I am currently finishing the book “The Boys in the Boat” (for those who don’t what it is, it is about the nine men and their quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in rowing). Below is a quote I read a few days ago that resonated with me.
“Therein lies the secret to successful crews: Their “swing”, that fourth dimension of rowing, which can only be appreciated by an oarsman who has rowed in a swinging crew, where the run is uncanny and the work of propelling the shell a delight”. – George Pocock
In cross-country skiing, it is our body that swings in unison, instead of a crew. Every part of the body engages simultaneously, in a fluid and effortless motion (the skiers out there know that incredible feeling I am talking about). Sometimes we find it and sometimes we lose it, just as the Washington crew did. However, the more we achieve this swinging body in various terrains and techniques, the closer we become to mastering efficient and fast technique. I am by no means close to a “swinging body” but it has become one of the things I am going to work on this year.
The training camp in Park City taught me how to be aware of my body position and movement, which is the first step to improving my technique. The past few weeks I have had plenty of time to follow my teammates in our 3+ hour skis and run since we are in a volume block right now. By syncing up with my teammates during long skis, I learned how they ski most efficiently while also being able to practice how to follow someone else (an important skill for racing). So go out and find that “swing” of yours!