TAKE 5 with U.S. Ski Team’s AJ Ginnis


Youth Sports Article TAKE 5 on Preparing for the Unexpected in Sports

US Ski Team Alex AJ Ginnis interview on preparing for the unexpected

In sports, there is one given – expect the unexpected.

As fans, this excitement of not knowing what will happen next is a big reason why we attend, watch and talk about sporting events. For athletes, the unexpected, while thrilling, demands proper preparation to be successful.

Alex "AJ" Ginnis

AJ is an alpine skier for the U.S. ski team. Prior to completing his high school degree, AJ was asked to join the U.S. Development Team in spring of 2012. He decided to finish his degree in Park City, while training at the USSA Academy. In 2013, he tore his ACL and missed the entire season. He returned for the 2014 Olympic year and finished in the top 20 in the giant slalom at the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley.


1. How do you mentally prepare for a big game?

Going into my competition I want to be confident, relaxed, and clear. Personally, I use my training sessions leading into the competition to mentally prepare. I try to get into a ‘mental routine’ of doing/thinking the same things over and over again. So that when I’m at a competition about to push out of the start gate, I’m going to be in the same mental state I was the day before in training. 

2. What do you think is the key to good preparation?

I believe that a key to great preparation is routine. You want to establish a routine on training days and transfer it into a day of competition. 

3. When you don't feel like you have your "A game", what do you do?

You need to take a step back and reevaluate what’s going on. Most of the time being off my “A game” in-tales that I'm physical fatigued and/or mentally burnt. I personally take a day or two off training and when I return I’m right back to my old better self.  

4. How do you 'prepare for the unexpected'?

There are many parts of this sports that you can’t control, but the only thing I can control is my attitude and giving my max effort. So when you’ve been dealt an ‘unexpected’ hand do what you can that’s within your control.  

5. What is your advice to youth sport parents to help their kids prepare for the unexpected?

My advice would be for the parents to challenge their kids. To encourage them to practice in different (even harder) conditions than the kids are used to, and to challenge their routines in order to teach them adaptability. 

Come back next month for another exclusive TAKE 5 Interview.

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