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The Winter Olympics has been and gone too quickly.

I was sat in the barbers yesterday (avoiding the type of botch job I told you about last week) and got to see Matthew Pinsent conducting a great interview with Team GB's gold medallist in the skeleton bob, Lizzy Yarnold.

That's where athletes lie chest down on a tiny sled and go down the bobsleigh run head first hitting speeds upwards of 80mph.

For that, the last place competitors get a wow from me.

Anyway, during her touching recollection of her Olympic experience, Lizzy said something that I have to share with you.

Sliding down the course wants to be done as quickly as possible.

Three of the basics ways to improve speed are to have an explosive start, to keep on the best paths possible to maximise speed and minimise distant travelled and to avoid bumping the sides of the ice lane.

Bumps obviously immediately slow the athletes down and affect their paths.


Lizzy said that when she goes off course to bump the wall, rather than making large efforts to stop herself bumping, she just lets it happen.

She loses less speed by just letting it happens.

She can also recover her path more easily after letting herself bump the wall than she can by oversteering to stay off the wall.

She just lets the bumps happen.

And the Olympic gold medal and fastest times on every run infer that her approach probably has quite a bit of merit.

So...correcting your course.

I know I've tried so hard to stay on course at times that it's been detrimental to my performance.

I've done the equivalent of the oversteer many times.

I've done everything I can to avoid the bumps thinking they would harm my performance when actually, in committing large amounts of effort to avoid them, I've done the very thing I was trying to avoid.


Correcting my course was, at the extremes, the least correct thing to do for my learning and performance.


How about you?

Have you experienced something like this in your sport, literally or metaphorically?

Would you benefit from letting some of those little bumps just happen?

Arton "Taking the bumps" Baleci

P.S. if you're into running or distance events on general, keep an eye out for tomorrow's blog. If you haven't subscribed yet, click here to make sure you get it.