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Student using wrong pole or using it too late

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

We have school groups at our ski area and today was my third day with a group of kids from one of the closer schools.  They are good kids who seem to be paying attention and seem to want to progress.  They're all about 12-13.  I had only three boys today because the girl was sick.  They all carry poles but none of them know how to use them in even a rudimentary fashion.  I decided it was time to start teaching them how to use their poles correctly.  There is a run with a few bumps, just enough to keep you awake, and I demonstrated how to use their poles to initiate a turn and at the same time helping to flatten the skis in anticipation of turning.  Two of them are getting sometimes, but the third one is either planting the uphill pole nearly behind him or planting the downhill pole about 2/3 -3/4 through the turn.  What I have not done is talk with any of the parents or teachers who come with them to make sure he doesn't have any sort of learning problem, but I don't think he does.  So, any thoughts on how to get someone to start using the correct pole on a consistent basis?  I think he's sort of oblivious to the poles even being in his hands, but that is only a guess.

post #2 of 12

 My daughter used to hold her poles up in front of her, just stickin' out to the sides, looked really funny, she was about 6 and just starting to use them so she really had no idea.  We were skiing with friends at Steamboat and my buddy who used to be an instructor noticed it and had to jump on fixin' that asap.  He told her to do this... hold your hands in front of you and plant your pole out near the tip of your ski to start your turn, here's the catch, you gotta sing this song to the tune of Happy Birthday, use your left pole to turn left, use your right pole to turn right, use your left pole to turn left, use your right pole to turn tight!  It worked, it's been 7 years now and we still chuckle about it (and sing it) when we see others needing the help.  I just like that story.

post #3 of 12

 

Quote:
plant your pole out near the tip of your ski to start your turn,

Except the pole is best planted straight down the fall line from the feet.  Reaching ahead, then turning around the pole tends to pull the shoulders around into rotation vs. a very brief pole tap from a very compact pole plant movement.  Bumps & pow do require a balancing pole plant, but still downhill from the feet.

 

Mtcyclist

How does this kid do with a new skill on very easy terrain?  Challenge him (all of them) with technique, not terrain, then move the new technique gradually to tougher terrain.  If he can't get it at all, then give him technique in steps small enough for him to grasp and begin to master, even if the others are doing much better.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

I will try all of them on easier terrain next Friday.  The student who was sick is still a wedge skier so we generally use somewhat easier terrain when she's there.

post #5 of 12

It's difficult to introduce a new maneuver which has no function.  A lot of kids nowadays are taught to ski without poles, therefore they have no use for them later on.  If your students tend to initiate turns using upper body rotation (UBR), the poles have absolutely no function, in fact, they just get in the way.  If that's the case, you have to build up their skills to introduce counter, and where the pole plant actually becomes a functional element of the turn.

Since the timing is so critical in the pole plant, one of the best drills is "synchronized skiing" with the instructor.  I find that it teaches new movements a lot more effectively than following the tracks.

post #6 of 12

I see a lot of people trying without poles, but poles have saved me from a few falls so I've learned to use them now that I'm doing better turns, and if you ever hit a flat without poles, you're walking.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey View Post

I see a lot of people trying without poles, but poles have saved me from a few falls so I've learned to use them now that I'm doing better turns, and if you ever hit a flat without poles, you're walking.

Have you heard of skating?  I never have my poles when teaching first-timers and I skate from the Magic Carpet to beginner chair lift, much faster and less tiring than poling.
 

 

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtcyclist View Post

So, any thoughts on how to get someone to start using the correct pole on a consistent basis?



Schlopy Drill.

 

post #9 of 12

 

Originally Posted by CHRISfromRI

Schlopy Drill.

 

My understanding of the Schlopy Drill has it done without poles.  One hand is on the outside hip pressing it in for angulation, the other hand is elevated and stretched out, strengthening the lead of the inside half of the body.  I use the Scholopy Drill to teach upper-lower body separation.  

 

I'm interested in knowing how you integrate poles with this drill?

 

 

post #10 of 12

There are variations. 

 

Do the drill with poles but NO pole-touch, just have them lead in a very exaggerated manner with the arm that will be the new inside arm. Sometimes you have to explain to them to hold the lead arm like a fire-torch out in front. The pole just hangs down.

 

Eventually, that lead arm from this drill will become their pole-touch arm for a subsequent drill. Idea is to develop muscle memory for a strong inside half early in the turn (as you aptly pointed out), and then later they will use the pole-touch to reinforce that feeling. Mistakes on which pole to use will be greatly reduced because they have turn affecting consequences.

 

This is not so much about that they do the pole-touch, but deeper into the why of the pole touch and what it does.

 

Skip the variation you're referring to with the hand on the hip to create angulation for this lower level skier...

post #11 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by incognito View Post

Since the timing is so critical in the pole plant, one of the best drills is "synchronized skiing" with the instructor.  I find that it teaches new movements a lot more effectively than following the tracks.


We have instructors who can't do synchronized skiing; I wouldn't expect my students to be able to do it.

 

Wouldn't a conga line (boots only without skis on) be much easier for the students to follow, especially in a group?

post #12 of 12

I would never approach this on a bump run and bumps are a whole other issue.

 

A new skill should be introduced well within the comfort zone.

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