Reflecting and revisiting to enhance your skiing performance

Pressure, precision and perception.


Reflecting to enhance ski performance

During lock down I have had time to do jobs that I have been putting off and also to come up with projects that I would like to achieve going forward.

Lock down for me has been a good opportunity to reflect and revisit, so I am taking this opportunity to add to my older article 3P's to help improve your skiing which discussed using PATIENCE, PERSEVERANCE and PRACTICE.

I would like to expand this further with another 3 P’s that have a strong influence on how you perform. These are PRESSURE, PRECISION and PERCEPTION.

PRESSURE

This to me has three meanings:-

1. The Mental pressure, coping with situations as they evolve in front of you. This is constantly changing as you descend down a piste, always keep your mental pressure in check, do not push too hard and become overwhelmed, otherwise fear will override your enjoyment. You may like to read read my older article about how to cope with busy pistes.

2. The Physical Pressure, can your body cope, are your muscles strong enough, are you protecting any old injuries. It's very important to know your body and its limitations. Speed, angle, terrain, snow texture and the weather all have a big affect on your body and mind. Pre-season training to get fit to ski and snowboard can really help. 

3. The Foot pressure. This is the tangible feeling under the sides of your feet when your skis edges are gripping with the snow. Understanding this and being more aware of where you feel the pressure, will help your balance and agility. Ask yourself, can you move when you want to move, or is there a delay. If there's a delay, there are changes to be made which will enhance your enjoyment.

Keeping these three pressures in check will enable you to become the Duracell battery and last long.

PRECISION

Grab a piece of paper, a pencil and a circular bowl. Draw a semi circle around the bowl keeping your eyes closed and repeat it three times. Now remove the bowl and trace the same line with your eyes closed. Practice it three times, you will be amazed how close you can trace the same line.

Now imagine your big toe is the point of the pencil and the snow is the white piece of paper, now allow your ski edges to take you on an arc, use your big toe of your outer foot to guide you to the finish of your curve. You do not need to see your big toe to draw with it.

When you want to steer with even more accuracy, try using your little toe of your inner foot. You must be skiing parallel to achieve this.

Remember skis are designed to take you along a curve, that is why the ski edge is shaped like an hour glass. The more you use the ski design, the more accurate you will become. Remember be patient your skis will guide you if you are well balanced. Take your time especially when you move from one curve to the next, feel the edges guiding you into your next curve.

Try this task. Draw a circular area on the piste with your eyes, can you steer to that area, start with a larger circle and then reduce it down to a spot on the snow. Can you steer to exactly where you were looking.? Try it now moving from curve to curve.

Achieve that close relationship between looking and steering, just like riding your bike or driving your car. This is particularly apparent when descending along a winding road. This is one way to start your precision journey. 

PERCEPTION

Perception is how we see our skiing environment and how we interpret it. Depending on how we interpret it, will affect your emotional state and in turn will affect your balance and agility. For example, changing from a nice wide open groomed blue piste, with only a few people on it, to a narrow chopped up blue piste with a drop to one side, with more people on it, will affect your mood. How you perceive the situation ahead of you, will also affect your decision making. Read my previous article about real outcomes.

From the example above a very simple way of changing your perception, especially if your mood has gone from elation to fear, is to change your focus. Instead of taking in the big picture, just deal with what is just in front of you and put accuracy into each curve, imagine that each curve is in a square frame as soon as one square is finished move to the next square, before you know it you will be linking squares and looking further a head and because you were focused on the task you have forgotten about the narrowness, the chopped up snow and the drop to one side.

Then with success, fear will turn back to elation. By repeating the same run 3 times, your perception of that run will have changed and what was an issue, is no longer. However, this does rely on you wanting to repeat it again, this is where you must try and dig deep and keep persevering to overcome your emotions.

Please remember though, if you do a run and you feel that you cannot repeat it, then you may also not have the full range of skills that are needed, you have pushed to hard. This is where it is important to get the most from your ski lessons

Sometimes a small piece of information can help shape the way you think and act and so will enhance your performance and enjoyment. 

I am looking forward to the end of lock down now and the opening up of ski resorts again.

Hope to see you soon!




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