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Where do you put on the psychological brakes? - Page 2

post #31 of 40
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
I will venture into things others would not dream of.
Aw, come on man, I have absolutely no trepidation about dreaming of it
post #32 of 40

Equestrian analogy

I have 2 reclaimed race horses that I've retrained as jumpers. Each has completely different personalities & levels of bravery & thought processes as well as physical strengths & balance. #1-Game for anything,throws himself at full speed & enthusiasm, physically a bit strung out/imbalanced-a crash ready to happen. The correction came about over long term training of patience & challenge at a higher level but a slower pace. He had to rhythmically trot to big fences, snap his knees up & push off from the hind-end. This excersize continued until the fences were btwn 4 to 5 feet. Patience,rythm & technique at a height he normally would not have to jump when at a higher speed. He had to slow down,use technique & learn patience.

#2-well balanced & capable - but thinks things through ad naseum & low self esteem/low confidence, he backs off from everything that looks like a challenge. At horse shows we would put him over the "boring" hunter course, where everything is a natural looking jump and very easy, no challenge. He'd get his groove on, leave that ring, go straight into the jumper ring with the colorful challenging jumps. He'd still think & want to back off, but having come off success that just looked different & wasn't, he would do fine & keep moving forward & jumping well.

So I would think its an individual assessment taking into account abilities/tendencies/skills/experience & personality, then developing the game plan to develop the needed skills & experience to overcome what doesn't work.
post #33 of 40
On a groomer, my psychological barrier occurs either when speed turns long tall rollers into short ramps that cannot be absorbed, or when dips turn into major compressions.

This says to me that skiing unknown trails at mach-schnell is not a good idea. The speed has to get slowly ramped up.
post #34 of 40
Interesting question : the problem for me is that my body thinks it is smarter than me.

I happen to know that it's not

(Although to be fair this is usually because my coach told me so I'm placing a *lot* of trust in them.)

Just because it knows how to get about 'well enough' doesn't mean it knows how to get about as well as possible - especially when
the situation is new (or at new boundaries of speed, steepness, bumpiness etc)

I'm not convinced that the problem is really a psychological barrier - I think it's your body questioning whether the technique still applies at a new psychological boundary.

For example I think your body is 'saying' : "I'm going much faster than before, am I still OK doing what you told me to do or should I slow down by braking?"
"Bloody hell this is *really* steep - surely I'm supposed to lean into the hill and grab the snow now and not dive down the hill!!"

Once I realised this I found that I could mentally take a step back from my whole body and ask it to 'try it my way' and see how it 'feels'. Then I'd look at that feeling (usually, if well executed, a nice controlled feeling - although occasionally/often overlaid with trepidation - so separate the emotion from the tactile) and say to my body: "Nyah - I told you so!".

So the idea is to identify the psych boundary and heavily control the specific technique at that point (eg commitment down the fall line in steeps) and try and remain detached enough to realise that it's a good 'natural' behaviour. Allow your body time to accumulate this and then occasionally 'test' it's reaction to see if it's taken.

Step 1: Self analysis. What's the trigger and what technique isn't being used.
Step 2: Spot the trigger, control the technique, observe the behaviour.
Step 3: Reinforce through repetition - remember you're 'showing' your body
Step 4: Embrace as a 'natural' reaction/behaviour
Step 5: Find next boundary <sigh>

Does this make sense?

PS the schizophrenic/muttering to yourself approach works for me - YMMV.
post #35 of 40
Narrow steeps do it for me. As I had a very nasty spill once on Goat at Stowe that almost put me right into a tree and also ended my season, I have never been able to get past this psychologically. In such environments I automatically ski defensively. I have tried to overcome this instinct but haven't had much luck. It is entirely psychological, but I never reasoned myself out of it. If the trail was wider I would have no problem hitting it well within the space of the narrow trail, but I just pull back. After the accident, things like glades no longer appealed to me and I found myself shying away from narrow trails bordered by heavily forrested areas.

After a while I just stopped skiing no-fall zones. To me the risks were no longer worth the reward. I plan on skiing into my 70's with my legs and limbs intact. For me, the older I got the more conservative I got. I now prefer getting my thrills in the beer league races and wide open bowls. Taking risks no longer appeal to me like it did when I was younger.

Part of the trick I think is not just about getting comfortable with pushing yourself and being offensive, but also being honest with yourself about knowing when to listen to the voices telling you to pull back. Each person has a different limit, and I suspect that limit gets lowered as you age.

Curently I just refrain from skiing a trail or line where I know I will be on the defensive at times as #1 defensive skiing burns you out, and #2 I really have no further desire to push myself beyond where I am at. At this point in my skiing life I have no more desire to ramp it up further and am not trying to prove anything.

I think at a certain point in ones skiing career one could could benefit from a self assesment which includes an honest appraisal of where one wants to go, what ones goals are, and what risks one are really willing to take, and the motiviations for such risks.
post #36 of 40
Bumps slow me to a crawl (which is better than me avoiding them completely, at least...)

Well... at least I don't get hurt when I fall over that way I usually fall sideways into the mountain, that must say something?

This of course makes many trails not as much fun as they could be and others "impossible".

Also, any time I go airborne... well, I just hope that doesn't happen and try to ski to avoid it. Though at some point I'd like to land a jump
post #37 of 40
Originally Posted by Justin K. View Post
Also, any time I go airborne... well, I just hope that doesn't happen and try to ski to avoid it. Though at some point I'd like to land a jump
You *must* learn to get some air.
It's fun, it helps your dynamic balance and it makes you realise that there's nothing to worry about.

Do start out really small though - read this:

or this:
post #38 of 40
Race course-my times aren't bad (for a late in life "recreational" racer) but they ain't great! I need to get over the barrier and go for it. One of my ski buds told me I need to "turn the dogs loose".
post #39 of 40
My psychological brakes have changed a LOT over the last ten years. We were just talking the other day about how I ski things now, without a thought, that I would have balked at ten years ago, even though I was physically capable.

More time on the hill, more self-confidence, and skiing more frequently with friends who are extremely good skiers and skiing with instructors has really changed things for me. The mental has caught up with the physical for the most part, and now I am trying to push both the mental and physical a bit farther.

I will happily ski steep, narrow, small drops, flat light (unless it's an UTTER, open bowl white-out in unfamiliar terrain), bumps (although they're not always all gorgeously skied), deep light snow, deep heavy snow. . . you get the picture. . .

Here are my two big remaining psychological brakes, though, the ones that I can't seem to kick:

#1: Tight trees, especially if it's not new snow. I will ski glades in new, deep snow, but once things start to get rutted or the trees start looking more like *woods* than *glades,* I lose confidence entirely. No idea why. If my feet can be fast in the bumps and the narrows, then they can be fast enough in the trees, right? If I can effectively scrub speed elsewhere, then I should be OK in the trees, yes? Sure. . . but I can't seem to get my head around it. Just two days ago, I picked an alternate route (and it was a route through some ugly, scraped off, big bumps on a steep), rather than skiing nice snow in tight trees with a friend.

#2: Rutted out, very narrow traverses where you can't scrub speed. I HATE getting up too much speed on traverse tracks that swing around a corner and you can't see what's coming, including whoop-de-doos and the like. Skeeves me out entirely. You'd think some of the steep stuff that is accessed by traverses like this would be the scary part, but not for me. I hate feeling like I am flying on these things with no effective way to stop. That one's kind of embarrassing, and I tend to try to hide it when I am with others.
post #40 of 40
Thread Starter 
When confidence catches up to skill, it is a good day!
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