Thread: The Talent Code
View Single Post
Old 10-06-2009
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Originally Posted by shuumai View Post
Is that like synesthesia? Vision being experienced as sensation?
I don't know enough about synesthesia to say yes or no, but my impression is that those who have this are "prewired" to conflate sensory input - experiencing colors as smells or vice versa for instance.

My impression of the role of visual input into learning is that it activates both imagination and intuition. I'd done the classic style of x-c skiing for six or eight years, mainly on a rail trail behind my house, where I lacked the opportunity to observe high-skilled skiers. Then I went to Mt Van Hoevenburg at Lake Placid, the 1980 Olympic nordic course and saw some people using the freestyle version with high skill. Not only did it look amazingly cool, rhythmic and flowing, but they just seemed to fly up hills with little visible effort.

Immediately two things happened: (1) I was inspired; I wanted to ski like they did. and (2) I began to imagine how it might feel if I could ski that way.

#1 was the ignition described in Coyle's book and provided the motivation that later proved essential to learning it.
#2 was my north star as I began the learning process.

My initial skating lesson was kind of pathetic. I took a 90-min clinic with my wife and daughters. Our teacher was Joe Kahn, who has been a valued guide in the 8 or so years since that lesson.

The first drill Joe gave us was to wear one ski, put it in a track cut for classic skiers, and repeatedly push off the unshod foot and glide in balance as far as we could on our ski. Alice and the girls mastered this almost effortlessly. I was utterly clumsy - kept falling one way or the other from shifting weight too far or not far enough.
Joe then took us through a series of four more drills . . . for which mastery of Drill #1 was essential. They did great, improving their skill with each. For me the initial struggle only got worse with each drill. And when we finished the drills off they all went doing freestyle skiing on the 1.4-mile Flatlands loop.

Me? I removed one ski, went back to the track and spent the next 90 minutes learning what had taken them 5 minutes - back and forth, first on one ski, then on the other. I never left the learning area to attempt actual skiing that day, or probably for several more. However, eight years later I ski much better than any of them because of the learning/practice habits I cultivated through Examined Swimming. And I still begin most days of skiing with 10 to 30 minutes of the simplest drills and skills.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 10-06-2009 at 01:32 PM.
Reply With Quote