Head Coach Keith Robinson ’94 fell in love with Nordic skiing at Andover, competing throughout his high-school and college careers. He will bring his experience as a Nordic skier into his sixteenth year as head coach of Andover Nordic Skiing.
Robinson started skiing to recover from an injury he suffered during his cross country season.
“I had injured my foot during cross country season, and indoor track was not going to be good because of the impact. One of the trainers actually suggested that I should try Nordic because it’s similar but it wouldn’t have the impact and hurt my foot… I raced for Andover and lettered here, so that’s how I learned,” said Robinson.
After competing for Andover, Robinson skied recreationally at Bowdoin College.
Robinson believes that skiing is a learning process, and he makes a point to welcome all onto the team regardless of experience.
“First and foremost, we get a lot of skiers who have not skied before, so we spend a lot of time with beginners teaching the technique… As the kids progress and get better, I think a lot of it is more is teaching them good training techniques, like if you want to be an endurance athlete, how [to] structure a week of practice to get fitness and to improve your performance when races roll around,” said Robinson.
Robinson gave special attention to novices this year to ensure that they felt comfortable on the ice, according to Amelia Cheng ’21.
“As a novice… I found it really intimidating to be on the on the snow on the first day, and he really helped me and instructed me step by step so I wouldn’t feel so scared,” she said.
According to Robinson, one of his philosophies is teaching his skiers to believe in themselves, as races are completed alone.
“When they go out… into the woods for a race, I can’t be there yelling at them to go faster or to work harder, so really I try to instill that the motivation has to come from them. I would rather focus on being the support for them, and helping them get what they need,” he added.
Robinson particularly enjoys the beauty and the peacefulness of the sport.
“I always liked it in terms of [the fact that] I love getting outside in the winter. I love that even out on Siberia [Fields], the team could tell you it’s beautiful out there when the sun is setting in the winter. It’s just nice to get out in the woods and get to enjoy exercise outside in the winter,” said Robinson.
Robinson will guide Andover into the Lakes Region Championships this February, a competition between seven prep schools in the Nepsac league.