ALL IN THE DETAIL.....
The blog has been getting a little neglected over recent times as more and more of our updates move to facebook & twitter in the speedy world of social networking! It's all very well popping the pics up from the phone along with some short, at times amusing vids but for the more meaty articles.... well, nothing beats a blog.
So, 'Why Ambition?' is the title. At this time of year most people will know their skiing plan for the next 12 months. People say times are bad in British skiing, however in 2007 when Ambition was set up, it was pretty normal for athletes to get to September and still not have firmed up what they were doing. Programmes are becoming more developed and parents are getting more clued up as to what helps to make a good athlete. The info on this kind of thing is so easy to find these days - maybe not everyone can be an expert but decent infomation, knowledge & opinions can be found & formulated online.
When deciding what to do though, does every parent / stakeholder / athlete really have all the information to hand to make those decisions? I hear much said on cost. 'X charges this' or 'Z charges that'. In reality many people are still comparing apples with pears as with each academy or club there is a different structure that will include or exclude different things. Only the owners, directors, camp planners & eventually the sponsors (parents) will know the true prices and only in some cases, the reasons behind them.
So 'Why Ambition?'. Well for those that have chosen to join Ambition for the next 12 months or have been involved in the past, hopefully they will know what we do, how we do it and what we believe in. For those who are not involved, perhaps this blog will make for interesting reading. Perhaps these are aspects that will highlight why it is worth considering Ambition in the future and what you actually 'get' as part of the Ambition Team.
Well it had to be at the top of the list didn't it. The base at Ambition is simply very cool & very professional and has been built around providing the best facilties for alpine athletes. We have built 2 separate gym rooms & possibly the worlds largest ski tuning room (its like a house of its own), we have a great athletes lounge and of course alot of storage space. The move in 2011 was a big leap, but a worthwhile and calculated leap that made a huge difference to our team. A home from home we like to think :)One of the major benefits of having the base is being able to invite other teams to stay with us. Having World Cup skiers around can only be a positive thing for a young athlete. Last year we had some of the Canadian WC womens team to stay amongst others. For the 2013 / 2014 season we will have Team Global Racing (Coached by Paul Epstein) stay with us, which will see the return of Charlie Raposo to Ambition surroundings. Both Douglas Crawford & TJ Baldwin will also be present as they use Haus Tirol as their base for this season too. TJ who took up a short coaching role with Ambition in October 2012 will be a hugely positive influence as im sure Dougy will too.
We don't have too many changes in our teams from year to year. We set about building teams of athletes who will work well together. Sure there are some new faces each year but the idea is to create consistency within each group and decent training partners. This has worked well for 6 years now and i hope many more to come. So sometimes we have the full team out here, other times we just have a few, but we are not filling each week with random athletes. This gives the chance to build good coach-athlete relationships also and at times, very low ratios. (last week we had 4 athletes out from the team as schools had not yet broken up). So i guess at times it is a way of accessing almost private training much of the time at club/academy fees.
Coaching / Staff
As many people know by now, we don't take kindly here to jokers. The staff at Ambition need to be incredibly hard working and dedicated to ski racing and ski coaching. We are getting closer to our goals on this all the time. We are not interested in taking people on who do not live and breathe the sport, those that only coach for their own personal lifestyle. For 2014, our line up of Marc Telling, Jo Ryding, Ross Green, Emily Evans & Monika Kimmich is possibly our best to date and something we are proud to have in place.
A true academic program is difficult to provide. It takes a lot of organisation & forward planning. There is the initial liaison, the explanations, the program itself & the on-going reports / communication to be looked at. It takes a huge amounbt of time and finance to get a proper program running and even then, it can always be improved on. At Ambition, i am proud to say that we have had some great teachers over the past 2 years and great support from the local Sports School where the athlete work. It is as professional as possible and as important as the skiing program.
A word that gets thrown around alot! Well, we look at our own 'pathway' and we have a plan. We can bring athletes in at U10/U12 and take them the whole way through in our program to U21 level & sometimes beyond all with educational support. It is good to be able to look ahead and see the next step so to speak. Holistic Approach
Because of the relatively small number of athletes we take on we are able to look at each one individually and set about getting each aspect of their ski racing to where it should be. We are not experts on every area but we have good partners in S&C & Equipment companies to be able to offer our athletes the best service if we are not able to directly. I know both Team Sky & England Rugby work in this way and it is definitely something we have found that makes a positive difference.
The weeks at Ambition are set-up in a 'program' format. We look at each athlete and work out what 'program' will suit them. Do they need more training? More racing? More pre-season? The options are all there for Ambition athletes. The actual program location is also well thought out, obviously with the base in Austria but also in summer & spring there are options in the Southern Hemisphere, Europe and more. For full-time athletes the programs are based around giving plenty of time between blocks in the summer to get physical training benefits.
All in all, those are some of the main reasons that we think Ambition has alot to offer any enthusiastic, young, budding skier. Good luck to all of those training this summer, especially those on the new reg GS skis. It's going to be an interesting year!