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MA for young Tommi

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Dear forumists and ski instructors,

 

I am from Italy and I use to ski the whole winter season together with my family in the italian Alps.

 

Here is a video of my young son Tommi, whose skiing skill I would like to submit to your evaluation in terms of analogies with north american instruction techniques.In the video, Tommi is 5 1/2 years old.

 

  

 

Waiting for your comments.

 

Ancient

post #2 of 34

Tommi is a fabulous skier and you must be very proud of him. He clearly has amazing technique for someone so young and must have already received some great guidance and modeling. I wouldn't change him technically but would rather foster his love for the sport by ensuring that his ski experiences are fun and varied. Expose him to all sorts of conditions and terrain so that a rounded technique evolves. Maybe, if he isn't already and I suspect he is, get him involved in a race programme. It's not often you see such skill from someone so young. I think that the biggest challenge won't be technical but will be about maintaining passion!

post #3 of 34

Dang, that is good!

 

I wouldn't change anything about what I saw in the video especially since he is still so young (greater skill will come naturally without much effort as he ages).  I also started young (at 2 years old). 

 

I would suggest just a couple things... if you're not doing it already, make sure you get him in the moguls and deep snow from a young age as well.  I have heard that in Europe most people ski the groomed and nothing else.  He should be able to do a lot more than just groomed based on how good he was skiing at such a young age in the video.  I think it would be unfair to him to not get him in the moguls and other snow and it would be doing a disservice to his progress.  It'll make him ski the groomed better anyway if he learns other things. 

 

Maybe he will be the next Dominique Perret:  http://youtu.be/_Mzcf3xyxvU

 

post #4 of 34

Benvenuti EpicSki Ancient!

 

With respect to North American instruction techniques, one simple way of describing them is: safety, fun and learning. Tommi's skiing is a hit on all 3.

Safety= Helmet, pitch and speed appropriate for skill level, no obstacles that are easy to hit

Fun = is that a smile I see at the end? At the least the body language indicates having fun

Learning = Outstanding steady control of the skis and nice clean arcs in the snow, especially on the right turns. Engaging the new edges above the fall line.

 

Adie has it nailed when he says the primary objective at this age is fun. Perfecting technique/developing good habitual movements is desirable, but not as important as having fun. There is a lot of room for "automatic" improvement through playing games, making different turn shapes, exploring the mountain, getting experience with different snow conditions, etc.

 

If I was looking for technical things to work on with this skiing, candidates would be left turn initiation, sitting on the inside ski and using poles. I'd like to see Tommi standing/balancing more against the outside leg through his turns. His left turn initiation is a little two footed (feet change edges at different times) and initiated via upper body lean vs moving from the center. I'd first check for alignment issues. If none found, I'd work on introducing pole touch as a means to facilitate a change. These things have to be tempered against his mental and physical limits as his body changes from the 4-6 stage to the 7-9 stage. 

 

One more comment on "North American" vs European ski instruction for kids. In North America, the sport of skiing is not part of the national identity and very few children focus on becoming elite skiers from a young age. In Europe, there is more cultural pressure to put kids into the meat grinder of race training so that elite skiers can be found and developed. Tommi has the potential to succeed in such a program. The potential payoff is big, but the odds of success are small. Either way, there are plenty of kids who go through racing programs and come out as happy lifelong skiers. It's a choice to consider. If it is something you want to pursue, now is the time to start pursuing it.

 

Was this the kind of response you were looking for?

post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 

TheRusty,

 

thank you very much for your exaustive reply. The reason of my question was/is that I saw some interesting technique tips coming from PMTS supporters which I wanted to compare versus what has been taught to my young son.

 

As a matter of fact, Tommi's way of skiing got  a few criticism in the PMTS Forum: http://www.pmts.org/pmtsforum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3768

 

that I wanted to verify also with the experts of EpicSki on most modern skiing techniques, and I got somehow relieved in terms of future perspectives of Tommi's learning process.

 

Thank you again, and if you want to go in a deeper detail about PMTS vs other skiing techniques, it'll be very appreciated.

 

Ancient 

post #6 of 34
Tommi is a little kid with good athletics. The comments on the other forum are from folks with a "my way or the highway" attitude that uses formula approaches to ski movements: (ONLY DO THIS or your skiing sucks). It's true that in the race video, he picks up his inside foot to get pressure on his outside foot. Jean-Claude Killy used to do the same thing!!!

Let him have fun. When he ASKS how he can improve, then get into specifics.
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Tommi is a little kid with good athletics. The comments on the other forum are from folks with a "my way or the highway" attitude that uses formula approaches to ski movements: (ONLY DO THIS or your skiing sucks). It's true that in the race video, he picks up his inside foot to get pressure on his outside foot. Jean-Claude Killy used to do the same thing!!!
Let him have fun. When he ASKS how he can improve, then get into specifics.

 

Thank you Kneale Brownson,

 

that's what Tommy and I, usually, and will do: have fun, but paying attention to do it safely, that means also to have control, and you have control when you own proper skills.

 

Cheers.

 

Ancient 

post #8 of 34

Wow! Congratulations looks like Tommi is well on his way. I am a Canadian instructor from British Columbia.

 

From a technical point of view.

Looks like Tommi has had some good training. For the turn shape on the video, he seems to drop his hip inside the arc a little early and gets stuck in a over countered rotated position. This is causing him to fall slightly off balance on the inside of the arc. His response to this off balance is to give a hand knee touch to help create some edge angle.

 

If you are looking for some direction. Here are a few tips you could try.

 

- Tommi needs to square his upper body to his skis a little more for this turn shape. Less counter rotation.

- Tommi needs to works his edge angles more progressively and not just ride the rails. He remains constantly flexed.

 

* The introduction of a well timed and well placed pole plant could trigger him to better balance through movement and motion.

The result is more dynamic performance skiing.

 Challenge him with terrain and conditions. Ski with better skiers and be safe EH!beercheer.gif

post #9 of 34

Ancient, there are a lot of technical problems, but it has to be taken into perspective of his very young age. Small children don't have the same coordination as older. I'd say for his age he is very good. Don't destroy his will to ski by trying to coach him, unless he really wants to. My experience from coaching children is that they don't really understand much technique and that it is better to get them doing correct movements by playing fun drills to instill proper movements. It is also my experience that many kids hate if they are critiqued by their parents, but if the coach says something they listen.

post #10 of 34

Ancient,

 

The challenge with seeking advice from Internet forums is sorting through the wide variety of opinions. The bad news is that it takes training and experience to be able to see the common threads in posts that seem to conflict and develop your own sense of a "consensus" opinion. The good news is that you can pick the posts you like and the odds are going to be pretty good that you can successfully use their advice.

 

Buona Fortuna!

post #11 of 34

Ancient - do you have video of you skiing?

 

Most often, young kids mimic those who they look up to or ski with the most - usually a parent. They are GREAT at copying movements. I'd bet that Tommi's skiing is similar to your skiing. Not a bad thing, but something to look out for.

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Tommi is a little kid with good athletics. The comments on the other forum are from folks with a "my way or the highway" attitude that uses formula approaches to ski movements: (ONLY DO THIS or your skiing sucks). It's true that in the race video, he picks up his inside foot to get pressure on his outside foot. Jean-Claude Killy used to do the same thing!!!
Let him have fun. When he ASKS how he can improve, then get into specifics.

 


Kneale,

 

Did you even read the comments on the other forum?  No one put Tommi's skiing down.  To borrow your words above, no one said his "skiing sucks."  Instead there were some compliments.  And then -- as requested -- some constructive suggestions for improvement.  Ancient specifically asked for PM** feedback and that's what he got, including excellent feedback from an instructor who has a son roughly the same age.  Tommi's a little ripper, but with a few changes he could be amazing.

post #13 of 34

I may be wrong and Kneale can speak for iimself but I understood this to refer to the somewhat dogmatic approach of certain ski technique philosophies found on some other ski forums.

post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

Ancient - do you have video of you skiing?

 

Most often, young kids mimic those who they look up to or ski with the most - usually a parent. They are GREAT at copying movements. I'd bet that Tommi's skiing is similar to your skiing. Not a bad thing, but something to look out for.

 

Dear HeluvaSkier,

 

here is a video of me skiing very quietly teaching my two young kids Tommi and Mati (female) during 2010-2011 winter when the two kids were 4 1/2 years old (I'm the one with red jacket and white trousers and Tommi the one with the blue jacket).

 

 

 

Probably, in the meantime I developped a more balanced on the stance leg skiing, but I don'have a video of it.

Furthermore, Tommi was skiing extensively with other kids older than him (9 years old) the whole last winter with a coach teaching them, so I think the infuence of my skiing was only partial.

 

 

Now express your opinion.

 

Cheers.

 

Ancient

post #15 of 34

Hard to tell from the clip since you're skiing different turns. There is a little pushing off and settling into the turn. Maybe he's taking after his coach. He skis great for his age though - no doubt about that! I'm with the others... don't push him. Make it fun, give him great skiing to watch/copy, if you do teach anything - make it focused on simple things like balance on one foot, upper and lower body separation, and skiing with his feet/ankles. Cheers.
 

post #16 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges View Post



Kneale,

Did you even read the comments on the other forum?  No one put Tommi's skiing down.  To borrow your words above, no one said his "skiing sucks."  Instead there were some compliments.  And then -- as requested -- some constructive suggestions for improvement.  Ancient specifically asked for PM** feedback and that's what he got, including excellent feedback from an instructor who has a son roughly the same age.  Tommi's a little ripper, but with a few changes he could be amazing.

In fact, I read the whole linked page.

Quoted from the linked website:
" if you don't get his stance narrowed and get him off the big-toe edge at transition soon, it may be hard to change his skiing. As good as this skiing looks (and this is a very talented kid), this is not PMTS skiing."

I wouldn't call this totally complimentary. He's a five-year-old. Are you telling me it's correct that if you learn something you can't learn to change it? What kind of scare tactic is that. I stand by my comments.
post #17 of 34

Mr. Brownson,

 

The post from which you post an excerpt begins with "x2" i.e. times two for a previous post which begins "Tommi is a little ripper !!"  Note the double exclamation point.  The sentence you quote is immediately preceded with "this is almost identical to how my son was skiing at that age" which means it can hardly be interpreted as a put down especially since it goes on to call him "a very talented kid."

 

As far as the relative difficulty of unlearning long-engrained motor habits versus changing them earlier, ESA coaches and other veteran EpicSki instructors have harped on this very theme many times over the years.  (These include some of your current and past Vail Resorts colleagues.)  It's not a scare tactic; it is sound advice.  But then you already know that.

 

It's been said that "flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver."  Many U.S. ski instructors find giving candid feedback too uncomfortable.  If they'd collectively take off their cheerleading outfits, put away their pom poms,  and become trusted mentors, then they'd sell more lessons, teach more requested privates, and eventually earn bigger hourly wages.
 

post #18 of 34
I agree with Kneale so strongly that after seeing his reply on my friend's phone, I decided to get on a Spanish computer in a Spanish speaking country and try to figure out how to say so on here even though I only speak English : )

As far as something being "not pm@s" goes, I think that is probably a good thing. I believe in 'natural' skiing. Kids ski naturally (because they aren't usually too concerned with how they look) and eventually learn to carve powerfully etc with time. I ski naturally by feeling how I can maximize power without obsessing over appearance or technical details. Whatever feels best will look best and work best. He'll have plenty of time to feel things out for himself without hearing about strict technique ideas. I don't think that this is the right time for Tommie to think about pm@s and I think he probably will always be fine without it, maybe better off.
post #19 of 34

I hope no-one would disagree about the difficulties, though generally not insurountable, of unlearning ingrained habits. However, we are not looking at this issue here. We are looking at the progress of a very young athlete whose strength and co-ordination are developing. With good modelling and lots of experience, so will develop his technique until he is of an age where detailed technical input will be appropriate and he will be able to interpret this technical input and apply it to his skiing. If you look at the evolution of his skiing from about a year earlier, he has already changed quite considerably. I would whole heartedly endorse Kneale and Blake's comments!

post #20 of 34

Only just bothered to read the PMTS feedback. Good advice for an adult aspiring to skiing a certain way but probably a formula for putting a child off and maybe even messing up an evolving technique. Just how would you approach inputting this technical message if you consider how 5 year olds actually learn?

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adie View Post

Only just bothered to read the PMTS feedback. Good advice for an adult aspiring to skiing a certain way but probably a formula for putting a child off and maybe even messing up an evolving technique. Just how would you approach inputting this technical message if you consider how 5 year olds actually learn?

Drills?

post #22 of 34

Maybe. But are the drills that we would use for a 5 year old not the fun, exposure to varied terrain, good modelling etc. that many posters have suggested will develop a natural, efficient and functional technique rather than an adherence to a technique 'dogma,' you should ski this way and look like this?

post #23 of 34

That is an important part of course, but what is really natural? It is quite natural to lean on your inside ski for stability, park and ride, throw your skis around to dump speed, push in and/or out of turns etc. Without doing some targeted drills these habits can easily get ingrained IMO.

post #24 of 34

The good modelling part is important in this and as I said before there will be a point at which technical input is essential. I'm not suggesting that you don't say anything to youngsters but not to get bogged down with technique and certainly not to a style. Targetted drills are great. I like to use problem solving drills for youngsters and some cues/ clues to help solve them. 

post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpedges View Post

Mr. Brownson,


As far as the relative difficulty of unlearning long-engrained motor habits versus changing them earlier, ESA coaches and other veteran EpicSki instructors have harped on this very theme many times over the years.  (These include some of your current and past Vail Resorts colleagues.)  It's not a scare tactic; it is sound advice.  But then you already know that.



 

It's true that unlearning "long-engrained motor habits" can be an issue, especially for teens and adults. Tommie, however, is a very young EVOLVING skier with apparent natural athleticism who does not need to have his fun spoiled by being regimented.
post #26 of 34

Thanks for the dose of sanity Kneale! Drills at 5? Is that just means a poor, boring instructor/coach. Creativity is king. "Hey, let's just ski on one ski for two runs!" Choose the terrain, have fun... Drills can easily be integrated and made into play.  The kid is 5. That's 5 x 365 days on the planet earth. 

post #27 of 34

Some of the best drills are created to not be  felt like drills but effective. With children this seems a nobrainer.  I

think this kid can handle a bit of structure in his skiing. I'd drill this kid and he would have fun with it so limiting generalizations aren't helpful here

This kid has done well compared to others but why measure them this way when most kids at this age don't have his grip on the skiing concept in it's basic forms. He's a fine mimicer of what he thinks is good skiing .At five this might not be all that accurate as are all the choices a kid makes at that age.

He could use some coaching to help  him find his potential that only he should measure. Nudge him gently but support him greatly. See where he wants this to head. A kids multiweek lesson structure would be good for him. he can build on his skills, get the attention he could find useful and have great fun with kids his own age.

 

He could become the next big star or he can find joy in his skiing and keep it  there. If his joy is in skiing fast then racing might suit him. If he wants to master the whole mountain then he will migrate that way. Be a good father as a steward of his future and not  be the one who determines it. It's his life, Let him enjoy it.

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Thanks for the dose of sanity Kneale! Drills at 5? Is that just means a poor, boring instructor/coach. Creativity is king. "Hey, let's just ski on one ski for two runs!" Choose the terrain, have fun... Drills can easily be integrated and made into play.  The kid is 5. That's 5 x 365 days on the planet earth. 

That is a drill Mark. 

post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post


In fact, I read the whole linked page.
Quoted from the linked website:
" if you don't get his stance narrowed and get him off the big-toe edge at transition soon, it may be hard to change his skiing. As good as this skiing looks (and this is a very talented kid), this is not PMTS skiing."
I wouldn't call this totally complimentary. He's a five-year-old. Are you telling me it's correct that if you learn something you can't learn to change it? What kind of scare tactic is that. I stand by my comments.

 

Kneale, since I wrote the post you are referring to, I would be happy to add some context.  The question posted by Ancient was "are these PMTS movements?"  The answer is no.  Since the question was being posted on the PMTS forum, it seemed reasonable that the poster would be interested in the PMTS perspective.  PMTS was developed to teach race technique to skiers--because we believe that the best skiers on the mountain are usually racers.  In that context, I stand by my comments.  Why let someone go down the path of learning something they will just end up needing to change later instead of starting them out properly to begin with?  I guess I'm puzzled by how Ancient or his son would be well served if I refused to provide honest feedback?  Sure Tommi skis better than many kids his age, but does that mean he can't improve?  I simply pointed out some things to work on and left the "how" up to his Dad. 

 

As far as "scare tactics" go, that would imply that I have something that I am trying to scare them into.  I don't.  I don't actually care whether Tommi changes his skiing or continues doing what he is doing.  I simply responded to feedback solicited on the internet and relayed a personal experience.  My son looked like Tommi did at five and at seven, he is still stuck on his big toe.  Ancient *may* have a similar experience with his own son.

 

I don't find PMTS coaches to be any more or less "dogmatic" than successful coaches in any sport.  Typically people who are successful at coaching understand what works for what they are trying to accomplish and they stick to it.  Personally, I see that as a positive thing. 

 

Anyway, I don't see what the drama is here.  Feedback was asked for and honestly given.  Ancient is an adult, he can decide whether to listen to it.

post #30 of 34
The OP asked for comments on what he described as criticisms of the kid's skiing. My response was based on the entire posting he linked to.

It's the internet.
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