TESTING, TESTING – SNOWBOARDING THEORY, Part 10b – Carving – Distinctions

I’ve talked before about how critical/important distinctions are in the skill transfer process (see “Distinguishing Distinctions – A Definition”).  Up until now, the distinctions I’d been making had been of a more theoretical nature, an intellectual exercise.  I could envision how slight changes in movement could alter the outcome – simple physics.  But, today I EXPERIENCED, for myself, the difference in outcome by becoming aware of those tiny differences that make ALL the difference.  Today was the day I experienced distinctions, not as an intellectual exercise.  But I felt it, for myself, in my body!!

During my practice session, I warmed up with a few runs doing everything I had learned to date.  Then it was time to add carving down a fall line down the slope.  I carefully, methodically followed the sequence I had been shown in the video series I had been using to figure out the broad brush strokes for snowboarding:

  • Put pressure on the front toe, then pressure on the back toe, then roll your front knee in towards your back knee to finish out the turn to the right
  • Put pressure on the front heel, then pressure on the back heel, then roll your front knee out away from your back knee to finish out the turn to the left
  • Alternate between these two movements to carve an S-shape down the hill

I slowly strung the two parts together, back and forth when, suddenly, it hit me.  I realized that sliding and digging in the back toe then back heel, in a rocker-like motion, back and forth is what really facilitates the downhill carving motion. 

I’d made a distinction – in my muscles, in my body, as to what variable really made all the difference in performance.  And it was EXHILIRATING!!!  I LOOKED and FELT like a snowboarder!!!  

As a result of the distinctions made, the sequence became much more precise:

  • -Put pressure on front toe, put pressure on and slide the front toe backward and lean on back toe to dig in back toe; let your body lean forward slightly
  • Put pressure on front heel, put pressure on and slide back heel forward and lean on back heel to dig in back heel; let your body lean backward slightly
  • Alternate between these two movements to carve an S-shape down the hill

Now, all that was left to do to OWN this snowboarding skill set, to OWN this little piece of the mountain, was to hardwire it into my unconscious competence (see “TESTING, TESTING – SNOWBOARDING THEORY, Part 10c – Carving – Nailed It! ”)

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