At GroundSwell Athletics, we are giving athletes an opportunity to combine ski racing and personal growth outside of skiing.
This week, I want to share with you how GroundSwell Athletics started and why I think fundamental development is crucial to the success of aspiring ski racers.
Five years ago, the co-founder of GroundSwell Athletics, Bob Bennett, hired me to help him accomplish a life-long dream: to be a ski racer. Bob, in his mid-forties with no background in ski racing and limited fundamental ability, was at a point in life where he had enough resources and willpower to compete with athletes less than half his age. Sound a little crazy? We’ll get to that.
My new coaching gig was underway and Bob and I (for better or worse) started spending a lot of time together. During long car rides, time on the chairlift, or waiting for 2nd run, I began to talk with Bob about what he does outside of skiing. I was fascinated by the investment platform that he was in the process of building. When Bob mentioned he was starting a school to teach people with no background in business how to become an investment professional, I signed up!
I stopped the traditional education model when I was 10 years old. In school, I was never inspired to learn more than what was required to get an “A”. I was home-schooled through high-school and never went to college. Learning how to work in finance as a 29-year-old retired ski racer with no prior education in business, or even a high-school diploma, was, again, maybe a little crazy?
Or was it?
When I initially sat down with Bob 5 years ago to discuss helping him become a ski racer, I didn’t blink an eye. I shared with him my history as an athlete and how, from a very young age, I was always trying to learn more about the sport. Both of my parents are ski instructors and two of my siblings spent time on the National Team. I had been involved with ski racing my entire life and had a very strong understanding of fundamental technique. I knew that wherever Bob was in his development, I could break down the fundamental skills that he would need to develop to take his skiing to the next level.
Similarly, Bob has had a successful career in finance. Bob understands all the fundamental aspects of building, buying, and growing a business. He knows what it takes to create a business strategy and how to implement it. He has spent his career doing it, successfully. Bob knows he can take people with no background in business and teach them the frameworks essential to building and growing a business.
So, what do Bob and I have in common? A retired World Cup ski racer without a high-school degree learning how to work in finance, and a forty-something businessman competing with 18-year-olds in a highly competitive skill-specific sport.
We were both fortunate enough to be connected to someone who has a deep understanding of fundamental development in their area of specialties. As teachers, we were both able to see the potential for growth and achievement through fundamental instruction and development. We have both succeeded in learning a new skill and are continuing to learn, and grow, in our new roles.
My point is, fundamentals matter! And they are teachable no matter where you are on the spectrum. We must educate our athletes and coaches on fundamental development so we can help our athletes grow into the skiers they can be.
Please stay tuned to our blog as both Bob and I write about more specific fundamental development skills, both in ski racing and in business development.
Thanks for reading,