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How to improve tecnique/speed

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I'm 17 and I've been skiing for about 10 years. I consider myself decent, whenever I go to larger mountains such as Sunday River I can do the double black's without an issue. All of my friends snowboard and I'm the fastest, but not by as much as I used to be. I was just wondering what some tips are to improve speed and if there are any websites that can show me more advanced techniques that I can work on.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 29

point of clarification:  you say you've been "skiing" for 10 years and then compare yourself to several snowboarders.  Since some people use the term skiing loosely, are you looking for technique advice for skiing on skis or for riding a snowboard?

 

In either case, the road to strong technique and better speed (for racers) involves significant amounts of practice at low speeds to emphasize balance and deliberate, practiced movements (skill development.)  Not everyone is willing to pay the price in delayed gratification to build strong technique, although some lucky folks find that the training is fun too!  Plenty of snow-loving folks choose both paths.

 

You'll quickly find that there are many different philosophical camps on technique.  Your best bet is to find an instructor or book/video author whose skiing/riding you would like to emulate ... to have as your own.  Then you've found your camp.

post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FinalSalvation View Post

Hey guys,

I'm 17 and I've been skiing for about 10 years. I consider myself decent, whenever I go to larger mountains such as Sunday River I can do the double black's without an issue. All of my friends snowboard and I'm the fastest, but not by as much as I used to be. I was just wondering what some tips are to improve speed and if there are any websites that can show me more advanced techniques that I can work on.

 

Thanks!


Improve speed? If you just want to go as fast as possible wouldn't you just go straight down a hill without any turns? 

 

post #4 of 29

 

 

Quote:
Technique reifies intent;

Could you explain this, SE? The verb is so obscure that I wonder what you mean. 

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've heard that there are ways to turn which help in acceleration.

 

Sorry, for the confusion. I SKI, all of my friends snowboard.

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FinalSalvation View Post

I've heard that there are ways to turn which help in acceleration.

 

Sorry, for the confusion. I SKI, all of my friends snowboard.



Decamber/bend the skis in the turn. It's like a spring under your feet.

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

 

Could you explain this, SE? The verb is so obscure that I wonder what you mean. 



It's the anti-BB quote.  I'm convinced that "intent dictates technique" has it all not so much backwards as sideways or catercornered.  The sig line would be longer and clearer except for the character count limit.

post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges View Post

Quote:
Technique reifies intent


Seems like a strange way to say: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."


Didn't realize we needed an anti-BB quote, but I guess that one might fit wink.gif
post #9 of 29

Here's a couple of things that would apply to both boarding and skiing:

Cleaner turns make for higher speeds. 

Shorter distance makes for less time taken to get to the bottom, but  soonest lost vertical  (convert the elevation into speed as soon as you can) means more time spent at higher speeds which translates to less time taken to get to the bottom, so line choice is a compromise.

 

Less work done on the snow (absorb terrain instead of bashing it), means less energy lost and higher speeds retained.

 

Longer radius skis and smoother technique will help you make cleaner turns.

 

post #10 of 29

If beating your buddies to the lift is your goal, if you want to go faster, look to what the racers focus upon. Technically, the most important thing is reduce skidding. A carving ski will run faster than a skidding ski. That's easier said than done, so check in with local pros, instructors or coaches for guidance. Also, get stronger and quicker. Skiing at high levels is a power sport that requires strong core muscles, which include the butt, quads and hamstrings, and the ability to generate force quickly. Check your equipment. The right tool for the environment means that depending on conditions and terrain, you may need several different kinds of skis waxed and maintained. You are certainly not going to ski moguls fast, or safely, on a pair of 193 FIS legal GS skis, but you are also not going win any races on groomed hard snow on a fat pair of reverse-camber powder skis. Then there's all the ancillary stuff, nutrition, aerodynamics, set up, confidence, etc. If you haven't been in a structured program focused on developing your skiing skills, you'll find, maybe painfully, that simply pointing your skis straighter down the hill inevitably has an inherent self-governing effect.

post #11 of 29

I watched 2 high school racers go head to head on a training course yesterday. When they finished the one kid says damn it I just can't win no matter what. To me it was evident why. The winner was more dynamic in pressuring his skis and could obtain more flex from the skis. I see this in a lot of  skilled skiers on groomed runs. They start the turn and just ride it around,very few do anything once a turn is started. Why?

post #12 of 29

 

 

Quote:
 if there are any websites that can show me more advanced techniques that I can work on.

Hi there, FinalSalvation. Welcome to EpicSki. If you have some recent video of your skiing, you might consider sharing it here. Websites can't show you what can help you progress as a skier, but we have many fine instructors here who can help. You also might get involved in a race program or citizen league so you can measure your progress.

 

I have heard that when it comes to achieving goals you must first make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Trackable. Are yours?

post #13 of 29

This may be lost on the audience, but I'll give it a shot: I commend the desire to improve yourself. However, I think the biggest thing you need to do to improve your skiing is to change your mindset. You have thrown out a couple phrases that set off alarm bells in my instructor brain. First is "I can ski all of the double blacks." You can ski them, but can you ski them well? Can you ski them at any speed, using any turn radius and selecting any line you wish at any point during that run? The second is the idea you have thrown out about wanting to get faster. If the answer to the first question is no, then I would strongly suggest you put your quest for speed on hold. Don't worry about getting faster, worry about getting better. Learning to ski well is way better than learning how to ski fast. Because frankly, all you need to do to ski fast is point them down the hill and let gravity do the work. And in the end, if you learn to ski better, you will end up skiing faster if you want to do so.

 

Look at it this way... let's say you wanted to learn to play the piano. You learn the very basics, then you just try to play as quickly as you possibly can. Chances are, it'll sound horrible, as you fumble and miss keys and misplay the piece in your haste to play fast. On the other hand, if you take the time and learn to play very well, you could then play a piece as quickly as you like, and play it correctly. Because you have the skills to do so at that point.

 

And finally, if you want to continue being faster than your friends, continue skiing. Skis are faster than snowboards, by their nature.

post #14 of 29
Quote:
I have heard that when it comes to achieving goals you must first make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Trackable. Are yours?

SMART, Nolo!

And an excellent post. FinalSalvation--other than just "straighlining" it, holding speed in turns is almost all about technique (and a very little about wax, of course). As Nolo suggests, if you could post some image of your skiing--video, if possible--you'll get all kinds of advice about how to do it better. And some of that advice might actually be good.

But I will say that the first step in "being fast" is learning to love the sensations of gliding. Most--really, 99%--recreational skiers may think that they do this, but in fact, every movement they make is designed and intended to control their speed--to get their skis skidding intentionally at least a little, and to prevent the pure glide that is the signature of the true expert. If the intent of your technique is to control speed, you aren't going to let them glide--pure and simple. You'll find a lot more on this topic in the archives here at EpicSki. I shot some video of just random skiers today at Copper Mountain on an "intermediate" run, and virtually every single one of them was turning for the wrong reason--IF their goal is to make better, gliding, faster turns.

---
Quote:
It's the anti-BB quote. I'm convinced that "intent dictates technique" has it all not so much backwards as sideways or catercornered.

Boy, I sure can draw 'em out of the woodwork, can't I?

So, SharpEdges, I'm looking forward to your explanation about how the technique of turning right is the same as the technique of turning left, how the intent to hit the brakes involves the same technique as the intent to go faster, to glide, or to change direction. This should be good!

Best regards,
Bob
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Don't worry about getting faster, worry about getting better.

Great point, Freeski919--and great post.

The key to going faster (besides just being stupid and pointing them straight downhill without control) is to get better. Speed will come.

Best regards,
Bob
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

> "technique reifies intent"

 

Could you explain this, SE? The verb is so obscure that I wonder what you mean. 



Without having talked with SharpEdges or looked up the word recently, it sounds like it means "technique real-izes intent" or "technique turns intent into a concrete thing." (Typically "re" indicates "thing".)

post #17 of 29

FinalSalvation,

 

The best way to be able to go fast is to practice going slow.  It is tedious, but until you can master everything slow, you aren't ready for fast.  I don't mean just being able to ski slow.  I mean being able to ski a fast line very slow with rock solid technique.  It's much harder than you think.  One of the nice things about skiing fast is it hides imperfections in your techniques and foundation skills.  This is also one of the downsides to skiing fast.

 

Here's  a simple drill to try:

 

Have a friend ski in front of you either doing  a braking wedge or side slipping straight down the fall line.  You can have one of your snowboarding buddies just heel slip the whole way.  Ski behind them making short radius turns the whole way.  Start on easy terrain then move to more difficult.  As it gets steeper, they should maintain the same speed they did on the easier trails.  Your goal is to be smooth and a constant speed.  Once you get that, move to schmedium radius turns but carve and don't skid.

 

Learn how to ski on one ski.  Not just skid a turn but carve on one ski.  Recommend if you haven't done it before, you move to the bunny hill to do this the first time.  It will be an eye opener about your balance and how far you are in the back seat.  Your goal is to be able to do a turn on one ski that you can on two (i.e short radius turns).

 

That should keep you busy for the next year or two but you'll be able to ski fast in full control when you're done.

 

Don't practice for speed; practice control and under all conditions.  The speed will be there before you know it.  Control of speed is the difference between an expert skier and a novice.  Speed happens; Control is learned.

 

Have fun,

Ken

 

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post

Have a friend ski in front of you either doing  a braking wedge or side slipping straight down the fall line.  You can have one of your snowboarding buddies just heel slip the whole way.  Ski behind them making short radius turns the whole way.  Start on easy terrain then move to more difficult.  As it gets steeper, they should maintain the same speed they did on the easier trails.  Your goal is to be smooth and a constant speed.  Once you get that, move to schmedium radius turns but carve and don't skid.

 

Ken, that is a great post, but can you clarify the bold part?

 

When I see "schmedium" I think schmeared/steered turns, which of course involve a bit of skid, and therefore would not be a pure carve. At the risk of initiating another debate about the definition of a carve, would a steered turn with slightly washed out tails work here, and if so, would you still consider that a carve for the purposes of this exercise?

post #19 of 29
Hi LiveJazz--L&AirC will probably reply, but until he does, I suspect that what he means by "schmedium" is short-to-medium radius, not "schmeared" turns. In other words, open up the radius of the previously short-radius turns, moving further across the hill with each one, while staying behind but keeping up with the partner braking ahead of you.

It's a good drill, by the way! But I would suggest that the braking wedge/sideslipper/snowboarder skidding straight down the hill is the one skiing the fast line (straight downhill) slowly (with the brakes on)--while the follower is the one skiing the slower line fast.

Best regards,
Bob
post #20 of 29

/\/\/\/\ What BB said.

 

Thanks for pointing out I used an odd term without clarifying.  > Small + < Medium = Schmedium.  Or maybe it's Smedium and I just like the sound of Schmedium better th_dunno-1[1].gif  Anyway, it's somewhere between a Small and Medium radius turn.  You need more trail width to carve and since you'll be moving faster, you'll have to use more of the hill laterally since the person in front of you isn't going faster.

 

I do recommend doing it with skidding or smearing or the like until you can control it.  Carving the first time could be dangerous for you and your "pacesetter".  Work up to being able to carve the whole turn.  Even carving part of it makes it challenging.

 

It isn't necessarily a difficult drill, but it is a very educational one.  Good for beer bets too.

 

Ken

post #21 of 29

^ Ah, thank you, that makes sense. "Schmeared" turning is just such a catchphrase right now that my mind jumped right to that.

 

Funny, I was actually doing almost that same drill all last week, except I was following low-intermediate out-of-town family members down the hill, actively trying to match their (very slow) movement down the hill while carving as much as possible. It really is an eye opening experience...I had never made the conscious effort to turn up the hill to control speed to that degree. I think I can still still use some work tightening the radius of the carves up. I have been working hard to pressure the shovel and angulate more heavily to work the ski into a tighter turn shape, and I think I'm getting there.

post #22 of 29

 

Returning to, "Technique reifies intent..."

 

Quote: Sharpedges
 I'm convinced that "intent dictates technique" has it all not so much backwards as sideways or catercornered.

 

Quote: qcanoe
Without having talked with SharpEdges or looked up the word recently, it sounds like it means "technique real-izes intent" or "technique turns intent into a concrete thing." (Typically "re" indicates "thing".)

 

Bob Barnes says "intent dictates technique" and sharpedges says (translated) "technique is the manifestation of intent." Bob uses an active construction while sharpedges' is passive. Either way you say it, my take-away is that a person's skiing is most affected by how they believe it should be done. If I ask a person who is a tail-skidder to describe to me how to ski as if I had never seen it done before, I guarantee you he or she will teach me how to execute a turn by skidding the tails around. I hear Bob saying that changing your goals and objectives (which are synonymous with intent) is the critical prerequisite to change your technique accordingly. Change your mind to change your skiing. 

 

How is your thinking different, sharpedges?

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

 

Returning to, "Technique reifies intent..."

 

 

 

Bob Barnes says "intent dictates technique" and sharpedges says (translated) "technique is the manifestation of intent." Bob uses an active construction while sharpedges' is passive. Either way you say it, my take-away is that a person's skiing is most affected by how they believe it should be done. If I ask a person who is a tail-skidder to describe to me how to ski as if I had never seen it done before, I guarantee you he or she will teach me how to execute a turn by skidding the tails around. I hear Bob saying that changing your goals and objectives (which are synonymous with intent) is the critical prerequisite to change your technique accordingly. Change your mind to change your skiing. 

 

How is your thinking different, sharpedges?



nolo,

I agree with the point you are making, but many times, if you ask a tail-skidderr how to execute a turn, they will tell you (or try to) how to carve because that is what they believe they are doing.  They bought skis that carve and are famous for carving, so they must be carving, right?  They'll even tell you how much nicer they carve over their last pair even though they never carved one single turn...ever.

 

If the person is aware they are a tail-skidder, or isn't interested in carving, they will tell you how to tail skid, more than likely in 'gross' terms as they probably aren't even aware of all the 'fine' movements they are making.

 

Ken

 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FinalSalvation View Post

All of my friends snowboard and I'm the fastest, but not by as much as I used to be. I was just wondering what some tips are to improve speed


 

If you just want increase your relative speed, buy them a big lunch and a couple beers.

 

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Bob Barnes says "intent dictates technique" and sharpedges says (translated) "technique is the manifestation of intent." Bob uses an active construction while sharpedges' is passive. Either way you say it, my take-away is that a person's skiing is most affected by how they believe it should be done.



I translate that a little differently--more like "technique makes your intent real".  The implication as I read it is that you can have all the intent in the world, but if you don't have technique, your intent isn't going to get you anywhere.

 

Having spent a lot of time in my life sucking at a lot of things, I think this interpretation has merit.  If I had a nickel for every time in my life I'd intended to do something and ended up on the ground bleeding instead, I'd have a lot more money to spend on skis. biggrin.gif

 

 

 

For the OP:  There are people on the mountain who specialize in going faster than other people.  They're called racers.  Hang out with them and learn to do what they do.  If you like to ski fast and want to get better at it, joining a race program would probably help a lot, and you might enjoy being able to rip on a closed course.  I'm not sure you're going to get much of use on the internet.  Without knowing what your skiing looks like now, it's pretty tough for anybody to give you decent advice, aside from some general common sense stuff (turn less, turn cleaner, wax your skis, etc).  I'd suggest finding someone in person who can help you out.  Good luck!

post #26 of 29
Quote:
The implication as I read it is that you can have all the intent in the world, but if you don't have technique, your intent isn't going to get you anywhere.

Surely, better technique (that is, higher skill level) allows you to "realize" your intent to a greater degree. No argument there. But your intent still absolutely dictates the exact technique necessary. If your intent is to stop short and quickly, you will certainly employ a different technique than if your intent is to carve a pure arc--for example.

And most significantly to this point, and where I tend to disagree with your words in the quote above, your technique will differ given these two opposed intents no matter how much or how little skill you have. Yes, you'll do it better either way, with more skill. But "defensive intent" (stop, slow down, avoid that, stop going this way, and so on) will always produce fundamentally different movements (technique) than offensive intent (go that way, go faster), even if those movements are done with little skill.

You can prove this easily and simply. Picture a beginner who has just put his skis on for the very first time, standing on the flats--nervous, out of his element, and possessing very little skiing skill (I won't say none, because many other activities like walking, skating, and so on do transfer positively to skiing in many ways). Stand off to the side of this person, and tell him to "come here." Watch his movements--assuming he's amenable and doesn't owe you money or something, all of his movements will tend to move toward you. He'll turn his ski tips--the one closer to you first--toward you. He'll "project" his body toward you. He'll even tip his skis a little in your direction. All of these are the very same movements of high-level offensive turns, even if they are done clumsily and with rudimentary skill. He might even cross his skis and fall. But at least, his movements were all the "right" movements, regardless of how rudimentary was the skill behind them. His intent--to move toward you--dictates that technique. Practice and greater skill will make it work better.

Now imagine that same beginning skier this time actually owing you money when you call him. This time, he doesn't want to come toward you. His intent is to avoid you. He still has very little skill, but his movements (technique) will be very different, if not diametrically opposed. Intent, again, dictates technique. Intent does not produce skill, of course, but it clearly dictates technique.

So skill "reifies" (allows you to realize) intent, and the more skill you have, the better (of course). But intent determines the fundamental characteristics of your movements. As I've so often pointed out, no amount of skill and technical expertise will make you carve a better turn when your intent is to stop quickly, or to avoid a sudden obstacle in your path, or if you are simply unwilling to point your skis downhill and gain gain speed when you start the "turn." Failure to consider this truism is the cause of perhaps more ski lesson failures than anything else. The student asks for "better speed control" or something like that, and the wise instructor (accurately) says, "to make a better turn, you need to release your edges, let go of the mountain, and point your skis straight downhill." The intent ("slow down!") and the technique here obviously conflict. And the intent will win, every time! To carve a better turn, you have to want--deep down in your core--to go faster when you start it, because obviously, going faster is what you're about to do when you start a new carved turn.

And with that, I think that this little detour has brought us back to the original topic: how to go faster. You have to want to go faster, first! Ironically, and perhaps paradoxically, if you go "as fast as you dare," you have reached a speed at which (by definition) you no longer want to go faster. Your intent becomes defensive, and your technique will reflect that defensiveness, no matter how much skill you may have. So the paradox is that, if you want to get "better" and make "faster turns," you obviously have to want to go faster all the time. And the only time you or I or anyone else wants to go faster is, of course, ... when we're going "too slow." So, to get faster, you have to ski "too slowly," all the time!

Neither "too slow" nor "too fast" refer to speed, actually. They are states of mind. One person's "slow" will be kamikaze fast for another of less confidence. But no matter who you are--first time beginner or Lindsey Vonn--once you're going "fast enough" or "too fast," your intent will change your technique in fundamental ways.

Best regards,
Bob
post #27 of 29

I hadn't really intended to get pulled into this beyond offering an alternate translation and a brief suggestion for the OP, but I guess since I'm here, I might as well stay a bit.  I always enjoy reading your writing, Bob; I hope you don't mind if I disrupt the flow a bit to address a few individual points:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes View Post

But at least, his movements were all the "right" movements, regardless of how rudimentary was the skill behind them. His intent--to move toward you--dictates that technique. Practice and greater skill will make it work better.

 

In my opinion, this only applies if the "right" movements are intuitive.  If they're not, or even worse if they're counterintuitive, focusing on intent before the movements are solid can really get in the way.  Certainly, you could say that most movements are intuitive for a certain intent, so if you give the student the right intention, they'll get the right movements, but I'm not on board for that one.  You can't tell a guy to be angry and think he's invincible and magically end up with Mike Tyson.  You've got to teach him how to box first.

 

But intent determines the fundamental characteristics of your movements.

 

I don't agree with this, either.  I certainly agree that it determines the accents and can reinforce movements, but I think suggesting it determines the fundamentals is significantly overstating the case.

 

In a past life, I was a professional dancer, and often used intent with my students to add character or help solidify a movement once they had it, but I taught them the movements first.  Eventually I'd have coaching sessions with competitive students that would have a lot of work on intent, but it never preceded the fundamentals.  Sure, going straight to intent lets people have fun in a hurry, but when that student blows out his knee because I didn't teach him the mechanics of how to spin properly first, how much of a favor did I really do him?

 

As I've so often pointed out, no amount of skill and technical expertise will make you carve a better turn when your intent is to stop quickly, or to avoid a sudden obstacle in your path, or if you are simply unwilling to point your skis downhill and gain gain speed when you start the "turn." Failure to consider this truism is the cause of perhaps more ski lesson failures than anything else. The student asks for "better speed control" or something like that, and the wise instructor (accurately) says, "to make a better turn, you need to release your edges, let go of the mountain, and point your skis straight downhill." The intent ("slow down!") and the technique here obviously conflict. And the intent will win, every time!

 

Learning to control your movements despite yourself is most of the point of training, isn't it?  If you learn the movements first, you can tell the little voice in your head to be quiet and use them and, because they're ingrained, they'll work.  Conflicting intent is only a problem if you rely on it to dictate your technique, as you seem to have suggested doing.

 

When I was a youth and studying the martial arts, the first time a guy swung a baseball bat at me, my little intent monster was screaming "GET OUT OF DODGE".  Because I'd been training for long enough, I told him to shut up and let my body move inside the radius of the weapon as I'd been trained.  It worked great, and my little intent monster learned to trust the movements.  If I'd let my intent dictate my technique, I would've backed up right into the sweet spot of the bat and my day would've gone rapidly downhill.

 

In my opinion, you have to possess the movements in order to learn to put your intent behind them.

 

 

Bringing this back to skiing and to use your example, I think that in order to carve a better turn, you have to know what the movements need to be to carve a better turn.  Period.  You don't have to want to go faster.  It helps if you're okay with going faster, but it's easy enough to go to a trail the student is comfortable straightlining and learn the movements there, isn't it?  Once you've got them, you have the student work his way up to more difficult trails, building trust in the movements incrementally.  As you do that, you train the intent monster to be quiet for a bit, because the student trusts that the movements will result in speed control.

 

 

As far as the OP is concerned, he's already going "too slow", and wants to go faster.  It seems that intent isn't getting him there on its own, though.  Wouldn't you agree that in order to make that intent a reality, what he probably needs is to learn more technique?

 

 

 

(also, I'm going to laugh my butt off if it turns out we've all misinterpreted sharpedges's statement, and spent a bunch of time debating something completely unrelated)

post #28 of 29
Originally Posted by DanBoisvert 

I hadn't really intended to get pulled into this beyond offering an alternate translation and a brief suggestion for the OP, but I guess since I'm here, I might as well stay a bit.  I always enjoy reading your writing, Bob; I hope you don't mind if I disrupt the flow a bit to address a few individual points:
 

In my opinion, this only applies if the "right" movements are intuitive.  If they're not, or even worse if they're counterintuitive, focusing on intent before the movements are solid can really get in the way.  Certainly, you could say that most movements are intuitive for a certain intent, so if you give the student the right intention, they'll get the right movements, but I'm not on board for that one.  You can't tell a guy to be angry and think he's invincible and magically end up with Mike Tyson.  You've got to teach him how to box first.

 

I don't agree with this, either.  I certainly agree that it determines the accents and can reinforce movements, but I think suggesting it determines the fundamentals is significantly overstating the case.

 

In a past life, I was a professional dancer, and often used intent with my students to add character or help solidify a movement once they had it, but I taught them the movements first.  Eventually I'd have coaching sessions with competitive students that would have a lot of work on intent, but it never preceded the fundamentals.  Sure, going straight to intent lets people have fun in a hurry, but when that student blows out his knee because I didn't teach him the mechanics of how to spin properly first, how much of a favor did I really do him?

 

Learning to control your movements despite yourself is most of the point of training, isn't it?  If you learn the movements first, you can tell the little voice in your head to be quiet and use them and, because they're ingrained, they'll work.  Conflicting intent is only a problem if you rely on it to dictate your technique, as you seem to have suggested doing.

 

When I was a youth and studying the martial arts, the first time a guy swung a baseball bat at me, my little intent monster was screaming "GET OUT OF DODGE".  Because I'd been training for long enough, I told him to shut up and let my body move inside the radius of the weapon as I'd been trained.  It worked great, and my little intent monster learned to trust the movements.  If I'd let my intent dictate my technique, I would've backed up right into the sweet spot of the bat and my day would've gone rapidly downhill.

 

In my opinion, you have to possess the movements in order to learn to put your intent behind them.

 

Bringing this back to skiing and to use your example, I think that in order to carve a better turn, you have to know what the movements need to be to carve a better turn.  Period.  You don't have to want to go faster.  It helps if you're okay with going faster, but it's easy enough to go to a trail the student is comfortable straightlining and learn the movements there, isn't it?  Once you've got them, you have the student work his way up to more difficult trails, building trust in the movements incrementally.  As you do that, you train the intent monster to be quiet for a bit, because the student trusts that the movements will result in speed control.

 

As far as the OP is concerned, he's already going "too slow", and wants to go faster.  It seems that intent isn't getting him there on its own, though.  Wouldn't you agree that in order to make that intent a reality, what he probably needs is to learn more technique?

 

(also, I'm going to laugh my butt off if it turns out we've all misinterpreted sharpedges's statement, and spent a bunch of time debating something completely unrelated)

 

Wow, DanB, this is a very thought-provoking post.  I too teach in another discipline in my day job.  I teach painting, among other art studio courses, at the college level.  I've learned that to get strong work from my advanced painting students I have to get them to think almost exclusively about technique, not intent and not content.  I build "intent-delay" into each assignment in a very specific way, so that they keep their energies focused on the concrete, technical issues.  As each painting nears completion, that's when they can tweak what they've got to move it in an expressive direction that they embrace.  This comes at the very end, "on top" of all that other concrete stuff they've been struggling with.  They learn a lot about "content" in this last phase of the work, but it wouldn't be within their reach if I allowed them to come up with an intent at the very beginning and then to compose that painting to express that intent.  

 

Before this post of yours I had not seen the similarity with skiing.  Thanks. 
 

 

post #29 of 29

No kidding?  I don't know much about that segment of the arts, but I like the sound of your teaching style.  It's cool that the same concepts apply, even at the collegiate level--I'll add this to my mental list.  Thanks!

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