what we are already good at), but rather trying to identify our weaknesses and then turning them into strengths. Another way of saying this is the net gain of strengthening our weaknesses is generally far more than that of strengthening our strengths.
One way to easily identify weaknesses is to do some intervals with fast skiers or some mass start races. Of course though, some introspection and honest self analysis would normally yield some easy targets for improvement.
Some common areas of weakness include the following:
- Inability to pass on downhills in traffic. This is a key skill in mass start racing where moving up on the downhills is most effective and efficient.
- Inability to switch tracks (Classic racing) while increasing speed or at least not hindering it. Elite racing has rules limiting the frequency that a skier can switch tracks because it is a method of generating speed. If that is not the case for you, it is a weakness. This is also a key skill in mass start racing.
- Slow climber. This can be both a technique and/or a fitness issue. Generally speaking the solution is obvious.
- Slow on the flats. Generally speaking this is a technique issue.
- Slow double poler (or weak in the V2 technique). This can be both a technique and/or a fitness issue.
- Commonly crashing in mass start races. This is a race savvy and experience question. Gaining experience skiing in packs is helpful, but probably most helpful is to ask racers who are good at this for their tips.
Improving or developing a skill is enjoyable and rewarding. Good luck!
Ian Harvey, Toko US Brand Manager