As a group, we were viewing the day two video analysis session with a mixture of trepidation (all our flaws on the big screen for everyone to see) and curiosity (what do I really look like skiing). During the day Rob had videoed us all doing four turns with a focus on achieving technical accuracy, and then later on a short stretch of off-piste bumps. As two groups are running this week, we also were able to see the other team’s undertaking the same tasks.
The session covered the technical turns first starting with a short video of a Warren Smith Ski Academy instructor using freeze frame with commentary from our two instructors so that we were able to clearly see what we should have been doing. Then onto our individual efforts at slow and normal speeds, again with both instructors providing frank feedback. And here’s the surprising thing – a process that could have left us broken and weeping was in fact a really positive and affirming experience. (It probably helped that we were in a bar with drinks in hand.) Rather than focusing on what were were getting wrong, the emphasis was on things to focus on the next day, and whilst there was some minor disappointment as it was clear that we were not going to be considered for the next team GB Olympics team, we also all took away some positive feedback.
The impact of this was very clear the next day. As we progressed through the day’s challenges with our own focus areas in mind, we were also able to support each other. At one point, as we were about to tackle a very mogully itinerary run (Gentianes), we were open with each other about our individual levels of discomfort at the start (“What? You really want us to do THAT??”) and we also gave each other constructive feedback at the end.
I guess it isn’t so surprising really – we are a group of reasonably competent skiers who have voluntarily come back to school to improve our skiing skills and this is reflected in the level of engagement. The week’s programme is designed to push our comfort levels, to help us correct those habits which are preventing us moving to the next level, and to learn skills that will help us deal with all types of terrain. And I, for one, am definitely looking forward to our second video session on Thursday.