“Bend ze knees!”

“Bend ze knees!”  How many times have you heard that expression, either from the mouths of fellow skiers or even a pro instructor?

Now I don’t profess to be a full on qualified instructor even though I have had training in the past and once held a dry slope instructor qualification but what I do know is that the words we use and the thoughts they form produce the actions we make.

I was skiing once with a random group in a chalet in La Rosiere and the whole ‘Bend ze knees’ instruction came up for discussion.   “When I bend my knees, all that happens is my ar*e sticks out!” lamented one female skier (as you may know, for us ladies this can be an affliction!)

“Of course it does” I said.  “If your focus is on bending your knees that is the likely outcome.”  However by changing this simple instruction to “Bend your ankles” or better still “Flex your ankles” your body will respond differently.  Try this now…

  • Stand up wherever you are and bend your knees.  Feel what happens to your lower body.  Where do you feel tension?  What happens to your toes?  You most likely notice that your quads tighten, your toes curl up off the floor and yes… your backside sticks out!
  • Now change the focus to flexing your ankles and notice what you notice.  Your feet stay flat, you feel balanced and relaxed and yes – your knees will bend.  You simply cannot flex your ankles (and stay upright) without bending your knees.

By changing this simple instruction to your brain the next time you ski you will instantly come out of the back seat and be noticeably more relaxed and balanced.  In turn your skiing will be more effective, responsive and controlled and your confidence will rocket!


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