Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

– Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The challenge I face in attempting to communicate the information I have gleaned over the past  4 decades is to understand the mindset of those who read and follow my blog. Statements that have been consistently repeated for decades and accepted without question have shaped the mindset of skiers, racers, ski pros and coaches. I can pick up almost any ski magazine and read statements like:

  • The foot works best when its joints are immobilized in a ski boot (usually in neutral).
  • The most important thing is to support the foot with a custom insole or orthotic.
  • The ski boot is a handle that allows a skier to apply force to a ski.
  • A tightly fitting boot that is narrow gives racers precise control.
  • If you ski or race long enough, you will injure your knee.
  • The Holy Grail of skiing is a boot that perfectly mirrors the shape of a skier’s foot.
  • The newer, more upright ski boots allow a relaxed upright stance (implying it is better).

I know no evidence to support any of the above statements. But they are widely accepted in skiing as unassailable truths that create an information bias and a cognitive dissonance that causes skiers, racers, ski pros and coaches to subconsciously filter out any information that conflicts with what they believe.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a simple way to communicate the elements of a Stretch Reflex Stance and describe how to ensure the SR can function when a skiers foot and leg are constrained in ski boot.

The graphic below shows what I have come up with using a software called Poser. It took a long time and many revisions to arrive at the graphic below.


I discussed Step 1 in  ZEPPA-DELTA ANGLE AND THE STRETCH REFLEX https://skimoves.me/2016/10/02/zeppa-delta-angl…e-stretch-reflex/

The graphic below shows the changes that set up a static preload in the shank. Relaxing the hamstrings allows the knees to move forward and the ankle to dorsiflex. A point is reached where the tension in the arch and the soleus (one of the two calve muscles) peak. This arrests further forward movement of the shank. This happens every time we take a step when walk.



I will try and post the rest of the material on 3 EASY STEPS TO AN SR STANCE within the next few days. In the meantime, I am posting a brilliant comment that I received this morning from Thomas in response to a comment made about my last post. What Thomas says speaks to what my work and blog are about.

Thomas, you made my day. Thankyou.

My Dear Skiracer,

I am guessing that you did not hear the significance of the meaning and reasoning behind this post.

I am also guessing from the tone of your post you have some frustration with the creative process which unfolding here on this blog. You seem too have a high value for clarity and a desire for things to be laid out at your feet in a clear enough manner that they can be assertively engaged by another party. It is rather common in prosecutorial rhetoric to create two sides to go after each other.

A very different scenario was being played out between Dave and me. What I employed here was/is reflective listening and it is as the hart of restorative process generally and Restorative Circles specifically. In reflective listing, the emphasis is place on gaining an understanding of what the speaker has to say. I did this by reflecting back to him in my own words what I heard. Note that I actually made three numbered statements, not questions. The only question I asked him was, if I understood the essence of his meaning the way he wanted to be known.

Dave responded with his comments to make sure he was heard the way he wanted to be. Now the ball is in my court to reflect back to him to see if I got it this time. Your comments short circuited, blocked and have not allowed the creative process to play out!

I want you, Skiracer, to know that the strength of this process is evident in Dave presenting this as a post as well as a comment in “ZEPPA-DELTA ANGLE AND THE STRETCH REFLEX” https://skimoves.me/2016/10/02/zeppa-delta-angle-and-the-stretch-reflex/

There, I enjoyed the dialogue between Dave and Rick a decorated instructor. Sort of like two friends discussing this and that. And trying to understand more about how to explain optimal stance as it relates to effortless skiing and teaching. What is interesting about gaining an understanding of each other’s meaning, colloquially called ‘acting collaboratively’, by definition acting with good humor and precisely named ‘acting Restoratively’ because there are always conflicts; if an understanding is reached, it is relatively easy to use our God given intelligence to find solutions.

We are called Homo Sapiens, “the one who knows”. But perhaps our greatest strength is not our intellect, but our ability to work together and the ability to restore connection as well as collaboration. In that light, some suggest we should be called Homo Auxiliator vel Accipio Auxilium or “the one who helps or receives help”.

Actually, I am honored that Dave would perhaps unknowingly use this element of restorative process to foster scientific cooperation in order to bring better understanding to a sport we all seem to love.

So Skiracer perhaps you could imagine what it would be like to be Homo Auxiliator vel Accipio Auxilium, thomas






  1. Well, I do respect Dave’s response to my observation and apply it in the case of your rambling rhetoric. Oh, by the way, if you want to have your pompous diatribe respected, you should probably use a grammar checker. There is nor was any malice in my statement to you Dave, only my opinion. Unfortunately, not the same for Thomas. Thanks, I think🤔

    1. Skiracer, the intent behind my decision to post Thomas’ comment was not to attack you. Nor, did I perceive any malice in your comments. I posted his comment because he speaks to the reason that I started this blog a few years ago. I did so with the hope of stimulating an interactive dialog that would caste a constructive critical eye on skiing, especially ski technique, with the objective of creating a greater appreciation of the sophistication of the human system and ways in which human performance can be leveraged as opposed to being suppressed.

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