Tag Archives: confidence

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 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

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

 

 

Confidence building skiing courses

Confidence building skiing courses are pretty much what I do.

One legged skier demonstrating confidence

David Swedlow demonstrating confidence

Many of the ideas from which my approach developed came from The Mental Game Plan co-authored by  Chris Shambrook Ph.D.

One of the key limitations to making progress is impatience.  It is too easy to fall into the trap of not taking the longer view.  You can help yourself enormously if you take a step back and look at your progress from a wider perspective.

I wrote a self-coaching “white paper” in 2006 on the topic of skiing courses, and how to approach them to help build confidence- I think you will enjoy it; find it here

Many pupils say things like “I ought to be able to do this by now” or “I ought to be better”.  That is nonsense, there is no reason at all why any of us should be any better at anything than we currently are.  Our life history has led us to this point.

There is no such thing as failure – you just keep going.  And all that matters is first of all to enjoy the process – that’s much more important than the outcomes.  And then to do what you can to change what you’ve got.

The effect of impatience

My strong belief is that any confidence building skiing courses worth their salt should emphasise the process, and not the outcomes.  If you focus on outcomes you may well miss the enjoyment of the learning process.

Years ago I used to teach children skiing for a company that took parties of school kids to the Alps for a week.  At the end of the week the children got a badge.  Unfortunately they all knew this, so their prime concern on day 1 was “What badge will I get?  Will it be 1 star, 2 stars, ..4 stars?”

This ruined the week for a lot of them.  They scarcely noticed each day’s skiing, fixated as they were on badges and being compared to others.  So all week was spoiled, then at the end they either got the badge they hoped for – in which case spoiling the week was pointless;  or they didn’t – which doubled up on the grief!

Never mind the final outcome – enjoy the process, you’ll get more out of it.

I’d welcome any feedback from you if you’ve signed up to the blog, so you can join in.

Ski coaching to combat nerves

Ski coaching to combat nerves is another service in short supply.  How often have you been told to “ski in the fall line“?

Ski coaching to combat nerves

This is not what your ski instructor meant – but it’s what she SAID!

Highly knowledgeable ski coaches refer to the “fall line”.  They do this because they make fine distinctions between the ‘fall line’ and the ‘flow line’.  By the ‘flow line’ they refer to the pathway taken by your centre of mass, or by your skis – “central and peripheral flows”.

However, ski instructors don’t teach many knowledgeable ski coaches;  they teach recreational skiers.  “Fall lines” don’t sound good to recreational skiers, so we need to provide ski coaching to help combat nerves.  Read on for more explanation Continue reading

Bobski – Ski Coaching for Anxious Skiers

Ski coaching for anxious skiers has much to do with enhancing  Confidence!

ski coaching for anxious skiers

Ski in Control. It is your right !

How would it be, for you, if you had more of it just when you needed it?

Your level of self confidence is not dictated by outside circumstances. You are not an “empty vessel” subject only to external influences.  What is more is that if you don’t have as much self confidence as you would like to have, you have it within your power to have more. If you are prepared to work at it.

Top sportsmen and women use several powerful and simple techniques, to help them maintain a high level of self confidence in the face of challenges, and set backs.

If, on occasion, your performance is less than you would have wished, (who’s isn’t?) then at least one of the possible contributory factors to that was a lack of a high level of self confidence. Continue reading

Skiing courses and Self Confidence. Part 2

Skiing courses often do not address self confidence issues.  Self confidence is built by you as I explained a week or so ago in part 1.

Falling skier

We all do it, even the experts. Better Skiing technique helps!

I identified some of the stressors that work against you when you are building your self confidence.  Here are some, again –

  • expectations of disaster
  • negative mental images
  • a belief that you may not be up to the job.
  • thoughts of failure or inadequacy
  • thoroughly misplaced perceptions of the next bit of slope – an endless list really.

All of these have a predictive quality about them; they are forecasts.  Forecasts are seldom right.  Read on  Continue reading

Self confidence

Self confidence in skiing is the hardest part of skiing.  It’s much more difficult than all those issues of technique.  I’ll make this the first part of a multi-part post – which is my way of saying I’m not sure what it will stretch to!

In chapter 12 of my book Ski In Control:how to ski ANY piste anywhere in full control  I expand a little on this issue.  It is perfectly possible for you to keep all the stressor factors under your control.  You can build your self confidence.

Positive feedback loops.

First of all it’s to do with controlling positive feedback loops.  Here’s one describing cattle stampedes.  Once a critical number of cattle start running – no specific threat is required – it sets up a panic in some others.  That sets them running and the increased number raises the panic level, and it just keeps self-reinforcing.  It also applies to human ones – why everyone runs for the same exit door – no one stops to observe and think.

Self confidence while skiing

Each of these reinforces the other, over and over again

Above all, the good news is that regarding your own skiing you can work on this topic l-o-n-g before you head for the slopes.  In fact it works best when you are safe at home.

In my book I differentiate between ‘external’ and ‘internally generated’ stressors.   Continue reading

Ski In Control – how to ski ANY piste anywhere in full control

Ski In Control is the name of my new book at last published through and available from Amazon, or directly from me.   Paperback £12.95 postage paid, or Kindle Edition £8.99

Tom Stiansen, World Slalom Champion says “This is a great book specially for recreational skiers.  It’s a good tool for them”.

Ski In Control

Front cover of Bob’s new booki

Ski In Control has helped the very large percentage of the hundreds of skiers I have coached to develop real confidence.  They had all given up on ski schools very early on in their skiing experience because it got them nowhere.

I wrote Ski In Control specifically for recreational skiers – folk who have largely got fed up with ski schools.  In it I explain why that happens.  I show you why once you can “sort of” do it ski schools generally inhibit your progress.  Folk then tend to blame themselves for not getting better, when in fact they are not the reason.  In truth virtually everybody has the capacity to become an expert skier.  That applies irrespective of your age, your gender, or your experience.

Don’t give up.  There’s no need to.  You genuinely have the potential.

Two folk recently wrote to me to say “If it hadn’t been for you Bob I would have given up”.  There’s no need to give up or despair, read on …

Continue reading