How cool is Zoi Sadowski-Synnott? She totally nailed that “Switch backside 900 Indie, to front double 1080 melon, to backside 1080” to claim the Olympic Slopestyle Snowboarding gold. Slopestyle snowboarding just looks scary. I personally dabble in a bit of snowboarding and like to carve a bit of ‘pow pow,’ (gee I'm cool, or is that sick?) but the snowboard stays firmly on the ground, that is for sure (ok, definitely not cool or sick).
Now behind every great athlete, there is a great support crew and great coach. Sean Thompson is Zoi’s coach and he just oozes coolness. A few days before the Olympics he and Zoi were interviewed. Zoi had made the podium 10 or so times in a row at recent events and reporter Jordan Oppert, TVNZ, asked Sean what was the secret to their success?
‘We just have a lot of fun. We just love snowboarding. Oh… and we work hard (with a bit of chuckling as to slightly mock the standard stereotypical deadpan coach interview).’ How refreshing is that? Here was an athlete and coach at the pinnacle of their sport, keeping perspective on what is really important. They were actually having fun, laughing, giving elbow pumps (it appeared even fist pumps were outlawed for these Olympics?). Although he was a little miffed that there was no beer in the Olympic village (until Jordan Oppert smuggled some in for him - nice touch Jordan).
Now of course, there is a heap of preparation and hard work that has gone into a 4 year campaign. They mentioned living on the line of fear, being uncomfortable, the crashes, highs and lows, pushing boundaries to improve without hurting yourself too much etc… But FUN people, that is where it starts.
We can all learn and reflect on that for any level we coach. Why do we coach? Because we love it and have fun. Why do people play sport? Because it’s (supposed to be) fun.
Let’s have fun and make it fun!