Whatever your situation, take a moment to reflect on what this winter of snowboarding has brought you; the good, the bad and everything in between. Be thankful for the awesome days on the slopes, new friends, time with old friends, opportunity to travel, new certifications, and new knowledge. On the flip side there might be injuries, missed opportunities or unfinished goals.

We typically think of setting our snowboard goals in the fall, but I would like to challenge you to set your goals for next season now, while the taste of the bitter-sweet end of winter is lingering. If you’re chasing winter or enjoying summer, think about what you can change to help you reach you goals. For most of us, next season is a long way from now, but it will be here before you know it. With a little thought and some effort, you can use the “off season” to train and help reach your riding goals.

Staying active and healthy is an important factor in performance for snowboarding. Try to consider what was holding you back physically this winter. Are your legs tiring out on those longer runs? Work cardio and muscular endurance. Too tight to tweak that method? Do some yoga and get into stretching. Is a lack of strength preventing you from bending the board at high speed? Hit the gym and work on strength; if you need help in the gym, see a personal trainer. In addition to ” training”, other recreational activities will no doubt have some skills that cross over to snowboarding.

On the flip side, without teaching or coaching another sport there’s plenty of ways to keep you teaching skills sharp. Work on clear communication and feedback in your social interactions. Delivering feedback is valuable at work, in personal relationships or while you’re out for a meal.

Keep your mind engaged by reading or learning new things. Follow your curiosity and see where it can take you. If you’d like some reading on sport psychology and skill development, check out The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler, and Body Mind Mastery by Dan Millman.

In short, enjoy your summer! But stay hungry for the knowledge, passion and self improvement that fuel your development as an instructor. Stay active, challenge yourself and try to learn something new. Next winter is just around the corner!

John Smits