After writing about 5 Books That Will Surprisingly Turbo Charge Your Ski Racing Brain a while back, I realized that this is a topic not generally written about. There’s a myriad of articles about training your body, and about technical ski racing training, but very few about maybe the most important aspect of alpine ski racing dominance: mental training. Therefore, here’s a list of 5 more books that will make you a smarter, better racer.
This is a new book that I actually just finished. It’s about success and how some people reach it much, much faster than others. Shane Snow, founder of Contently and successful journalist, explores a wide array of examples. He posits that through a few basic principles, these Outliers take smartcuts (smart shortcuts), to achieve much more than their peers. Read and learn.
Since we all know that ski racing is a game won by split second decisions (often to the tune of heartbreak), it’s no surprise that a book on split second decision making should make this list. Malcolm Gladwell is a master writer and storyteller, and compiles a diverse background of research, both new and old, that attempts to teach readers how to make better split second decisions.
Before we step off the Malcolm Gladwell train, I should probably mention Outliers. I’m actually mad that I didn’t put this on the first list. This is probably the most popular modern book about success and the pursuit of it. It popularize the 10,000 hour rule (it takes 10,000 hours to truly master something). It also contains a ton of unexpected and slightly contrarian points about success. I highly recommend you read this and apply it to your journey as a ski racer.
The Art of Fielding is a recently written and insanely popular book about ambition, love, loss, and falling short. It follows the story of Henry Skrimshander, a baseball player with a huge talent for the sport, on his journey through college ball and his dreams of playing professionally. It’s a wonderful look at the interior mind of an ambitious and talented player, and a great reminder of what pressure can do to the psyche. Ski racing might be an even more extreme example of self-imposed mental pressure, so gain the lessons from reading this book and apply them to the race course.
Dr. Jim Taylor is a prolific ski racing psychologist who runs a regular column in Ski Racing Magazine. This book, along with Taylor’s other writing, really represents the pinnacle of what we’re trying to introduce with these posts: a focus on the mental aspects of ski racing. According to his Amazon bio, “Prime Ski Racing introduces you to the essential mental factors that impact ski racing including motivation, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions.” If you have to read one book about the mental aspects of ski racing, make it this one.