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Boot Camp - but no Simon Cowell

At the end of May, Youth skier (and part time reporter) Lynne Gray and a number of the British Nordic Youth Squad joined up with members of the British Futures freestyle ski and boarders for a combined Snowsports boot camp at the “state of the art” Aberdeen Sports Village.  However this was not the sort of boot camp where Simon Cowell makes an appearance. 


Lynne Gray, Fergus Newman, Brodie Murray, Olver Newman, Duncan Gibb, Jack Nicholls and Beth MacLean all took part in a 3 day Snowsports boot camp in May. 

Throughout the three day camp, members of the British Nordic Development Squad were put through numerous and vigorous training sessions by a number of specialists from the Grampian Institute of Sport (part of SportScotland).  Sessions included strength using proper equipment, which for a lot of the squad, was their first time exposed to such facilities.  Despite the slightly blistered hands the whole experience was welcomed by the athletes allowing them to take full advantage of expertise available and techniques learned that can be transferred back into daily training life.


An exhausted Lynne reported – “Another first for me, was a gymnastics session. On first seeing this on the training plan, a wave of fear came over me as I had only managed to do my first proper forward roll on the first day of the camp.  The freestyle guys were doing back flips on concrete as if it was something normal.”  

“However, this session was nothing like any of us had been expecting.  It was by far the hardest session of the three days, even ahead of our 3k run test in the burning 25 degree heat.  There was only a little stretching involved which was definitely a good thing as we’re not known for our flexibility, but the rest was functional strength which ensured that by the end of the session every muscle in our bodies was well and truly dead.”


The camp was not all about training as the group received highly beneficial and inspirational talk sessions from two sporting experts.  The first came from 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Tim Bailie, his talk was both inspirational and motivational as he enlightened the squad as to his own pathway to becoming an Olympics athletes and gold medal winner.

The British Nordic athletes were put through their paces both indoor and outdoor in what was a fantastic 3 days experience.

He described the many ups and downs in training and competitions and that even a gold medallist did not have an easy path to success.  For all young athletes he encouraged them to stay enthused and that hard training eventually pays off.   Tim also introduced the group to develop a mind-set that focuses on their own performance and not be determined by how the race went or by the place they had come, making racing a lot less stressful and reducing pressure.


Another session came from nutritionist Fiona Kinnear.  Fiona advised the group on what best to include within an athlete’s diet and that despite how many times your parents saying that you are eating them out of house and home, it is still important to consume a large amount of food to refuel and get the best outcomes from training.   She also advised the group the optimum types of food to eat before and after competition to maximise race performance.


Lynne also confirmed that the most enjoyable part to the camp for her was training with new athletes who are in a slightly different sports discipline.  She felt it made the camp more interesting as she was exposed to different styles of training and provided a better understanding of strengths required in different sports, including witnessing the freestylers on the artificial slope doing impressive if not slightly frightening tricks.


The groups swapped skillsets during the 3 days and soon the freestylers picked up the roller ski technique due to the certain similarities between the sports.  This then allowed the cross country skiers to reflect on their own techniques and work on improvements.  One of the freestyle guys advised that roller skiing was far more dangerous than snowboarding, despite him doing a “backside double cork 12” off a 24 metre jump (advised on the name of it by Lynne).


By getting access to the vast facilities at the Sports Village and the Institute of Sport ensured that no session was the same and that although painful, was greatly enjoyed by the group.  


Despite only being three days long, the group agreed that this camp was the most enjoyable summer training experience had so far and getting to train with other talented athletes was a fantastic opportunity.  Our British Nordic skiers have all learnt a lot from this experience and will be extremely useful in the development of their everyday training and long term goals.


2012 Gold medallist Tim Baillie provided the group with an insight into the ups and downs of training to achieve an Olympic gold.

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