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Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 20:52 GMT

Training McKenna style

In her fourth Winter Olympics column for BBC Sport Online, British Olympic snowboarder Lesley McKenna describes a typical day of training

The attitude in snowboarding is quite unique compared to other winter sports.

Of course, you go in and do the best that you can do, but it's a little more relaxed.

Everyone will take a bit of a risk and try to pull something off on the half-pipe, and if it works, it works, and if it doesn't, well at least you tried.

But the training is still tough and can be quite tiring.

"My coach isn't actually a technical snowboard coach, so we have to try to work things out together"
Lesley McKenna

Usually my coach John Clark and I get to the half-pipe about 10 in the morning and we maybe ride until about one o'clock.

Then after lunch, we may ride again, or, if we have had a really good session in the morning, we come back and I go to the gym for a stretch and do some preparation.

John, whose background is in skiing, isn't actually a technical snowboard coach, so we have to try to work things out together.

Basically John usually walks up to the bottom of the half-pipe and videos all my runs from there and then we look at the tape and discuss it over.

We basically muddle through - he'll say something like: "Maybe you should try that," and I'll think: "Yeah, yeah, that's a good idea," and give it a shot.

If that doesn't work, I'll try something else - it's just a process of elimination really.

Maximising runs

It can be quite tiring because the number of runs you make on the half-pipe depends on how fast you get back to the top after coming down.

You hike up the pipe, have your run, then you walk up, put your board back on and do it all over again.

When the official training starts at the Olympics on 5 February, we'll get about a couple of hours a day to practise on the competition half-pipe at Park City.

Everyone usually trains on the pipe together, although sometimes they separate the boys from the girls.

I don't really worry about what everyone else is doing while I'm there.

You've got absolutely no control over that, and, even if they are having the best training in the world ever, it doesn't make much difference to what I'm doing.

I just concentrate on what I've got to do and do what I think is best for me at the time.


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