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What's holding you back?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Well...since everyone appears to be out doing the lawn, weeping gently in the shed because there's no snow on the hills, or doing something sensible like frisbee, DH or XC, I thought I'd try to bring people back on-line with a topic not related to 'fantasy resorts' or winter tyres.

As the April temps took hold of the snowpack, I had a heart to heart with my close friend Ant as we descended in the gondola. I realised that my hyper-loose boots were not really a big factor in my skiing, or my trashed rock skis. It was me. What's held me back? Lack of time on the snow.

Factor 1: we don't live with mountains in the backyard (eg Thovex at La Balme)

Retrospective recommendation: should have said yes to that job in Geneva when I was 20.

Factor 2: eight-ten weeks' skiing a year is great, but not enough. We're lucky enough to get a lot in. But I have friends who ski for one week and then spend the rest of the year fretting about their skiing kit, and tend to think it's the kit holding them back.

Retrospective recommendation: I can lapse into the same behaviour - so out of season force myself to think about other sports instead - table tennis (reaction time) and mountain biking (fitness and balance) - I have indeed become better at this, but the transition month (May) is difficult.

Factor 3: I wasted precious time - years - by not having coaching. Ant and I agreed that we indeed had a terrible period of 10-15 years of 'intermediate arrogance' - The Wasted Years.

Retrospective recommendation: should have had coaching every trip. Every trip. The session with Sasha in Dec 2016 showed this up all too well; a quantum leap in technique and a deep curse at failing to get coaching years before

What's been holding me back - boots? Skis? ABS? Bindings? ..... No, me.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
best post on here for a while Cool
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
EXACTLY the same here! I'm sure I'd be known as one of the greatest snowboarders of all time if it weren't for my lack of talent...


...that and politics, probably.
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If 8-10 weeks a year is holding you back....try 1 week a year!

By the end of my week's skiing, I get a small, tantalizing taste, of what my level might be, if I could ski all season and signed up for a decent clinic.

I have my own special category, which I describe as, "Expert Holiday Skier"....which is far from a "Proper" Expert, but is better than your average, 1 week a year skier, due to having had a lot of very good, technical instruction from some of the best BASI guys working in Val D'Isere.

I try to improve, in some small area, every holiday...and almost never ski aimlessly about, without focusing on some aspect of my technique.....but I don't realistically expect to radically improve, unless I come into some decent money, which I will "blow" on getting better.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Wow, 8-10 weeks? Thats a lot!

For me (3-4 weeks if I'm lucky), lazy technique, bad habits and a lack of lessons (not had any for 2 years). Also, the occasional voice in my head telling me I might be in above my head. Usually as I'm digging myself out from deep snow after stacking it.
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@Old Fartbag, that sounds like the mindset which I like '...improve in some small area, every (time)...' - and I think this also links with us being not being frustrated by small resorts, indeed liking them - the days being about enjoying and improving skiing technique not distance-bashing. 8 weeks sounds indulgent but we are very fortunate in having a family base in the hills - although I used to do a lot more summer skiing than I now do...Zermatt is good in June but by July, fighting with national teams on the backside can make for some fraught days. It's DH in Crans Montana from now on in summer, early mornings...just finishing the boy's DH rig.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Not starting until 44 😣 Although I now ski an enormous amount (last 2 full Winters) and am actually still getting better at 58 it's so much easier when younger.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
With a lot of things , running before you can walk.
Such a short time actually on the slopes , you want to ski to a standard that you can explore the mountain so you skip all the boring technical stuff and rely on heavily weighting the outside ski.
Great you can get down reds and blacks early on in your skiing but boy does all that come back to haunt you.
Like the other saying about teaching an old dog new tricks
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Quote:

Factor 3: I wasted precious time - years - by not having coaching. Ant and I agreed that we indeed had a terrible period of 10-15 years of 'intermediate arrogance' - The Wasted Years.



Retrospective recommendation: should have had coaching every trip. Every trip.


Agree that having good coaching can really improve technique. After lessons in first 5 years, I then went over 20 years without instruction. With hindsight I'd have coaching at least every other year.
It was still great fun though!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
After a lesson on day 1 followed by 6 years of self learning the one thing that has held me back is that virtually all my snowboarding has been solo. I do spend about half my time with my wife, who is a blissfully contented low intermediate skier, but that doesn't count.

I know from other sports that I was competitive in when much younger that a lot of performance and skills improvement is driven by keeping up with or exceeding the abilities of your mates. I get ample time, about 7 weeks each of the last 5 years, and I appreciate what others are saying about coaching but "competition" is the one thing I miss more than anything else.

On the other hand, at least I'm never waiting for anyone!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Factor 1: Nothing external is "holding me back".

I ask myself "what's on snow that I wish to do I cannot do now?". I came up empty.

I don't care to "get better" any more. I'm satisfied at the level I am at.

That's with the retrospect of having gotten quite a bit "better" in 2 period, one of which was this past season.

Do I enjoy skiing more than I did before I got "better"? Not really. I enjoy it differently. But I would have been happy to ski the way I did too. Though I'm be the first to admit, "getting better" is a satisfying experience in and of itself.


Factor 2: I'm at a level that I can hurt myself, really badly. A level I wouldn't be at had I not gotten "better" 5-6 years ago. I'm really not interest to push that limit any further from here.

I didn't used to come down narrow chutes with rocks on the side. I didn't used to ski through dense trees. I didn't used to jump off cornices.

Since then, I had: 1) hit a tree and broke some ribs. 2) had a slide in a chute with exposed rocks, though fortunately did not hit any before I came to a stop. I've also witness some scary ski mishap of my new ski companions I acquired the last 5-6 years, all in constricted off-piste terrain I didn't used to ski with such regularity. All it took was just losing an edge at the wrong place!

I now don't ski certain complex terrain any more, even though I know I could ski them in good control. When the consequence of a single mistake is too high, I deem it not worth it. I'm not arrogant enough to think I don't make mistakes. I just can't afford the consequence.

Besides, I can ski in good control just about any terrain I'm forced upon. I just don't purposely seek them out.


Having said all that, I still take lessons when I have the chance. I still improve. I ski more efficiently and I'm less tired even when condition is not perfect. But none of the area I need improvement were "holding me back" on what I want to ski, nor my enjoyment of skiing.


The only thing "holding me back" is my lack of desire to ski dangerous terrains.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I am a volleyball coach. If I think about what holds people back in that sport:

Gear: There isn't much gear required in volleyball. However, I would say that I've folks come along in big heavy tracksuit bottoms or with really old and/or poor quality trainers and I think you'll never be any good. Thing is a really good player could still perform in them (all be it would be restricted) but for your average Joe it's an unnecessary incumbence. Trainers are your critical contact with the floor and it's an athletic sport where you are bending low and jumping high so you need loose fitting and unrestrictive clothing. Doesn't have to be the best gear in the business just half decent. I'd say the same about skiing.

Instructor/Coaching: First off. There are two things: teaching and coaching. The amount of actual instructing/teaching starts off quite high but fairly quickly falls away to not very much at all. And what you are instructing/teaching becomes much more specific. I was talking to a ski instructor the other the day who was saying that when he's doing the advanced group he's really chuffed if he spots some sort of error that needs to be corrected. The coaching bit is fairly level. But here's the thing. Some people don't actually need that much coaching. They listen, they are well motivated, they are organised, they think about what they are doing. And guess what they improve the quickest and become the best players.

How often and the amount: Nothing is ever enough. By and large the more you can do it the better you will be. But to be a little bit more realistic and practical. For the last few years I've gone in December and April. I would say it takes only a couple of hours before I'm back at 90% of my top performance. And after a half or full first day I am back up to 100% - injuries, general fitness, tiredness witholding. But that is after 25+ years of mostly two weeks skiing a year. If you get to a high level - you don't really lose it. Skiing in chunks works aswell as just doing a day or two through the season so I don't think I lose out too much on living away from the slopes and only skiing at holidays. One thing I do is to try and squeeze in 7.5/8 days whenever possible and to ski looooong days. Get it while you can my beaut.

Quality of Instructor/Coaching/Companions: Are you in good company. I have worked under/with a number of volleyball coaches. I admire them all for doing it. We don't generally get paid and they put themselves out. And we need them. But it is really variable and some are just not that knowledgable or good bless em. TBH I probably wasn't that good 5 years ago! It's not just coaches though. You can learn a lot from playing with certain people. Wise heads, students of the game. Also the environment of the club/team - is it open to ideas, discussion, is everyone looking to get better and push each other. I know some environments where it's just a bunch of people dossing about. Some people want to do that. But if you want to improve you have to get yourself out of there and find some new mates.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
The gear aspect is actually quite interesting. My two biggest improvement in skiing both came after changing gear!

The first one was my boots. Turns out I need some tilting of the boot bottom. My skis weren't flat when my knees were in their natural state. I compensated by holding my legs a little bit sideways. But that constant compensation made me tire easily. So I couldn't do half of the drills for more than a few minutes. Once that was corrected, I was able to actually "train" and practice all the things I was taught while cruising around the mountain. And my skiing improved quite a bit the next year, and kept on improving.

The 2nd one was I got new skis. Turns out I've been skiing skis that were too soft. I think too soft skis gave me the wrong feedback which blur the purpose of some of the drills, especially some of the finer movements. Again, once I got more suitable skis, many of the drills and practices makes more sense now. My skiing got a lot more smooth and fluid.

Although now I have a suspicion my new skis might be a tad too long. After demo'ing a few different ones, I'm going to get another pair of skis BEFORE this one got "used up". This is a big departure of my normal gear buying habit: buying something new only after the old ones got no life left.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 26-05-17 17:42; edited 2 times in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I think anyone old enough to have learned on and then got half reasonable using "Old School" skis (and that includes Off Piste), finds modern tech makes life so much easier....which gives a "mental" head start. The downside is a bit of adapting the vintage technique.

I also think that if you put most people, who have only used carving skis on piste/fat skis off piste, on a pair of 2M straight skis, they would be in for quite an eye opener.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Gear: it isn't about having the best gear, it's about having gear that suits your physiology. If you are in the 10-20 per cent of people for whom stuff doesn't work well out of the box then you need to pay attention to your equipment - e.g. stance balancing etc. This won't make you better, it will just get you to the same starting point as everyone else. Normal people just need well fitting boots.

Otherwise, time on the hill and instruction are key. But once you get past a certain point, it is primarily a head game more than anything else.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Good OP. Must agree that time on snow is the main thing. Effectively having to show up for work throughout the winter is what is holding me back . If I hadn't broken my leg I'd have been north of 50 days this winter which is the total I like to target. Of those at least the first 7 wil be getting back to full pace and less than 30 "on it"(I'd say this holds after 5 days being sensible only the last 3 days of the EoSB did I feel remotely on it).

Of course time on snow executing crap habits isn't great so that's where access to good instructors comes in. Because of my personal learning style I get very little out of intense lessons but playing catch up with better skiers and keeping you eyes open when on a chairlif can ebe quite useful for visual learners and mimickers.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You lot are going to hate me...

So having moved to Geneva to ski more, we probably ski less. Certainly guilty of blue sky seasonpassitis.

I have expressed a desire to ski more challenging pitches, more often.

And have started to learn to do cross country skating. (Which I love, but...)

Time (!), demands of the business, chores and everything wlse conspires against me. Also visiting friends who don't want to do skiing that requires a harness and ropes Confused

Had some remarkably good days nonetheless this season snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Old Fartbag wrote:
If 8-10 weeks a year is holding you back....try 1 week a year!

By the end of my week's skiing, I get a small, tantalizing taste, of what my level might be, if I could ski all season and signed up for a decent clinic.

I have my own special category, which I describe as, "Expert Holiday Skier"....which is far from a "Proper" Expert, but is better than your average, 1 week a year skier, due to having had a lot of very good, technical instruction from some of the best BASI guys working in Val D'Isere.

I try to improve, in some small area, every holiday...and almost never ski aimlessly about, without focusing on some aspect of my technique.....but I don't realistically expect to radically improve, unless I come into some decent money, which I will "blow" on getting better.


That's me that is!!
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Living in northern England we have skiing available but it is usually challenging.

Skiing in the alps is easy after that. The same is true for dry slope skiing. Progress is quick, even if self taught. Just ski as close behind the good skiers as possible and practice self improvement.

Scotland is even better. That's why their standards are so high. If you can ski Glencoe, Chamonix is a doddle Laughing Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Truth - you can tell the difference between Scottish people who go skiing and people who ski Scotland pretty easily IME.
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you can tell the difference between people who go skiing and people who go skiing in Scotland pretty easily

Fify
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Factor 1: Starting at age 35.

Retrospective recommendation: Not much can be done about that, but I think it's helped me not fall into the trap of 'intermediate arrogance' as noted by the OP - I don't have time to waste! Also started my son at age 3. We take some sort of lessons/coaching every trip, separately or together.

Factor 2: Job (involves a lot of travel) and family.

Retrospective recommendation: On the plus side the job took me to Sweden, which made me think about winter sports in the first place. I've had the plan for a while to build a ski day into my work trips around the Nordics, but I'm already away a lot. However, the generous Swedish vacation and parental leave has allowed me to ski 3-4 weeks with the family plus a couple of cheeky weeks or long weekends on my own each year.

Factor 3: Live 5-6 hours drive away from the first 'proper' ski area.

Retrospective recommendation: Also had the idea to do weekend days sking at the small hills around Stockholm. A friend did 20 days one reason with the kids like that. Also need to get into cross country! You see people on the underground with their XC skis. Plan for next season is weekend days out with the boy.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@valais2, good post, perfectly sums up my experience, especially the Wasted Years of Intermediate Arrogance Laughing

That 10+ years (probably 25 weeks of skiing) was a formative period in my skiing, and too much of what was formed was a succession of bad habits which I still struggle with to a certain extent. It was only by coincidence that I got friendly with a British instructor one summer, who persuaded me to visit him in the winter and then have a "couple of lessons" to improve (it became much more than that, and I still try to have a week or two of coaching each season). Up until then my experience of ski lessons had been very poor, so I had no idea of how much a good lesson could help. What I didn't realise was that the guy I became friends with was the then Chairman of BASI and a well regarded Trainer, and the ski lessons I started with him set me on a path towards much greater enjoyment of my own skiing and, in time, wanting to pass on that kind of experience in my own teaching.
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Starting at age 45 is probably the thing holding me back, plus only skiing one or maybe two weeks per year. Having said that, I think I've got to the point I'm at by always having a private instructor and only 2 or 3 of us in the group.

Mind you, anyone who witnessed me skiing quite well and then falling over when I'm stood still would probably assume my private instructor was, actually, Benny Hill

But, I think the thing holding me back more than anything is lack of a desire to be really good. I just love being up in the mountains in the snow and love skiing so much that just the ability to get up there and then get back down in one piece is enough for me. I probably improve marginally with every trip and, like Old Fartbag so rightly said, by the end of a week I get that tantalising glimpse of how I might be able to ski if I could only afford to do it more often, but generally I'm just thankful that I did eventually get introduced to skiing and I'm able to love it so much now.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I met an instructor who started skiing at 40+ following an accident where he lost a leg ...

Man up the lot of you.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
A few random thoughts:

Having done 10 seasons on the trot now (another 2 in the past as well), I find it can easily take 2-3 weeks to get up to speed, especially to feel like your legs are strong (and I'm a bike guide in the summer!). This does make me wonder how I ever managed doing 1-2 weeks at a time!

Kit - yeah, it's not about kit, at all. As long as your kit is of reasonable quality and not ridiculously unsuitable for your physique, then the kit will be fine. I find this particularly on the bike in fact - I used to be all about the shiniest kit, now I just want stuff that works and keeps on working.

Intermediate arrogance - yeah, for sure. I've got a BASI-related theory that most people turn up for a level 1 thinking they're poo-poo-hot, get to level 2 thinking they're pretty damn good, then by the time they get to level 3, realise how sh*t they really are and how much they have to learn. Obviously level 4's are all Olympian Gods of the Alpine world.

Time on the hill is the important thing, but after a while it has to be focussed time or the progression really slows down. I gave up on following the BASI pathway for about 4 or 5 years, because at that time there was no way through for snowboard instructors (you still had to do a ski Eurotest!) and I now really regret that - it wasn't wasted time, I had a lot of fun and I still made progress, but I could easily have cut-out most of that time.

Some of the Scottish comments above are getting confusing, but you can certainly spot those who ride in Scotland every weekend. They're the ones disappearing off into the distance with the locals.

You never stop getting better - as above, I've done 10+ seasons in the Alps, a lot of it with some pretty intense coaching, and I've also done 10 seasons of full-time mountain-bike guiding. I still get better on both the board and the bike every year, there's still loads that I want to learn or get better at on both.

There's a great book on this subject called "Bounce", essentially debating the importance of talent vs. practise. Short answer - there's no such thing as talent.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
stevomcd wrote:

There's a great book on this subject called "Bounce", essentially debating the importance of talent vs. practise. Short answer - there's no such thing as talent.


Perfect pitch is a talent. No amount of practice will give you this talent.

Superior, fast hand eye co-ordination is a talent. What you do with it determines your success. Practice will develop it and improve it.

Fast twitch muscle fibres are a genetic talent.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Truth - you can tell the difference between Scottish people who go skiing and people who ski Scotland pretty easily IME.

It's amazing how many times I've skied in a group (either with SCGB or TO) in the iciest of conditions, where everybody was moaning about about the difficulty....when a loan voice could be heard saying, in a softly spoken Highland accent "That's No' Ice! If y' want t' see ice, y' should try skiing in Scotland".

On turning round open mouthed, to see who it was (that could possibly think that the surface was in any way reasonable) ....There, standing quietly at the back of the group, leaning nonchalantly on a pair of scruffy Poles, that had been bent into a chicane over the years, was a "Hardy Perennial" with a mountainy beard. He was inevitably dressed in quality, but well worn gear, wearing boots that were older than most of the group and on skis that should have been designated "rock hoppers" years ago...yet out skied everybody in the group (with their latest shiny new kit). Respect!


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Sat 27-05-17 12:22; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Just waiting for the rain to stop so I can wait for the lawn to dry so I can mow it.

Screaming Dave wrote:
... I think the thing holding me back more than anything is lack of a desire to be really good. ...

That (and the OP version) sounds right. This is what I saw as a kid when I first started to learn skiing at my local dry slope. All my mates learned how to straight line and snow-plough stop, then they were happy to muck around. I did one run like that, and then got on with learning how to ski. A few weeks of practice later and I was a skier; they gave up, probably because they were bored. That one experience taught me rather more than how to ski.

.. Short answer - there's no such thing as talent.
That is my experience. I did not have more "talent" than those other kids, I just practiced until I was good.

8-10 weeks? I'd be bored to death. I've spent more than a year of my life on snow, but I wouldn't want to do it continuously. You don't need anything like that amount of time to become competent though, assuming you use the time to learn of course.

'intermediate arrogance' ... I'm not sure it's "arrogance". It depends what you mean, but I think "intermediates" are aware of their skill level and are resigned to it. They have found that it's still quite fun, and they have lost their desire to nail it. It's a mind game. Concerns over of "gear" is probably an excuse for that. Snowboarding is a little different and I think worse for this.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

Perfect pitch is a talent. No amount of practice will give you this talent.

Superior, fast hand eye co-ordination is a talent. What you do with it determines your success. Practice will develop it and improve it.

Fast twitch muscle fibres are a genetic talent.


I'll give you perfect pitch, although it's more of an exception-that-proves-the-rule and won't do you much good in a technical sport.

Hand-eye co-ordination, nope, it's a learned skill.

Fast-twitch muscle fibres are a pre-requisite if you want to be a sprinter (or rugby winger, football centre-forward, etc.), but will only get you so far in a technical sport.

Seriously, read the book, it's well worth it and something of an eye-opener. The author was an Olympian in table-tennis. His background was that his parents randomly bought a table-tennis table when he was very young and he and his mates spent hours playing on it every day for a few years. They then got lucky and had a PE Teacher who was also a keen TT player and started a club where, again they played for hours and hours, for years and years, with structured coaching and focussed practise. Half a dozen kids from the same street went on to be world-class players. Did they all have genetically superior hand-eye coordination, was their street a statistical anomaly, a magical hot-spot for talent, or was it just down to all the practise?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
philwig wrote:


.. Short answer - there's no such thing as talent.
That is my experience. I did not have more "talent" than those other kids, I just practiced until I was good.


I would say that hard work and dedication can largely make up for talent, but talent certainly exists. In my experience, skiing comes much more easily to some, than others...which is down to the fact that some have a greater natural ability (or Talent), than others.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

'intermediate arrogance' ... I'm not sure it's "arrogance". It depends what you mean, but I think "intermediates" are aware of their skill level and are resigned to it.


I think there's a certain level where the classic Rumsfeld speech about "known knows and unknown unknowns" comes to mind. You can go fast, you can ride powder, you zoom past every going down groomed runs, so you (genuinely) think you know it all, but you actually have no clue about what's possible. Making turns on sheet ice? Don't worry about that, that's impossible. Carving switch? Don't worry about that, that's impossible. Spinning big 360's? Don't worry about that, it's only possible for genetic circus-freaks and "real" riders don't do that stuff.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

I would say that hard work and dedication can largely make up for talent, but talent certainly exists. In my experience, skiing comes much more easily to some, than others...which is down to the fact that some have a greater natural ability (or Talent), than others.


Do they really? Or have they played sport all their lives? Did they grow up playing football on Saturdays, rugby on Sundays, tennis in the summer, basketball in the winter? Zooming through the woods on their bikes every evening after school? Are the people they're "more talented" than couch potatoes for whom skiing is their only sport?

Everyone I know (and I know quite a few!) who is a really good freestyle snowboarder has some background where they have worked really hard at it, either directly on a snowboard (kids who have grown up riding snowdomes, instructors who have done years and years of dome teaching) or in another sport which has given them a huge advantage (I have a friend who is an awesome freestyle rider, his parents sent him to gymnastics when all the other kids were playing football - as he puts it "who's laughing now?", simlarly Jenny Jones and Billy Morgan were both gymnasts).
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stevomcd wrote:


Do they really? Or have they played sport all their lives? Did they grow up playing football on Saturdays, rugby on Sundays, tennis in the summer, basketball in the winter? Zooming through the woods on their bikes every evening after school? Are the people they're "more talented" than couch potatoes for whom skiing is their only sport?

Everyone I know (and I know quite a few!) who is a really good freestyle snowboarder has some background where they have worked really hard at it, either directly on a snowboard (kids who have grown up riding snowdomes, instructors who have done years and years of dome teaching) or in another sport which has given them a huge advantage (I have a friend who is an awesome freestyle rider, his parents sent him to gymnastics when all the other kids were playing football - as he puts it "who's laughing now?", simlarly Jenny Jones and Billy Morgan were both gymnasts).

I suppose it begs the question - Do people play a lot of sport because they have "Talent" and so it comes to them more easily; or is it the fact that they play sport that makes them appear to have more talent.....probably a bit of both.

My sister was a tennis coach and went round primary schools coaching indoor tennis to younger kids. These kids had a similar level of sporting experience...and it came more easily to some than others.

I also believe that if you take a group of kids with the same experience and give them the same coaching and practice...some will shine more than others, which I'd argue is often down to talent. Surely this is what Talent Scouts are all about.
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Agreed, a bit of both, and it's also where the mental side of things comes in, even for kids - some people love a challenge and will constantly strive to get to the next level, believing they can get there, others are quick to say "I can't do it." They're both right! Some people will also devote themselves to practise, others won't do anything at all from one coaching session to the next.

"Practise" can start very early, so even young kids can have very different backgrounds. Judy Murray is interesting to listen to on this - she had her kids playing fun games deliberately intended to improve their hand-eye co-ordination, etc. from a very young age. Seems to have worked-out pretty well!
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stevomcd wrote:
Agreed, a bit of both, and it's also where the mental side of things comes in, even for kids - some people love a challenge and will constantly strive to get to the next level, believing they can get there, others are quick to say "I can't do it." They're both right! Some people will also devote themselves to practise, others won't do anything at all from one coaching session to the next.

"Practise" can start very early, so even young kids can have very different backgrounds. Judy Murray is interesting to listen to on this - she had her kids playing fun games deliberately intended to improve their hand-eye co-ordination, etc. from a very young age. Seems to have worked-out pretty well!

It's an interesting subject...ie. what contributes to ability and in what percentage.

I think genetics are probably a factor as well.

I believe that you can get very good with hard work....Jim Courier is an example....but if you are to become one of The Greats (like Federer), you need to have that extra "something", which I would argue, can't be taught.
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stevomcd wrote:
Quote:

Perfect pitch is a talent. No amount of practice will give you this talent.

Superior, fast hand eye co-ordination is a talent. What you do with it determines your success. Practice will develop it and improve it.

Fast twitch muscle fibres are a genetic talent.


I'll give you perfect pitch, although it's more of an exception-that-proves-the-rule and won't do you much good in a technical sport.

Hand-eye co-ordination, nope, it's a learned skill.

Fast-twitch muscle fibres are a pre-requisite if you want to be a sprinter (or rugby winger, football centre-forward, etc.), but will only get you so far in a technical sport.

Seriously, read the book, it's well worth it and something of an eye-opener. The author was an Olympian in table-tennis. His background was that his parents randomly bought a table-tennis table when he was very young and he and his mates spent hours playing on it every day for a few years. They then got lucky and had a PE Teacher who was also a keen TT player and started a club where, again they played for hours and hours, for years and years, with structured coaching and focussed practise. Half a dozen kids from the same street went on to be world-class players. Did they all have genetically superior hand-eye coordination, was their street a statistical anomaly, a magical hot-spot for talent, or was it just down to all the practise?


Matthew Sayed right?

Maybe talent could be defined as genetic and mental predisposition to learning a skill.

That will take you so far up the pyramid of excellence, but to get to the top of the pyramid takes the above plus instruction plus a lot of hard work over a long period of time.
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@stevomcd, it's cos no one else who isn't Chinese wants to play table tennis.
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Quote:

Matthew Sayed right?

Maybe talent could be defined as genetic and mental predisposition to learning a skill.

That will take you so far up the pyramid of excellence, but to get to the top of the pyramid takes the above plus instruction plus a lot of hard work over a long period of time.


(runs upstairs to check bookshelf) Yes, Matthew Syed.

Yeah, I think that might be a better definition of talent - genetics combined with mental approach. But if genetics aren't that important (or we choose our sport to suit our genetics) and we can change our mental approach then...
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stevomcd wrote:
Quote:

Matthew Sayed right?

Maybe talent could be defined as genetic and mental predisposition to learning a skill.

That will take you so far up the pyramid of excellence, but to get to the top of the pyramid takes the above plus instruction plus a lot of hard work over a long period of time.


(runs upstairs to check bookshelf) Yes, Matthew Syed.

Yeah, I think that might be a better definition of talent - genetics combined with mental approach. But if genetics aren't that important (or we choose our sport to suit our genetics) and we can change our mental approach then...


Just bought it on Kindle. Will report back Smile
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