Photo: Malcolm Carmichael Train to Train


Ski racers are encouraged to develop their the mental skills that lead to enjoyment and success in ski racing. Some of the psychological characteristics formed during ski racing include:

  • Never giving up
  • Being consistent
  • Having a goal and vision to work towards
  • Being organized to achieve their goal
  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses
  • Being open to change
  • Being comfortable with trial and error - failure is a part of the process
  • Using self-reflection to determine what to do better next time
  • Believing in themselves
  • Using problem-solving to overcome setbacks
  • Having a strong sense of self-efficacy and self-belief

Ski Racers

Be open to mental training and explore how it can assist you in training and competition. Rehearse the implementation of your mental performance plan where you face both minor and significant challenges. 


Incorporate mental training into your yearly training plan and reinforce mental fitness principles in both training and competition. Help facilitate access to performance psychology resources. Decision training should be included in all training situations on and off snow to develop a ski racers athletic IQ. 


Help your ski racer recognize the benefits of developing mental skills. Help them to manage increasing competitive pressure by focusing on the process and de-emphasizing winning and outcomes. Ask your ski racer what they learned each day, including what they learned at training or in competitions, encourage the self-reflective process. Prompt your ski racer to use problem-solving to overcome set back and correct errors to make improvements next time. Find at least one positive comment to share with your ski racer each day, be their greatest fan!

Being physically prepared is just half the story in the journey of a great athlete. It’s also important that you prepare mentally in order to manage the everyday struggles you may face, such as the pressure of competition, injury and recovery and, of course, learning to come to terms with the failures as well as the successes in your career.

Core Principles

  • Training demands and competitive focus increases, emphasis should remain on learning, developing, testing and refining all skills and strategies in ski racing (i.e., physical, technical, tactical and mental). 
  • Assist the ski racer in the development of a comprehensive mental training plan that can be incorporated into the training and competition environment. 
  • Ski racers are introduced to pre-competiton routines, mental preparation plans, and more formal performance debriefing strategies. 
  • Ski racers continue to grow their awareness and mindfulness of mental, physical, and emotional responses to demands. 
  • Ski racers become aware of a positive sport-life balance and start to monitor mental, emotional, and physical fatigue. 
  • Emphasize the development of teamwork and ethical play. 



Mental Fitness Activities


  • Teach and integrate different types of goal setting strategies for training and competition.
  • Teach ski racers how to regulate arousal states for optimal performance in competition. 
  • Emphasize positive self-talk, the maintenance of an optimistic attitude to increase motivation and self-confidence. 
  • Teach ski racers how to use different types of focus to execute and respond to performance demands in a variety of situations.
  • Develop and implement personalized "imagery" scripts on a more regular basis.
  • Develop refocusing and distraction control strategies.
  • Develop and implement strategies to manage pressure, fear and stress. 
  • Teach ski racers how to plan and develop their personalized mental preparation strategies, and competition routines. 
  • Apply, test, and refine a ski racers' mental skills and attributes in both training and competitions. 


  • Implement and competition focus plans and self-talk.
  • Incorporate refocusing and distraction control strategies.
  • Develop methods of monitoring performance and making adjustments as required. 
  • Promote teamwork and fair-play; facilitate communication.


  • Develop and implement debriefing strategies to reflect on performance in training and competition. Identify strengths, areas to improve, areas where ski racers can take responsibility, celebrate accomplishments and efforts. 
  • Introduce athlete monitoring that includes monitoring of the mental, emotional and physical fatigue. 
  • Emphasize supporting each other and encouragement of teammates at all times. 

Cognitive Development

Early in this stage, ski racers begin to demonstrate the use of systematic thinking using formal logical operations. 

  • Expose athletes to complex and demanding competitive situations that require skill to be executed at a very high level. 
  • Train ski racer to develop solutions to problems independently. 
  • Coach to encourage more internal feedback from the ski racers in the form of self-reflection. 
  • Perform a high volume of varied repetition while reducing the amount of verbal feedback. Decision training should occur in a variety of environments that promote self-discovery. 

Ski racers

  • Should be included in discussions about a variety of topics, issues, and current events. 
  • Should be encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas with coaches and parents. 
  • Should be encouraged to use problem-solving to correct an error. 
  • Should begin analyzing their training and competition performance. 
  • Will need direction with goal setting. 
  • Should be praised for well thought out decisions. 
  • Will need assistance in re-evaluating poor decisions. 


Sport for Life: Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development