Alpine sport relies heavily on the management of energy with respect to time. If we move effectively, we ‘gain’ time, consuming less of our own energy, meanwhile utilizing more of the energy provided by our working environment.
Movement analysis is not about assessing and copying someone else’s motions or criticizing an athlete because they don’t conform to a particular standard. It’s about understanding where movements come from and how they affect the performance
You can learn the steps, but to dance you must embrace the music.
Proprioception gives us a sense of where our body parts are in relation to one another, but sometimes it’s helpful to see how the movement of our body parts affects our movement over the landscape.
Movement analysis gives us perspective, to better take stock of what is, what isn’t, and why.
Once you’ve set a tangible baseline, you can figure out what to work on next, to establish realistic expectations for the near term. If several things appear ‘broken’, how should repairs be prioritized?
Movement analysis is most effective when those involved know what they’re looking at, when the athlete and analyst have a common understanding of what matters to the performance, and what doesn’t.
This presents a problem, as what’s easy to see and what’s frequently pointed out as important is often a byproduct of effective/ineffective performance, and not the cause.
We tend to be biased, such that we assign importance to things we can see, to the detriment of understanding those we cannot.
Often the things we can’t see are the things that really matter to the overall performance.
Behind every visible action is a cause to that action. For an athlete in motion, this implies a time shift between the cause of what we see, and where an athlete is in space when we see the effect of that cause.
Yet we often try to learn by mimicry; by watching someone we identify as ‘better’ than ourself, and then incorporating their obvious movements into our repertoire.
Invisible time is always of the essence. When it comes to channeling our momentum, the window of opportunity slams shut quickly.
If we see a particular action at a particular time in relation to a specific turn or terrain feature, we will get nowhere trying to emulate what we see, as we will be ‘too late’.
Furthermore, if we copy obvious movements, our performance will simply be those movements, with no practical connection to our presumed goal of higher performance, without regard for our unique movement tendencies or capability.
On the other hand, if we understand the concepts behind effective movement, (what should be happening and why), we can gradually fill in the gaps between the steps, until we’re dancing.