AN INTERVIEW WITH REINFRIED HERBST
When your head is no longer the boss and why Reinfried Herbst still skis best without a mental coach. Plus: how the Austrian wants to pick up some points in Levi with only 13 days of training behind him – Herbst talks about this and more in the following interview.
You're behind with training due to your shoulder problems and a knee operation which you had in summer. How are you?
On the whole I didn't have many days of training. But those I did have were very good and quality sessions. I trained really sensibly and properly. I also have some advantages thanks to the change to the new skis: I'm more competitive in the flat sections as a result. In difficult situations, however, I can see that I have some catching up to do.
What are these "difficult situations" for you?
When the conditions are irregular. The piste breaks, there are holes in places. It becomes uncontrollable for me and then my head is no longer the boss. It does of course leave an impression when you've suffered an injury in bad conditions. But when I know what is facing me, I'm a real risk-taker.
You spent some days skiing on Reiteralm as preparation for Levi. How did they go?
We had fantastic conditions on Sunday and Tuesday. The coaches did everything within their power to make sure the training was absolutely perfect. I took a break on the Monday because the weather was bad to do some fitness and recovery work in Rif. Then it's off to Levi on Thursday and I'm really looking forward to it!
How many days of skiing have you had in the preparation phase?
It was 13 days with gates, all of which took place on Austria's glaciers.
How do you feel physically? Is everything as it should be?
You reach a point when you start to adapt to your body and its aches and pains and you just live with it. If you look at it like this then I'm fine. I have to be careful with my shoulder and I certainly feel my knee after training sessions. But that disappears again by the time the next day's training starts. This is why it's so crucial for me to have high-quality training sessions.
Do you also need your daily physiotherapy?
Yes, I see the physiotherapist every day. But not primarily because of my injuries, it's more a case of reducing muscle tone. For me these two hours every day are for prevention rather than cure. I invest as much time in this as I do for skiing.
Physically you are doing everything within your power – how are you getting on with mental training, how do you keep yourself mentally fit?
I get my confidence from the good training sessions. No matter what I do, I always give 100%.
My entire life is arranged around skiing. Diet, skiing technique, fitness training, coordination and much more. I don't need any explicit mental training.
With 9 World Cup victories, 16 podium finishes and silver at the Olympic Games you rank among the really big names in skiing. Is there anything at all which can still make the top sportsman
Reinfried Herbst lose his cool?
If I give my all and the people around me are not pulling together and supporting me. The professional approach that I experienced this summer after changing to the Fischer team is something that was missing previously.
What, on the other hand, can drive you forward?
Precisely this feeling which I get from my new equipment sponsor: full backing in the team. I welcome criticism, analyse it and then do something concrete about it. I'm extremely happy, you can talk to and work with the people at Fischer in a very professional way.
Plus, of course, something that is essential for me: my family. Thanks to all these positive aspects I don't need a mental coach!
And to finish with, we have to ask you about the upcoming weekend of course: what goal have you set yourself for Levi?
I have to remain realistic. Even though I feel positive despite the lack of training. I'd be satisfied with a top-15 result. The better the placing, the happier I'll be, naturally!