As the season nears and you are thinking about your first few turns, it’s a great time to tackle the process of learning or improving. Whether you’ve been skiing or snowboarding for 40 years or just getting into sport, there is always room to improve. For many, the hope is simply to keep up with kids or friends while others might want to be more efficient. Whatever the area of improvement might be, there are a few key ways to tap into that learning curve.
First, it’s important to realize that learning a skill can take place on and off the slopes. As an Olympic athlete, we worked hours upon hours with video analysis and visualization. Video allows you to capture the image mentally and translate what the movement or skill should look like as well as identify which areas you personally can improve. Equally, if not more prominent is the process of visualization. This taps into the power of the mind and the entire sensory aspect of our being.
Visual Learning Tips
As mentioned earlier, video is incredibly helpful for the learning process. In conjunction with watching yourself ski, find video of people who are more refined or accomplished in their skiing. Look for specific aspects you hope to emulate. The imagery process can continue once you are out on the hill. Following behind someone is a great way to incorporate the visual into the kinesthetic process. This is especially important for young athletes as their foundational skills are often learned from following parents and mirroring either good or bad habits.
Visualization Learning Tips
Similar to watching video, you can create a mental video of your improved self. This process should include what the imagery looks and feels like. You can use visualization in a few different facets. Here are just a few examples:
• First person: This would be what the movement looks or feels from your own perception.
• Point of view: This could be an overhead or side view of you performing the task.
• Third person: This would be what you would look like from another person’s point of view. Either standing above you, below you or even to the side of you on the hill.
The important part of any of these visualization aspects is to allow yourself to see and feel the movement.
With three weeks left before the season starts, now is a great time to tap into these few tips to get a head start on areas of improvement!