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Curly's Truth - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Thread Starter 
Actually, it's pretty mundane, Ric, though we like to jazz it up with snappy euphemisms. Call it tip and grip, leap and land, let go and go, release and engagement....

Does it take nerves of steel, the heart of a lion, the brain of a rocket scientist?

Even a novice can release a turn and engage a new one, and do it darn well. But it takes a lifetime of devotion to achieve perfection in this.
post #32 of 59
Quote:
With it, you are a teenager leaping and bounding down those same stairs. With it, you are enjoying driving a Porsche along I-80 across Wyoming, with no cops around!

WITH IT, you will become the envy of all your skiing friends! WITH IT, you will achieve faster times and lower handicaps on your local NASTAR hill! WITH IT, a black diamond mogul trail will become more manageable!

But most importantly of all-

WITH IT- you will enjoy your skiing more, with much less effort!
Oh--OH! I WANT that! Where can I get one?

:

post #33 of 59
I don't know if I ever want to achieve perfection. I might have to give it up then. :>(( But I love the journey. Later,RicB.
post #34 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
effortless power not powerful effort
That's good, Rusty. I'll steal it.
post #35 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I don't know if I ever want to achieve perfection.
That would ruin everything, wouldn't it? Of course, it's not a problem!

However, the point of GO is having a target, at least I think so. Otherwise it's kind of random. And perfection is a heck of a long-lasting target.
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
That would ruin everything, wouldn't it? Of course, it's not a problem!

However, the point of GO is having a target, at least I think so. Otherwise it's kind of random. And perfection is a heck of a long-lasting target.
Nope, it's never been my problem. Yeah, a guiding principle. Later, RicB.
post #37 of 59

What is Simple is not Always Easy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
Kelley talked about the importance of "effortless power not powerful effort".

Perhaps that's applicable to skiing as well.
Probably the prime example of Homer's dictum in todays golf world is the Big Easy, Ernie Els. He is so fluid and effortless yet one of the longest hitters on tour (ranking 4th on the money list in spite of a part time schedule on the US Tour-a measly average of $316,000 per tournament-ranks right up there with a few private pod instructors, eh).

"Golfers live on a hope and a promise-the hope that tomorrow will be better and the promise that a newly discovered swing tip will contain "the secret"-the key that will unlock the mystery of the repeating, power-filled, yet effortless golf swing." (The PGA Teaching Manual-The Art and Science of Golf Instruction). Aren't skiiers the same? Is there "A" turn? Does the quest for the "perfect turn" fall into the realm of Shangra-La and the Fountain of Youth-persuable but never attainable? Should there be a realization there is no one perfect turn suitable for everybody, but there is a turn that is best for them individually and situationally?

Homer Kelley also said "I do not advocate unothodox golf but I make provisions for it". Does this also apply to us as instructors and trainers?
post #38 of 59
Thread Starter 
Mike, I think it's the quest after the impossible that makes our species unique among the animal kingdom, with the possible exception of the car-chasing dog. Your tagline is perfect for this thread...And thanks for more Homer Kelley. Can anyone buy the PGA Teaching Manual? I'd really like to own a copy.
post #39 of 59
Nolo,

I'll call the PGA procurement center and check out getting another copy of the manual on Monday. I'll PM you with the cost.

I know that the PGA's Director of Instructon, Rick Martino, recently revised the "civilian" version which I am sure you can get through any online book selling service. It is published by Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-52653-3. The title is "The PGA Manual of Golf-The Professional's Way to Learn and Play Better Golf. ( I knew there was a value in the Jebbie's making me take library science in high school). It no where near the depth of the text we are provided with our PGA educational materials, which is the one I'll check out on Monday.
post #40 of 59
Good stuff, Mike. Surely the promise, or at least the faith, that things can get better is a strong motivator for learning, in everything we do.

Your quote about making provisions for unorthodox technique is an interesting one too. There is one striking difference between skiing and golf, though, I think. Perhaps you'd disagree (I'm not a golfer, as you know), but I suspect that few golfers play purely for the joy of the swing, the delight in the sensations of movement. They play for a score. Few golfers would prefer an "unorthodox" technique just because they liked how it felt, if it raised their score.

In skiing, there are certainly occasions where function must supercede fun, where control--missing that lift tower, for example--takes precedence over the sensation of a pure carve. In racing, all that matters is "the score." But recreational skiing is all about enjoyment and play, not usually function and pure efficiency (although that certainly can be an end in itself). My "perfect turn" is all about precise control of line, but in fact, we rarely need that kind of precision. When we do, "unorthodox technique" can be a problem. But when we don't, we can play with any technique that we find interesting, entertaining, amusing, fun, or exciting--who cares about orthodoxy, function, efficiency, or someone else's view of "correct"?

"Bad technique" is better exercise. "Bad technique" can produce great sensations--flying, floating, free falling, even imbalance can be fun. "Bad technique" can even build good skills, as well as strong bones and muscles. And we all know that "bad technique" can impress chairlift riders. Some chicks dig it!

We really don't very often need "good technique" as free skiers. But then, sometimes we do, and that's when the problem arises. That's when collisions happen--when "good technique" is needed, but it isn't available.

So, we practice, and we teach, "orthodox" good technique. We play with everything--good, bad, and ugly--for fun, and for versatility. A skier with the skill and discipline to make a "perfect turn" can easily make any kind of turn he/she chooses. But the converse is not true! Those who believe that any technique is as good as any other, and that "orthodoxy" is only for instructors and technique snobs, can be downright dangerous!

Ironically, unorthodox golf technique is rarely dangerous, or at least life-threatening. But from my limited experience, it is not usually encouraged. I recall the only round of golf I've ever played, a ski school "best ball" fun tournament years ago. I hit the ball a few times, but I had just as much fun swinging at pine cones, to the consternation of my partners. I actually had fun firing golf balls into the lake. And what I REALLY enjoyed was slaloming the golf cart around the newly-transplanted little trees that lined the course. I've never been invited back!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #41 of 59

"One Thing..."

The "One Thing" with skis or board on a mountain of snow,

SKI OR RIDE TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR SMILE !!!!!!!
post #42 of 59
Bob, you and I should play golf sometime! While I've played far more than you have, I think we'd have a great time enjoying the swinging together.

I will say that golfers that I know enjoy the sensation of a well-struck shot--even if it doesn't end up where we'd hoped. I am certainly one of those. A purely struck shot is what brings me back next time, not the score I get. Perhaps because I'm not really good enough to really judge my playing by my score. Once I started doing that, though, I certainly noticed that I had a lot more fun playing golf!

ssh
post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
I don't know if I ever want to achieve perfection. I might have to give it up then. :>(( But I love the journey. Later,RicB.
I agree, but how would you know if you did?

I think the perfect turn is probably different for everyone. I feel like I've made a few perfect turns in my life. the turn that just did exactly what it was supposed to with an amazing amount of effortless power (Thanks Rusty), and spot on balance and turn control that was just never in question.

Now, the only problem with what I thought might be the perfect turn, is that there is no way for me to tell if it could have been even better or not. At the time, it didn't feel as if anything about it could have been better, however, if I were a rank intermediate, I could easily have thought the same thing about a turn, until one day, when something even better happened. Then you start to wonder... "If I thought that other one was so perfect, how is it that this turn actually felt better? And does that mean that I could make an even better turn than the "perfect turn" I just made?". That, like the 275 yard shot that goes straight down the center of the fairway and rolls onto the green, stopping 5 feet from the hole, is what keeps us coming back.

By the way, in my opinion, golf is a lot like gambling, but much cheaper (for some ). You hit one or two really great shots in a round, and the hope of hitting another one is what brings you back next time (unless it's just the promise of some beer with your buds, and 5 or 6 hours away from the chaos of home).

As a final note, I don't think there is a perfect anything. Perfect is too subjective. Of course a 300 at the bowling lanes comes pretty darn close, as does running the billiards table from the break.
post #44 of 59
Bob,

I'll disagree a bit.

Interestingly, golf is very much a social activity where score, while important,can be secondary to other factors like being out doors, being with friends, spoiling a good walk (Mark Twain-golf is a good walk spoiled) or even doing business. Our golf clientele and their motivations are as diverse as the reasons for skiing. There are those, of course, for whom score is everything-just as we have those whose only validation is carving every turn or verts or running gates in spandex. Motivations are probably as complex and varied as the number of participants-regardless of the sport.

With the unorthodox I was thinking of both the tangential teaching processes that exist in both industries as well as sport specific movements. In a golf swing two wrongs can produce a good outcome, for example, trying to lift a ball into the air (flipping your wrists) and falling backward at impact so your swing arc impacts the ball on an upward path. I'll probably get the ball airborne but not in the most effecient manner. Unorthodox can produce, at least in golf, an effective outcome. I'm haven't really thought that through in skiing. Since we close the course next Sunday and we are only a few weeks from making turns maybe that's neat subject for my "off-season" consideration. Can two or more unorthodox skiing maneuvers produce a good outcome. Usually in the golf world the unorthodox moves have to occur in tandem-off setting each other to produce that "positive" outcome, one that conforms to the laws of physics which control ball flight, for example, if a ball is to fly straight the clubface MUST be square to path at impact. I can square the clubface with unorthodox methods if needed.

ssh is right, I suspect you would actuall enjoy the game and it's infinite frustrations. The fact you enjoyed swinging at the pine cones tells me that. Like with most "goofers", their practice swings, when there is no ball to hit-no outcome for their action, are far superior to their actual swings. It is fun, it's a reflection of the kid in us-this stupid game of hitting a ball around a field with a stick, just like sliding down snow covered hills. But as soon as there is ball to hit, things change drastically-probably like when a bump field suddenly appears.

Now as for golf cart slalom....did you lift and lighten, go uphill to go downhill or go where you were going?
post #45 of 59
Good reply Mike--and Steve. Don't get me wrong--I'm not suggesting that there aren't all kinds of things that motivate people to play golf, or that the motions and technique of swinging the club and hitting the ball aren't intrinsically rewarding in themselves. My point was simply that, all else being equal, I suspect that few golfers would prefer a technique, or would intentionally choose a technique, that would result in a worse score, even if they liked how it felt. (I'm sure that there are a few exceptions.)

Even in my one golf round, I did manage to hit the ball really nicely once. It did feel good, and the little "snick" of the ball was, indeed, a sensation that could become addictive. But I'll admit that I also got a lot of pleasure out of the fact that my ball went farther and straighter down the fairway than my partners' (on that one, single lucky occasion).

For what it's worth, too, that one shot was the definition of "effortless power." I wasn't trying at all. That time, I really just "dropped" the club on the ball, with almost no muscle behind it. The irony, and the fascination, was that I could never repeat it, no matter how hard I tried. It's a catch-22--the very act of "trying harder" precludes the very essence of what made that shot work--I hadn't been trying at all!

Sometimes I tell my students to "try softer," or to "relax harder." They usually chuckle a little, and sometimes it's enough to breeak the tension that is holding them back. But it's never easy. "Effortless power" is elusive, by its very nature.

By the way, it occurs to me that the opposite of "effortless power" is not "powerful effort," as Rusty's quote suggests. The REAL opposite of effortless power is powerless effort!

In skiing, as in golf, I think it's not only possible, but very common for "two wrongs to make a (nearly) right." Most people's tecnniques consist of errors and compensations for those errors, with the end result that they usually make it to the bottom in one piece. That's the challenge of movement analysis, is it not? Some of the "errors" we see really aren't that at all--they're "good" compensations for another error. Effective instructors are good at finding and correcting the root error, and knowing when to ignore the compensations--they'll take care of themselves, when we eliminate their cause.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #46 of 59
Mike,

Have you had much exposure to Kelley's stuff? It is difficult to absorb. I was taught years ago be one of his early students. Do you know the secret handshake? I'm not kidding! I'll p.m. you

I'll toss out another great quote from the 1937 US Open winner....the dark horse of all dark horses Sam Parks.

"Golf is a game of good misses"

Does this apply to skiing? I typically get to a point each winter where I teach six days a week and what do I do on my day off? Go ski with friends or my kid. Typically I'm sore, stiff, tired, and worn out. Do I have my "A" game? Heck no1

If I'm with my peers I want to look halfway decent. Hell, you never know when HH will be off in the shadows critiquing a group of lousy PSIA members.

It's on those cold mornings I'm not trying to hit the perfect drive or make the perfect turn. It's a day for good misses.
post #47 of 59
I can recall one really good bump run.

I was skiing with a fellow pro and he told me to let my legs go limp. He said to make them feel like wet noodles.

At the age of 48, I made turns that "felt" like I was eighteen again.

I don't think I've done it since.
post #48 of 59
The idea of "go there" in skiing is akin to Harvey Pennick's "take dead aim".

Those three words are very powerful, much misunderstood, and propelled Tom Kite as well as Ben Crenshaw to greatness.
post #49 of 59
Quote:
I thought great sex was the "one thing" that is the secret to happiness. Perhaps expert skiing, too.
One of my favorite Woody Allen lines:

"Love is the answer. But while you're waiting around for the answer to show up, sex raises some pretty good questions."
post #50 of 59
Rusty, it is funny, but your example of a a great bump run is so opposite of mine that I have to mention it. I was co-leading a group of level 2 candidates down a bump run. It was my turn to do the demo. I probaly skied one of the best runs of my life. One of the candidates made the comment to the other group leader while I was skiing I that looked like a limp noodle. From my perspective as the skier I was anything but limp, I was totally active, to the point that as the skier I was really feeling overly active. The feeling that I acheived in that run is something that I have not been able to re-create in the last few years. Someday we will have to compare notes!!
post #51 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Burch
Rusty, it is funny, but your example of a a great bump run is so opposite of mine that I have to mention it. I was co-leading a group of level 2 candidates down a bump run. It was my turn to do the demo. I probaly skied one of the best runs of my life. One of the candidates made the comment to the other group leader while I was skiing I that looked like a limp noodle. From my perspective as the skier I was anything but limp, I was totally active, to the point that as the skier I was really feeling overly active. The feeling that I acheived in that run is something that I have not been able to re-create in the last few years. Someday we will have to compare notes!!
Tom, I think I understand what you are saying. That feeling of being active as opposed to inactive is so easy to misunderstand. Not saying I've got it all figured out, but I do tell my students not to equate inactivity with less effort and activity with more effort, in fact the opposite is usually true. Staying inactive usually requires more effort and while being active usually take less effort when we let things happen and simply control and direct what is happeing. I have found this can easily feel just as you describe, a feeling of being too active, yet this usually results in a run in the bumps that uses less effort and but feels more fun.

I tend to do my best bump skiing when I'm teachng in the bums. Later, RicB.
post #52 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
Mike,

Have you had much exposure to Kelley's stuff? It is difficult to absorb. I was taught years ago be one of his early students.
RG,

My only exposure is through some stuff in my PGA educational materials. I was looking for his book on Amazon to add to the golf library but it is out of stock. I may head to the flat lands on Friday and check in at the Tattered Cover. I need to stop in there anyway to see if they can recommend a source for rebinding two books for me. Might also drop in at the McGetrick Academy for a visit with my pro for a bit of a season ending review and tune-up. A hint of the dreaded reverse pivot (my nemisis for years) is rearing its ugly head.

One of my study projects for winter evenings is to grow my understanding of the swing.

A Walter Hagen thought that applies to skiing as well; "When your on the course take the time to smell the flowers".

Then Take Dead Aim
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
A Walter Hagen thought that applies to skiing as well; "When your on the course take the time to smell the flowers".
I think it was actually, "never hurry, never worry, and don't forget to smell the flowers"
post #54 of 59
RG,

Could be-this version comes right out of Harvey Penick,s Little Red Book. Whatever the version there is a message we should all heed-life is too damn short to stress over ultimate golf shots or ski turns. Enjoy it while you can-smell the roses.
post #55 of 59
I don't think there's one thing. I think it's several, and it's really keyed to attitude about learning to ski better. My background, and my baggage, is that I live at sea level, and race, as a 46 year old. I'm constantly bumping up against the issue of how can I improve as much as possible, as quickly as possible, given the limited time I have on the snow. Some people (including, surprisingly, a lot of racers with 40 plus days on the snow) don't get any better skiing. They just practice their existing habits, and their current plateau is a mesa, not a ziggurat.

So, my quick answers:

1) Be a sponge. Learn everything you can, from everyone you can in every way you can. I'm an intellectual learner, so I get something from reading about skiing, here and in other places on and off the Web. I'm lucky enough to train with other racers, and I learn a tremendous amount from the other skiers who are further along than I am--racers are tremendously generous with advice, and the people just a little further along than you often have the most teaching that you can immediately use: They've just dealt with some of the issues you're dealing with. The more places (lessons, books, video, here) you get information from, the more "hooks" you have in your mind for hanging knowledge on: Aha! That's what they meant by minimizing excessive lead change or one way to initiate crossover...

2. Experiment. Don't be afraid to crash. Try new drills, and really pay attention when you ski: My left turns are better than my right turns today. Why? Oh, I'm getting lower when I turn left. Let's try that on both sides. Wow! that works. Try something different every day. Exaggerate everything when you're trying to learn or use it, because what is a huge change in your mind often produces only a tiny change on the hill, since the power of habit and your comfort zone are so strong.

3. Care passionately about skiing better. Anyone who's ever done creative writing can tell you about the power of the subconcious mind: Stopped yesterday in the middle of the scene, had the characters tumbling around in my mind on the commute, and today when it's time to sit down to write, the rest of the scene is right there, ready to come out. We are problem solving organisms. If you spend your energy caring about skiing better, and thinking about skiing better, you will find more Aha! skiing moments, because you will be solving your skiing problems when you're on or off the hill.

That's my top three, and 2 cents, anyway.
post #56 of 59

Visualization

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdean
3. Care passionately about skiing better. Anyone who's ever done creative writing can tell you about the power of the subconcious mind: Stopped yesterday in the middle of the scene, had the characters tumbling around in my mind on the commute, and today when it's time to sit down to write, the rest of the scene is right there, ready to come out. We are problem solving organisms. If you spend your energy caring about skiing better, and thinking about skiing better, you will find more Aha! skiing moments, because you will be solving your skiing problems when you're on or off the hill.
Good thoughts, sfdean. This last one is the toughest for most people, in my experience. For most people, skiing is, after all, simply a diversion (the majority of EpicSki folks notwithstanding!). What does it take to motivate someone to care passionately about skiing better?

I agree with you, btw. Last year, as I was working through the process of my first year of teaching, all of the time that I had spent here on EpicSki really paid off. I found myself skiing in visualization, exploring my physiological senses when walking or standing, dreaming of turns during sleep, and so on. I improved by leaps and bounds by practically living skiing for most of a season. Even though scheduling conflicts cut my teaching season short, the lessons continued on.

For me, here is the good news: I am a much more effective skier than ever before. During my level II skiing exam, I skied a double-black diamond run off the T-bar at Breck in cut-up snow over old bumps at high speed with reasonable precision, grace, and control. The examiner called it my "best skiing of the day." The year before I would have been hard-pressed to make it down with any semblance of form. While I had done a fair amount of skiing, I am convinced that the combination of EpicSki and the resulting visualization, clinics, and snow time made the difference (in that order of priority, btw).

As with most things, YMMV.
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
What does it take to motivate someone to care passionately about skiing better?

Start with passionate person...
Get them hooked on skiing....
Done....

Some people seem to live whole lives with no passion - I don't understand it - but they do manage...

Others just lose the passion somewhere along the way to the pain or routine of life..... Some spend their whole lives trying to capture it again so they can feel the wonder of living a life full of joy
post #58 of 59
Thread Starter 
SFDean:

Your three things are very good indeed. I'd like to extract just the keywords for a mantra:

Be a sponge. Experiment. Care passionately.
post #59 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
Competent, Motivated coach/instructor + Motivated, Hardworking athlete/skier + Perfect Practice (Miles on snow) = High level of performance

That's my take on high level athletics.
You got it Coach!

There are no short cuts to upper level skills. Still, catchy little BS marketing hype gimmicks like this sell because people always are willing to believe someone has a magic potion. Feeding on the lazy and gullible, what a way to make a living.
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