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USA Bobsled and Skeleton

End of Season Struggles and Finding Inspiration 

BY Mike Dellemann

Every athlete deals with the ending of a season in different ways.  Some are excited and cannot wait for the next to start, and some are glad they finally get some time for some much needed R & R.             

At the end of the 2012/13 season I was ready for some time off, and quite frankly tired of competing, sports and training.  Heading into an Olympic year though, this really wasn’t a great way to start my off-season training.             

Backtracking a little bit, before skeleton I was ran track at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  After my eligibility ran out I fell upon a coaching job at the local high school in 2010. 

After finishing the skeleton season with USA Nationals in March of this year I headed home to begin coaching hurdles and pole vault to high school boys.  The first day of practice was one filled with excitement, uncertainty to what was going to happen and for most, the desire to compete at the WIAA State Track and Field meet, but I still was feeling tired from athletics so I did not share the enthusiasm. 

Sometimes finding inspiration comes easily, and sometimes it sneaks up on you out of nowhere.  This last season was my fourth season coaching, and it was by far the best.  Watching the athletes that I coach everyday work so hard, and see the success that comes with it I began to feel the excitement again.  School records were broken, person records were set every competition, and the thing I am most excited for: realizations were had that they could go to college and compete on the next level.  

We ended up bringing a record 17 individuals to the WIAA State meet, where 4 qualified the year prior.  These high school athletes inspired me to again realize my goals and potential, just as I was doing the same for them all season long.  Coaching this year gave me the direction and inspiration I needed to begin my training for this upcoming Olympic year. 

So athletes, if you are ever feeling tired, beaten down or that you have lost focus take it from me- volunteer for a month, a week or even a day to coach someone younger than you in a sport you love. 

Mike Dellemann's aunt learned about the sport of bobsled through 2002 Olympians Darrin and Dan Steele and encouraged her nephew to try out.  Delleman decided to give it a try and attended a combine event in the summer of 2010.  The coaching staff persuaded Dellemann to start in the sport of skeleton after reviewing his sprint times, so Dellemann joined a skeleton school in Lake Placid and rose to success in only his first season sliding.  He's quickly become one of the fastest push athletes in the nation. Follow @mtdskeleton on Twitter to learn more about Dellemann's journey.

*Athlete blog entries are the sole opinion of each individual author and may not be representative of the USBSF or its athletes.