I am on the US Nordic Combined Team and compete on the World Cup from November through to March. This year, the brief break from the circuit over Christmas will likely be my only week stateside for almost four months.
Given this short time at home, and the busyness of holiday festivities, it’s easy to lose focus and forgot that I’m in the middle of my season. Of course, relaxing with my family is not a bad thing – it’s actually probably the best thing that I could do to break up a long season. But it’s important to not lose sight of your goals. I first started the Headspace program last fall, and have already found it immensely helpful in staying present, focused, and in just the right mindset for competition. Sometimes I use Headspace to refocus and relax immediately after training, other times to calm my mind before competitions. Over the past couple months, I’ve built Headspace into my daily routine, and it has been incredibly valuable. In ski jumping in particular, the mind is our greatest tool – but often the most overlooked. Last week, away from the competition circuit, I found Headspace to be just as valuable as ever. Right now, I’m on the Focus Pack – and this daily routine is just right to keep my mind sharp and in the game. 15 minutes a day is really all I need to remind myself to stay present and focused. With the addition of specific imagery training, I made my week away from the jump hill as productive as possible.
On the cross country side of Nordic Combined training, there’s no way to get to the top other than to pay your dues: which means long hours of hard, yet smart training, and the right amount of recovery between sessions. The rest of my teammates are from out west (we all live in Park City, UT now). In my years growing up in Wisconsin, I spent hours and hours training on my own. This last week, training on my own, away from the team, was nothing new to me. It’s probably impossible to stay present for an entire two or three hour ski, but I do make an effort now to occasionally bring my mind into the present. A few minutes of just feeling my breath, the movements of my body and skis and the winter air provide as good of an opportunity to be mindful as any. Practicing Headspace taught me the value in this simple exercise. The way I see it, you don’t have to sit cross-legged in a dark room to meditate. Now, I’m back overseas to the first competition of 2015 in the Black Forest of Germany. In the next couple months, I’ll compete all over central Europe, then in Sapporo, Japan, and in Finland, Sweden and Norway. I have a lot of travel and a long road ahead. I’ve got goals to check off and am sure to have highs and lows ahead of me. But with the help of Headspace I’ll take one step at a time. I’ll stay focused on the present and the process, and the outcome will always be there.
Over the past couple months, I’ve built Headspace into my daily routine, and it has been incredibly valuable.