Two weeks ago, I posted on my XC skiing experiences. Be sure to take a look if you haven't already seen it, but the idea is I learned a great deal from struggling to learn something new. While I used Bambi as an image for my skiing style, I now have photographic proof of how I spent most of my day...
This is my second set of observations from the day. Enjoy!
1. Repetition is Your Friend: It's the same as swimming laps in a pool or putting in the saddle time on the bike. Some things just take time to master, er, barely accomplish. Be sure you're training your body to do the right thing, not re-inforcing bad habits. Do this and each attempt will make a little progress. Each baby-step eventually leds somewhere, even if you seem to be going nowhere fast.
2. Drills Help Too: Breaking down what I was doing into (supposedly) simple drills helped me to make sure that the repetition I was putting in was correct. My instructor gave me a few simple things to think about during the drills and I tried my best to transfer those things into regular skiing. Whenever I got off track or frustrated, I'd go back to the drills and start over. See point #1.
3. Pay Attention to What You are Really Doing!: I had an idea of what I was doing in my mind, but that usually didn't translate to reality. I was told to dive to one side with my upper body then push off the other ski. I thought I was doing it, just not having any luck with moving forward... In reality, I was just trying to skate with my legs and kept my arms nice and tucked where I felt safe. Once I was told (oh, 100 times or so) that I wasn't moving my arms, I realized that I was really light years away from what my mind was envisioning. Once I paid attention, I was able to make progress.
4. Body Position is Key: This is true for swimming, running, cycling, skiing, and most every other sport. The arms and legs are extensions of your core and what you do with that core affects how the arms and legs move. I had trouble leaning forward and letting the skis hold me up. My body position was comfortable leaning back, which is a similar problem to my running form when I fatigue. Try all I might with my arms and legs, I'd be using over 1/2 of my energy to overcome my incorrect body position! Swimmers, are you reading this???
5. Keep Perspective: I talked about enjoying the process in my first post and this is along the same lines. I was out skiing because I wanted to do something new and enjoy myself! I think a lot of people lose perspective when up against a challenge and forget the big picture. If I never skii again, I'll alwasy have the time when I had a great experience with my sister and her boyfriend.... And I'll always have the time when I wasn't the one on the ground! Life's little joys...