Lessons from My Epic Failure_Snowboarding

So, here’s what I learned from My Epic Snowboarding Failure…  (see “The Upside of Epic Failure”)

***First and foremost, my epic failure confirms the importance of the RSTP tenant, “Go-Slow-To-Go-Fast” – in my misguided impatience to jump too quickly ahead, I completely took myself out of the snowboarding skill acquisition game. In trying to advance too quickly, was completely stopped out –it’s pretty clear that, over the long run, if you’re sitting on the sidelines, it’s going to take considerably longer to acquire any level of skill competence!!  (see “Go-Slow-To-Go-Fast”)

***I realized that I had ignored, to the peril of my acromioclavicular shoulder joint, two key basic working theories of RSTP – if I had 1) broken the skill set down into smaller skills acquisition segments far enough, and 2) practiced those individual elements sufficiently to embed them deeply enough into my unconscious competence, then, outside of a freak, perfect storm-type accident, I shouldn’t have gotten hurt!!!!  RSTP should make accidents irrelevant!!   (see “Breaking it Down,” “Practice, Practice, PRACTICE” and “Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence Spectrum”)

***It occurred to me that I needed to apply the business principle of “minimizing the downside” to building out RSTP lessons. I firmly believe in the motto “live to play another day” – or in RSTP vernacular…

“Live and stay in one piece to practice and play another day!!”

I had forgotten to put safety concerns at the top of the learning sequence, to make them a key feature of RSTP. I may have tucked myself into my Michelin-Man looking butt pads, strapped on my wrist guards, and tucked my grey-matter into my bucket, but I had completely overlooked key protection measures. I hadn’t learned important elements of snowboarding, like falling properly and I hadn’t practiced-in those basics to point of unconscious competence before moving on to other elements of the skill acquisition sequence. (see “Safety Skill Elements”)

***What my “accident” also points to the fact that safety and loss-risk mitigation are significantly glossed over in traditional instruction. If the point of RSTP is to break down a skill into very precise, discreet pieces of instruction, through a methodical assessment of the necessary components of the skill set, and I had still managed to completely overlook the safety elements, I had to wonder what the chance are that they’re getting included in traditional instruction. I’m guessing, not very probable!

***And, from that, we can then likely generalize to just how many countless instructional segments get ignored, glossed over, or worse, assumed during “normal” instruction. (see “The Expert Doesn’t Know What They Know” )

***I also concluded that it’s ill-advised to make the assumption of perfect conditions for instruction. While initial instruction needs to be in as isolated, near-perfect conditions as possible, in order to perfect the initial building blocks of the skillset, it’s important to then successively “learn in” the other scenarios, through drills in order to be prepared for less-than-perfection conditions.

***This led me to see a need for drills, not only for initial components, but also to hardwire in different scenarios (eg ice, other people, having to stop instantaneously, etc)

***You must know and hardwire in the likely contingencies, must build slowly – took too big of a leap – just confirmed it all

***And, the ah-ha that I appreciated the most – my whole debacle actually confirmed that my theory was sound! I realized that I had clearly made great progress when I snowboarded, with a bunged up shoulder, what must have been another mile down towards the base of the mountain before it occurred to me if I went down again, I could really do some damage. I decided to hoof it down to the bottom, but realized I had gone down most of the large, steep mountain – not bad for such a short amount of actual time spent learning.

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