What started as a random testing ID camp in Saskatchewan with a friend, resulted in Kyle Donsberger receiving an invite to the Skeleton National Prospect Camp in Calgary. From there Kyle went to a ‘learn to slide’ camp and fell in love with the speed of skeleton. Now for the past few years he’s been part of the national development team; his first year on the squad he raced in one international event in Calgary, and now he travels all over North America for international races and trains and competes with Olympians.
“I love the freedom of flying down the ice at over 100 km/h and how the little things matter. It’s all about attention to detail, slightly too much or too little steering can put you from first to tenth,” says Kyle when explaining his passion for the sport. On top of that Kyle enjoys the comradery in skeleton.
Kyle is working hard at his sport both on the track and off, with the goal of progressing to the Intercontinental Cup and World Cup tours and competing in World Championships. His long-term goal is 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Helping him along the way is the Athlete Factory. “The biggest difference I’ve found with the Athlete Factory is the precision in coaching. I have done a lot of strength and conditioning before, but never have been coached through a movement. It was always just ‘pick the bar up and lift it’, never any focus on how to lift it,” expresses Kyle, and the results are evident, “this year I achieved over a 0.1s improvement in my push start and was the closest to the World Cup standard I have ever been, which is significant in a sport that comes down to the hundredths.”
AF Sr. Performance Coach Dan Balsom describes our work with Kyle as focusing on improving his propulsive coordination so as to transfer directly to his ability to create and direct forces optimally for skeleton. “As the demands of skeleton revolve hugely around the ability to accelerate, Kyle has had to work hard to address how he is coordinating this task, especially considering the habits he had when first we began working with him,” explains Dan. “While these elements have been challenging to create change, Kyle has made big improvements to both his start times and driving ability and we are excited to see the differences he can continue to make, both this season and towards his goals of representing Canada at an Olympics.”
When asked what advice he would give others aspiring athletes, Kyle recommends enjoying the journey and embracing the challenges, “as an athlete we often get lost in the next goal, the next step. I’m lucky enough to still be able to compete at a high level at the age of 30 which most people don’t get to do. You need enjoy the moment because one day it will not be there.”