SKIING

Learning Mentality

How you are thinking while you are learning to ski can make a big difference to how fast you will learn. Although there is not always much that can be done to change the way you think, here are some things that can happen depending on how you are thinking, and a few tips as to things that could be tried to keep a better frame of mind.

People who are Less Afraid

It's generally found that the people who are the least afraid, are the people who learn the fastest. There are several reasons for this including:

  • Not being afraid lets them concentrate on what they are doing, instead of their mind being elsewhere.
  • It enables them to make lots of mistakes and find out all the ways not to do something as well as the ways to do it.
  • They realise that it's generally not so bad if you do get something wrong, and you can recover from many situations.
  • They enjoy learning to ski more, and you always learn better when you are enjoying something, providing you are still doing what is necessary to learn.

People who are More Afraid

People who are more afraid while learning to ski generally learn more slowly. There are lots of unhelpful things people do because they are afraid, including:

  • They don't concentrate on trying to ski, and panic instead so they lose control.
  • They lean back as they are afraid of the slope, which loses full control of the skis (longitudinal weight distribution).
  • They don't go fast enough when they try manoeuvres, and miss out on feeling the control and reactions from the skis.
  • They don't reach the correct positions in manoeuvres, as they are too afraid to move their body weight.
  • They are not so willing to move on and try new things, even if they are ready for it.
  • They generally don't have as much fun as they learn to ski, although that is not to say that they don't enjoy it still.

Being afraid can basically slow down learning tremendously, and there are a lot of people who are fairly natural at the sport and who could quickly become decent skiers, but don't because they won't let themselves progress.

So how can you help stop yourself being afraid?

Now obviously there is no exact answer for this, and in some cases there might not be an answer. But there are a few things, as stupid as some of them might sound, that can help you to keep your nerves under control a bit better, and not let you get even more afraid than you were to start with.

  • Listening to and trusting your instructor. Especially for the first few exercises, if you concentrate on what they say you need to do, this should get you performing the exercises well enough, that you are instantly given some extra confidence.
  • Falling over a few times early on can be very helpful, once you have fallen over you will realise that it isn't actually so bad, and you won't be so afraid of it in the future. Obviously nothing too crazy is preferable, but the fact is that falling over is nothing special, and it can even help you to improve.
  • Thinking about what you are going to do before you do it, and concentrating on that as you try each exercise. As soon as fear kicks in and you lose your concentration, that is when you will panic and lose control.
  • Trying not to make any big fast movements. Big fast movements are generally what you do when you panic and it is these that generally lose your control.
  • Always try and feel your shins pushing on the front of your skis boots. This puts your weight at the right point along the skis, and will make it a lot harder to lose control.

These tips won't necessarily work for everyone, and in rare cases where someone is just too afraid, there is very little that can be done by anyone. The person needs to find a way that they can relax, and concentrate on trying to ski, or if all else fails perhaps consider that skiing just isn't for them.

When you learn to ski there can be a lot to think about at the same time, especially if you are not very confident. At the end of the day we are trying to get skiing to become more natural, with you being able to do things without concentrating on them so much. As soon as someone can do something without having to think about it much, they can move onto new exercises where there concentration is put into something slightly different. It is healthy to be a bit afraid, but with skiing it can be easy for this to be taken out of control, and cause problems instead.

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