Nordic Nation: Matt Whitcomb and the Art of Coaching

Jason AlbertNovember 23, 2017

In more than a decade with the U.S. Ski Team, women’s coach Matt Whitcomb has picked up a few lessons about how to connect with athletes and how to nudge them in the direction of their best possible performance on race day. In this episode of Nordic Nation, we connected with Whitcomb while in western Massachusetts on Nov. 10. Whitcomb has now jumped the pond and is in Europe, prepping his team for the first World Cup on Friday in Kuusamo, Finland.

U.S. Ski Team Women’s Coach Matt Whitcomb (r) reviews video with Sadie Bjornsen on some climbing technique Wednesday at a training camp in Bend, Ore. (Video: FasterSkier Vimeo)

Whitcomb, 39, began his career with the U.S. Ski Team back in 2006. Along the way, he appears to have developed a reputation as a team builder — one who can be inclusive when it comes to embracing the many types of personalities the sport attracts. You’ll hear Whitcomb discuss how he’s learned to build team unity and how he deals with the stresses of the World Cup.

Whitcomb also dives headfirst into the realm of anti-doping stances with a passionate statement of how the sport should move forward before the PyeongChang Olympics in February 2018.

Standing between Chelsea Marshall and Matt Whitcomb, Liz Stephens waves as she is introduced to the crowd at Fenway Park. In the background, her smile is seen on the bigscreen.

On a lighter note, those who follow the sport know Whitcomb rocks a Red Sox cap whenever possible. Unabashedly, as we learn in the short audio clip below that did not make the final podcast edit farther down the page, the Red Sox hat has become one of Whitcomb’s hallmark cultural exports — having to do with his “disgust” with Yankees hats all over Europe. If you see a Swedish coach sporting a Red Sox hat at the World Cup, you’ll know who is responsible.

Whitcomb and his anti-Yankees crusade:

(Note: Although the podcast host grew up on the Massachusetts border, he is not a Red Sox fan, and in fact, cheered loudly with his dad in the Shea Stadium stands during Game 6 when the baseball dribbled under Buckner. Acknowledged are the Red Sox recent World Series rings.)


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Jason Albert

Jason lives in Bend, Ore., and can often be seen chasing his two boys around town. He’s a self-proclaimed audio geek. That all started back in the early 1990s when he convinced a naive public radio editor he should report a story from Alaska’s, Ruth Gorge. Now, Jason’s common companion is his field-recording gear.

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