By Roddy Willis
Presumably if you are reading this article, then the chances are that at some point you have had a ski lesson. Your instructor might have told you to do ‘something’ with your legs and body so that your skis do ‘something’ on the snow?
There really are only four ingredients to make a ski work - all four are used in varying degrees in every turn your skis make on snow – You can tilt (edge), twist (rotate) or bend (weight and unweight) and not forgetting to add some velocity (sliding on the snow). Yes, this is all great stuff and all helpful with the basics of skiing. For me there is way more to skiing than just a few mechanical body movements. If this is the sort of lesson you want then let me know and I’ll direct you to one of the zillions of instructors who teach this way. If you want something more keep reading.
Unless you’ve lived on another planet this summer then you will know that the Olympics were in London. If you watched any of the games on TV then you will have heard the pundits talking about the difference between the good and the great. They weren’t talking about anything as tangible as physical strength or athletic skill - the hot topic of the 2012 games was the mental state of the competitors – the positive-self-believe and the knowledge that you’re able to-pull-it-out-of-the-bag on the big day.
What is it that you need to be more than just good on your skis? To ski perfect powder turns, shred the bumps or land a cliff drop. Well it’s probably something to do with this summers’ hot topic – You need a positive mental state.
One of the first skills I like my clients to acquire and use is – Positive-self-talk
What is Positive-self-talk? - To have a clearer picture of Positive-self-talk, it might be easier to imagine Negative-self-talk. Imagine this: I want you to fill your mind with every negative thought you have ever had about everything ever and skiing – Now with those thoughts running round your mind I want you stand at the top of a ski slope and produce your best performance! Does that work for you? Or imagine a ski instructor that constantly tells you what you are doing wrong and not what you are doing right. Or they tell you ‘don’t be scared’ and now you can only think about ‘being scared’.
In essence Positive-self-talk is the words, both unspoken and spoken, which we use and are directly related to the results we achieve. This may appear simplistic, but the use of positive language is intertwined with our self-believe. Many top athletes use Positive-self-talk and like anything it requires training and practice to to-pull-it-out-of-the-bag whenever you choose.
Perhaps now is the time to eliminate any internal-negative-chatter. This may or may not take some work and time, it really depends on you. Start using language linked to the results you want…how about talking about the smooth line through the powder, that pathway appearing through the moguls or a successful cliff drop landing, you will start to see and feel changes in your skiing and maybe your life….
In my next articles for the Chalets Direct blog I’ll be outlining a few more simple mental techniques you can use not only for skiing but in your everyday life. So, stay tuned-in and learn how to twist, bend and shake your mind into shape and give yourself the mental edge on your next trip.
Roddy Willis is a Verbier based ski instructor and holds the Swiss Patente he is also a qualified Sports Mental Performance Coach