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Better skiing through Visualization?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Do you use it?

How do you optimize it's benefits?

Since a preseason injury has curtailed my early season skiing, I have been spending alot of time watching videos of images (Sean Warman's 2nd DVD),  wcup skiing on TV, and still photos taken this year at Mammoth.  I am visualizing myself skiing the subtle fluid movements for which I am striving to make.  I have a clear image or motion picture in my mind and the associated sensations I have felt before.  With this sensory memory playing in my mind's eye I have been working on my skiing without touching snow.  

I have found Aaron Rosen's photos taken with his fancy digital motor drive camera of some of our D team members Rogan, Hafer, Perini, Fellows, Underkoffler, and Barnes at a recent training session in Mammoth, are immensely useful for visualization because I can quickly click through them creating a video sequence or stop on each shot to get a detailed image of movements occurring.  For what it is worth I am most impressed with Doug Perini's and Mike Hafer's images captured in these sequences.

I have had great success over the years with visualization when I have ended my season on snow with some good new sensations that were not habitualized yet, and through visualization over the Summer months and especially in anticipation right before the season began, actually skied better my first day back on snow than I believe I did at the end of the previous season!

Has anyone else had success with improving your skiing in the off season? and how do you maximize it's benefits?  What tips may you share?  
post #2 of 24
 Have you been listening to Robin?
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
 Yes mother...

Are you visualizing when at home waiting for the next ski trip?
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 Yes mother...

Are you visualizing when at home waiting for the next ski trip?
I am!!!
I actually have been doing some of Robin's dry land drills and putting myself in the place I'd be on a ski hill while doing it.  I stole your idea of the two pieces of paper and have been doing the dry land pivot slip type exercise.  Not as easy as it may seem, but effective.

There are other things that I visualize that make me think Ski Vacation, but I won't post them for fear that you'd think less of me. 
post #5 of 24
No. Ski porn just gets me stoked. Visualization helps me when I'm following someone, but that is not much help.
post #6 of 24

Optimizing the benefits of [athletic] visualization…for me comes from year round work at the gym, on a hard court or track, on a bicycle, or a mountain trail hiking up and down in an overall effort to constantly improve my body moving more quickly and lightly with each day I age.   To narrow the gap between what I visualize and then actualize requires broad exercise activities for quick feet, overall power and explosive output, reclaiming fast twitch muscle while maintaining a diet and sleep pattern that has me considering even greater visualization cues…and so another finer movement forward

post #7 of 24
How do you optimize it's benefits?

1) Just before nodding off to sleep.  For some, this can significantly cement the movements,actions and sensations far better than during awake hours.  

Transformed my calf roping skills overnite, seemed so at the time anyway. Coulda been my age then.  Kids use this all the time at bedtime.

2)  Before a run. Helps shift focus and get you in the "zone".
post #8 of 24

A fun and easy dryland drill to get your muscles remembering what is going on is the door jam turns.

Stand in a standard doorway, with the door wide open. Place the balls of your feet in the forward part of the doorway (slightly ahead of the center of the doorway) and get in your athletic skiing:
 

  • stance with feet hip width apart,
  • ankles, knees and hips flexed,
  • hands comfortably in front of you (use poles if you like)

Now start making turns. Tip your feet with little toe, big toe movements, letting your knees and hips move towards the door frame or inside of the turn. Keep your feet aligned square to the door frame (don't let them twist) but do have the 'edges' come off the floor. Use angulation (upper/lower body separation) to maintain your balance keeping your shoulders over your feet. Add a little counter as well so that your upper body turns slightly to the outside the 'turn'. You can do this with your boots on for a more realistic feel. Use the door jam as a reference point, your hip should just touch it on either side with a standard sized door. Make sure that you use both legs to make the turns. You want your legs working in unison, creating parallel, or nearly so, shins.

This will simulate a fairly aggresive turn. If you don't usually ski hard and fast, this will be an exageration, but will drive home the movements that you will want to use when you hit the snow.

And my girlfriend loves her skier's edge for helping her get the muscle memory working and develop muscle strength. It has made a big difference in how she feels on the snow.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
 MastersRacer,

Your description of good  movements doesn't coincide with mine which  is OK,  but my point is we must be careful that  we  are actually visualizing good movements  or  the result will simply cement less efficient patterns into  our motor memory!

The problem I have with your doorway movements  is that you are  not turning  the feet into  counter,  but twisting  the hips  into counter, which is definitely not how I want to ski personally.  This example, in my mind anyway,  conjures park n ride  type movements  I see  so many skiers  doing since  the advent of shaped skis. But this is another thread so I digress.

The movements I see in my minds eye at this time are of keeping my outside leg long with through the high edge  angle fall line  section of my turns  then simultaneously beginning to move my hips toward  the new  turn  apex while continuing to steer my feet through the  finish phase of  the old turn  as  the  edge  angles decrease toward  edge change.  This for me focuses  on the area  where many just go  passive after  the high  edge  high pressure  part of  the  turns  and simply tip  to the other edges  without any active imput to turning  the skis. I want to steer  all the way through  the  finishiation  phase if  you will.  I have  very  concise clear images of  body positions throughout this phase. 

My point  is, the  more intricate and detailed  your image is  in  your minds  eye,  the better.   A vague vision or image will not  yield  as good of  a result.  I believe  to  maximize  visualizations  benefits we  need  every little piece of accuracy possible.  Every  little  sensation, position, movement, spacial awareness, pressure  distribution  (fore/aft,  laterally,  vertically), edge angle changes, rotary sensations, body  part  positions, etc..  The  more detailed your image the better  the results.

Interestingly, while the skier's edge does  simulate  the lateral  movements  it  does exclude the all important rotary component to skiing.  I remember  the older  models of the skier's  edge had pivoting foot plates, however, they created a heel push and a pivot  around the toes,  not a good thing to ingrain  in  the motor memory.

Again,  accuracy and detail  of the  image  is  key to success!
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
 I agree  911!  As a young skier I used  to lie  in bed  at night  thinking  about skiing  then end up dreaming I was skiing.  I would try to  add as much detail  to my dreams as possible and  literally wake  up  with  sweaty  feet many  times just from  dreaming about  skiing!
post #11 of 24
I find visualization, especially creative visualization, very effective.  Studies have found that the mind can not tell the difference between a real experience and a vividly imagined one.  As a form of practice when you can't do the real thing it's irreplaceable.

For maximizing the results I try a few things:  
  • Involve as many senses as possible.  Sight, feel, smell, and sound can all be incorporated into the visualization.   If you find a way to include taste, do it.
  • Vary the pace of the movements.  Super slow to faster than you think possible and every speed in between.
  • Focus on one detail, yet see the whole picture.
  • If you lose focus or make an error stop, correct the error, and start again.  Don't repeat or ignore errors.
  • Use the best model of movements you can find.
  • Practice often and regularly. 

Most people can create a virtual movie in their mind, but it takes practice.

By using your imagination you can ski any condition, any time, any where and do so perfectly.  After all, "Practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect."  Vince Lombardi

Of course you still need to do the real thing, but when you can't, see it in your mind.
post #12 of 24

As to your OP, visualization is a very useful tool. The 'waving hand running through the gates' is a popular and accurate image of ski racers. The racer is visualizing his way through the course, making all the right moves to have a winning run before he gets in the starting gate. Every run made by visualizing is equivalent to an actualized run. Accuracy and proper movements are essential or incorrect movements will be memorized.

Regarding my doorway exercise: the feet are not moving (except for tipping) so the fall line has to be imagined to be moving. I mistakenly omitted what was obvious to me.

The exercise begins by using tipping actions in the feet. The knee and hip movements occur naturally just as when you are skiing; you can't tip your feet without your knees moving inside and your femurs rotating. The relationship of the knees and hips moving to the inside and the shoulders moving to the outside are similar to what happens when you ski. When I do this exercise I feel a very close correlation to how I feel when I ski. The hips upper body finds the counter position naturally. Constant and progressive movement in the exercise will eliminate the 'park and ride' feel, since the turns will flow from one to the other, as in real skiing.

I agree that the Skier's edge lacks certain degrees of motion, but it does provide a good sensation of the flexion/extension that applies to skiing and is hard to simulate otherwise. It is also good for developing strength.


Edited by MastersRacer - 12/1/09 at 1:51pm
post #13 of 24
I do, I learned about the benefits if visualization many years ago when I first got serious about bodybuilding.   Arnold was a big proponent as was every successful bodybuilder after him.   It helped me get into the best shape of my life and launch a successful fitness and modeling career.   If you cannot visualize your self doing what you need to do and you cannot "see" the successful results, then it will not happen. 
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 


Quote:
Originally Posted by JRN View Post

I find visualization, especially creative visualization, very effective.  Studies have found that the mind can not tell the difference between a real experience and a vividly imagined one.  As a form of practice when you can't do the real thing it's irreplaceable.

For maximizing the results I try a few things:  
  • Involve as many senses as possible.  Sight, feel, smell, and sound can all be incorporated into the visualization.   If you find a way to include taste, do it.
  • Vary the pace of the movements.  Super slow to faster than you think possible and every speed in between.
  • Focus on one detail, yet see the whole picture.
  • If you lose focus or make an error stop, correct the error, and start again.  Don't repeat or ignore errors.
  • Use the best model of movements you can find.
  • Practice often and regularly. 

Most people can create a virtual movie in their mind, but it takes practice.

By using your imagination you can ski any condition, any time, any where and do so perfectly.  After all, "Practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect."  Vince Lombardi

Of course you still need to do the real thing, but when you can't, see it in your mind.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
 Hey Richie-Rich, I have been visualizing a hard six pack for years but every time I look in the mirror I still see a keg!  What am I doing wrong?...
post #16 of 24
I that visualization works wonderfully. I too have had the experience of my first day of the season being better skiing than my last day of the previous season. Keep in mind that I have A LOT of video footage that I basically memorize during the summer months in order to be at the top of my game when I hit the snow the following season. Taking a step backward at the beginning of every season is not something that I am interested in doing.

I think that two things are necessary for this kind of "mental training" to work properly. One - you have to already have an accurate image of your skiing and movements in your mind. Two - you have to know what you are working to adjust and how it will likely "feel" when you are actually skiing.

Recognizing the difference between how your current skiing feels and how this new skiing with new/better movement patterns feels is key. Based on those adjustments you as the skier should be able to then get a mental image of what the new skiing will look like before you ever see it.

Later,

Greg
post #17 of 24
Coaching soccer for 34 years; at the high school, collegiate and Olympic Development levels, my teams used visualization techniques extensively. As with anything, the athlete has to buy into it. If one only goes through the motions it won't work. Viewing proper technique and then visualizing that technique works well. We used it as part of practice. The athletes also practiced it at night, while laying in bed as they were going to sleep. The more vivid the visualization, visualizing in color for example, the greater the results.

Where did you get the images of Sean Warman's 2nd DVD, Aaron Rosen's photos taken with his fancy digital motor drive camera of some of our D team members Rogan, Hafer, Perini, Fellows, Underkoffler, and Barnes at a recent training session in Mammoth, and  Doug Perini's and Mike Hafer's images captured in these sequences?


"You don't grow too old to play, you grow old because you stop playing"
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
 Pinelander,

Well, I can sell you a copy of Warman's "Images and Concepts of Skiing 2008" (they go for $27.95) and I can try to import these Rosen photos from my email to here but that may prove a bit of a challenge for me.  I will see what I can do!  Sean Warman's DVD features Mike Rogan, Hermann Maier, and some other wcup athletes in a cybervision type format with some overlays and titles.  It is a great resource for strong images of good skiing.

Any good images will do, but finding ones with the clearest demonstrations of your goal(s) is key.
post #19 of 24
I have found that I get no benefit from visualization if I am wanting to do something I've never done before and have to guess what it will feel like. For example, a couple years ago in mid winter I decided I wanted to ride a BMX bike in the local skate park. I visualized dropping in to a bowl all winter. When spring came around, it didn't help at all. I didn't have enough foundation knowledge to build a realistic image.

Similarly, my "to do" list this winter includes renting some reverse sidecut rocker skis for some Silverton Mtn sessions, and I'm trying hard to not visualize what it will be like because I've never been on skis like that and whatever I imagine it will be like will probably be wrong.

On the other hand, my "to do" list also includes doing a masters race. I raced some as a teenager and I think visualization will be very helpful because I will be focusing on technique modifications to take advantage of shaped skis and modern boots. I won't be making any guesses about what it will feel like, at least on a macro scale.
post #20 of 24
No matter what your parents say none of us "just started to walk one day".  We all learn thing one piece at a time.  Visaulation is no different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retroEric View Post

I have found that I get no benefit from visualization if I am wanting to do something I've never done before and have to guess what it will feel like. For example, a couple years ago in mid winter I decided I wanted to ride a BMX bike in the local skate park. I visualized dropping in to a bowl all winter. When spring came around, it didn't help at all. I didn't have enough foundation knowledge to build a realistic image.
 

I had the exact opposite result when learning to roll a kayak.  With the help of a very good instructional video, over one winter I went from never trying a roll to rolling so powerfully I rolled up, didn't brace and rolled back under on my first try.  I think what helped was the video broke rolling into small, precise chunks.  I would work on each chunk and then put the roll together.  I don't know how you approached your drop in visualization but if I would have only looked at the big picture I think my result would have been just like yours. 


Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

I think that two things are necessary for this kind of "mental training" to work properly. One - you have to already have an accurate image of your skiing and movements in your mind. Two - you have to know what you are working to adjust and how it will likely "feel" when you are actually skiing.
 


Having the feel of how you want to move while skiing is a tremendous advantage.  However, if you can break the movements into chunks and find excellent video of how those chunks should look, through visualization you can build a base of how the movements are made during the off season.  Finding the right feeling and intensity when you get back on snow will be much easier when you've done your mental home work.  
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
 I agree JRN, breaking the movements into chunks or a photo montage or a SLOW motion video are key for me.  This allows me to register more information and imagine movement better when it is segmented.  In this way I can anchor imagined sensations better and link them better then put them back into real time speed in my mind.  At least this is what I have found most productive for me so far.

Coincidently, this is also how I analyze other skiers too, by imagining, based on their positioning, what they must be feeling sensory wise so that I can better relate the appropriate sensations I am seeking to them.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 Hey Richie-Rich, I have been visualizing a hard six pack for years but every time I look in the mirror I still see a keg!  What am I doing wrong?...
LOL...well your halfway there....the rest as you know is hard work.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 Hey Richie-Rich, I have been visualizing a hard six pack for years but every time I look in the mirror I still see a keg!  What am I doing wrong?...

As described above, Bud, the key is not to look at the beer before you drink it. 



SfDean

Visualizing basic competence in slalom since--well, next week.
post #24 of 24
Bud,
Thanks for the offer, but I purchased that video at a PSIA event last year. I thought that it might be another video. "Images and Concepts of Skiing 2008" is GREAT! I watch it, and several others, while I do my indoor workouts.

Thanks again for your offer,

John Bulina

"You don't grow too old to play, you grow old because you stop playing"


Pinelander,

Well, I can sell you a copy of Warman's "Images and Concepts of Skiing 2008" (they go for $27.95) and I can try to import these Rosen photos from my email to here but that may prove a bit of a challenge for me.  I will see what I can do!  Sean Warman's DVD features Mike Rogan, Hermann Maier, and some other wcup athletes in a cybervision type format with some overlays and titles.  It is a great resource for strong images of good skiing.

Any good images will do, but finding ones with the clearest demonstrations of your goal(s) is key.
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