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.

We all start off with ski school.  Very seldom if ever does that get you very far.  The most common experience is to get fed up with it pretty soon, especially if you started later than childhood.

I started at age 46 and gave up on ski school within three years.  Some persist longer because they can’t find an alternative and at least it’s a bit of company.  But as a way of improving it’s pretty hopeless.

Some of us ( I did ) try private lessons, but because they are delivered by ski school instructors they don’t really work either.  They have a brief illusory impact that doesn’t last.

What’s the answer – especially skiing for older people?

The answer for most of us is to the give up on all that and ski about as best we can hoping to improve but not knowing how.  We all just do the best we can and as often as not we settle for mediocrity.

Before we know it we believe that is our lot.  We’re just not born to it, not ‘natural’ skiers.  We were never destined to be any good, but it doesn’t matter because skiing is so addictive that it should be classified as a class A drug.

Well I have proved with the help of countless older skiers that that is simply untrue.  For one thing there is no such animal as a ‘natural’ skier.  I accept that some folk are more athletic than others, but skiing isn’t ‘natural’.  It has to be learned.

A better process

What holds back the vast majority of skiers is the extreme shortage of decent coaching for recreational skiers.  The racers get the coaches, recreational skiers just get left out.  But not completely.  There is some good coaching available, but take care it is NOT the same as instructors claiming to be “more advanced instructors” for “more advanced skiers”.

Again in my experience as I repeatedly tried to find a way to really improve, those ski instructor companies didn’t work, at least not for me.  Their courses were packed with younger folk, many attempting to become instructors.  They were populated with folk I didn’t care for – aggressive competitive selfish gung-ho mostly male and full of B-S.

But I had a real bit of luck, and I’ve spent the last 25 years trying to pay back for it.  I happened upon a first rate coach and communicator – someone who made it comprehensible.  A man who allowed me to progress at my pace not someone else’s.  A man who took the apprehension out of it all.  A coach who explained what lies behind skiing but without the technical jargon.

Process process process.

It took me 6 years but it led me to becoming an Alpine skiing coach.  And it is the process – specifically the coaching process – that makes the difference.

What is more, that process works for anybody at any age and it doesn’t matter whether you are male of female, whether or not you are apprehensive, nor what your current skiing expertise level is.

The fact is that ski coaching for older people can give you back your self-esteem with respect to your skiing.  Too many of my pupils have come to me feeling inadequate, but they’ve gone away knowing that they can achieve a whole lot more than ever they thought they could.

Those older skiers had within them everything they needed to become much more skilful skiers;  what they had not found was the best process.  Just like me 25 years ago.  There is some interesting though not necessarily coaching-related older skier stuff here

Nothing gives me greater pleasure and satisfaction than paying back that debt I feel to the coach who changed my life.

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