Tag Archives: Skiing practice

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

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

 

 

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

Ski training weather

Ski training weather comes in lots of different kinds.

Great ski training weather!

This morning the sun is out, and the temperature is rising.  A few days ago it was pouring down – my hydro electric system is simply whizzing!  Yippee!

So last week was a better opportunity for ski training than today.  No snow, no frost, and so much rain there was no temptation to step outside.  Perfect Ski training weather!

Ski training needn’t be hard work.

To improve your skiing you don’t need frost, you don’t need snow ( or plastic ) and you don’t need a ski resort.  All you need is your bedroom mirror.

Using a mirror to improve you skiing posture.

Do just three a week of my ten-minute sessions with your full length mirror and you’ll transform your skiing next season

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

Sports psychology: Skiing and Rugby

Sports psychology works !

Sports psychology at work

Johnny Sexton proving imagery works !  Picture courtesy of planetrugby.com

Sports psychology plays a big part in top level sports nowadays.  As anyone will know who has been on my skiing courses, visited the bobski.com blog, or read my book here

It is not an arcane science that is only available to elite performers, we can all use it.

The picture above is of Irish Rugby star Johnny Sexton making the drop-kick during overtime minutes in the Ireland-vs-France match yesterday.  The significance for out skiing, you ask ?

The pressure on him was enormous;  the time available almost non-existent;  his responsibility to the rest of his team who had worked incredibly hard to set-up this half-opportunity equally burdensome.

Using imagery, from sports psychology, to improve your chances.

Interviewed afterwards, Sexton said seconds before he took the kick – a 42 yarder ! – he remembered and evisioned a previous game, years before, with almost the same characterisitics, when he took a similar kick that had succeeded !

He implied that his imagery had helped him succeed with this one.  I believe him.

Whatever level of skiing ability you currently possess, you can use imagery and mental control techniques to help you.  Like everything to do with skill, whether skiing or not, you need practice at mental techniques.  But they are just as available to you as they are to elite performers.

Learn about skiing mental techniques and you will improve your skiing more than you may think.

Imagery works.  I cover a lot of it in other blog posts, some of my “white papers” – if you want some just write to me at bobski@bobski.com and of course I explain much more fully the things that you can do, in my book: the link above should take you to it or just Google Ski In Control: How to ski ANY piste, anywhere, in full control.

 

Skiing Technique – Three Big Mistakes

 

Skiing technique: mistake #2: Clumsy joint flexing.

Ski instruction - hands forward, knees bent.

Perhaps correct for her exercise but terrible for skiing!

Skiing technique can be practiced at home in your bedroom.   I want to return here to my admonition in “Mistakes #1” on posture, find it here .  If you have not already read it, I recommend reading that first.  Do the simple practices and then come back to this.

This Skiing technique issue of being able to both flex and extend your ankle, knee and hip joints – especially your ankle – is not a peripheral matter.  This is absolutely fundamental to your development of skilful skiing.  You need to develop skill in this area for your skiing to really give you satisfaction.

Here I show you some simple and safe ways to get started on this.

Continue reading

Skiing technique – three big mistakes.

Skiing technique 0

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

Skiing technique : mistake #1: Standing too upright.

Skiing is dynamical in nature. Constantly moving. It is not a series of individual, and separated events but a continual stream of them. More akin to a moving stream than a line of individually separated stones.

The oft-promoted, and oft-accepted idea of being “in balance” is completely wrong.  There is never time to be “in” balance; we would have to come to a stop in order to be able to do that.  As John Shedden pointed out to me once, if you stand a brick on its end, on a flat level surface, it will be in balance.  We cannot ski like that.

Skiing technique requires instead, for our balanc-ing to be of a ‘fuzzy’ nature. So long as we are moving, we will not ever be “in” balance, we will instead be constantly moving towards that: constantly making (often unconscious) movements adjusting to changing circumstances. This is one of the reasons that skiing is difficult.  There is much you can do to change this, even while you are at home.  Continue reading

Ski Training – do it in your bedroom

Ski Training and how you can use your bedroom full-length mirror to enhance your skiing.

Do just three a week of my ten-minute sessions with your full length mirror and you’ll transform your skiing next season

Practice does not make perfect. Not automatically anyway: it might do but more than likely won’t. What practice does is to make permanent, no matter what you practice or how you practice it. So it can do more harm than good if you are not careful. As John Shedden observed, “Humans get good at what they do”. So be careful what you do.

Continue reading