|Originally posted by David M:
Vera: DavidM, I cannot understand what you are saying, despite the fact I have followed your posts as regularly as I can. I am a college graduate, a former journalist and a Level III cert, but I feel incredibly inadequate.
DM: Vera’s comments provided the impetus for me to try and clarify the basic premise behind my position on balance. I hope the following serves this purpose.
THE PROCESS OF BALANCE
Balance is a process of reflex action and not one of conscious action. It is important to make this distinction because reflex actions are many times faster and much more consistent than conscious action in terms of translating sensory input into muscle action. The reason for this is that reflex actions bypass the conscious decision making processes.
Conscious actions play a role in the balance process as it relates to the initiation and cessation of movement. In walking we decide to take a step and make a conscious effort to fall forward. Once we do this, the balance system takes over. The process is similar when we decide to stop walking.
We cannot introduce conscious actions into the balance process unless they are consistent with it. Once we accept this premise then skiing must follow the pattern of walking where conscious actions initiate the movement sequence to start a new turn. It follows then that the objective of this action must be to establish an alignment of the processes of the body that is conducive to the reflex processes of balance. Here, we don’t try to make balance happen. We do things to make ‘balance’ possible.
Fundamental to the processes of balance is the ability to connect with ground. Ground is the source of stability in balance. Here is where things appear to have gone awry in skiing.
From its very beginnings the unintentional effect of the ski boot has been to seriously compromise the processes of balance that allow the body to connect with ground. This effectively inhibited the use of reflex actions to regulate balance. Out of necessity this created the present paradigm in skiing where balance is thought of as something that the skier must control with conscious actions. I am proposing that we need to realign our thinking so that ski technique reflects the realities of the process of balance. This requires a major paradigm shift.
I hope this helps.
AN ALTERNATE THEORY of SKIING BALANCE (others theories welcome):
As skiing involves a much different frame of reference than that encountered in standing, walking, and/or running, the normal reflexive patterns evoked in these activities have limited applicability to skiing. To the contrary, some of the standard reflexive patterns observed in bipedal stance and motion may negatively impact upon the ability to ski.
Thus, the approach in skiing should be to promote sensorimotor learning that leads to new "automatic" (near equivalents to reflexive) responses for control of balance and movement specific to skiing.
[ January 13, 2003, 01:09 PM: Message edited by: Si ]