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Progress in skiing - Page 2

post #31 of 56
Originally Posted by GR8TRN
If you golf long enough you will put it all together and hit a shot, say a 5 iron from 175 or so and stick it close. That is about as good as Tiger could do. For some reason, you can hit a shot just like Tiger. Problem is,
...problem is Tiger uses a 9 iron for 175 yards. It's like following a great skier for a couple of turns. Close, but not really the same thing. It's one thing to drive through the neighborhood, it's another to live there.

Nol-have you seen Sir Charles' swing on that Nike commercial? Gawd - it hurts just to watch it. He does not need instruction, he needs a complete makeover! On the other hand, if that swing was just for the commercial - he is a tremendous actor!

Todo, shooting 80-98 is the nature of the beast when you don't have a repeatable swing. Even with the same swing, when the course conditions demand adaptability, it's easy to get wild scores. As you get better through experience, your range of scores should decrease. The same kind of thing should occur on the slopes. As one gets better through experience, one should be better able to make closer quality turns no matter what the weather/snow/side of the bed you got up on. As others have noted,p being just a little bit off is lot more punishing in golf than skiing.

One of the things I've discovered working with skiers on video is that the fundamental movement patterns are being repeated 99% of the time. The end results of a turn may vary quite a lot, but the root cause of what happens is pretty consistent. I'm beginning to get the same kind of information coming through for golf. Fundamentals like grip/stance/tempo tend to be consistent through all swings, even though (/causing) the resulting swing can be wildly inconsistent.
post #32 of 56
Thread Starter 
you don't have a repeatable swing
And that right there is the nut of the problem. One wrong move and everything changes.

Why do they call him "Sir Charles"? He said his awful swing was the result of a lesson where the pro told him to pause at the top of the backswing.
post #33 of 56
His awe-inspiring play demanded full respect and earned him a new nickname: Sir Charles.

re:his excuse - I'm laughing so hard I just busted the nut of the problem. Pausing at the top of the swing is the least of his ugliness.
post #34 of 56
Regarding visualization and golf , I remember reading years ago about a prisoner of war that kept his sanity by visualizing playing a round of golf at a particular golf course. He didn't over look any detail of the round of golf that he focused on playing after his release. When he finally was released and played golf , he went out and shot the lowest score he ever scored without any preparation other than the visualization techniques he exercised while a prisoner. There's obviously something to this. I remember the old Sybervision Tapes from the early 80's. I bought the skiing one Black Diamond Skiing . Two Demo Team guys from that era were filmed at Snowbird skiing and you watched the trurns they made over and over again in slow motion so the movements that they were making were very discernible. I think the one guy was Jans Husted(spelling) from maybe Vail . I read where he opened a Syber Vision training center at a small area in NewYork somewhere . It apparently never caught on.
post #35 of 56
Don't know much about golf, but the main difference in skiing is personal injury, or merely the fear thereof. I'd imagine that's what causes most skiing slumps. It certainly caused my biggest slump.
Also I would think that the external conditions in the sport of skiing vary more than for golf, although of course wind can be a huge uncertainty factor in both sports.
post #36 of 56
I think that progress in skiing varies with your ability. As a beginner, it's very easy to move up quickly to intermediate and from intermediate to a reasonably strong advanced skier if you work at it. But once you get up to high level 8 and level 9 skier, it's much harder and takes longer to improve, since in most cases it's very precise refinements.
post #37 of 56
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
Don't know much about golf, but the main difference in skiing is personal injury, or merely the fear thereof. I'd imagine that's what causes most skiing slumps. It certainly caused my biggest slump.
Also I would think that the external conditions in the sport of skiing vary more than for golf, although of course wind can be a huge uncertainty factor in both sports.
My golf experience has been that the external conditions factor is much greater than in skiing. First off there are 3 sets of conditions to factor in (where you are shooting from, where to and the in flight conditions (wind and obstacles), whereas in skiing where you are and where you're going are not that much different. Second, the various possible combination of "lies" (e.g. bunker/rough/fairway/green, level/downhill/uphill/sidehill, wet/dry, mud on the ball easily rival (if not vastly exceeds because of the combinatorial effect) the problems that skiing introduces. Lastly, external factors such as elevation and temperature have a greater impact on performance in golf, but lighting appears to have less impact.
post #38 of 56
In my way of thinking there are many factors involved in perceptions of improvement or slumps. A critical issue that comes to mind is perspective. As I coached my kids in tennis and mentored them in other sports I came up with the saying: "Don't Measure Yourself, Express Yourself." If you truly consider your performance as a form of expression it changes things considerably. Of course golf, by it's very nature is a sport where measurement is pervasive, making this a difficult goal. Skiing on the other hand, can much more readily be considered as a form of expression.

In many ways, considerations of improvement rely on measurement. That, in and of itself, limits a person's perspective. I switched to playing tennis left handed a year ago due to cumulative right shoulder problems. I guess all those years of preaching to my kids had an effect. First of all, I didn't approach it technically. While I could easily pinpoint things I was doing wrong, I just let my body do it's thing to try and recreate the feelings I knew about from my previous experience. In that way I started to gain experience about the interaction of body movements, raquet head angle (never tried to prescribe any particular grip to myself), visual perception, etc. Thus, everyday I have played left handed over the past year has been a day where I received great satisfaction from the learning that had been accomplished. I certainly wouldn't say that using objective performance measures my tennis improved each day (in fact I am sure there were sizeable ups and downs), however, I consider myself to have nevertheless made significant improvement in my game each day I've played.

I believe the same is pretty much true for me in skiing. Given the feel of skiing that I get to learn about each day I ski, I consider that I improve pretty much each and every day I ski. That does not mean my skiing would be improving each day on the basis of certain objective measures. However, if my performance is perceived in terms of learning to express myself through my skiing movements vs. a measurement of how well I am making those skiing movements at any particular time, then there is no issue. Furthermore, as much as I can keep measurement out of the picture and focus on the things I've learned through expression, I find that I can improve more consistantly, even when judged by objective measurement criterea.
post #39 of 56
nolo, I have had similar experiences to yours. I rarely have an off day on skis, and if I do I can usually attribute it to low energy, or just not feeling well. With golf, it is totally different. I have played for quite a few years and on any given day can play like a beginner. I normally shoot in the 80's, but can easily go to the high 90's even on a day when I feel great and am very interested. When I was in college I played tennis for the school. I quit playing not long after graduation, but can pick up a racket tomorrow and after warming up still play a reasonable game. Not so with golf. I have to work harder at golf than any other sport to improve. Not sure why.
post #40 of 56
I suppose, if you want to compare "like with like", you could only compare a scoring round of golf with ski-racing. (Or any other type of measured ski competition: freestyle, big-mountain, etc.)
Just cruising down the slopes on skis would be comparable to hitting the golf ball around the course for fun, but not actually counting the number of shots that you took to do it.
post #41 of 56
So what you're saying is that in skiing, every run is a mulligan?
post #42 of 56
Thread Starter 
It occurs to me that what makes a slump so difficult to climb out of is the loss of optimism. Last week as we were walking out to play a round I told my husband, "You know this is the happiest I will be all day." I really try to keep a good attitude, but a few holes along and I'm back lashing at myself for blowing the shot.

I am hoping Weems and his Sports Diamond can help save my relationship with golf.
post #43 of 56
I believe with golf that swing mechanics dictate how well you will be able to hit the ball. If ski technique is confusing, golf is even more entailed unfortunately. Are you a hitter or a swinger, Single plane or double plane swing, its endless and becomes a maze. I've flailed at golf for 20 years without the type of breakthrough I would have hoped to achieve. One of my underlying problems is getting too many suggestions , inputs, tips that don't blend together to produce a repeatable swing.

I think what applies to ski instruction certainly has merit in golf. Find a teacher that you like , a swing model that you are comfortable with , and stick with this and don't deviate and ignore initial results that are not all that reinforcing. The best comment on golf instruction I ever heard was, if golf looked like it felt it would be a much easier thing to teach. Its just incredibly easy to mis interpret golf instruction. To make it even more confusing leaf through any golf magazine and you can easily find in the instruction articles a swing tip or mechanic that refutes what you read on the previous page or the last issue . Skiing fortunately has always pretty much felt the same for me. Now stand me on the first tee at a golf course and its all too frequent , I hit the ball with my swing dujour for that day. That is not the recipe for continous improvement.
post #44 of 56
Originally Posted by nolo
I really try to keep a good attitude, but a few holes along and I'm back lashing at myself for blowing the shot.

I am hoping Weems and his Sports Diamond can help save my relationship with golf.
Wit that attitude, it's no wonder your having problems. Look, go to a driving range and stay there until you are COMPLETELY satsified that you've got a swing you like, and can hit ball the way you want to. Hire a coach. Do video.

The question is: will you ever return to the course? My guess: not if you keep punishing yourself for mistakes while learning. You're not Tiger Woods, you know? Mistakes are to be expected. Try to lighten up, and expect less than perfection -- care more for the process, and the outcomes will take care of themselves.

I've been there. Nothing like ruining a sport by expecting perfection out of a less than perfect style. It's where the yips come from -- fear of failure and "knowing" you suck means you won't let yourself do it at all, much less let yourself do it right.

Take your time. Let your game develop. And never confuse the game with yourself. Bad skiers aren't bad people right? So stop beating yourself up!
post #45 of 56
Originally Posted by therusty
So what you're saying is that in skiing, every run is a mulligan?
Well, basically, yes, just that skiing and golf are different. When skiing, if you make a bad turn, you can just make a better turn a second later and forget about it. (Unless you're racing, in which case the bad turn will be reflected in your time.)

But if you play a bad shot in golf, no matter how you try to forget about it, it will show up on your scorecard at the end to remind you. Golf is one of those sports (actually, I would call it a "game" rather than a sport because it's not a particularly athletic pastime) that, apparently, can only be played in a competitive manner. Or do many golfers just "cruise" around the course, not bothering to keep score?

So in golf it must be much more difficult to remain focussed on the process, rather than the outcome.
post #46 of 56
BigE just answered my question. I suppose the equivalent of just "free-skiing" - cruising, not skiing through gates, for a golfer, is the driving range. If you hit a bad shot, just bang a few good ones and forget about it.
post #47 of 56
Thread Starter 
Why isn't golf athletic? I don't get that. It seems athletically one of the more difficult sports to master. Grip, swing, release (sounds like skiing).

BigE's got me pegged. What's weird is I know it too! I always considered myself a good learner and now the golf learning experience is testing that self-assessment. I always considered myself a good athlete too. About the only thing I have going for me in golf is the same thing as Sir Charles--I'm no quitter!
post #48 of 56
There's nothing better than seeing a guy 50 lbs overweight sucking a beer down in the golf cart, smoking a cigar, waddle up to the tee and stripe it 275 down the middle! God Bless him and I'm happy for him. Golf is tough to categorize regarding whether its a sport or a game. One thing for sure, the golf ball doesn't care who you are , and that makes it an equal endeavor for everyone that plays. I love golf, I just wish it would love me back more.

I made the statement that golf is all mechanics . I have watched the Champion Tour palyers play and what is encouraging is not all of them have classic Jack Nicklaus swings. So it can be done without being a Tiger Woods clone or for the ladies Anaka Sorenstam. That's encouraging. It's the rare person that can teach themselves . I think the suggestion to use video has tremendous merit. What you perceive yourself doing and what you are actually doing with your physical movements can be night and day. Golf is the classic case of opposites . What feels good is typically wrong. The harder you press the worse you do. Its crazy.
post #49 of 56
nolo, it's just my personal opinion, but I view any activity where you never get out of breath or break sweat as a "game" rather than a sport. I would rate golf as a "game", along with pool, snooker, darts, bowling (10-pin or crown green), curling, archery, target rifle shooting. But, as I say, that's just my opinion...
post #50 of 56
nolo, here's a few things that helped me:

Start with grip. Sam Snead said "you should hold the club like you are holding a bird."

Ben Hogan's response when asked how fast does he start accellerating the swing helped me stop hacking. "As fast as gravity will let me."

Given the smooth start and club held softly.... what do you think will happen?

for your pleasure:
post #51 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thank you, BigE. I loved this line:
I can't tell you the best lesson I ever got, because nobody has ever given me a serious lesson.
Martin, your classification system has many proponents. My feeling is there's a great deal of psycho-motor skill involved in the game of golf, so I consider it a type of athletics. Golfers are considered athletes in high schools and colleges. Nike considers Tiger an athlete. Anyone pulling down that kind of scratch has to be an athlete.
post #52 of 56
One of the surprising things I've discovered about golf is how much exercise it can be. I carry my clubs, pack a little extra weight in the bag and often play hilly and long courses. In this repect, it's like biathalon (getting your heart rate down helps improve shot accuracy). But there is something else about being outside, and utilizing all parts of the body in the swing, and the mental aspects of the game that add up to get me more tired than just hiking with a pack for four hours. Tiger works up a sweat playing, even with a caddie.

With respect to "competitive manner", I often play rounds of golf by myself. For me this is just like cruising around the mountain in skiing. I am more focused on playing well than what my score actually is. If I can get a time when I go through the pay race course and not be competing, why can't I do the same in golf? If keeping score/getting a time makes it a "competitive manner" by your definition, then ok fine. However, I believe that enjoying the experience is more important for most skiers and golfers.

Nolo - have you tried the medicus training club? Part of the reason I started playing golf was to experience the "golf learning experience" to compare and contrast against the "ski teaching experience". The beauty of being a total blockhead learning golf is that this can help improve your ski teaching. I'm a golf junkie with respect to playing a lot, watching other players, reading books, watching video, taking lessons, buying practice aids. The cool part about golf is that there are so many different ways to skin the same cat. But one thing common between skiing and golf is that trying to fix symptoms instead of causes is not very productive, while fixing causes can have significant and quick results.

So in golf it must be much more difficult to remain focussed on the process, rather than the outcome.
Martin- you would think so, but I seem to have just as much difficulty focusing on the process in skiing. Like golf, the thrill of "grooving one" immediately overshadows how you did it. When I screw up a ski turn, I either get frustrated because I can't figure out what caused out or I focus on a known issue to the exclusion of other parts of the turn that may have worked good or bad. I do the same thing in golf.

There's a concept in golf called "swing thoughts". It's what you are thinking as you are swinging. I find it much harder to actually do what I'm thinking about in skiing while making a turn than doing my swing thoughts in golf. Both skiing and golf performance are greatly enhanced when you can execute without focusing on process at all.
post #53 of 56
Originally Posted by nolo
The phenomenon in golf of being able to hit the ball long and straight one day and then every which way the next doesn't really happen in skiing, does it? Are skiing skills stickier than golf skills--like riding a bike?

The first thing to remember is that golf spelled backward if FLOG- a state we spend to much time in playing this stupid game.

A lot of interesting thoughts and advice.

One thing we must always keep in mind is that in the approximately 4/1000 of the second a ball is on the clubface we determine the outcome of that one swing. Once the ball is gone we are simply a spectator observing the outcome of what we just did. How far do we travel on skis during that 4/1000 of a second-not too far-and how much can do to modify the outcome of the prior input to our skis-a lot.

Do I think golf skills are more perishable than skiing skills-no. But I will postulate a repeatable, effective golf swing requires a bit more consistent precision than the average ski turn.

Last Thursday I throw a 70 out and three putted the last three holes. &^%$# . Today I couldn’t break 80-a different course, very windy, glassy greens all of which should be irrelavent-more than anything I was lifting my club rather than making a good, full turn-a common fault for me when I’m tired or tight.

Plus, into a gale I literally plug a ball under the front lip of a bunker on my approach to 4 (I’m even to that point)-I’m buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa. I hit the ball as hard as I can (the trick is to square the clubface and steeply drive down under the ball hoping to pop it up and out-a risky shot-taking an unplayable and dropping further back in the bunker is the more logical option-but we pros all believe we walk on water and miracles are easy for us)-it hits the wall of the bunker and goes about 3 feet left into another bad lie. So a double ensues and I let it bother me for the next few holes. Just enough to add tightness to already tight muscles-death in golf

So many little errors get magnified in this stupid game we love. Let’s assume, for discussion purposes, your topping a ball consistently-you could be: 1) positioning the ball a bit in front of the bottom your swing arc, 2) getting a bit of a reverse weight shift, a very common golf difficulty (do you ever fall backward after hitting a ball?) 3) attempting to assist the ball into the air rather than let the loft of the club drive the ball airborne 4) your right hand might be dominating the swing closing the clubface down at impact-or 5) something else. There a so many variables that come into play.

One of the other little conundrums in golf is we rarely hit the same shot twice-and if we do there is a substantive time lag. So repeatability becomes an issue.

So the simple advice is too relax a bit. Jack Nicklaus once said people don’t choke-they over try.

In terms of practice-see a pro and double check you fundamentals-always good advice. Make sure his teaching style mirrors your learning style.

When you hit balls focus on one element for a bit-then move one-don’t become Ranger Ric who grooves everything on the range and can’t play a lick because range practice isn’t golf. Never hit the same shot more than three times-vary targets, vary length-imagine your playing a round on your course-OK my drive went there, now I need a 6 iron, now I need a wedge-etc, etc. And give yourself a two putt on every hole.

Instead of focusing on hitting the ball instead try making a great finish-weight on the outside of your left heel, right foot up on the toe and vertical, belt buckle facing your target-you have to do a lot of good things to get to that point.

When all else fails put your clubs in a corner and tell them they are on restriction for 30 days-after all it’s always the equipment and never the mechanic!!!!
post #54 of 56
Thread Starter 
Wow. Thank you, Mike. I'd like to book a lesson with you sometime.

What's more, I can transfer a lot of your principles to skiing. Many of my students play golf, so tying the two together might help get some ideas across.
post #55 of 56
Golf, unlike skiing, requires an extraordinarily high level of physical precision. Errors of a fraction of an inch or a fraction of a degree can make the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. Without demeaning the skill of great skiers, the physical precision required in skiing is not as great. In golf, assuming the basic swing (different for all kinds of different shots and situations) is correct, only constant repetition affords the reproducibility to score well. I think the net result is that lack of practice is likely to cause a greater perceptible deterioration in one's golf game than in one's skiing skills.
post #56 of 56
Thread Starter 
I agree with you completely, ebough. Skiing skills are more prone to stay with you over the summer than golf skills are to stay with you over the winter. Another reason I love skiing!
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