Nick Bancroft: Excellence Through Motivation and Hard Work
This week's Athlete of the Week is Nick Bancroft
TS- Nick, this has been a crazy year to say the least. Despite the covid-ness of life, Alpine skiing managed to get on snow for a season. It turned out to be a really successful year for you and the Vikings. What sticks out for you as the reason for your success?
NB - The High School racing season was short but a lot of fun and successful. I have skied since I was 2 and for the most part, haven’t missed a weekend on skis. I have a lot of experience. I worked very hard on my race training but also know my successful season was due to all of the strength training I have been doing with you.
TS - This was your first year in the top of the lineup, what kind of an impact does that have for a skier?
NB - It gave me confidence and comfort. I knew the race course would be in good condition and I would be able to ski my hardest without worrying about the quality of the course.
TS- Do you have a routine to get you focused before a ski run How do you stay calm?
NB - Before a run I just try to picture the course in my head to get prepared for any hard parts. I also like to watch other skiers and note where they mess up.
TS - You also play soccer and lacrosse, both of those sports revolve around planning to play another player and making adjustments to other people. Skiing is just you and the course. Since it's such an individual effort it's a sport that really is about making adjustments against yourself. How much of that is mental and how do you prepare for a run?
NB - It is a huge mental game for me. If I'm not completely focused on every turn and every gate, one small mistake can lose the race for me.
TS- You've been training here at TruStrength a lot this winter. How has that impacted your approach to entering the starting gate and what have you noticed on the snow?
NB - It has given me a lot more confidence in the starting gate, just knowing that I am bigger and stronger than the competition. It has made it so i can get through the course without having to worry about being fatigued, I can just be as aggressive as possible.
TS - What is the crossover between the internal competitive process from soccer to skiing to lax?
NB - At the end of the day, every sport is both for myself and for my team. When I play soccer and lacrosse, I am focused on every play I make and how it helps with the team. On skis, each run is alone, but how well I race impacts the team’s score and sometimes morale.
TS - Lets talk about Lax, you lost the '20 season to covid. How has that impacted you preparing for the '21 season?
NB - Losing the ‘20 season made it hard for me to be where I am in lacrosse today. I knew I had to work extra hard if I wanted to keep up with the competition who could also be working hard in the off season.
TS - You recently trained up to a legit 315 back squat. Most people think of strength and think of sports like football but what does being that strong do for your game on the lax and soccer fields?
NB - Being strong these past seasons has made it so i go from getting pushed around, to being the kid that pushes others around. It has helped me extremely with lacrosse because I am able to just power myself through multiple defenders.
TS - The covid saga has impacted everyone. Literally, everyone LOST something this past year. Many have chosen to dwell on that. How have you moved past that trap and remained motivated?
NB - I stayed motivated because I have always been a competitive person. I knew there were other kids that were out working at my sports trying to become better and I don't want to fall behind. I didn't know how much i would miss sports until they were taken away from me, so that made me want to excel even more when I got back into them and to never take them for granted.
TS - There has been much debate by people around the impacts of isolation, zoom schooling, lost sports etc. What are your thoughts as an actual student on these issues? Some say "kids are resilient," what do you think?
NB - To be honest it's been hard at times just because, at times, there wasn't anything to look forward to. There were many times when it would have been easiest to just lay down and stop trying hard, but i knew that eventually i would get to play sports again and that helped me stay motivated.
TS - This may sound crazy to some but we have coached kids to change their mindset to find opportunities that Covid gave them, instead of dwelling on the loss. What opportunities have you seen and leveraged for a better position to compete?
NB - I realized early on that it would be very noticeable who stayed motivated during these times and who didn't. I decided that if i wanted to excel in my sport when it got back to normal, I would have to stay motivated and train hard.
TS - Outside of sports, what do you look forward to the most this spring and summer?
NB - I really just look forward to being with my friends and family, and hopefully being able to travel much more than last summer.
TS - Are there any sports you wish you could play if you weren't so committed to what you're in now?
NB - I definitely think I could have fun and be a good player on the football field, and sometimes i wish i had played that. Also I would have enjoyed playing basketball mostly because I am so tall.