Guest Blog – By Woody – “do we try too hard”?

A colleague of mine called Woody wrote this:

Do we try too hard

Don’t try too hard …..

This latest blog post is my reflection from my days as a ski instructor and compares this with driver training Coaching and other sports.

I hope you find it interesting.


Years back I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work in some of the most stunning locations in Europe up in the clouds of the Swiss French and Italian Alps

I was a ski guide and instructor for 10 fantastic winter seasons at the time I didn’t quite realise just how important a coaching approach was to helping people to ski particularly myself.


The term instructor , was correct at the time , because what we used to do was tell people how to ski. The more I skied the more I recognised there was always something more to it.

For those of you that are keen skiers you will know the feeling , one run is just amazing, everything clicks into place and parallel turns just seem to happen with hardly any forced thought or even excess energy involved. It just clicks into place, the next run down the mountain and it’s like you’re back to beginners stage again, the skis feel awkward , the snow feels wrong and the weight just doesn’t sync with your movements .


So why does this happen and what is the connection between this and learner drivers.

Well now to me it’s quite simple , we try too hard we think too much and we don’t believe in our own abilities.

Does this sound like any learner driver you know ?

I think that this type of block happens in all walks of life


Footballers , particularly strikers , one day they can’t stop scoring , then all of a sudden they start thinking too hard about how to put the ball in the net .

Cricketers , particularly using batsmen as an example . When they are on form they see the ball easily , they work out the speed, spin and swing of the ball and when on form that ball is as big as a beach all. Then the form dips and the ball starts getting smaller and smaller, the speed and swing become harder to gauge, is this because the batsmen is thinking too much , instead of just naturally letting the ball hit the bat he’s now trying so hard to hit the ball that he doesn’t see it.


You could probably compare this to tennis , golf and many other sports.

Driving is no different, look at how a learner thinks and acts on test day.

Look at how we as driving instructors acted on our own qualifying process particularly part 3 .

Look at the standards check, how does that make us think , do we try too hard , do we let our natural teaching extinct go and instead focus on just the marking sheet.

The best lesson I ever had was from an old Italian ski instructor called Lorrenzo, for all of his years this man floated on his skis, no effort required, his turns were liquid, he literally flowed down the mountain.

I was fortunate to go out for a ski on a number of occasions, I considered myself pretty good, but skiing with Lorrenzo was man and boy.

I asked him for some advice, ” what do you think I can do to improve” his reply

“Woody you’ve got to stop trying so hard” focus on feeling the mountain and above all focus on enjoying it”

The next line just nailed it for me “actually Woody focus on not focusing”


To me this was the answer , from then on my skiing went from strength to strength , I felt the enjoyment in skiing more and more and this only helped to improve my technique .

As an driving instructor / coach I can see the similarities, the adi tries too hard to teach the pupil tries too hard to learn.

A coaching approach particularly focuses more on thoughts and feelings, perhaps what’s misunderstood is the thoughts and feelings should be from both the instructor as well as the pupil.


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