To quote a friend, "most skiers don't think like experts, therefore they don't act like experts". Which should tell you a lot about the average skier's motivation and willingness to invest in the learning process. I've had a few students willing and able enough to learn at a fast rate and ski dynamic parallel turns on black runs after just a few days on skis. Even then they don't have the time available to actually groove the movement so they can maintain that high level of accuracy in their movements.
A coach from the Air Force Academy did some work about a decade ago concerning how to maintain peak performance levels in his athletes. One of his finding was that periodization training can help an athlete focus on a small time window where they can perform at their maximum potential. Outside of that window they were able to perform repeatedly at about 90-95 percent of their personal best performance level. His idea was to coach to that level instead of asking his athletes to exceed their personal best performance every time they competed. Another interesting finding was that some of their timing and refinement of their skill levels eroded after about 72 hours between practices.
Bringing this into the realm of recreational skiing and ski coaching/teaching, it suggests that if we ski (and train) every third day our skills can remain relatively the same. How that relates to improving our skills is another matter. I can't say I've seen a study on the time requirements for coaching for improvement and retention of those improvements. I would suspect at minimum it would be at least every third day, if not every other day. So while an immersion clinic can produce profound improvements, I wonder how much of that is going to be retained once the clinic is over? Especially when "active skiers" may only ski weekends. I hate to sound so negative but without investing the time and energy it is hard to hang onto any improvement for more than a few days. Then again it is a good selling point for tune up lessons.
What do the haves have? An aptitude for skiing (usually some past activity that transfers well to snow skiing, like skating and hockey) and the attitude (confidence) to perform quickly at a relatively high level.
What do the have nots lack? Yes they want to perform that well, that quickly but something physically or mentally is standing in their way. Overcoming that obstacle is the key to raising their performance level.
One more though process that I think seperates the haves, and the have nots...
The haves understand how a lack of participation erodes their timing and the accuracy of their movements. They are more likely to take a refresher lesson on the first day of their vacation just to help them get back their timing and accuracy.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/20/2009 at 02:09 am