Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Could it be that peer pressure and fitting in is more important than their skiing goals? And what about the rest of us? Will we allow ourselves to be seen as odd if in being odd that meant we could improve our daily performance and even increase the frequency of our best ever performances?
Funny you mention this - I was re-reading an introductory social psychology textbook last week and came across this very topic.
What you describe is normative influence: "Conformity based on a person's desire to fulfill others' expectations, often to gain acceptance."* For people whose priority in life is fitting in, and that likely accounts for most people, doing the unusual is not likely to happen in public view.
People who are considered part of an out-group (rather than an in-group) are often open to marching to the beat of a different drum. So you'll see skiers who are "oddballs" doing exercises outside of lessons. FWIW, I'm one of these guys and always have been - and I'm comfortable with myself.
For eager instructors, simply seeing your mentor doing something unusual makes it acceptable. This is called cohesiveness. We are swayed by opinions from our in-group members. This is evidenced by folks like me and zentune who will do hand-skiing after having skied with leaders like JF or Ken Paynter.
Get a group together doing the crab walk down the hill and it's the new normal. Most of that group isn't likely to do it when they're on their own in a public situation.
*Myers, D.G., & Spencer, S.J. (2001). Social Psychology, Canadian Edition. Toronto, ON: McGraw-Hill.