Peter Schlickenrieder is the name that needs no introduction. Here’s just a quick reminder of his career milestones:
A Silver Olympic medalist of 2002. Together with Tobias Angerer, Rene Sommerfeldt and Axel Teichmann represents the Golden Age of German cross country skiing when international medals and podiums were galore.
After the end of the sporting career got coach’s diploma as well as launched a sports marketing agency.
For over 15 years Schlickenrieder was a main cross country ski expert and commentator on ARD, German public television with a huge audience. He also wrote several successful books on cross country skiing and mountaineering.
Earlier this year Peter Schlickenrieder was appointed the Head Coach or “Teamchef” of the German national cross country ski team – after the season that was quite disappointing for Bundesmannschaft
Peter, your experience is quite unique: top athlete, top level coach and somebody who has experience/understanding of how modern media works. How do you apply these knowledge and skills in your new job as Teamchef Deutschland Langlauf?
I try to find the right balance between all of that and to take my athletes and teammembers together with me on this „travel“. My conviction is that a modern athlete must be able to focus on training yet we have to organize it in such a way that the media related stuff will be done by a third party. So one’s life has to be structured and concentrated as athlete than ever before in order to become successful. We have to find new ways to manage all those challenges – and still do it with a little smile on our faces. The key goal is the emancipated and self-responsible athlete. And the whole team will help the single teammember to find a way. The challenge is to find the right balance.
More specifically, the modern trend seems to be coach-squire, somebody who spends a lot of time on skis along his/ her athletes e.g. Jostein Vinjerui with Team Britain. You also are being seen at lot on skis. Please share your thoughts on “active coach” vs “static coach”.
I´m convinced that you only can do, tell, work on things you love. And if you love something like our sport than you can work even harder. I thinks it´s important that you don´t do it only or mostly for money – you have to do it with your soul and heart and that means for me to be active. So it´s no tactic or something like this. It´s my lifestyle and I´m sure that is the main thing we are living and working for.
And if you want to find the right and intensive way of making plans together than for me it´s the only way to do it is during practicing sport.That’s where you get your best ideas!
Another commonly shared thought: in Germany all the young talent is sucked up by biathlon where fame and money are much bigger. How do you plan to fight that “ talent drain”?
I´m pretty sure that would be our smallest problem because in my thoughts biathlon is nothing else than cross country skiing with a rifle on your back – but it´s mainly cross country skiing! At all we have to care that we inspire young people all over the world with one of the best lifestyles you can have.
So it doesn’t matter if you are German or Russian or from Alaska – we have to find the way to the next generation. That means we have to become much stronger on social media and find the important „instagramable Spots of our Sport“
It´s a fight for all of us all over the world.
What did you change already since taking helm of the Bundesteam? In training, recovery, media relations – anything? And how does it affect performance and mood of your athletes?
It´s all about developing a real team. Training, recovery and so on is already on a high level. So we have to find the small things to get better and better. And you can find this “little stones and steps” only if you take care on the smallest things and be aware. I´m sure if we start really to feel responsible for our team partners than we are able to see this small things getting better and faster.
And becoming a real team takes time to build up and a lot of trust. Therefore we did the first steps but have to go a lot more to reach this high goal.
What are your aspirations for the team of the upcoming season? Would you single out a specific langlauferin or langlaufer to watch – and why?
My expectation is that everybody should perform like it´s personal best and work/train/live as a team. So start to trust in this team and to look on the smallest things with awareness. Everybody should start to believe in the power of this real team.