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Bag of Tricks -- what are the staples? - Page 6

post #151 of 174
Thread Starter 

Now that we've discussed the pros and cons...

 

USSA has already done what I have proposed we do: http://alpine.usskiteam.com/alpine/skillsquest 

 

We actually have made a start on our own list last year -- any feedback on the effort so far?

http://www.epicski.com/a/epicski-drills

 

Is this project worth actively pursuing, or should we just let it lie (die)?


Edited by nolo - 7/10/12 at 5:38pm
post #152 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

For the moment I'd like to bypass the musty old ivory tower in which you dwell and simply ask why a person who tries an exercise and has questions about his or her performance could not start a thread or PM to ask one of our esteemed pros to help out? Or take a lesson from a local pro? Could it be an entre to a deeper dialog with one of these giants or their understudies?

 

  • Apparently no one here plays golf. Check out a golf magazine one of these days.

 

  • I guess the guy who writes the Instruction articles (drills, baby, drills) in SKI magazine is purveying unprofessional prose as well -- isn't he the coach of the PSIA National Alpine Team?

 

Look, I apologize for insulting the pros here. I did not mean to imply that all instructors do is drills. I never taught at Whistler or Aspen, but I had a pretty amazing career for 26 years teaching beginners, junior racers, adult advanced skiers, women, PSIA instructors, and ESA students (including the people who hang out here). While I was with PSIA I created the Professional Development Portfolio, which was a folio of lists for instructors to track progress toward certification. I see at least one PSIA division still uses a version of it. This is to say that I did not just fall off the turnip truck. 

 

I also got a Masters online in Sport & Athletic Management from a major West Coast university, so clearly I am one of those people who will take education any way she can get it. I am here to tell you that motivated students do not need to have live Big-T Teachers. What they need is good reference material, a willingness to learn, and some little-t teachers to consult along the way. That's how Epic can be of help -- at least in my vision of the future, where I see this forum as more than a bully pulpit for pros to pontificate, but a safe haven for cooperatively learning about our next favorite thing to cuddling with our snuggle bunny. 

 

P.S. JASP, I believe Adie meant "curmudgeon." wink.gif

 

You know, I don't think the problem is lack of reference material or tomes of written instruction on how to ski. Indeed, one of the problems may be that there is too much! Skiing is primarily a kinesthetic "feel" activity (like golf to which Nolo alluded above). Yet, many people bring an entirely mechanical approach to the slopes. Their bodies become prisoners of their minds and, rather than give themselves over to the nonmental, athletic activity of turning, they repeat a mechanical, step-by-step, mistake-free-at-all-costs, mind-controlled approach that is ill suited to performance.

 

Where did they get that mechanical approach in the first place? From ski instructors. From books. From ski magazines. From the general approach that has dominated instruction of the sport for as long as I can remember.

 

Any athletic endeavour - and skiing is certainly one - is best done through feel and mental pictures. You want a precise identification of what your body experiences and a vivid image of what you're trying to do. But you don't want to put all this into words and instruct your muscles to obey. They won't. They can't, not consistently. Yet, everybody has sensation. Everybody has touch. Everybody has feel. The trick is learning how to recognize, strengthen and use those qualities.

 

This is why anyone who is serious about really improving his skiing needs a "live Big-T Teacher". Or at least someone with the knowledge and experience to say "Yes! That's it. What did you feel? How can we recreate it again and again?" Little-t types can't do that (if they could, they'd be Big-Ts), nor really can books or lists of drills. In fact, even once you think you've got it, it can evapourate and you have to find it again. Why do you think top skiers, and golfers, have coaches?

post #153 of 174
Thread Starter 

You're absolutely right. Most of the top performers in the PGA have coaches. There are exceptions -- Bubba Watson?

 

I am not saying that the student has to choose between Big-T/little-t learning. I am saying that little-t learning can lead to visiting a coach for the feedback that is best received from an expert face to face.

 

Why does USSA provide the skills document for junior racers? I think for the same reason I was keen on doing the same for EpicSki readers.

post #154 of 174

I'm curious to know how many of the instructors here learned to ski from ski instruction vs self teaching? By the latter I don't mean to exclude observation, emulation, education or feedback. How many actually learned from ski lessons?

post #155 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

I'm curious to know how many of the instructors here learned to ski from ski instruction vs self teaching? By the latter I don't mean to exclude observation, emulation, education or feedback. How many actually learned from ski lessons?

 

So if "self teaching" includes observation, emulation, education and/or feedback.......how are you differentiating that with "ski instruction???????

post #156 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

So if "self teaching" includes observation, emulation, education and/or feedback.......how are you differentiating that with "ski instruction???????

How many learned from ski lessons?

 

I am not suggesting that self taught lacks a broad learning process, just differentiating it from a formal ski lesson. 

post #157 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post

How many learned from ski lessons?

 

I am not suggesting that self taught lacks a broad learning process, just differentiating it from a formal ski lesson. 

 

I think you will find that "formal ski lessons"....good ones anyway, are in reality not that "formal".  They are much more about providing that aid to self teaching....they provide that picture to emulate, the education, the feedback etc.....no one can force you to learn.  Learning anything, is always self taught.  Some people get help to speed the process.....others dont.

 

I started to ski with my father...then in a "ski school", then in a jr race program, then into coaching, then into instruction, then both coaching and instruction....but at what point could I say I learned to "ski"?  I could ski after going with my dad...and I could ski after ski school....but I became much better after years of jr racing....and then better again from years of training as an instructor and coach....the fact most great skiers have tons of coaching/instruction, but the nature of how they procure that serivice is rarely, if ever, through the ski school desk and most likley through full season legth programs, which may or may not be adminsitered by the ski school, but in any event are rarely considered "ski school" programs...even thou the people coaching them, might infact be the same ski school pros you could get on a one off lesson.

post #158 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

 

I think you will find that "formal ski lessons"....good ones anyway, are in reality not that "formal".  They are much more about providing that aid to self teaching....they provide that picture to emulate, the education, the feedback etc.....no one can force you to learn.  Learning anything, is always self taught.  Some people get help to speed the process.....others dont.

 

.......

Good point. Everyone is, in a sense "self taught" but how many of those also received ski instruction?

post #159 of 174

It might be more useful to ask how many never took a lesson, nor engaged in training with a professional.  

post #160 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

It might be more useful to ask how many never took a lesson, nor engaged in training with a professional.  

Sorry, that is probably a better way of phrasing the question I had in mind. I thought it was appropriate since the discussion seemed to have turned to the training of ski instructors. I have no particular point to make on this. I am just curious to know just how instructors today reached the point with respect to skiing skills where instructor training begins. In my day there were  a number of very good skiers around but almost none of them, nor most of the instructors, for that matter, had ever taken a lesson. Some may have received race training in the local ski club though, but most likely subsequent to their becoming fairly adept. People taught themselves, learned from their friends and their parents, watched the local ski gods and maybe read a few magazine articles and just rode up the rope tow and fell down until they could ski.  I sense this may no longer be the case and if so has various implications including  the familiarity of instructors with the instruction system and format I suppose.

post #161 of 174
Thread Starter 

In the olden days, if you truly were serious about your skiing, you'd go to Sun Valley to take a lesson from Stein. One lesson assured you bragging rights for the remainder of your skiing days. (I am talking about my dad, the guy who taught me to ski -- just like Stein.)

post #162 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Now that we've discussed the pros and cons...

 

USSA has already done what I have proposed we do: http://alpine.usskiteam.com/alpine/skillsquest 

 

We actually have made a start on our own list last year -- any feedback on the effort so far?

http://www.epicski.com/a/epicski-drills

 

Is this project worth actively pursuing, or should we just let it lie (die)?

 

"Just do it"

post #163 of 174
Thread Starter 

Bill, my friend: this little baby is on its way to becoming a monster thread, which "just doing it" would completely unravel. cool.gif

 

What we have here is a communicational clog that could take a while to blow through. 

post #164 of 174

A while back Barnes talked about pivot slips as the key to all turns. (Maybe he will grace us with a post about that) Some took that to mean every turn includes a strong braquage movement. So their focus was on steering the legs and feet. The follow up advice offered by Bob was that the edge usage through the transition and in particular releasing of the old turn was what he was talking about. Even with that advice, so many of our pros proceeded to hang onto the previous turn while trying to overwhelm that edge platform to create the strong pivoting action necessary to do pivot slips.

 

Years before Squatty talked about the commonality among so many of our test maneuvers. RRX to carved turns, wedge to low end parallel turns, etc...

 

Perhaps instead of a superficial list of complete maneuvers, we should be sharing more about the fundamental skills and breaking down these basic drill into their elemental movements. That concept isn't difficult and to be honest I introduce it to newbies long before we ever touch the snow. Same goes for my more advanced lessons. By identifying those basic classifications, it's much easier for them to digest the idea of skill blending and how everything we do on skis involves a unique blend of all of the skills. From there designing a lesson plan is simple. Start with a maneuver that features a strong skill bias, then progressively work towards blending (incorporating) that new bias into their freeskiing.

post #165 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Bill, my friend: this little baby is on its way to becoming a monster thread, which "just doing it" would completely unravel. cool.gif

 

What we have here is a communicational clog that could take a while to blow through. 

 

What happened to build it while you fly it? (kidding)

 

I think it's a worthwhile project and hope you succeed with it. 

 

I don't understand the resistance to it.

post #166 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

In the olden days, if you truly were serious about your skiing, you'd go to Sun Valley to take a lesson from Stein. One lesson assured you bragging rights for the remainder of your skiing days. (I am talking about my dad, the guy who taught me to ski -- just like Stein.)

Cute.

post #167 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillA View Post

 

What happened to build it while you fly it? (kidding)

 

I think it's a worthwhile project and hope you succeed with it. 

 

I don't understand the resistance to it.

I think perhaps because we've all been dosed with the tricks, perhaps to the exclusion of what someone on the last page was referring to when he spoke of teaching instructors an "understanding of skiing". The latter helps the instructor to better  understand the "why" and the "when", as I think it was put.  One approach tends to be process oriented while the other, which presumably encompasses a "bag of tricks" as well,  seeks a bigger picture. I think the project is a good idea and I hope nothing here discourages her from pursuing it.  I do believe though that the feedback here reflects a widely felt need  for something in addition to it. As much as I like to see a thread ignite and lead where it may (personal preferencesmile.gif) I don't see this thread unravelling at all. It just seems to take a good idea and point it towards a better answer to the original premise.

post #168 of 174

Would including the Why with the Who, What, When and Where be all that difficult?

 

I never liked the whole "bag of tricks" thing. Is a pivot slip a trick?

post #169 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillA View Post

Would including the Why with the Who, What, When and Where be all that difficult?

I never liked the whole "bag of tricks" thing. Is a pivot slip a trick?

What Bill said.

Hanging in my office is a plaque with "Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly."

When you know that, you have a complete understanding and can bob and weave in and out of, or around them. Things don't come as a surprise so much and when there is one, you know just what to do.

The quote isn't about getting away with breaking rules, but knowing the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit or intent of it.

I've heard others and I've said to trainers, "Why did you have us do that?"

This past season there was much more understanding ahead of time with regards to why we were doing something.

Not knowing the 5W's would make them more of a trick than a drill.

Ken
post #170 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by L&AirC View Post


knowing the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit or intent of it.
 

icon14.gif

post #171 of 174

I would love to see someone insert the tricks Nolo is writing about in the context of a narrative of the progression of skier development, perhaps a chapter for each level, explaining what development is occurring and how the objectives for each level relate to the ultimate goal of advanced skiing. Illustrate the thing really well, communicate to all the learning styles. Not a dry outline or list but a narrative that pulls the reader into the story. Pull out the tricks and explain what skills, movements and general development they are intended to foster. Maybe explain and illustrate some common errors and show how your tricks help to correct them. Give a good accounting of what it feels like to get it right. Always relate skiing at any level to the ultimate objectives of the learning process with all the attendant  joys and freedom of movement and expression they hold out for the learner. Begin the the book with a description of mainstream skiing and illustrate and identify the movements and mechanics as seen. Could be the best skiing book ever.

post #172 of 174

Both. Ski lessons can get pretty costly after a while - they are a great source of revenue for ski areas

but it's hard for some folks to afford to buy a season's worth of lessons except at the rare ski school

that offers a season school pass.

In what sense are you using the term "self-taught" -- meaning learning from books or videos, or learning

simply by doing (unguided discovery)? I am a victim of the latter kind of self-teaching. Simply finding and

feeling one's way down the hill can easily be done with mechanics that are not optimal, and once a skier

finds a way that works, he or she can repeat those movements until they become habit - dig me?

It takes a pro to identify those mechanics, demonstrate better movements, and persuade the skier

to abandon the old and try the new.

The ever-expanding bag of tricks in this forum are really helpful to novice instructors like me,

while the discussion of how to put those drills in context is even more helpful - thanks!

post #173 of 174

Helping the self taught is easy, set up a situation where their habitual moves don't work well. Then ski it using a more effective method than they use. When they see first hand the limitations in their habitual movements, they are more open to the idea of changing what they do. Beyond that, they are usually more open to trying new things since that's how they developed their current habits in the first place.

post #174 of 174
Thread Starter 
Quote:

The ever-expanding bag of tricks in this forum are really helpful to novice instructors like me, while the discussion of how to put those drills in context is even more helpful - thanks!

Then we have done our job. Thanks for the feedback, Silverback!

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