Skieologians: How to succeed as an athlete

Skieologians: How to succeed as an athlete

A recently published editorial in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance outlined eight necessary elements for athletic success. 

The first seven ingredients mentioned — talent, health, development, consistency, coaching, opportunities, goal-setting — were essentially diminished under the umbrella of the final one: luck. 

And here is where we need the skieologian. 

Carl Foster, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and member of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, wrote, “While sport is a creature of preparation, both in training and in competitive tactics, a certain amount of pure luck is necessary.”

The presuppositional-apologist side of me wishes to use a less secular term — perhaps “divine providence” — but for the sake of ensuring your 12-year-old becomes the next Sidney Crosby, let’s mill around his water cooler and make due with its worldview’s language.

I can’t disagree with the fundamental assumption that “luck” plays a role in outcome; what is debatable is whether or not it is the foundation of every other aspect mentioned! Ending up with the right genes, excelling in opportunistic competitions, landing with the right team and coaches, and avoiding illness and injury are all a matter of chance … if that is what you believe. 

For this reason, couldn’t the keepers of academic literature save some space? 

What we know? 

You need to be lucky. 

What we need to know? 

Who has the crystal ball? 

Just for fun, and since one of the contributing authors is a contributor to my own master’s thesis in exercise physiology (and he’ll surely get a kick out of my laundry list of laws), here are my ten commandments for sporting success. 

Thou shalt have no greater purpose than the striving for true success

A secure purpose drives us through any trial to the top of any mountain.

Remember training time and keep it sacred 

Consistent repetition is irreplaceable

Thou shall not covet another’s talent

Build on your own strengths instead of wishing for someone else’s

Honor your father and mother

Weird — this one actually appears in both the Old Testament and this column. Prudent people adhere to their parents’ advice.

You shall not kill your goals

Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up

You shall not steal another’s methods

It might not work for you like it did for them. Physiological principles are useful tools, not dogmatic laws.

Don’t commit overtraining

Skiing is good, more is better…. as long as you can recover from it.

Don’t bear false witness about your results

Lying never got anyone to the top.

Don’t make yourself an idol.

Humility is the sign of someone who truly knows their competitors don’t stand a chance.

Keep on striving. Keep on skiing.

Alright, the last one isn’t exactly exegetically derived from any particular text, but how else can I plug the Sederskier Podcast? If you want to know what each commandment is getting at, tune in to the fastest growing Nordic ski-specific show in all of Lake County.


The secret to skiing fast is finding an assistant wax tech who thinks you are the man you aspire to be.

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