Be the best ski racing parent you can be

Dr. Jim Taylor

Dr. Jim Taylor

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back on snow working with racers since Oct. 16, and that rollercoaster called another winter of ski racing is well underway. Racers aren’t the only members of the ski racing community who experience the intense ups and downs of our sport; their parents do too.

The simple fact is that it’s hard being a ski racing parent. You invest your heart, soul, and a whole lot of money so your children can have a great experience in their ski racing and, let’s be realistic, have as much success as possible. This kind of investment of emotions, time, and money can cause some parents to slip over to the “dark side” and become albatrosses around their children’s necks rather than the wind beneath their wings.

Your goal is to be a source of support, confidence, and comfort to your children as they experience the inevitable highs and lows that are a part of ski racing. During the course of this winter, I will share with you some ideas I have about what it takes to be a good ski racing parent. But, to get you off to a good start, I would like to offer you a “refresher course” on being the best ski racing parent you can be. To that end, I’ve attached links to my articles from past years:

  1. Raise children who are “successful achievers,” meaning they have self-esteem, ownership, and emotional mastery.
  2. Ensure that your young racers strive for excellence rather than perfection.
  3. Be sensitive as to how success impacts your young racers.
  4. Set healthy expectations and goals that focus on fun, effort, and long-term development.
  5. Allow your children to fail, so they will learn from it and not fear it.
  6. Know what your and your children’s responsibilities are and make sure you’re doing your job and not theirs.
  7. Regardless of whether your children are so-called gifted or not, always focus on their effort.
  8. Allow your children to experience disappointment and other less-pleasant emotions.

Now get out there and be the best ski racing parent you can be! Your children will thank you for it.


Jim Taylor, Ph.D., competed internationally while skiing for Burke Mountain Academy, Middlebury College, and the University of Colorado. Over the last 25 years, he has worked with the U.S. and Japanese Ski Teams, many World Cup and Olympic racers, and several of the leading junior race programs in the U.S. and Canada. Jim is the author of Prime Ski Racing: Triumph of the Racer’s Mind, he publishes bi-monthly newsletters on sport, business, and parenting, and also blogs for huffingtonpost.com and psychologytoday.com. To learn more or to contact Jim, visit his website.

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