or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Natural Ability - Page 2

post #31 of 36
Sfdean.... you don't know much about me - so I'll fill you in...

1) I am a disabled skier - I have NO proprioceptive input to my cerebellum as far as anyone can tell (I have not yet had time to stick myself into guineapig testing in the university lab - but from the tests the docs & physios do - I'm a dud) BUT no-one knew this until I was 37.. (well ww knew I did not work right - I always fell off my feet & hit my own head with things & fell doing simple things like walking on logs)

When I started to learn to ski the local doctor was a friend of my brothers & tried to ban me - too dangerous.....

I learnt to ski anyway - my aim was to ski the bunny hill happily - I knew I was no NATURAL in physical areas - but I was determined to at least give it a go....
Then my aim was to ski the green/blue stuff happily.....
Then parallel seemed a nice idea (I had once thought this impossible)...
Hmmmm - then skiing better in less than ideal conditions & more confidence...
You get the picture......
I have no great image of myself as a skier - it is only the last year or 2 I believe I can actually ski without an instructor.... yet they tell me I ski better than the level 1 instructors exam requirements here...
The defining thing is - I am a STUBBORN little bitch.... I simply did it how I knew I needed to learn & did not let the folks who wanted to use me as sport & entertainment beat me.... I was skiing to MY agenda - not anyone elses... it simply does not matter to me if I do not beat ANYONE in any race - as long as I improve I have achieved..... this viewpoint allows me to persist rather than be frustrated - so in the long run I do achieve significant gains...

2) I had no idea what natural skills I had in physical chemistry until many years after I stopped doing the stuff.... I was pushed into a degree that is totally unsuited to my natural gifts by a ridiculous excuse for a careers advisor..... so I stopped my favourite subjects very early..... I don't think I even realised how good I was at quick understanding until I did my second degree.... I was friends with a specialist in learning who found me fascinating & started to explain what I do without realising & how it helps me in academic stuff... I am a perfect example of wasted natural talent.... The year I answered that question for my chem teacher was the first year I did chemistry.... we knew I was OK at science because I always got good marks - but biology etc really did not interest me in the way that physical chemistry did - it did not have that beauty of perfection I saw in phys chem the moment they showed it to me... My teacher used to make me teach half the class chemistry to try to challenge me - she recognised the potential - but lamented that I had been left to 'waste' so long.... I did not really believe her - my lack of self esteem was so poor... only later in life I realised what she was saying.... I always knew I was not dumb - but that is different to being a natural.... I had a scholarship to the private school I attended - but so did others - I was not special.... my mother took great pains to tell me so (she had a very bright older sister I now realise I resembled) In fact she used to point out my faults to my younger brother in gory detail - because he was almost unable to read for years but was a gifted athlete....

So interestingly enough inthe area of skiing I far outperform any potential or expectation... while academic areas leave me bored & work is only of interest because i can help PEOPLE with my knowledge.... I see myself as poor at my job - because I know my ability does not lie in the biologic science area - yet am consistently told I do my job well.... dilemma huh?
post #32 of 36
Disski--

That's a moving story. I'm impressed by your determination--and success--in the face of adversity. Talents, gifts and disabilities are not destiny, one way or the other.

But I guess we all have to listen to that inner voice about what makes us happy, not just all the advice others give (said the guy typing advice to a stranger at 12:55 A.M....), or even the direction of our gifts (that you have a gift for physical chemistry and find it intuitive doesn't mean you have to do it. But there is a special rush from doing something well.)

Some things are better when they're difficult to do. I sometimes think--sadly--about the poor guys who get so good on downhill skis that they go to freeheel/telemark skiing, because with regular bindings it's just not interesting enough anymore. That's one nice thing about taking up racing as an adult--there's always someone faster, some room for improvement, and the easy blue runs go from been there/done that to a great place to work on skills...

Have fun on the hill,

SfDean.
post #33 of 36
Yes - I like the challenge .... the guys who teach fitball at our AIS say I should nnot get dementia - because I am always challenging my brain to try new things..... When I started the class I really struggled to even sit on a ball.... yet at some point my brain started to make the connections it needed to start to balance on a ball & I started to be able to balance..... So as the instructor pointed out - some peopel are OK to start - but seem to have an upper limit - we think because they believe it is too hard & won't keep trying the stuff that they cannot do.... while I start poorly - but continue to progress - because I am used to failure I am quite happy to just keep rolling off the ball & getting back on.... I simply need the external feedback to keep me aware that I AM IMPROVING - i don't feel it....

There is much to be said for sheer perseverance...

However that still does not change the fact that TRUE natural talent is just that - unique.... It does however beg the question (again) as to how we maximise the chance that it gets used not squandered....

then there are the greats - people like Michael Milton who have great raw talent & terrific perseverance against great difficulty... the guy is a talented junior skier - loses leg to cancer - gets up & blitzes the world on 1 leg..... I am in constant awe.... HE seems to maximise his talents & overcome the problems very impressively...
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
.... I can remember sitting in chemistry classes & seeing a beautiful awesome type of balance & symmetry.... everyone else saw very confusing stuff that had to be learnt or conquered to get into the course you wanted....
Was she blonde too?
post #35 of 36
the below synopsis is eloquent and thorough, and I agree with it almost 100%.

young athletes at ages 7 or younger are not displaying huge natural abilities, but rather reflections of how they live their lives, including play. the mental game is present in young kids, the selfconfident ones always pick things up faster.

you can improve your child's athleticism simply by encouraging positive attitudes and reducing the lack of knowledge/lack of experience that builds fear to a stumbling block or worse, an impasse.

it helps also to encourage your child to play physically. jump things, run when he/she wants, dodge things. all play should be creative. physically and mentally, I mean.

I grew up making games of most physical movement endeavors, always paying attention to the movements and always trying to be smoother, faster, more efficient, less tired. this was my conscious athletic way of life from an early age, perhaps 8 or 9. and it paid off.

my younger brother is 21 months younger, the same body size and build. we're both about 160 lbs, he's about a half-inch taller than me and is a true 5'11" where I'm only 5'10" and change. he has amazing natural fluidity and grace -- you only need to watch him swing a golf club to know he's got fine kinesthetic sense and, importantly, patience with his moves. but he decided after college that sports are for kids, and he's not really done anything athletic since then. it's a shame. he could have outclassed me in several sports.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdean
I have worked with a lot of highly skilled people in very different fields (musicians, songwriters, trial lawyers, dealmakers, youth atheletes.) In racing camps, I've trained along side top FIS racers, and in Master's drop in training, I've trained both with people who improve rapidly with a few sessions and other people that simply practice the same mistakes over and over again. I played football with teamates who went on to play Division I college ball and (one guy) in the NFL. I've coached youth soccer. I think that a number of things are true:

1. Some people are more aggressive than others about taking risks and trying things. I think natural aggressiveness (which, by the way, can also be (only) partially taught and encouraged, through sports--I've coached girls soccer from 8-12, where there's a big jump in aggressiveness) is a HUGE advantage in skiing, much more so than most other sports. The worst natural habits from the reptile brain (lean back) are counteracted by this aggressiveness. And aggressiveness helps you learn other things (inclination, big edge angles, trusting the outside ski) faster.

2. A huge part of "natural ability" is openness, confidence, self-image and desire to learn and excel. If you think you're going to pick it up fast, you're more likely to.

3. A lot of athletic ability transfers across sports. I don't know how much of that is "natural ability" and how much of it is transferable application of learned behavior. Balance, natural athletic stance, body awareness, anticipation, and quick feet are all things you can learn in one sport (Bode Miller was a top youth soccer and tennis player) and transfer to another.

4. Physical conditioning is a big limiting factor for most people, and physical conditioning is created progressively, through exercise. The closer you are to elite level, the more elite level physical conditioning you've done.

5. Focus and intensity are huge predictors of skill and the speed at which you pick up and hone skills. A lot of that may be innate, but some of the rest of it is clearly motivation: How much do you care about getting better.

6. A lot of "natural" athleticism, even at the age of 11, is a function of how much time that kid has spent in doing sports up to that age. The "natural" athletes have exaggerated their pre-existing skill advantages because they've been spending more time on sports than the other kids, and have gotten lots of positive reinforcement for their athletic achievements. My introductory remark about working with musicians was because, if you write songs with a guy who is just amazing in his ability to give you something you want, even if you have trouble explaining it, your first thought is "wow--what a talent" but then you realize that he's also spent 20,000 hours doing music. A lot of that inspiration is just compound interest on all that perspiration.

So, I would conclude that a large part of being a "natural" athlete is at least partly learned and reinforced. That having been said, some people are clearly gifted, genetically and by predisposition, and certain genetic packages are better for specific sports. (For example, you are born with a preexisting ratio of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers, which can only be modified so much through exercise. You're born a sprinter or a distance runner, and no amount of road work will convert you into an elite (or competitive) athlete at one of those things if you were designed for the other.)

I'm not sure exactly what the best genetic gifts are for skiing. (There's some evidence, for example, that because of the eccentric nature of the load in skiing, the fast-twitch body of a sprinter may not be a big advantage.) I'd be interested to hear what others think are the key predispositions and the key things we can work on.

SfDean.
post #36 of 36
Sorry gonz - I came from a super sporty family.... the school tennis coach was like a pig in mud when he got my fathers daughter for a student - until he saw me try to hit a ball.... (emphasis on TRY).... as kids we were encouraged & pushed to try any & all sports & spent all our free time on bikes & climbing trees, playing in the creek & at the beach on tractor innner tubes & playing keepings off & beach cricket, sailing.... etc etc etc.... By the time I was about 7 or 8 it was a KNOWN fact that I would fall off any log I tried to walk on, fall out of trees etc etc etc... the other kids (my very sporty cousins) would compensate by making human chains for me to ensure they did not get into trouble for hurting me.... In cricket I fielded the seaweed (noone else would so it mattered not if I caught the ball as long as I returned it to keeper).... If someone had been in too long they would keep hitting to me until I caught a ball - this often took a long time despite a LOT of training....
My female cousin I grew up with showed her superb cricket skills from a young age... My brother (adopted) was a natural from about 1 year of age... (he climbed an 8 foot high gate before he could walk & could climb a paling fence on the non-rail side from about 2 years).... My sister (also adopted) was a reasonably active & sporty kid - due to the activity we got exposed to... My baby brother (genetic relation) was nearly as big a klutz as me - but chose sports at school where he could use his determination & natural strength (we have a strongish build) rather than need coordination (as a girl & much older they did not offer me any other than pretty traditional bat/ball type sports).....

Some - like my cousin & father - just have it.... some like my baby brother & I just don't.... no amount of training is going to make me a natural.... my cousin & dad on the other hand would have been gifted no matter what (in fact dad played no sport until his dad died & he moved to the city)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching