Originally Posted by DrFRAU
Alcohol is a depressant, so dis-inhibition IS probably what is happening when people say that they "improve" after a drink. Some people use it to "cure" stage fright, which is one reason why so many performers end up with drug and alcohol problems. Unfortunately, it also dis-inhibits judgement, which is why people take foolish risks and do stupid things while under the influence.
As for Disski -- perhaps it DOES help her - she says her coaches tell her so. BUT there is probably a unique reason for this. Disski isn't your average skier - she has a cerebellar dysfuction which affects her ability to recognize where her body is in space - natural proprioception doesn't happen for her - her brain isn't wired for it. She has trained and developed alternate pathways to compensate.
For "normal" people the cerebellum is adversely affected by alcohol and you eventually get ataxia - staggering, uncoordination, etc. Disski's cerebellum doesn't work, so it can't be affected like that. BUT what maybe be happening is that the dis-inhibition works slightly in her favor - allowing her to relax and stop thinking so hard about every little task,(which she has trained herself to do in order to fuction around her disability) and let the muscle memory take over and ski smoothly. I have no scientific literature to back me up on this, but it makes a bit of sense in her case. She is however a UNIQUE case. Disski, if you think I've got it wrong - please speak up
Nope - sounds almost perfectly what we had decided was happening. The difference (I am told) is quite marked if you are watching for it.
As you stated - by default I learn movements patterns by consciously
working at developing knew ones.... At some point my brain develops new pathways using my alternate sensory feedback for movement control - so I can
switch off & the body will do its bit.... (muscle memory is of course a furphy as the muscle remembers zip - the nervous system has a set of "hardwired"responses for the learnt movement)....
the trick is the instructor being switched on enough to realise that the conscious/unconscious part is differently affected - if you want me to do zillions of work at totally new learning then NO DRINKING....(except if stress will deter learning) if you want me to perform at my best on the stuff I should know then the drink is almost a dead set given....
It is STILL a limited requirement - more than 2 drinks & I am WORSE... so I can have about 3 over a day easily
ie - I would never have benefited from a drink in my first year or 2 of skiing..... & the "you should drink" part only became apparent in the last couple of years - sort of matches with the fact that my instructor all insist my biggest skiing gains are to be made adjusting "the bit between the ears"
Also (sort of unsaid for those that know me) I RARELY ski without an instructor - so I am NOT relying on my own sense of my "ability" when I do this stuff... almost as close to "controlled condition"as you will get outside the lab.....