Ski better, take a leaf out of Shelley Rudman’s book.
Seventy miles an hour on ice on a tea-tray with no brakes. Great idea! What can we take from it ( without going anywhere near it! ) to help us ski better?
Read on …….
Apparently something around 80% of the human brain is dedicated to the processing of visual inputs. It is not surprising then, that we tend to sometimes over-rely on our eyes, to the exclusion of what can be more useful senses.
Take skiing. You want to ski better. A likelihood is that you are pretty alert when you’re skiing; perhaps too alert. More than likely you look intensely at the snow ahead of you, and the further likelihood is that the snow nearest to you is where you look.
This may deny you the possibility of skiing smoothly. When we do this we use all that close-up visual feedback and attempt instant by instant to react to it. I have news for you; it cannot be done.
Ski better – Look further ahead.
Because it cannot be done in real time, your skiing will feel scrappy even when it isn’t. It is simply not possible to consciously react that fast. Our brains can’t do it. You will have skied past the thing you are trying to react to, before you can react to it.
It is said by the sports scientists that for a signal to travel from your foot to your brain, be processed and an instruction sent back to your foot, takes about half a second. 1 mph = 0.44704 mtrs per second. Even skiing at shall we say at 15 mph. In one second you will travel 6.71 mtrs. That’s approximately 21 feet. Half that is 10 feet. We can’t ski smoothly trying to react that fast with our conscious minds. You will often ski much faster than this.
So in those half seconds, unless you can consistently and continuously keep spotting every bit snow on a sliding ten-foot scale your skiing will be a bit fraught. What can you do about it? Put simply – have faith in yourself. Provided you are not on some scary pitch that you should not be on at all, you will be able to ski it.
Trust yourself. Try what Shelley Rudman is doing – keep looking a long way down the slope. A long way ahead. Set yourself a goal, on this easier slope, for say 100 metres, of looking as far ahead down the slope as you dare. Check what it feels like. Gradually do it more often, and for slightly longer each time. There’s some advice here http://bobski.com/blog/goal-setting-for-skiing-happiness/ on how to use goal setting.
Ski better with less ‘look’ and more ‘feel’.
Of course you will need to practice this and it won’t come instantly. But whenever you can and whenever you are on slope you feel confident you can handle perfectly well, take the opportunity to begin learning how to look farther ahead.
What you will find, and very quickly, is that you will notice much more what your feet and your skis feel like. You’ll be able to notice much more readily what is actually happening below you. And your skiing will improve enormously.
It’s worth working on this simple tip whenever you can. And you’ll ski better for it.
Give it try, and good luck. Don’t do it at Shelley Rudman’s speeds though!