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Is thinking overrated?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I found this here:http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/..._unconscio.php

Sian Beilock, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, has shown that novice putters hit better shots when they consciously reflect on their actions. The more time they spend thinking about the put, the more likely they are to hit the ball in the hole. For these beginning golfers, putting is like a puzzle. It's important for them to think about the put so they can avoid making obvious mistakes.

However, experience changes everything. After golfers have learned how to put - they have memorized the necessary movements - spending more time analyzing the put is a waste of time. Their unconscious brain already knows what to do. It automatically computes the necessary variables, and settles on the best putting angle. In fact, Beilock found that when experienced golfers think about their puts they actually hit worse shots. "We bring expert golfers into our lab, and we tell them to pay attention to a particular part of their swing, and they just screw up," Beilock says. "When you are at a high level, your skills become somewhat automated. You don't need to pay attention to every step in what you're doing."

Does this apply to skiing? Everyone here seems to know exactly everything they need to do to ski well. Do you think about it when you actually ski, or is all the verbose posting here just a bad reaction to summer? If you think about technique when you ski, does it help or hurt?

BK
post #2 of 19
I still think alot about what to do and try to remember what I have been taught. Maybe the reason that I am, where I am, on the ladder of progression? I bet that most posters here, especially in the summer, have enough experience that they don't think too much and just do. Besides thinking hurts:.
post #3 of 19
I think about skiing constantly all year long ,about the only time I don't think about it is when I'm doing it. When I ski I feel it ,sense the feedback ,smile or swear.
post #4 of 19
Yeah, you have to feel it, not think it. In tennis it's even worse, IMO. I have to think without using words (more akin to feeling something) rather than actually telling myself, "Serve a kicker wide to the backhand." If I use words, I'm toast.

The meanest thing to do to someone if they are just killing it is to ask on the changeover, "Wow, I've never seen you serve/return/volley/etc. so well ... what are you doing differently?" It's almost guaranteed that they will completely lose the stroke.

Drills are different than match play, of course. You need to think, and to stumble around a little bit, and maybe not expect immediate improvement. We did a few drills with Uncle Louie at LGC3 ... it was weird for me, because apparently I was doing the drill correctly, but I really can't tell you what we were doing, because I was so intent on thinking about it as little as possible. I know that if I think about it too much, it's all over.
post #5 of 19
http://www.pbs.org/saf/1206/resources/transcript.htm#2

Quote:
DEBBIE CREWS As you're getting ready and you're getting prepared and you're reading your line and you're making decisions, the left hemisphere which is your analytic side, your verbal side, your self-talk is going to be quite active. As you get closer and closer to actually moving the club, the left hemisphere must quiet. That's the consistent finding we've had through all the sports. It must quiet. In essence, the right hemisphere becomes a little more active. The right hemisphere is your rhythm, timing, balance, coordination, creativity, imagery. And, so what you achieve in the last second before you move, which is where you're still focusing attention…You achieve a state of balance in essence between the two hemispheres.
post #6 of 19
Isn't this what the book "Inner Skiing" was about?

A much more recent book about this subject is called "Blink" It's about decision making and how we do it. A quick easy read well worth the hour or two for anyone wanting to understand their own mental behaviour.
post #7 of 19
skiing is both art and craft ,you have to put a lot of time in learning how to use your tools so you can forget them and be in the moment while using them. to consistantly do good work you have to practice till knowledge turns
into instinct.
post #8 of 19
While being a patroller for 10 years, most of the time spent on skis was that of not thinking of skiing at all. Much of the time was spent looking around for people in need, or those in trouble or causing it. Actually thinking about what my skis were doing was totally irrelevant. I always said here over the years that that's why I always skied Rossignols. They were lifeless no brainer skis that required very little input from the skier to ski well on. Days spent skiing while not on Patrol were the days I'd break out the short carvers and do some cranking with the instructors and friends, even run some gates.

These days, it takes a little more thinking especially when the conditions change or the places I ski get real varied like backcountry. You really come across a variety of conditions, everything from powder to slab to crud and corn with trees and steep chutes all mixed in. So, ya, it makes me think about being in balance and expecting the unexpected.

But, I'm not the kind of person to think about what kind of pressure or edge angle my ski is at or looking at my tracks to see if i'm carving of skidding. I strongly feel that every run is different due to changing conditions and slope steepness and it almost always involves a number of techniques and changes of such to ski any given run on any given day. Trying to ski each run using the same technique really isn't feasable.

This might be strange to some here but I could care less what anyone thinks about my skiing or the way I look or what equipment I use. My goal is to ski as long as I can and have as much fun as I can and if I die doing it that's ok too. Just so I don't have to think of anything while it's happening.
post #9 of 19
Thinking vs. Acting. We need to do both. Maybe the easiest way to describe this relationship is a yin/yang circle. A completely variable and constantly changing combination of the two.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I'm glad someone did the research to show that. I've often felt its true for me personally when I learn to do something complex.

I think its worthwhile to think about it and post about it in the summer to keep your brain sharp, but its definitely not good for me to think about while I'm on the hill. Maybe on the chair.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by spinoza View Post
skiing is both art and craft ,you have to put a lot of time in learning how to use your tools so you can forget them and be in the moment while using them. to consistantly do good work you have to practice till knowledge turns
into instinct.
Nice.

Welcome spinoza.
post #12 of 19
Once the basic and advanced skills are learned is when skiing truly begins.

The mind is free to scan the horizon in search of the best line. The skier becomes more relaxed and will ski faster with less effort.

I found this to also be true in racing. Coaches were always encouraging us to think 3 gates ahead. We were also required to ski gently without excess edging which can scrub speed as dependably as skidding a turn and will put unnecessary demand on strength and stamina.

I know when my skiing is "off" or losing finesse when I need to think about turn execution. I find myself depending on the mid-section of the ski for edge-grip and working much harder to perform.

In these situations I remind myself to trust my basic skills and relax. I find myself remembering (in the voice of Sir Alex Guinness) to "Trust the force, Luke"

[ IMG ][ /IMG ]

Michael
post #13 of 19
Poignantly, when my children were being born in Denver, three floors up, the great ski coach Willy Schaeffler was dying. I would go up an visit him during breaks, because I had known him when I was a boy and always liked him.

He told me that all he had to do at the beginning of the season was just think through the turns a few times, and then he skied fine--without much thinking again.

I think he was referring to some sort of previsualization/thought process. But he clearly had a sequence in mind.

The word "think" here has many meanings for many people. But the kind of thinking that implies language is good for "figuring out" concepts and ideas and sequences prior to doing them. It's like a verbal previsualization. However, while doing, and when you've achieved some skill, I would bet that mostly, the linguistic thinking trails off and is replaced more by "kinesthetic thinking" and thought cues that evoke accurate movement patterns.

I believe you can think while preparing better than you can think while doing.

Good question, BK.
post #14 of 19
Body,

Thinking is part of the learning process and also part of the performance process in some way, previsualization as one of them. As long as it is not the only process used in performance mode, it is not over rated, but usefull.

RW

RW
post #15 of 19
This brings to mind an interview with one of the UK's Olympic medal winners in judo. His busy life allowed very little time for any real training against opponents so he did kata (solo) every day where he worked on basics and perfection of his body position.

Endless kata in karate or judo is the perfection of body movement that patterns the pathways and (hopefully), puts the body on autopilot. Only with a lesser/slower opponent do you have the luxury of thought in a fight.

There were two older Austrians at two different ski schools I worked at and each had the same routine. They would go off alone when the first chair opened and in a quite area work on basics, basics, basics! I can't believe this was just coincidental.

Pattern via repetition and then let loose .... you wouldn't even enjoy skiing if you had to think every move through. After a while you just learn to trust your own body and what you have fed into it and have learned over time.

Over time, your body has learned to use a lot of senses you don't even think about ..... the feel of the snow or ice under foot, the visual perception of the terrain and the line you follow. Think about the first time you wore a helmet; it drove me nuts because I couldn't hear what was going on under my feet, I never realized how my skis were slaved to my ears.

About the only sense rarely used is smell. Except at lunch when they toss the burgers on the outdoor grill. All plans go out the window and my skis follow that smell ....
post #16 of 19
Quote:
This brings to mind an interview with one of the UK's Olympic medal winners in judo. His busy life allowed very little time for any real training against opponents so he did kata (solo) every day where he worked on basics and perfection of his body position.

Endless kata in karate or judo is the perfection of body movement that patterns the pathways and (hopefully), puts the body on autopilot. Only with a lesser/slower opponent do you have the luxury of thought in a fight.
Is that the guy from "The Karate Kid"? I thought he was from Okinawa.

"Wax on, right hand. Wax off, left hand. Wax on, wax off. Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off. Don't forget to breathe, very important."
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
I found this here:http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2007/..._unconscio.php

Sian Beilock, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, has shown that novice putters hit better shots when they consciously reflect on their actions. The more time they spend thinking about the put, the more likely they are to hit the ball in the hole. For these beginning golfers, putting is like a puzzle. It's important for them to think about the put so they can avoid making obvious mistakes.

However, experience changes everything. After golfers have learned how to put - they have memorized the necessary movements - spending more time analyzing the put is a waste of time. Their unconscious brain already knows what to do. It automatically computes the necessary variables, and settles on the best putting angle. In fact, Beilock found that when experienced golfers think about their puts they actually hit worse shots. "We bring expert golfers into our lab, and we tell them to pay attention to a particular part of their swing, and they just screw up," Beilock says. "When you are at a high level, your skills become somewhat automated. You don't need to pay attention to every step in what you're doing."

Does this apply to skiing? Everyone here seems to know exactly everything they need to do to ski well. Do you think about it when you actually ski, or is all the verbose posting here just a bad reaction to summer? If you think about technique when you ski, does it help or hurt?

BK
This is the exact reason I insist on smoking weed when I ski. (and only when I ski, ironically.)

I've been skiing forever, it's a lot easier when I'm not thinking about what is going on. I'd much prefer to be thinking about how it's feeling. The feeling is the whole point afterall.

All of you guys on the side of the run, analyzing your turns, are missing out.

(oh... and the article above needs to learn how to spell putt. What a "thinking" jackass.)
post #18 of 19
Only when skiing? How about when posting?
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
or is all the verbose posting here just a bad reaction to summer?
Yes.
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