Tag Archives: Understanding skiing

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

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 …

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Ski in Control: New Book

Ski in Cntrol

Ski in Control. It is your right !

Ski in Control is the title of my about-to-be-published new book.  At last!

I am just waiting for a rejection letter from the final publisher.  Once I have that I can go ahead with publishing it myself on Kindle and other platforms !  Provided I can summon up the relevant expertise – it’s a bit of a slog.

This extract just introduces how it goes about its job of helping skiers Ski In Control on any piste, anywhere, any conditions.  Which is what most skiers want, and few skiers fully achieve. But which it is my belief all could.

I recently came across a quotation by Mahatma Ghandi –

Your beliefs become your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your destiny
Ghandi

It took me years to realise that you will never develop skillful controlled skiing – or anything else physical – by watching an expert do it.  Or looking at pictures of experts doing it.

 

Ghandi’s observation may seem at first a little high-falutin’ for a book on skiing, but all my ski coaching experience shows it is fundamental to changing your skiing.  Let’s work our way back up it from the bottom. Continue reading

Have a goal

Goal setting in skiing

Goal setting is not simply setting “targets”.  Done skilfully it will help you get where you want to go. Very few people outside of professional sports folk understand “goal-setting”.

Decide where you're going

Standing at the Crossroads every highway looks the same.

We are programmed from childhood to think of goals as “targets”. Quantified amounts of something that we have to achieve, but which are usually set by someone else. Later in life it’s the school exams, or the University, and then the Boss at work. “Here’s your target, make sure you hit it”.

Most of my skiing pupils come to me initially with this general idea, although of course it’s tacit rather then precisely expressed. Almost none know about goal setting and what it can bring them when done well. But all is not lost, read on below the fold …. 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.

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Ski instruction needs better descriptors

Ski instruction - get them on their edges

Is this the ultimate ski design?
No!

Ski instruction is mostly delivered by ski schools and ski instructors.  Too many still use inappropriate words to convey the ideas that are most likely to help you to improve your skill.

The instructor knows what he/she means, but it’s no good if it puts the wrong idea into the pupil’s head.  Take the picture above, for example Continue reading

Ski Instruction tells you the wrong things.

Ski tows push.

Simon Trueman, the Waggoner at “The Victorian Farm” demonstrating an important skiing principle.

In most Ski Schools the Ski instruction uses bad language.  I don’t mean swearing, I mean they describe very badly what you need to do to improve your skiing.

Words are the keystrokes with which we programme our minds.  Use an incorrect or inappropriate word to describe something and you put the wrong idea, an incorrect understanding, into peoples’ minds.

Continue reading

Ski Boots – dispelling some myths

Ski Boots – dispelling some myths.

Image result for ski boots

Ski boots can be the key to success, or the bane of your life. Every pupil I have ever had, was initially “over-booted”. In every case, the first change that made a really lasting difference to their skiing was changing either how their ski boots were fastened, or even changing their ski boots.

Like every other aspect of skiing, ski boots are part of the industry. Selling ski boots is a money earner. Nothing wrong with that, except that there will always be a strong temptation for the sellers to want to “up-sell” their customers to a more expensive ski boot.

But be wary, be very wary, because ski boots are surrounded in myths, and they are likely to entrap you. For the vast majority of skiers the belief is that ski boots needs-must be very tight and quite possibly painful. This is wrong. Continue reading

Skiing in Control. Benefits of an open mind

Open-mindedness.

open-minded-symbol-photo-4

Ordinary people do amazing things when they don’t know they can’t. I looked up “open-mindedness” in the Thesaurus and it came up with Acceptance,  Interest,  Observance,  Receptiveness and Understanding.  All of which, it seems to me, are pretty handy when you want to develop more skilful skiing.  More of which, below the fold here – Continue reading