Morgan Smyth, of the USST, came to Boston to give a talk to the CSU juniors last Sunday. It was pretty cool that she'd take time out of her life to come share some stories with the juniors, and I could tell it made an impact on a lot of them. She came up through the ranks just the way they are doing, there is no magic formula or huge leap, its just hard work, a little talent, a little luck, and more hard work.
One of the things I was glad to hear Morgan say was that she attributes a lot of her success to making the right decisions - she admitted she'd made plenty of wrong decisions, too, but it all comes down to the fact that you have a choice, and its up to you to make the right one. She's had some setbacks, knee surgery in 2007, compartment surgery last summer, but it was great to hear her tell the juniors that you can bounce back from anything, usually stronger than before, if you make the right decisions - recover well, rest well, train well. Its not always a walk in the park, but its not supposed to be easy.
As a coach, it was music to my ears to hear her say she worked on technique every day. None of the kids would believe me if I said it, but now hopefully they'll be inspired to do the work, to come to practice with the focus necessary to reach their potential (which is a stupid phrase, but its true). You've gotta focus on your goals, and on how you'll get to those goals, and its a long road and there aren't any shortcuts, but you'll get there if you keep working.
Huge thanks to Morgan for sharing her time and her thoughts with us. We are all going to be cheering for her to get on that Olympic team. It was really great for the kids to see how "real" the good skiers are - there is no difference between my swaggering J2 boys and Andy Newell other than age and a lot of hours on skis... and they have to see that for themselves. I think they call that believing in yourself.
But me, I can stay old and cynical.
Here is what Morgan had to say about her visit with the best junior club in the whole world.