Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to handle skiing anxiety

How to handle skiing anxiety is simple, but requires discipline

Of liberty-bodices and learning

Ski intruction about anxiety handling skiing anxiety

Don’t bite-off more than you can chew!

A woman emailed me over the weekend, about skiing off-piste and such. It set me to thinking, as I chain-sawed my way through a recently fallen oak, preparing fuel wood for the year after next, and prior to sewing myself into my liberty-bodice for the winter.

The import of her missive – she will not be named for she may even yet not choose to risk a week with your writer – was that she has not been getting from her skiing that to which she feels entitled. She may well be right.

And what is it, you may ask, to which she is entitled? Enjoyment and a feeling of self-fulfilment, that’s what. And what is denying her that? A lack of progress at the kind of skiing she aspires to.

My enquirer reports that she is not making progress, and here’s the rub; this is despite the fact that she has been skiing with much better skiers than herself.  Some of them are instructors or aspirant instructors, and keep taking her off-piste, to places in which she feels uncomfortable.  The idea is that she will have plenty of opportunity to get good at it.

Those who know me, will be un-surprised that I sit here casting my hands into the air and being grumpy.
Continue reading

Control your skiing anxiety

Control your skiing anxiety – learn from a champion.

“All you can do, Kate, is to be your best and let the results take care of themselves. Be your best, not necessarily the world’s best. It’s just another race, another start hut – and me”:   Kate Pace. World downhill ski champion.

Skiing anxiety control

We all feel some – we don’t all control it

Anxiety inhibits skiing development for almost every skier in the world, not matter what their standard.

Continue reading

Skiing technique for safety and stability

Skiing technique is a matter of apparently small things that matter a great deal.  These two pictures show that very well.

Skiing technique giving stability

Look at the tilted platforms the skis are creating.

Now look at this picture.

Poor skiing technique being demonstrated

Instructor ably showing what NOT to do!

One of these is absolutely right, the other is absolutely wrong.  Guess which is which – no prizes! Continue reading

How to improve your skiing

How to improve your skiing can be enormously helped when you understand the three learning phases.  These apply to every kind of learning, no just skiing.

How to ski better with an open mind

We learn everything in three recognise-able phases

Sport psychology identifies three stages of learning anything. Learn them and you can put disappointment behind you.

The Cognitive phase – thinking about it, trying to understand it, making sense of it, even finding out how to know when you have grasped it.

The Associative phase (Practice phase) – in physical activities such as skiing, once you understand it, you need to start practising it, and that is the associative phase. You’ll know when you have entered this phase, because whatever it is you are trying to do, it will happen sometimes but not always.

Ski better by knowing these learning phases

That is the moment; that brilliant moment when you first know that this is something that truly is going to be within your compass because you just DID IT! What Franz Klammer used to call the “Aha!” moment. As soon as it happens once, you know you are capable of it. This is something you are going to be able to do. You have changed your belief! Few feelings are better. All you need now is to do the repeats, pay your dues, and not succumb to temporary setbacks. One glorious day, you will make it happen every time. Next will come a day when it happens without your thinking about it.

That’s the Autonomous phase and not only will you know “about” it, more importantly you will know it! Then you move on to the next task or development and the process re-iterates, again and again.

Apply this to your skiing and increase your enjoyment

Here’s how to improve your skiing by understanding this three-phase process and putting it to real practical use in helping you not only to ski better, but to stop beating yourself up every time some attempt at something does not go the way you expected or intended.

Next time you try something, and what you get is something different to what you were hoping for, you can put it in the context of Cognitive, Associative or Autonomic. (Thinking; Practicing; or Automatic). Which phase does it indicate you are currently in? This could equally apply to something as apparently mundane as repairing some device or other, or making out the perfect shopping list.

Don’t beat yourself up.

If you find yourself cursing yourself for being a “fool” or being “useless” – “Oh … will I ever get this”? – you can instead put it into a framework that will help you, instead of hindering you. You can say – “Hey, what do I expect; all this means is that I’m in the Associative or practice phase, I should expect that sometimes it will work and as yet oftentimes it won’t. That’s o.k. I’m making progress, and making progress is more fun than arriving.”

There’s more useful explanation that you can bring to bear on your own skiing Here

If you do this, you will be happier, and your learning will accelerate.

If you find you just cannot “get a handle on it”, or you can’t “see where this is coming from”, or it just doesn’t “ring any bells” for you, then all that is telling you, is that you are as yet in the cognitive phase; not yet reached the ‘practice’ stage. You are still thinking it through. Well, that’s fine. What is wrong with that? If that is the phase you are in, with respect to that bit of the activity, then that just is. It says nothing whatever about you, nothing about your potential, how you “ought” to be; what you “should” be doing; or any of that self-denigration. There is no value to be assigned to it. It just is.

Do your best simply to be aware of any outcome you get.  Then DO NOT assign it any value judgement – just compare it to where you are in development, and where you intend to be in the future.

You can find more on how to improve your skiing and associated ideas in past blogs, such as this one Ski learning and philosophy

Ski courses for nervous skiers

Ski courses for nervous skiers are probably the most needed because so many skiers are nervous about it.  Understandably.

Nervous skiers need to apply

Speed skier at Vars

The current speed skiing world record is around 160 mph !   BUT ….. I once asked an experienced recreational skier, one who had been skiing for years, why they still felt nervous about their skiing holiday.

Their – from my viewpoint extremely useful – answer was  – – ” I think its because I don’t feel in control, I’m scared of going too fast and not being able to stop without falling. I think I’ve probably always felt that. If, regardless of how steep the slope or how fast I was going I was sure that I could stop I’d be OK” Continue reading

Skiing for older people. How to change your beliefs

Skiing for older people assumes you don’t want to improve.  They offer you ‘guided tours’ rather than coaching.  I think that’s wrong.  I think older folk want to get better just like younger ones.  There’s more here

Skiing for older people

Still getting better !

Most skiers “plateau” – they stop getting better at it.  I don’t think this is because they want to plateau.  My experience as a coach is that at least a percentage of skiers would love to ski better, no matter what their age is.  But there are so few routes to its achievement.

Continue reading

Ski lessons for nervous skiers – see more!

Ski lessons for nervous skiers are about to get a boost!

Ski lessons for nervous skiers building up to high level performance

Ski in Control – it’s dynamic !

Picture from cover of “Ski In Control” by Bob Trueman

Clearly this skier isn’t a nervous skier, but she was once.  You can see how skiing is a dynamic activity, and one in which one is never quite “in balance”.  In the same way we’re not “in-balance” when we ride a bike, skip across some stepping stones,  or negotiate a steep path.

If you are a skier looking for ski lessons for nervous skiers, this isn’t where we start.  Rebecca above is doing things now by instinct – she hasn’t time to think about it.  And that is because she started off concentrating on one tiny movement at a time, and slowly building her own skiing edifice.

I have a new book nearing completion that will help take a nervous skier – or any other skier – “From Greens To Blacks” Continue reading

To achieve your skiing goals

To achieve your skiing goals you first need to understand something about goals.  There are many types of goal, and some serve you better than others.  They are not all achieved in the most direct way!

Choose the route to your skiing goals carefully !

Have clear goals in mind, it indisputably really works.  In a study, 12,000 people at the age of 17-18 rated “being well off financially” on a four point scale.  Nineteen years later each point on this four-point scale was associated with a $14,000 increment in salary.

People who gave it 4 points were better off than those giving it 3, and so on. Now that’s a financial goal of course, and it illustrates the power of clear goals. Continue reading

Ski courses to help combat anxiety

Ski courses to help combat anxiety seem to be in short supply.  I’ve had some thoughts about this on practical ways you can help increase your self confidence.  If you take it a small bite at a time!

When you ski, sometimes be aware of your core and where it’s headed. *

The level of anxiety felt by skiers is a function of many influences, and one of them is how near to yourself are you looking?  How far beyond your ski tips is your focus of attention?

I think it’s a two-way thing.  If our perceptions of our situation make us anxious, then we tend to focus our eyes nearer and nearer to our ski tips.  At the same time, the nearer to our ski tips we look, the less relaxed we become.  It’s a positive feed-back loop.

I can remember being on a skiing course with Sally Chapman donkey’s years ago when I was learning.  While static she got me to very closely examine the tips of my skis – every scratch, every dimple.  Took ages.  Then she said – “Right! Now you know what they look like, stop inspecting them as you ski!”  My daughter does show-jumping for fun and says her trainer says the same about her horse’s ears ! Continue reading

The best way nervous skiers can improve their skiing

The best way nervous skiers can improve their skiing is to seek out easy slopes and become skilful on those before you move on. Some helpful stuff on Skiing for seniors

Best way nervous skiers can improve their skiing

Clean, economical, skilfull skiing

I know this sounds like an obvious point, but people don’t do it.  I continue to search for the reasons why they don’t.  The skier in the picture is extremely proficient – a near perfect example of doing it well.  Also note that he is on a gentle slope.  It’s not me, but if he’s like me, this excellence seeps away as things get steeper, lumpier and bumpier!

Skiers spend sometimes quite a long time in ski schools, yet often do not have confidence they really know what to actually DO when on their own.

Disenchanted with ski schools for various reasons they wrongly conclude that the way forward is to venture forth all over the mountain.   The hope is that “getting the miles in” will provide the improvement they want.  Hope over expectation.

So what would work better?

The best way nervous skiers can improve their skiing is to be more methodical.  Learn how skill is developed.  You really do have the ability to become a skilful skier, you just need the right process.

There are two basic conditions for acquiring skill:

  • an environment that is sufficiently regular to be predictable
  • an opportunity to learn these regularities through prolonged practice

Ski schools always start you off on beginner slopes.  Quite right too.  They make two typical mistakes thereafter – firstly they seem to fail in most cases to inculcate what you need to DO in order to control your skis.  They try, they give demonstrations, they tell what to do in a command style of teaching but frequently that seems to fail.

Secondly they have a tendency to move you onto steeper slopes too soon rather than too late.

For practice to be effective you need an environment – the slope and snow quality – to be absolutely predictable and non-frightening.  If it isn’t, your attention will be scattered to the four winds.  That’s one of the reasons that ski pistes are groomed.

Some environments are worse than unpredictable.

The difficulties presented by steeper slopes often surprise.  Going onto them – especially if you take them on in one big chunk, all the way down – will likely give you too many challenges.

It isn’t only the steepness.  Steeper slopes challenge everybody as well.  Not all of them will be good skiers.  Mediocre skiers cut up steeper slopes and make them lumpy and “scraped” and irregular, and unpredictable.  None of this is what you need, thank you very much!

For any skier, never mind nervous skiers seeking to improve, you can only develop skill by sensing the feedback your environment gives you.  So you need the feedback and you need sufficient spare attention capacity to be aware of the feedback.

Daniel Khaneman, psychologist and Nobel Prize winner, Thinking,Fast and Slow (you can get it second hand for £2:42 which is a disgrace – it’s worth a fortune) quotes learning to use the brakes on your car.  You gradually mastered the skill of taking curves, and this involved learning when to press the brake pedal, when not to, when to lift off, and how hard to depress it.

As he says -“the conditions for learning this skill are ideal, because you receive immediate and unambiguous feedback every time.  The mild reward of a comfortable curve or the mild punishment of one that proves difficult because you got it wrong”.

It all depends on the quality and the speed of the feedback.  Try learning that driving skill on icy roads and the process may take longer than you hoped.

A simple “rule of three”.

The best way nervous skiers can improve their skiing is

  1.  First identify what movement you will make once you get moving, in order to tell you skis what to do.
  2.  Then ensure you only practice that on the least challenging slope for you – whatever that is.
  3. Constantly work to be aware of what you feel as you do it.  Don’t think! It’s not about thinking, good practice is about feeling.

Hope this helps, there’s loads more in other posts here, and on my website.

Bob