What you are going to read now applies to may different sports. The graduation from one stage to another in most sports, apart from skiing, is much less clearly defined, and it's usually possible to move from one stage to the next quite quickly. With skiing, however, it is rare to find people who move through the stages quickly, so unless you are one of the rare ones, console yourself with this!.The 'conscious' I talk about refers to your brain and the 'competence' has to do with your body. The 'zone' is to do with nirvana and total enlightenment.There are five ages of skiing; they are unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, unconscious competence, conscious competence and The Zone.
Unconscious incompetence is that of a complete beginner. Do you remember what it was like? You hadn't a clue what you were doing and what you did do was more than likely a disaster. You were being told to do things by an instructor or a friend, but your brain was in melt down. If someone had asked you what the time was while you were trying to execute a manoeuvre, more than likely you wouldn't even hear them.
Basically, you hadn't a clue what you were doing, and what you were doing you were doing badly. Anyway you didn't really care did you because it was such FUN.wasn't it?.The next stage of conscious incompetence is where I reckon most people are.
On really good days they may occasionally move into the next stage for brief moments, but are unable to harness this sudden improvement. Most of the time they are painfully aware of their shortcomings but cannot find a way to develop their ski technique. They know what's wrong but can't correct it. It is often an extremely frustrating stage, and it is mainly to those people that these ski technique articles are based.Stage three is like lifting off for the first time in an aeroplane.
I don't know how it works but my does it feel good from where I'm standing. Unconscious competence is a wonderful first time experience if you are a skier, and like a lot of other things you will probably remember the first time forever. Feeling the skis throwing you from one turn to another on short swings is exciting. The fact that you don't really know or don't really care how you do it puts you into this transitional category.Conscious competence is an enjoyable hard working roller coaster that takes you forward two steps and backwards one. You can start to look at skiing from the outside and begin to feel what it's all about.
It is hard work; you start to put a lot more effort into preparing for a ski trip, understanding how the ski works, wondering why it is easier to ski on different snow surfaces, and computing and filing into your sub conscious the methods you are using to ski on them. This book should help you get well into conscious competence!.What it can't do is tell you how to get into The Zone.
This is something that can't be taught but is the result of everything you've learnt and it doesn't come often. It's your moment when everything goes so perfectly - the bright sun shining out of an azure sky on to dazzling powder snow, a smell of pine and wood smoke on the crystalline air - and you ski the most perfect run, every turn part of a dream to remember!..
Simon Dewhurst has taught downhill skiing in North America, Scandinavia and the European Alps for 35 years. He currently runs a ski chalet agency in the French Alps. His book "Secrets of Better Skiing" can be found at http://www.ski-jungle.com.
If you have any comments about the above article, he will be happy to answer them.
By: Simon Dewhurst