xiphon - I think you're underestimating the power of seeing someone else do something.
Gaining the belief that something is possible is a huge part of progressing in any sport.
Not only that but seeing someone do something, also gives you the desire and motivation to try it yourself.
A good example is backflips in motorsport - the first one in competition opened the floodgates. People just didn't dare try it until they saw it done and realised it was possible and looked ace.