Training Center Tuesday – “Sports University”

One of my favorite things about college was constantly being in an environment of learning and education. I loved being surrounded by professors who had made breakthroughs in their chosen fields, yet opened their doors to curious students to help explain the simple fundamentals or build into more complex ways of thinking about a subject. My peers continuously motivated me by pushing the boundaries of their own understanding and inspired me to take another step outside of my comfort zone. Almost every aspect of my day was steeped in learning and applying what others were learning to my own studies. It was an incredible environment.

When I first arrived at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, my first thought was that it was essentially “Sports University.” Some of the best athletes in America train here, in addition to international teams on training trips prior to competition. Seeing the dedication of other athletes helps you focus more on what you can get out of your time here.

The training center layout is similar to a university as well. With close living quarters in the dormitories, a common dining hall, and all the necessary facilities just a short walk from one another, the center is very reminiscent of my college days. With the close proximity to where we train, it encourages us to be constantly mindful of recovery to get the most out of the next training session. While I always get to be around my teammates at home, because of the set-up at the training center, we end up spending more time together during meals and between practices in the dorms and dining halls. This extra time with my teammates allows me to learn from all the wisdom and knowledge they’ve acquired from their experiences training. As one of the younger members at the training center, it is a privilege unlike any other to be able to speak with world-class athletes on a daily basis, have them genuinely care about your questions and help you learn how to be better yourself.

As if all this wasn’t inspiring enough, the Winter Olympics gave a huge dose of motivation to the athletes training here. Gathering to watch the best in the world compete in winter sports at dinner time is something that I looked forward to every day. Shaun White’s gold-medal run elicited an applause from the entire dining hall. Jessie Diggins’s gold-medal sprint brought tears to my eyes (#MinnesotaPride). The elegance of figure skating was mesmerizing. Seeing these athletes continuously raise the standards encourages me every day to push my limits.

So far, my first trip to the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training center has been an incredible learning experience, and I can’t wait to see what else I will gain a better understanding of here at “Sports University.”

Article and photos by USTC – Princeton athlete, Erin Briggs

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