Apologies for the lack of posting, busy-ness, grad school apps, etc. Plus quality is better than quantity. On to the post.
I went to Tahoe with my parents + cousin this weekend. I'm probably at a beginning intermediate level of snowboarding. I still don't usually make it down the hill without falling, though that's often because I'm trying something new, like catching a little air or doing S-turns when I'm riding switch (and let me just say, catching an edge = ouch!). But I must be getting better, because I can't think about it anymore.
Wait, don't I mean I don't have to think about it? Well, yes, but also that I can't think about it. This is the first time this season I've gone snowboarding, and the first couple of runs down the mountain, I was having a lot of trouble getting my S-turns to work. I was disappointed that like last year, I might have to spend a whole day just getting my rhythm back.
And then during my third run, I was watching a skier doing some fancy tricks, and totally forgot to think about what I was doing. When I came back to myself, I realized I was just carving down the (beginner) slope like I had been trying to do, but without trying. All I needed to do was stop thinking about it.
Research has shown that pro athletes inevitably flub their shots when they start thinking about the mechanics of what they're doing. They do much better when they let their unconscious deal with the details. Beginners, on the other hand, do much better when they concentrate on what they're doing. They have to consciously learn the correct habits before they can delegate the motion to their body.
So regular S-turns I can do without thinking. Switch S-turns, with my right foot in front, are something new, and therefore something I need to think about until I've had enough practice with them. The same goes for landing off a jump. Once I've gotten that balanced landing a few times, I'll be able to start thinking about new tricks to go with it.