Rowmark life is busy! Between constant training during the winter season, dryland int he off-season, and frequent ski camps in between, the Rowmarkers are non-stop! In some ways it seems unbelievable that some of the students at Rowland Hall are among the best skiers in the country. How is this possible? How has Rowmark been able to consistently produce such good athletes that go on to succeed in whatever path they choose in life? The answer is the values Rowmark coaches teach their athletes.
Rowmarkers develop these qualities on the hill, at the gym, and in the classroom, and as a result, they succeed in all of these settings. By learning these essential skills, Rowmarkers adapt to the demands of missing school and are able to do well in races at the same time. This article explores the values Rowmarkers develop on their journeys with Rowmark, by exploring both a current athlete’s and coach’s perspective. Becoming excellent (at anything), takes time and skills that the Romarkers are developing, so this article’s lessons apply to everyone regardless of sport or passion!
To get a deeper understanding of the most important skills Rowmarkers learn, we decided to interview the Rowmark Director and Head U16 Coach, Todd Brickson, and athlete Lili Honey.
Todd grew up skiing in the Midwest. In college, he skied D1 at the University of New Hampshire. Previously Todd has coached for Squaw Valley, Green Mountain Valley School, and the US Ski Team. For the past 20 years, Todd has offered hundreds of Rowmark athletes precious lessons on skiing and life and has coached 12 athletes who have skied on the US Ski Team and four who have gone to the Olympics!
We also interviewed Lili Honey, a 16-year-old, first-year FIS athlete, who made it to Regionals last year! Lili grew up skiing for Northstar Ski Team while she lived in Lake Tahoe. Formerly, she also pursued gymnastics at a very high level. Lili is very ambitious and wants to keep racing in college, in order to keep progressing and becoming the best ski racer she can be.
One of the most essential values Todd and Lili told us about was motivation. As Beata Souders, a psychologist, writer, and researcher with PositivePsychology.com, describes, “Motivation is crucial because it allows us to change behavior, develop competencies, be creative, set goals, grow interests, make plans, develop talents, and boost engagement.” Todd has a daughter on Rowmark in the ninth grade, so he also understands the amount of pure motivation it takes to be a Rowmarker: “Skiing is not repetitive. Even if we train three days of slalom in a row, every course is different, every day is different: snow conditions are different, we might be at the UOP, we might be at Park City (so the terrain is different), the temperatures are different, how your skis need to be tuned is different.” Rowmarkers ski many days a week and need to muster the internal motivation to work hard and adapt to different conditions every single day that they are skiing, in order to reach their full potential. This internal motivation comes through the love of the sport because as Todd describes, “skiing is a difficult sport, but I think that is why it is attractive, because it's not repetitive.” When we asked Lili about her favorite experience on Rowmark so far, she told us about the 2021 Copper Mountain trip, but underlined the motivation the camp took, by mentioning that “the 5:00AM wake-up calls were not the highlight.” Getting up to go ski at 5:00 in the dark and cold morning takes a lot of love of the sport!
Another essential quality that Rowmarkers learn while on Rowmark is time management. According to Psychology Today, “Time management is the ability to plan and control how someone spends the hours in a day to effectively accomplish their goals.” This applies to Rowmarkers because balancing school and athletics while missing so much school is very challenging, but in order to become successful in the sport, Rowmarkers have to figure out what to prioritize and how to use their time wisely. As Lili describes, “one of the fun parts of Rowmark is finding a healthy balance between having fun and being serious on and off the hill.” To manage her time efficiently, Lili described how she used her free periods to meet with teachers and catch up on the work she has missed. Todd also sees the importance of good time management skills: “Rowmarkers are getting up early, they’re going to a rigorous school, they have homework, they tune skis, eat dinner, get to bed at a reasonable hour, so succeeding takes self-motivation, time management, and dedication.”
Luckily, Rowmarkers have great examples to look up to as they develop time management and motivation skills: their coaches. Coaches are just as motivated as the students to get up on the hill early to set the course and prepare for a day of giving athletes priceless feedback. Having a good athlete-coach relationship is essential when building these lifelong skills.
Building motivation and time-management skills during the most crucial developmental years in life is essential. Rowmarkers learn how to take these skills that they’ve learned while on the team and apply them to everyday life by working hard in school, sports, and extracurricular activities. Building these skills on and off the hill takes time and dedication, things that are learned through actions and observing individuals that the athletes look up to and aspire to be. By learning these skills, Rowmarkers are able to pursue their dreams of becoming collegiate skiers and World Cup athletes while simultaneously striving for and achieving academic excellence.