When former World Cup ski racer and World Championships medalist Doug Lewis retired from the sport in 1988, he was left with a bag of “tools” and a deep desire to share them with future generations of Olympic dreaming athletes.
“I had learned everything about the sport, how to work out right, how to eat right, mentally how to focus and then I promptly retired,” says Lewis, Founder of ELITEAM, an organization that has spent the last 22 years dedicated to helping young athletes reach their dreams. “I said ‘I have all this knowledge, wouldn’t it be great to pass it along to these kids?’”
This summer (June 24-28) Lewis will take his Vermont-based organization to Park City, Utah for a World Cup camp that promises to edify young athletes of all sports while providing a healthy dose of inspiration at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Center of Excellence.
“It’s such an opportunity for these kids to get into the Center of Excellence where all this high tech, state-of-the-art sports science work is going on,” says Lewis. “In addition to the features of the facility, we have Steven Nyman who is going to come by and we are going to see what other alpine, cross country and freestyle athletes are around and we are going to invite them out do drills with us and that is going to be very cool.”
Though Lewis, who now works as an alpine ski racing TV analyst for NBC Universal Sports, has a ski racing background, he’s confidant his methods benefit athletes from a broad range of sports.
“All the principles about physical fitness and setting goals, how to get rid of competition anxiety, how to eat right, all those would help any athlete, whatever their sport,” he says. “It also helps them in life, it helps them get ready for a test and how to prepare and get their mind right if they have to give a speech at school and handle their nerves. It’s pretty cool that all the tools we give them are across the board helpful.”
The camp is open to athletes from ages 11-14, which, according to Lewis, is the prime age to educate young minds on the verge of taking the next step in their sports. “Kids in this age are full of energy, willing to do anything and they listen. They are at that age where they are just sponges and it’s really a pleasure to work with them,” says Lewis. “It’s also the age when agility training, coordination training makes the most difference, they learn so fast so it’s a critical stage to us. They are also just getting serious about the sport and that way the goal setting and visualization techniques that we teach and all the spots psychology is introduced.”
With a focus on nutrition, sports physiology and sports psychology, plus a high-energy environment with a generous athlete-to-coach ratio, the Park City camp aims to reach each participant on an individual level.
“Parents will appreciate that, not only will the kids have a great time but they will come out of there having learned something,” says Lewis. “Certain kids will pick up certain things, some kids will continue to do the morning run and stretch for the entire fall. Some kids, when they are on their way to a race with their parents they will tell them that they can’t go to McDonalds and say ‘we need to eat right and feel good.’”
For more information on ELITTEAM and the Park City camp go to: https://www.eliteam.com.