The men's Norwegian Alpine Team took part in a three-day training experience with the Norwegian Coastal Ranger Commando at the end of May. Both the World Cup and the Europa Cup team - with the exception of athletes dealing with rehab - got together in the North of Norway for a camp coordinated by strenght and conditioning coach and previous Platoon Commander of the e Coastal Ranger Bjørn Ole Fosse.
The training camp
The-three day programme featured different physical and mental challenges with the goals of strenghtening the team spirit, learning debrief and feedback techniques, developing mental toguhness and getting used to deal with uncertainty. In fact, the Norwegian 'boys' were only presented the challenges right before having to deal with them and were not aware of what was awaiting them.
The first day focused more on tasks that were physically challenging while the second day centered around the mental aspect, with complex problem solving. For such chellenges, the team was fostered to focus only on those details that they could influence, without wasting energies on aspects that could not be changed.
On the third day, the Attacking Vikings were left outside in the cold night, and had to build a shelter together, start a bonfire and find other ways to survive in the wild.
Each day kicked off with a 'refreshing' swim in the Arctic Ocean!
At the very end of the programme, the group was assigned to a typical Coastal Ranger mission and had to plan and train the needed skills to successfully complete the mission.
“One of the main lessons learned for the athletes is that the human body is able to perform really well even when the mental and physical conditions are not optimal.
In fact, even if they were deprived of sleep and and food for three days, all athletes performed better in the physical test right after the training camp than how they did just before this tough experience.” said strength and conditioning coach Bjørn Ole Fosse.
Further lessons learned include:
- How to react to physical and mental stress
- How to better contribute to the team
- How to deal with uncertainty
- Focus only on what is in your control
- How to give feedback and how to debrief
Two-way learning process
The organised camp was beneficial for both the Norwegian Alpine Ski Team and the Norwegian Coastal Ranger Commando. Both teams were able to learn from one another.
The skiers could share their knowledge in optimizing performance while the military group provided useful insights into performing in unknown situations and providing feedback and debrief, something the Coastal Ranger Commando is is incredibly good at, as they are used to debrief after every single mission or challenge.
Kjetil Jansrud, Norwegian speed skier, was enthusiastic about the training camp: “We fought, cried, fought some more. Then they put each of us alone to deal with mother nature. I’m left with an even deeper understanding of how mental and physical duress is best carried as a team. Thanks to the Coastal Ranger Commando for this humbling experience.”
Lucas Braathen also made the most of this experience. The Norwegian youngster commented, “It was undoubtably the toughest, but coolest week ever. The boys (now men) spent a week with the Coastal Ranger Commando and we’ve become stronger as a team than I ever thought was possible. Can’t wait for next season with the guy.”
The Norwegian Alpine ski team, already known for being one of the most united squads out there, seems to have reached an even stronger bond and is ready for another exciting World Cup season.
Thanks to Bjørn Ole Fosse and the Norwegian ski federation for sharing information and photos with us.