How to find skiing lessons for nervous skiers – That was the question that arose a month or so ago when we were filming a new Bobski.com DVD on how I teach. See the first clip on my new Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/bobskicontrolledskiing
According to my pupils the answer was – nowhere it would seem. Some of the skiers I had with me were clearly pretty apprehensive about the process. So I asked some of them who had been effective in helping them in their search for how to overcome their fear of skiing. Nobody had. No ski schools had helped. Skiing with their partners and friends had not helped. Trying to “get the miles in” had made it worse rather than better.
This made me very sad – for a considerable number of years being out on the ski slopes had been a trial rather than a pleasure for them. I had myself been in that very situation for 8 long years until I was lucky enough to chance upon a first rate skiing coach.
This apprehension seems to apply to both men and women, though the men find it harder to admit it. Not all men and women but a surprisingly large percentage. Skiing is such a marvelous experience that it makes people continue to go every year, but the skiing itself loads a very large number of people with considerable anxiety. How sad. How curable! Not only anxiety but disappointment – returning home year after year having made no progress.
Nervous skiers can change this around
This is not the response I get from my pupils – at least not once they have spent a week with me. And if that sounds boastful so be it, it’s a fact. Get some idea of what they experienced here After numerous discussions with them about their own search for skiing lessons for nervous skiers, it became clear that as usual the problem was the process. No ski school, ski ‘academy’, nor (unsurprisingly) any group of friends or partners had approached these skiers’ needs in any way effectively.
The instructors and the other people they had skied with for many years had been unable to understand their needs. In many cases apparently they had actually been disparaging about their difficulties, instead of empathetic.
What is wrong with the process?
The ski school process treats even intermediate skiers as a passive “palette” for the instructor to paint on. The system encourages skiers to be observers instead of thinkers and “understanders”. Humans don’t learn well, that way. We learn best by first of all doing and then, even more importantly by knowing. Knowing what we did – what movements we made whilst in motion – (which on a ski slope isn’t that easy), and knowing what the result was, of what we did. And then understanding the implications of that, so we know how to modify it.
You could sum up a lot of the bad approach to nothing more than impatience on the part of the teacher. They couldn’t understand why their pupils were unable to quickly latch-on to how to do what they (the ski teachers) were telling them to do. Or worse, just showing them by “demonstrating”. And you can’t learn by watching.
They moved their pupils on to steeper slopes long before the pupil felt confident to do so. To the instructors (good skiers usually) the slopes were easy; they couldn’t see how anyone could be scared of them. Perhaps they never had been, although more likely they just had short convenient memories.
My approach is completely different
- My approach is different, founded on simple – proven – principles.
You learn faster when you are skiing slower.
Your learning curve is steeper when the slope isn’t.
You build your self confidence on solid foundations when you are helped to understand how skis work.
Ski teaching is full of fanciful ideas. When we are in our formative years early on in our skiing, they tell us that there is “this” sort of ‘turn’, and “that” sort of ‘turn’. Well, odd though it may seem that is just plain wrong. There is no need to do ‘turns’ – that isn’t how skis work. Check out this earlier blog post
We’re told to ski on ‘edges’. The fact is – you don’t, indeed can’t ski on edges. Try skiing on a knife! There’s more about this here It’s a mistaken idea and it gets promulgated by ski schools and ski teachers all over the world because it is in the ski schools’ manuals.
Ski don’t work like that. I realise that because it is always taught by just about every ski teacher in the world it’s quite hard to believe that it’s wrong, but it is. It doesn’t help new or intermediate skiers because that very repetition embeds the wrong idea very solidly into your mind. It creates skiing habits that then become increasingly difficult to eradicate.
Skiing lessons for nervous skiers – try something different.
So if you have not made the progress in skiing that you had hoped you would make; if you go home every year no better a skier than when you arrived; if you are stuck “on the plateau” as it’s called; then I assure you that changing and improving is possible, and you could consider making such a change.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got. To change it, do something else – anything else, and you’ll get a changed outcome.
So where does this get us? It gets us to the point where you realise that any limitation in your skiing development is not your fault. It does not mean you are a hopeless case. It certainly doesn’t mean you are incapable – even if at the moment there are things you can’t do. What it means is that you need to follow a different process.
My job is to help you do that. While it’s certainly not my sole preoccupation, the very way I coach ensures the delivery of skiing lessons for nervous skiers. So do consider subscribing to this blog to stay in touch; and maybe follow my Facebook posts; and soon take a look at some of the videos I’ll be posting.