Snowboarding_Comparing Traditional to RSTP Skill Transfer

One of the distinguishing features of the RSTP is that, because it breaks down the instruction so fine-grained, in such an explicit, language based fashion (see “Language Based Skill Transfer”), far more critical distinctions are made than with traditional instructional sequences (see “Distinguishing Distinctions”).  As a result, the skill transfer sequence is much more thorough, therefore making the transfer much more efficient and effective for both the instructor and student.

As an example, in my research on snowboarding, I found a great little video series on YouTube.  Other than one distinction that came from some other video, their 9 video series was pretty much the only thing I used to figure out what I felt I needed to start piecing together my own series to learn snowboarding. By comparison, I’ve since broken out the basic snowboarding sequence that they had built out in 9 session into roughly 70 – 7x more lessons!!  So far…  I expect it will be a larger number by the time I’m finished.

What this says to me is that traditional instruction falls WAY short of its objective to transfer skill to a student!  It tells me that too many micro-skills are glommed together for the student to have any hope of actually mastering them simultaneously (see “The Problems with Traditional Skill Transference”).  It indicates that the instruction is designed to push the student through the various component skills much faster than is physically possible.  And it ultimately tells me that it’s bound to fail, leaving the instructor frustrated and the student feeling incapable (see “There’s Something Wrong With Me”), not what either of them is likely looking to experience. 

My theory is that any skill formatted to the RSTP should facilitate the glorious feeling that comes with ULTIMATE SUCCESS!!  I know I watched all manner of people, of various ages and athleticism flounder right beside me, as I methodically progressed towards my ultimate goal:  SNOWBOARDING LIKE A GODDESS  😉

Nested Distinctions: Distinctions within Distinctions

When I first dove into snowboarding, as a way to test out the RSTP, I started making coarse distinctions (see “Distinguishing Distinctions – A Definition”). Each one of those critical differences that I discovered, made it easier and easier for me to learn-in each of the various building blocks of the skill set.  With each new discovery, I felt more confident that they would all ultimately add up to my ability to actually carve like a strangely-middle-aged-looking hipster-chick, down the slopes of a Sierra Nevada mountain (at least this is how I picture it in my head!!  Lolol).

And as I became more adept, I started to notice how what I, at first, thought of as being only one task or building block, was actually comprised of MANNNNY smaller subskills that had to be recognized, addressed, and then practiced in a logic sequence until they were systematically mastered.  I discovered that, frequently, there’s a nesting of micro-skills that all come together to make up a larger sub-skill.

Nested distinctions are those distinctions within distinctions that make up a larger whole.

I alluded to this in one of my earlier posts, (see “Testing, Testing RSTP Theory – Snowboarding, PART 2a – Using the carpet lift on the bunny slope”).  One would think, and virtually every instructor would lead you to believe, that riding the absurdly non-threatening bunny slope carpet lift is not even worth mentioning to the student.  “Just ride the lift to the top!!” (see “‘Just’ is anything but ‘Just’”)

Bunny slope_carpet lift

Yet, here’s where the RSTP shines… a light…  in all the tiny dark corners of instruction, and illuminates the myriad ways in which it goes wrong.  It’s especially good at clarifying all the points along the way of the instruction in which the student unknowingly misses key distinction steps in the process they are attempting to learn and possess.

So, the directive to “Just ride the lift to the top!!” is actually quite complex: 

There’s a couple of subtle little distinctions needed to successfully mount the lift

  • It’s necessary to place the snowboard facing straight up the lift, both sides of the board parallel to the sides of the lift, not sideways or at an angle.
  • It’s important to position the front tip of the board approximately 8” out over the moving treadmill without allowing the board to touch down onto the moving surface.
  • You must then press the tip of the board down onto the moving treadmill and at the same time that the board catches, place your back foot on the stomp pad while also maintaining an upright position and balance, facing perpendicular to the direction of the moving lift.

There are distinctions that must be made to successfully ride the lift

  • For the duration of the ride, the rider DOESN’T MOVE – this is instructive because even NOT doing something IS doing something intentionally (see “Not doing IS doing”). 
  • Once the individual is balanced, they must maintain a loose stance with knees slightly bent in the riding position, and looking straight ahead (perpendicular to the movement of the lift).

There are separate distinctions necessary for successfully exiting the carpet lift

  • One must keep their board pointed straight forward (just don’t move), both sides of the board parallel to the sides of the lift, not sideways or at an angle, keeping weight balanced in the center, foot on the stomp pad. 
  • As the board comes to the end of the lift, it will be pushed off the end.  DON’T MOVE – again, intentionally remaining still, centered and balanced over the board.
  • Then one must straight gliding until they come to a natural stop.

In a future post, I’ll look at the vast difference there is between traditional instruction and RSTP instruction.  (see “Snowboarding_Comparing Traditional to RSTP Skill Transfer“)


Just yesterday, Michael, my masterminding partner of the past 10 years, and I discussed what great value we’ve both gotten from our association.  Every single week, when we talk, we start our call with a celebration of the progress and the wins each of us have made in the previous week. 

 In particular, we’ve noticed how this ritual of accountability has helped us remain aware of the progress each of us has made over time and helped us to keep plugging along towards our goals, despite the challenges and setbacks we’ve each navigated at different times over the past decade.

To pay homage to our tradition, I’m going to celebrate the progress I’ve made in testing out the RSTP theory….

  • In just 16.5 of hours, spread out over just 14 days of practice, usually at just over an hour of practice each of those days, I have not only SUCCESSFULLY tested out RSTP theory, but I’ve also learned how to snowboard!! 
  • I went from having built the basic theoretical tenants of transferring skill efficiently and effectively from novice to expert, to having built out an entire skill set based on those theories. I, then, used that rough version to teach myself how to snowboard. 
  •  I went from never having strapped a snowboard on my feet, to being able to know and use my equipment, get up off my back side, ride the carpet and chair lifts, skate and step, straight glide, make j-turns, work on both my toe- and heel-sides, stop, make S-turns, and ultimately, carve a line down the snowy slope! 
  • I saw theory played out in the playground of the real world – while I watched people half my age crash and burn, over and over again, beating themselves to death on the hard packed snow, I rarely fell, yet acquired the skill.

After Michael and I finish with our celebration, we then dig back in and figure out the next steps towards our greater visions and just how we think we might be able to execute them.  I have the basics down for both The Protocol, and for snowboarding – I can see a broader horizon now that I trust that there really is something to this theory.  So here’s a little prelude of what’s to come next…

Now that I have worked through all the basic building blocks for my test skillset, I need to:

  1. Lay out all of the language-based lesson building blocks
  2. Chuff all those building blocks through the software that my Ukrainian friend, Maksym, is building for me to use to split out the language parts of the lessons
  3. Test out his software for how well it assembles the lesson scripts for filming
  4. Lay out my plan and prep to film the entire snowboarding sequence next season in a standard format to ease the filming schedule (tag lessons by location, equipment, person in the scene, from what angle, etc)
  5. Prep Dave (lolol – he’s gonna’ luv this one!!!) to run through the entire sequence so I can clean it up, and test out how long it takes him to run through the lessons
  6. Finish up the blog posts regarding the snowboarding test sequence
  7. Finish up the blog posts regarding making distinctions
  8. Work with Maksym to get a working prototype of our software built and tested
  9. Get a polished version of my SkillsOpedia logo made
  10. And if I get bored, and get all this done, I’ll push the work I’ve already done for stick-shift driving, the first skill set I worked with, through the software, for a second test and refinement of the software

 That should do it for the next year!!  Praying for snow!!  😉


Cultivating My Inner Dude

A few years back, I heard myself saying to my favorite, but as-of-yet directionless, nephew (I love you, David K.!! 😉 ) that I’d give anything to be an 18 year old, single guy – I remember quoting my favorite Bob Segar song line to him, “I could go east, I could go west, it was all up me to decide.” I envisioned what it would be like to be in his position – to seemingly have any and all paths open to me in the same way I felt he had…

But, then, something kept eating at me for days after that conversation. And then the thoughts… (I apologize in advance…) … “WTF Renee?!??!?”

“What in the sweet name of blipity blip does some random chronological number and/or a Y-chromosome have to do WITH ANYTHING????” Continue reading


When I crashed and burned last year, landing myself a shoulder AC separation, (see “Snowboarding Crash and Burn”), I had no idea just how close I was to having a basic grasp of snowboarding. 


I’m so thrilled, despite not having touched my snowboard for almost an entire year, that I pressed ahead this year and, by surprise, discovered that I was only a couple of lessons off of, actually, for-realizies, SNOWBOARDING!!!.  All the micro-skill building blocks I had been methodically building and hardwiring in, one-by-one, were then  systematically aggregated, culminating in this day, this moment, this snowboarding skill set!!  I feel like a BAD-A**!!!!  😉

Chalk one success up for the Rapid Skill Transfer Protocol!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!

For a little celebration, and a preview of what’s next to come, see “TESTING, TESTING – SNOWBOARDING THEORY, CELEBRATION and “What’s Next?

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! ”)

TESTING, TESTING – RSTP THEORY, Snowboarding Part 10a – 384 days after my Epic Fail


Bunny slope, Version 2.0, riding the lift

I can still feel the twingy-ness in my left shoulder from the AC separation I suffered when I unexpectedly hit a wind-blown patch of ice last season and went down…. Hard! (see “Snowboarding Crash and Burn”) I had reflected on what had gone wrong, realized that Epic Failure is often necessary to make the key distinctions that play a critical role in ultimate success (see “Upside of Epic Failure”), and had cataloged the lessons learned in order to incorporate them into RSTP to make the theory and practice more robust going forward (see “Lessons from My Epic Failure”).

I had to face my fears of getting hurt again and not being able to finish up the glorious snow season bestowed on the Sierra Nevada’s by the benevolent and generous El Nino weather system.

It was time to get back on that snowboard again and ride!!

So, though today was in no way a major milestone, in terms of riding like a dudette, it was a major milestone against the demons in my head.  I faced the wicked bunny-slope, navigating it with tentative mastery.  And then the muscle memory kicked in, and with it, my confidence (see “Wrapping the Mylin Sheath/Muscle Memory”).  I was riding the carpet lift like an 8 year old, gliding 3 endless feet to a perfect stop!!  I was blowing out heel- and toe-side slides, falling leaf patterns and riding a 10% grade for 40 mind-blowing feet!!!  I even ventured two runs down the bunny slope, Version 2.0, before calling it a day!!

I was the master of my domain!!!!!

Now, all I had left to do, to complete my beginner’s course in snowboarding, was to learn how to carve – deep breath, but here goes….  (see “Carving – Distinctions”)