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Mind Over Matter or Does It Matter

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Obvious there is not interest in how skiers learn and how thinking can interefer with the learning process.

Sorry for the confusing post!

John

[ October 24, 2002, 05:04 AM: Message edited by: John Cole ]
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by John Cole:

However I would submit in skiing the biggest one item inhibiting a skier on their learning quest, know matter what learning style is “normally” dominate, would be they transform to a thinker. Jekle and Hyde so to speak.
John
:

If I knew what this bit said I MIGHT be able to answer....
post #3 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by disski:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by John Cole:

However I would submit in skiing the biggest one item inhibiting a skier on their learning quest, know matter what learning style is “normally” dominate, would be they transform to a thinker. Jekle and Hyde so to speak.
John
:

If I knew what this bit said I MIGHT be able to answer....
</font>[/quote]What I think he means is...
"However I would submit that in skiing the biggest single factor inhibiting a skier on their learning quest, no matter what learning style is dominant, would be the way the think, and the solution is to transform the thinker."

Is that it? Cause it makes sense to me. But then again, what makes sense to me is rarely coherent to others.

S
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Wear the fox hat:

Is that it? Cause it makes sense to me. But then again, what makes sense to me is rarely coherent to others.

S[/QB]
You mean I need to be extremely drunk to have an inkling of what John writes?

Brring on the Schnaps & Maissels
post #5 of 29
What I meant was my version of it makes sense to me, but yes, I agree, it's easier when you're Brahms.



S
post #6 of 29
S[/QB][/quote]You mean I need to be extremely drunk to have an inkling of what John writes?

Brring on the Schnaps & Maissels [/QB][/quote]

Is it really necessary to abuse others because you lack an understanding of what is posted? It seems to me this forum is meant to be a learning process and if we do not understand we simply ask or read posts until we are knowledgeable enough to ask. For some reason the first “attack” came when you did not agree with “buddy” skiing because of I would imagine a lack of understanding of the post or possibly, it appeared to me, a very bad personal experience on your part. As I recall reading the words in that post they were stupid, idiot, fool or something in that realm to a person you do not even know! Now it appears you do not understand, and that is OK that you may not understand, a theory that the mind (thinking) can adversely affect the learning process when it comes to performing motor skills in golf, tennis, and of course skiing. (To me, if what I read were true, it would be ironic that thinking can actually interfere with learning, a process of thinking?) It would have been and interesting subject if only you would have set back and learned what others may have said or simply asked a question.

Now the post is down and all of us except for you have gained little insight of others thoughts on learning how thinking might “block” the mind from inhibiting their learning or in fact do they see it as a learning inhibitor at all? (From a few management courses I have attended in some circles I understand it is called the “Fear Factor A Japanese Style of Management”.) I would assume you gained something personally from abusing someone you really do not know because you did not understand and chose not to ask, that only you can answer. Maybe something will be gained in the long run if you will read a few of the books, I recall one was the Inner Game of Tennis, and post another thread later for all of us to ask “WHY?” and learn in the process.

Unfortunately I do not write as well as others, or ski as a matter of fact, so I hope you understand this reply and take it in the context it is meant, gentle but firm!

Floyd

This is a FLAME FREE forum and I hope it stays that way! It is an interesting place to read and learn. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ October 24, 2002, 06:53 AM: Message edited by: Floyd ]
post #7 of 29
Fox wasn't sounding too offended by my reference to his drinking.

Are you upset fox?
post #8 of 29
No, I'm not upset. Really, the only things that would upset me revolve around 1. The Northern Ireland Problem. 2. Guns.

Now, can we get back on topic, which is, I think: How much of skiing, and ski learning is in the mind, and how can we be mentally best prepared for ski lessons? Is there a wrong mental attitude for lessons, and how do we ensure we have the right one?

S
post #9 of 29
Is that seriously what that meant?

Mental attitude for lessons -HAVE FUN seems to work best for me!
The worst thing seems to be to turn up tired - makes concentration difficult - hard to get 'zoned' then so my skiing suffers.

Oh & back to the alcohol - which it seems was not so off topic - I do best with 2-3 standard drinks in me.(I think it relates to the have fun bit)
post #10 of 29
If you motivate and idiot...

what you have is:
--
---
----A Motivated Idiot.

"Action without study is fatal. Study without action is futile' - Mary Beard

Jlaw
Breck
post #11 of 29
I might suggest some outside reading to shed some perspective on how we learn best (vs. how we might think we learn best).

I gained a great deal of insight 25 or so years ago when I read Tim Galloway's "Inner Game of Tennis" while in search of answers to explain the vast range of performance I visited with frustrating inconsistency in my competitive tennis game. In reading Tim's exploration of the relationship between the mind and body in learning sports I had a satori in realizing that he was talking about how I had learned and continued to learn about skiing (were I didn't have the frustration and inconsistency I had in tennis). I understood why I learned more effectively when I first had a physical experience and then attached a concept to it than when I tried to think in detail about how to do something I had not yet experienced as a whole. Sure, we do need to think to learn; perception of change is a cornerstone of learning. However, physical sports are learned primarily through doing them with high quality kinesthetic awareness and effective use of the mind to record information about the experience, not over control it. We ultimately ski with our body even though our western nature drives us to over focus the experience in our mind. An example of this is a student relating what they "think" happened, that we see to be inconsistent with what their body actually did.

I find ski instructors are among the worst offenders of this self inflicted learning inhibition that I call "cerebral constipation". Many instructors conceptual understanding (or belief system) is frequently developed beyond their body's developed working knowledge of the same concepts. As long as they focus on what they "think" they do, or should, and not on feeling or awareness of what is really happening, they miss-guide their own learning process.

It would be like giving feedback to a student that is inconsistent with what they are physically experiencing.
The result is confusion, frustration, and a lack of trust in either your verbal, or their physical, feedback (or both).

Understanding how to the focus the mind on things it is good at (gathering info, identifying change, evaluating results, etc) and allowing the body to do what it is good at (moving efficiently to produce a focused outcome) we can learn much more effectively with our whole being (if we include a motivated spirit). As we get better at the process we can learn to then apply it at greater levels of detail without disturbing the delicate balance between allowing and causing, and knowing when we do.

Galloway has a later version titled "Inner Skiing" as well.

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Arcmeister:
I find ski instructors are among the worst offenders of this self inflicted learning inhibition that I call "cerebral constipation". Many instructors conceptual understanding (or belief system) is frequently developed beyond their body's developed working knowledge of the same concepts. As long as they focus on what they "think" they do, or should, and not on feeling or awareness of what is really happening, they miss-guide their own learning process.
I have a question. Definitively how would you suggest an instructor can avoid this what I will call “over thinking” learning process some students fall into? (Personally I have read several of the books on this subject and attempted, since I am VERY cognitive, to change my learning process with GREAT difficulty!) :

[ October 25, 2002, 08:30 PM: Message edited by: Learner ]
post #13 of 29
Learner, here is a simple (perhaps, over simplistic) way to think about it.

There is a time to train, and a time to trust. When you are working on new moves or developing movement patterns tend toward your dominant learning style. When trusting rely on instinct, feeling, and your training.

Don't TRY to trust. Because trying is the opposite of trusting. Ski a run while trusting, at the end of the run (or on the lift) you can analyse and determine where you may need to train.

I have never met a true expert any sport who did not rely on their feeling (kinestetic awareness)or blending of visual and kinestetic. They trust that their training, will bring them through.

The best book I have ever read on the subject is "Golf is not a game of perfect" - Dr. Bob Rotella

best regards,
jlaw
post #14 of 29
I liked arcmeister's post about kinesthetic awareness being a key to learning. Galloways book is fantastic. I wonder if all of those "thinkers" out there have trouble meditating. It's unbelievable how difficult it is to stop the internal chatter. Simple as it may seem, working on and clearing the mind and focusing on your breathing you can finally HEAR what your body is trying to tell you.

Lying quietly on the floor breathing you can begin to notice how your rib cage moves. Gentle and slow movements can help you feel how rotation of the neck or movement of the pelvis can be felt subtly from head to toe. Since we usually move quickly and muscularly we tend to block flow in our bodies that could serve us in any athletic effort. Once you begin to get a more internal feeling or sense of your body you can begin to make movements from the "inside-out" instead of "outside-in". For upper level skiers who watch a "demo" of a movement such as a pole touch, you can only see the external outcome. If you have internal awareness you can try to make that movement come from a flowing movement that begins in the soft movement of the ribcage - instead of what looked like an arm movement in the demo. (Or you can chose to make the movement from the arm, or wrist, or shoulder, or abdomen)....but now you have options!

I keep telling my brain to "SHUT UP" so my body can listen.......it's tough, but it has had more impact on my
learning than anything I have read or heard lately.
post #15 of 29
I'm a thinker/feeler, and have tended to talk too much when teaching. This season, in the absence of any formal training, I set myself a few things to work on, this being the main one. How to say enough to get the message across AND satisy the students' needs for info, but not stifle the lesson? Quite enjoyed training myself on this one (cos it enabled me to do a lot of thinking!).

In Bob's book, in one bit about learning styles, it said that learning in skiing was mainly by feeling and doing, so I used that concept in trying to make my lessons more effective.
Teaching kids is a good way to develop this too, as you can't jaw at THEM and get away with it! Although I think they are more watcher/doers.

I am a hopeless joke at meditation and yoga. I usually collapse into helpless laughter if attempting it in a group situation.
post #16 of 29
I'm VERY much a thinker/feeler.
However I have had people say they'd love to try to hypnotize me - because of my ability to concentrate - but not really think about stuff.
In fencing classes we would do various 'concentration' games - designed to develop the ability to 'think a defence' - then put it aside but have the body do it when it was required. Likewise the ability to 'design an attack' & then have the body execute it without conscious input when the moment came.
I would have to say that the REALLY DOER types always performed poorly at these tasks - they didn't have the mental 'oomph' required to FOCUS that hard on a given task.

My ski instructor (an examiner) is still amazed at the amount of concentration I can muster when REALLY NEEDED. However in order to muster same I must have some degree of 'safety/comfort/trust' whatever that feeling is. Hence I will do things for those who have taught me for a while that no-one else can believe. They provide that platform for me - so that when they ask me to push off down a run & think of nothing except 'xxx' I have a reasonable chance of being able to let go & just do so.
post #17 of 29
[/qb][/quote]I have a question. Definitively how would you suggest an instructor can avoid this what I will call ?over thinking? learning process some students fall into? (Personally I have read several of the books on this subject and attempted, since I am VERY cognitive, to change my learning process with GREAT difficulty!) : [/QB][/quote]

As an instructor, treat yourself as a learner as you would treat your students. (If we treated students as we treat ourselves, would they ever come back?). When you decide on the outcome you want, set up tasks that will create contrasting perceptual experiences that are aimed at both finding the bullseye, and deliberatly aimed away staying away from bullseye.

A task that requires adjusting to try and make the turn shape, carving, skidding, pressure, flow, etc "feel" different mobilizes and challenges kinesetic awareness skills of the body to adjust until the target feeling is found. This allows mental focus to be to simply observe (not cause) "how did I do that?", or "what did I change or do differently?". Afterward verbalizing "what my skis told me was........" is a good way to avoid the "I think what I did was.....".

I wonder if we too often try to ski this or that specific outcome, which is a "performance" activity (tends to create a very left brain focus on "how to cause it correctly"). When we experiment with noticing how we adjust our movement patterns to shift (for example) from turns that feel and sound more scraped to ones that feel and sound more sliced we create more of a kinesetic, or right brain, learning activity of skiing as a process of adjusting, not a perfectly repeated pattern. "In the groove" is a cool place to visit, but only when you have a variety of ones to choose from.

Most important, as was alluded to in comments on meditation, is paying attention to internal mental chatter. Is it trying and causing as in "Edge more, edge more $*@#!" or observing, "oh, that was interesting..."?

An adaptation here of the trueism: If you don't know what you are doing, you can't do what you want", might be "If you don't know what you are focused on, you can't focus on what you should".
:
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by paris:

I keep telling my brain to "SHUT UP" so my body can listen.......it's tough, but it has had more impact on my
learning than anything I have read or heard lately.
I have a very keen sense of feel in my feet. Therefore I attempt to adjust to the nth degree or know when I am just not quite where I should be. I wonder if the keen sense is really helping or hurting? Too much feed back to the brain. I wonder how you turn down the senses to eliminate some mental feed back? Maybe ski faster? I tend to ski methodically myself.
post #19 of 29
Floyd, here are two solutions. One is quick (through $$ purchase) the other will take time to develop.

1) Have a pair of skis that are relatively damp.
For example I never enjoyed Dynastar because they gave me too much "High tone" feedback. I could feel everything under my feet, and my automatic responses were not quick enough or well developed enough to isolate the vibrations that mattered.

2) I golf, I call it target focus. If I have the focus of "ball to target, I "forget" the swing mechanics. In skiing, I use "path focus" I am skiing with firm abs, and relaxed limbs. Mentally I see or feel (instinct) the path that will lead me down the mountain. I personally see a lime green line tracking throught the snow. I feel tension originating from my abs (specifically about one inch below my belly button, and about 1" inside my body) that tension is like a string which connects through the shin/boot contact, through my feet and out through the tips of my skis. The connection then follows the lime green line down the hill.
You probably think I use crystals too, but it is amazing the fluid power and suppleness this generates. A great reading on this subject is JOURNEY TO CENTER by Thomas Crum. (thanks J. Phillips).

Best Regards,
JLaw
Breck SS
post #20 of 29
Jonathan,

What you described about maintaining a tightness in the abdominal region is most perceptive. I describe it as a feeling of compactness, of my body parts interacting precisely as though all the strings controlling their function were conjoined at that spot. The Book of Five Rings (you'd like this book, author is Miyamoto Musashi) calls it the middle position. I believe the Austrians do too.

It is the position of strength from which one moves and to which one returns.
post #21 of 29
And lest some people think this is all hocus pocus, in straight shooting biomechanics talk, Nolo and Jonathan are describing the activation of the transvers abdominal muscle, the deep layer of abdominal muscle, that supports the internal organs, maintains postural alignment, which in turn enhances balance and stability.

In healthy individuals, the transverse activates prior to ANY movement. Jonathan's linking of the visual acuity exercise to the concept of centering is interesting. Talk about serendipity, I just picked up a copy of Centered Riding by Sally Swift. Although its about horses, so much of it is applicable for skiers.
She talks about "Soft Eyes". Focus on an object in the distance of your path, but focus without tension. Try to take in as much as the periphery as possible. Supposedly, this helps with centering, and it is an efficient way to move through a crowded area.

makes sense.
post #22 of 29
Funny, I just called it skiing

Actually I have been training to this idea for about 6 years. With the help of John Phillips from Aspen, and the books of Tom Crum.
LM, the walking across the room example was true to point. "we call it, "Extend your Chi, and go".
Powerful stuff. It was funny at first, because fellow instructors were saying, "Lawson is doing his Voodoo again". 3 years later they were saying, "show how you are doing that."

That initiated multiple day Peak Performace Clinics at Breckenridge. At this time they are for instructors only. However, at Aspen there is a multiple day "Magic of Skiing Clinic" which is outstanding.

The concept has amazing applications in bumps, powder, and crud.

Best Regards,
Jlaw
post #23 of 29
Arcmeister,

I may be the opposite extreme from many of your students. What I have found particularly helpful about EpicSki is that desired skiing results are broken down into somewhat discrete skills (e.g. balance on the edge), movements (pull the inside foot back), or sensations (feel pressure on the outside portion of the shin), discussed in great detail, and connected to explain why the combination works. For me, this understanding of "why" seems essential to my own improvement, or at least what I perceive to be improvement.

The biggest difficulty I have had with lessons is being told to try an excercize, or feel a sensation, etc. without the big picture being explained... why all these things produce the desired result. Maybe I'm just a skeptic and unable to place my trust in an instructor unless I understand why it's going to work.

I suspect there are actually a lot of ski learners like me. I think the success of this Technique forum is a testament to that.

(I bought in-line skates two fridays ago. Went to the library on Saturday, checked out an instruction book and video, sat in my car and read the first few chapters of the book, and then practiced in the parking lot. I fell a few times, got scraped up but improved a little. Anyway, this is the way I tend to learn).

Incidently, I've read Breakthrough On Skis, The Skiers Edge, The Complete Encyclopedea of Skiing, The Athletic Skier, and Anyone Can Be an Expert Skier, and thought they were all great. I read Inner Skiing and thought is was crap. [img]smile.gif[/img] Where's the big goofy grin smiley thing gone to anyway?
post #24 of 29
Floyd mentioned that he has a very keen sense of feel in his feet- causing him to adjust to the nth degree....
I think this is an example of "outside-in" kinesthetics - what I was trying to describe was more "inside-out" focus. I almost want to ignore external feedback (for the purpose of an exercise) and change internal movements to see what happens. The body is smarter than the mind when it comes to moving - so if we explore new ways of movement slowly - and in exaggerated ways the body will have a larger movement possibility pool to chose from when moving at high speed. When we just go ski and feel the terrain feedback, then the body will pick appropriate responses on it's own.
Jonathan can follow his green line with a soft focus because he has a large movement pool to draw from. He will look different from a novice because of training, experience, and a ton of mileage. He has probably done every silly ski school exercise in the book a million times - so his body can make adjustments as his feet get feedback. By experimenting with multiple ways to get to an outcome we give ourselves options. For example:
I want my shins to be moving forward with my skis. Do I.....
1. flex my ankles by moving my shins forward?
2. flex my ankles by lifting my forefoot?
3. Combine these two movement to decrease the angle?
4. Pull a foot or both feet back under my hips?
5. Look further down my desired path taking my torso with me?
6. Advance my pelvis?
you get the idea....
The point being, we should explore all of these (and more) ways of moving, alone and in conjunction with one another. Then when we are out following the "green line" our body can do it's thing even better. If we just focus on what we "feel" from our feet we only get it half done, we need internal actions so our feelings can create actions.
(hey jlaw- I see you still commit to CANEI!) - guess who I am
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Floyd:
I have a very keen sense of feel in my feet. Therefore I attempt to adjust to the nth degree or know when I am just not quite where I should be. I wonder if the keen sense is really helping or hurting? Too much feed back to the brain. I wonder how you turn down the senses to eliminate some mental feed back? Maybe ski faster? I tend to ski methodically myself.
Keen sense of 'feel' in feet.
I have no proprioception - so my awareness of sensory input is HYPER ACUTE. Especially in the feet when skiing - I balance by that input.
From my experience(totally overwhelmed by all the 'noise' in feet/skis initially) you don't need to turn it down - your brain just needs to learn how to distinguish 'background noise' from 'useful input'.
That is achieved simply by DOING IT!
My instructors last year & early this year spent a LOT of time making me 'keep skiing no matter what' - don't stop & don't fret when you 'hear' all that. We would discuss what I felt on the chair sometimes - but mostly I as made to ignore it as much as possible. With mileage my brain is now much more discerning as to what it concentrates on.

BTW - rollerblading helps too - even MORE feedback through feet - all the different surfaces you skate over. Your brain learns what you need to listen too. Just as it did when you were a child & there was ALL that stuff happening at once & it had to learn to process it all.
post #26 of 29
In skiing, mind matters a lot.

My wife cannot ski fast. Yet she has perfect dynamic, powerful technique and goes on black diamonds with me without any problem - as long as she doesn't know that these are BD'd. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] The moment she discovers what it was that she just came down from, she won't ever go there again.

There is a wonderful book, titled Inner Skiing, by the same author as The Inner Game of Tennis, which I think was mentioned here by Floyd, where the mental aspects of skiing are taken to a new perspective. It was a wonderful book for me. I felt like I was lying on a shrink's couch and listening to his/her talk.

I think everyone who has ANY mental block related to skiing should read it.

Sorry, I should have read all the posts first. The book was already mentioned. I stand corrected.

[ February 07, 2003, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: AlexG ]
post #27 of 29
The author of the Inner Game series is Tim Galloway.
His books offer truely clear insights and have a delightful style of writing and presentation. I refresh or enhance some valuable perspective every time I reopen one, and it doesn't even seem to even matter where in the text I start reading.
Highly recommended to explore.
[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #28 of 29
I really hate to admit this, but as much as I enjoyed Galloway's book, Mermer's book and all the other psych babble books on Fear of Skiing...

They do very little for me. The only thing that works for me is
STRATEGY, STRATEGY, STRATEGY!

At Snowbasin, Pierre brought me down some terrain which, if I saw it, I might have percieved to be way beyond my abilities. But since there was a total fog, I had to be a bit more trusting. But he was so clear about how to deal with the changing conditions. His cues were simple, yet extremely precise.
Made it down just fine.

If I had listened to a lot of "come on, you can do it", or "breath away your fear" : the results may have been a bit uglier.

The same thing happened when Weems took us through our first attempt at bumps. In the past, I would have been worried that I would not be able to make an accurate turn after skiing over the top of the bump. But Weems had given us many techniques for turn iniation, and there was one that I knew would give me a turn radius that was just the right size, without throwing me off into the trees!
post #29 of 29
Quote:
I really hate to admit this, but as much as I enjoyed Galloway's book, Mermer's book and all the other psych babble books on Fear of Skiing...

They do very little for me. The only thing that works for me is
STRATEGY, STRATEGY, STRATEGY!
I agree. (For me strategy = specific physical instruction.)

Although there were 2 games in the Galloway that he developed for a boy that I found quite interesting, and that I played with earlier this year.

1. Just ski. While you go, call out "1" if you think your weight is well in front, and "5" if you think your weight is far behind (and the other numbers in between). Notice what happens when you're skiing at 1 or at 2 or 3, etc.

2. "One ski-two ski". Just ski, and then say to yourself "one ski" when you feel you're skiing on one ski, and "two ski" when you're on (yeah, you guessed it) two. Notice what's happening when you're on one or two skis.

Just forcing myself to evaluate what's going on while I'm actually moving was definitely interesting.

But these are just elementary self-awareness exercises, I guess.

-d, who is definitely an over-thinker (sigh)
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