Last month, I used to be extremely lucky to satisfy a few of my nation’s prime Alpine athletes on the HQ of Ski Team Sweden in Åre. Amongst them, I spent a while with Matts Olsson, a World Championship medalist and one of many prime male FIS World Cup rivals from Sweden, with a specialization in Giant Slalom. He’s an ultra-experienced hand on the circuit, powering by way of 9 seasons, and has simply had one in every of his greatest in 2016/17 with two podium finishes. It struck me that the youthful members of the workforce actually look as much as those that’ve given battle alongside the worldwide legends of the game, and Matts wears his expertise with nice knowledge and humility. It was with nice pleasure that I sat right down to ask him about his coaching, his psychological strategy, his eating regimen, and his ethos on competitors! Here’s what I discovered…
F.O.T: Can you say the way you get into snowboarding, your background?
MO: I don’t keep in mind the second I began to ski however I’ve seen photographs, my mother and father advised me I used to be Three years previous. That wasn’t in Are, I used to be from far more South, the slopes aren’t that incredible! I grew up near Karlstad, which was the primary cause I began to ski as a result of it was handy! My mother and father weren’t into snowboarding a lot – they knew about it, they adopted Ingmar Stenmark for positive, however they didn’t have any snowboarding background. I simply began, after which I began to love it!
F.O.T: Do you keep in mind whenever you realized you liked snowboarding?
MO: At an early age, I knew that I needed to be an athlete. I didn’t know snowboarding was my largest ardour. I performed soccer, hockey, and snowboarding. It began to grow to be apparent on the age of 11 or 12. I did all of the coaching with gates, however I used to do free snowboarding in woods with pals. That was the most important love, the sensation of being free! When I selected snowboarding 100%, that was as a result of, within the hockey area, I wasn’t as free as I used to be on skis!
F.O.T: It’s far more a solo sport, vs a staff sport in hockey. Is that the way you see it?
MO: Yes completely, that fitted my character higher, to do it alone. I don’t know why however that’s the best way I’m! Now, once we’re in Ski Team Sweden, to be out with the blokes, that’s 80% of the enjoyable. I’m tremendous fortunate to have staff mates I actually like and wish to spend time with them.
F.O.T: How a lot of an athlete do you need to be?
MO: It’s exhausting for individuals to know. What you see is that you simply begin on the highest of a mountain and also you ski down! And in the event you’re used to snowboarding on straightforward slopes on your ski vacation, it doesn’t really feel like an enormous deal. But whenever you begin to ski World Cup slopes when it’s truly not snow that you simply’re snowboarding on, however somewhat ice… And you then within the turns, you’ll be able to generate Three-400kg of strain loaded onto your legs, combined with bumps that you simply don’t see and an uneven floor that takes numerous stability to right… Alpine Ski Racers gained’t be greatest in any single self-discipline of bodily talents, however within the huge image, an alpine skier will do rather well general.
F.O.T: How do you practice for that. How does every week seem like in coaching?
MO: That’s totally different from individual to individual. For me, I practice exhausting for two days, then I relaxation in the future, and I practice arduous for two days once more, after which I relaxation in the future once more. I don’t work out for the entire week and take the weekend off; I’m extra two-and-one. If I work on a weekend, so I work a weekend. I concentrate on endurance, power, agility, a bunch of various competencies. The important focus is usually core and legs. In the previous, I used to separate the physique half that I needed to coach and give attention to that for the day. Now I combine it up extra; I can’t clarify why, my bodily coach is aware of why I do this, I belief him and I comply with this system.
F.O.T: How do you gasoline that, when it comes to vitamin?
MO: I don’t break issues down by macros and measure them by grams. I eat lots, I attempt to eat healthily, I attempt to get the appropriate quantities of meals, however I eat what I eat. If I practice onerous, I attempt to eat lots, and I see how I really feel. If I’m dropping kilograms, I have to do one thing about it; I clear up to a physique weight. You have to be good in numerous totally different areas, however you solely have a lot focus, so I wish to hold some elements a bit easier and concentrate on the issues that I really feel are extra essential to my coaching.
F.O.T: What’s your responsible pleasure?
MO: I don’t know if I need to say, however I like snus each from time to time, and I drink an excessive amount of espresso I feel. But that’s just about it. I don’t should drink beer or eat junk meals – I’m fantastic with out that.
F.O.T: Mental focus; once you’re on the prime of the starter gate, how do you hearth your self as much as give it probably the most?
MO: Now I’m virtually 29; I’ve accomplished ski racing for some time. In the start, you attempt to discover your strategy to see what’s working. You may assume ‘it was a good race, what did I do differently?’. For a few years, I discovered how I needed to strategy a race mentally. Now my first step is to determine the day earlier than that will probably be struggle tomorrow, i’ve to go on the market and be prepared. At the beginning, it’s a must to get it fired up. I speak to myself with a couple of phrases, BEAST MODE!
F.O.T: Do you are feeling worry?
MO: Not now. I ski solely Giant Slalom. I Don’t see that as such a high-speed self-discipline. When i used to be a junior and began to compete in World Cup, I did a number of downhills. I used to be a very good velocity skier, however then I undoubtedly felt the worry. The velocity was nice, however the jumps have been a nightmare, as I by no means felt so snug within the air. I by no means crashed in a leap, however I didn’t know the best way to do it! Then you begin to ski too quickly on the tremendous robust hills with jumps which might be too massive. With a totally different gradual strategy, it may need labored. But a few of the downhill guys have a psychological strategy that’s barely unhinged, and also you want that to deal with a few of these runs. They don’t see what might occur, they only go for it. They love the adrenaline.
F.O.T: Which slope was it that made you marvel…
MO: A few the large jumps in Val Gardena, Italy. There’s an enormous leap, not the one by the end, however the one additional up (See video about that HERE). It’s not only a bounce the place issues fall away, that’s regular; it then goes up once more, so it’s a niche bounce which requires a 60-80m leap. At the inspection, I didn’t fancy my possibilities on that. I solely did one coaching run. I didn’t actually ‘ski’ the highest half, I used to be simply mentally getting ready for the bounce and it was fairly exhausting!
F.O.T: Have you had any struggles in your ski profession, and the way have you ever overcome these?
MO: As a child, it was no hassle; I gained races, and every part was positive. But then, afterward, you might have harder years the place outcomes aren’t there. After a couple of dangerous races, you get fairly down. For me although, I all the time have a day after a race the place I’m disillusioned, however then you definitely carry on going and also you consider in your self for the subsequent race. After a nasty season – I had these for positive – I truly really feel extra motivated then, as a result of I do know I can do higher.
F.O.T: Lots of people need to be wholesome and to coach, however wrestle with motivation; Do you ever really feel you simply need to return to mattress?
MO: I by no means had an issue going to the fitness center. I sort of prefer it. I had an ACL damage a couple of years again, and earlier than the surgical procedure, I went to the fitness center, as a result of that’s what I do. Then I all of the sudden felt ‘what am I doing here – I have no motivation because everything is so far away from skiing’. It didn’t matter whether or not I educated as a result of I’d lose all of it after surgical procedure. I noticed at that time that what will get me to the fitness center is that I’ve a aim. It’s the aim that will get me there. I need to compete in snowboarding, I need to do this properly, that’s the aim, and that’s truly why it’s no drawback to go to the health club. I didn’t understand that earlier than the damage, however I knew it afterward. If you begin to go to the fitness center and push your self, on the finish of the day, you could have a fantastic feeling on the health club that you simply’ve completed one thing nice as we speak!
F.O.T: You point out the significance of relaxation. What do you do on a relaxation day?
MO: Sometimes I lie on the couch and watch TV! Those are only a few certainly although. In summer time if I’m pre-season coaching, mobility takes precedent. If I’m going to the health club and do regular coaching, it’ll take me 2-2.5 hours. After that, I don’t actually need to stretch, so I attempt to try this as its personal session. I get loads of sleep. I get up and take a simple breakfast. Then I stretch, I do some foam rolling, give attention to some set off factors with physio balls… I do this for greater than an hour. Possibly 90 minutes. As an athlete that’s so necessary for me.
F.O.T: How about sleep?
MO: When we go into pre-season mode, we get out actually early onto the glaciers, we have to get up early within the morning. 22:00 is late for me to go to mattress. Also, I often sleep for an hour within the afternoon earlier than a bodily session, typically 2 hours! You really feel slightly bizarre, a bit misplaced after you get up from that, nevertheless it’s nice when it comes to additional power for the subsequent session.
F.O.T: And what do you do on the health club for two entire hours?!
MO: Since my damage, the nice and cozy up protocol is LONG! That’s why I keep there for therefore lengthy, and is why after the session, I do stretching on the next morning, or I’d be there all day!
F.O.T: Your favourite course on the World Cup?
MO: Well, I scored my first podium in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in order that’s up there! When I began World Cup, it was Alta Badia in Italy, then it switched to Kranjska Gora, after which Beaver Creek within the States! I really like Colorado, I really like the snow, that sort of slope they’ve there, it’s a lot enjoyable to ski. If I have been a daily ski vacationer, I’d go there for positive!
F.O.T: Do you ski for pleasure lately?!
MO: Not a lot. I nonetheless take pleasure in it definitely; if we have now some powder snowboarding once we’re out, I adore it. Then you get that wave of emotion and assume ‘oh man, skiing is fantastic!’. When you ski pink and blue gates on a regular basis, that’s work. The reward is completely the outcomes, and that’s implausible too!