What if there was no limit to peaking in waterskiing? This sport isn’t just for the youngsters, and one of the best open women slalomers is proving it. April Coble-Eller is evidence that age is not a boundary for continual improvement on the water.
In her earlier years, April trained at a lake in North Carolina through a ski club called the Ski Mites. As she progressed she gained sponsorships by esteemed companies like EP Skis who, as part of a contract, allotted April two weeks a year to ski wherever she desired. A carefree adolescent skier, April was able to spend much of her time behind the wakes.
Today is a different story. April juggles a family, ski school and countless other jobs including being head of her children’s parent teaching association and owner of a rental house business. Although much of her time is committed in other areas, April’s passion and aptitude in water skiing has not dwindled.
Interestingly, the added factors in her life such as her two kids, 11 year-old daughter Kamryn and 8 year-old son Landis, and her countless jobs has amplified her scores. April states that these additions generated a more intense focus in her skiing.
“When I had kids, my skiing went up,” April says. “Even the summer after my first one and the summer after my next one, my skiing leapt.
This concentration April refers to as sustained focus attention. As a younger skier, she skied just to ski. After children, she was forced to redirect her focus. Water time was now sacred.
“When you go out there, that might be the only fifteen minutes you get alone that day.”
One particular instance that triggered this stance in her mind was at a pro tour stop. She was getting out of the water next to Andy Mapple after falling due to intense nerves.
“Andy, how do you get over being nervous? I’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’m still so tense.”
“Nervous energy is good energy,” Andy said in response. “If you’re not nervous, then you don’t love it.”
Chris LaPoint also said that lack of nervous means lack of focus. Nervous energy can be good if it is handled correctly. April has learned the flair of refocusing energy into positive factors.
After cementing this new mentality into her mind, April ran a personal best. At 41 years old she ran 1 @ 41 off, a feat unaccomplished by any other open women slalomer in April’s age range.
Along with focus, April heavily relies on rest. Though she skied four times every day in her early career, today April never skis more than once a day for three or four days straight. The open woman slalomer stresses the importance of finding balance and listening to your body.
“If it is tired or sore, don’t go,” April advises. “Quality, as you get older, is better. You can’t pound your body into the ground.”
Furthermore, April’s continual progression is a result of her steadfast love for the sport. Because she still adores it as much as she did ten years ago, she never stops skiing, taking a set once a month all winter and keeping active.
However, the desire to improve has never overtaken April’s mindset. She has discovered that there is more to life. This has truly kept her going.
“If I come off the pavilion at the Masters and I didn’t have a good day, my kids are just as happy to see me as if I had a good day. They don’t care how I did, they are ready to go play. I have to put a smile on no matter how I skied. Because of that, I love it so much more. Having kids made me realize that skiing is what I do, not who I am.”
Read more: April Coble Eller - What has Kept her Going?