concentrated effort aids improvement

The experts are telling us that to improve in a sport we should be acutely aware of what we're doing, not what we will do or wish we could do. In other words, total concentration solves a multitude of problems.

The trick, of course, is to be able to concentrate at will. So many distractions can seem to affect concentration. In order to tune them out we must pay attention to a specific object. In skiing there are a number of "objects" upon which we can concentrate. But one of the most helpful is what we are doing with our eyes.

How about this for an exercise, particularly on a challenging slope, although it should help skiing on any slope? Concentrate on keeping your eyes level -- not looking down at your feet but centered -- and looking ahead at where you want to go. If you're on a roller- coaster mogul run, concentrate even harder on keeping those eyes level, not looking at your feet but down the valley where you're going. If you find yourself looking up to do that, it means the head has dropped and needs to be "leveled."

Such absorption is likely to improve body position, a critical factor in skiing challenging terrain. It should help us pick a line that is skiable, rather than merely follow our feet. And it will constructively hold attention on what is happening rather than being lured into thinking about something other than the present instant.

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