Original email inquiry:
I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly. The main questions I have for you is in regards to how you got into the sport of skeleton, and your observations of how you have progressed being relatively new to the sport. The obvious route to becoming a skeleton athlete takes you through a combine, so I'm also curious as to how you scored initially and how that stacks up with the ideal scores. This will help give me a foundation of where I am and what I would need to work on most before applying for my first combine.
"...How I got into the sport:
I basically stumbled upon the USBSF site and filled out an application for try-outs. I know that they do it a little differently now. I think that combine events have become a lot more accessible in the past few years. When I first participated the only option was participating in the combine in Lake Placid.
My observations of how I have progressed:
I had the biggest increase in skill in my first year. I've since learned that the sport is about 1/3 great athlete, 1/3 great driver and 1/3 equipment (not just decent equipment, but proper equipment for your skill level and weight). This sport is one of consistency and endurance. All the tracks are different so it's important to understand that progression takes time. It's the same with track and field or any other sport for that matter.
My initial combine and comparison:
My upright sprints have consistently been average. My jumps and throws have consistently been above average (3.10-3.2m for standing long jump and 16+m for the shot toss). My clean has consistently been high (135kg on this past years combine). And my squat has been pretty high too (165kg x 3). Although, my sprints are my worst event I was top 6 in this past year's push championships. I was about .2 from the lead, so the gap wasn't too big. The upright sprinting is quite different than the skeleton start. There have been a couple studies done that show a huge correlation between 30m fly time and skeleton sprinting. I think that's totally bogus. If you have a heavy squat and a powerful clean then I think that is a bigger predictor-but that is all anecdotal and unsubstantiated.
A safe score that will impress the coaches is a 750 or higher (scoring in the 90th percentile across all 8 tested events)..."
And now, because you were all so patient, some video: