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Volunteer ski instructor- looking for tips/ fun activities to teach 10-16 yr. olds

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I've signed up as a volunteer ski instructor in a 10 week program that allows our local school kids to go up on the mountain and get some weekly skiing time with adult supervision and instruction. While I'm a teacher by profession, I have very minimal training as a ski instructor and want to compile a list of  fun activities to teach 10- 16 yr. old kids to improve their skiing. Are there any good websites you can recommend?

 

Currently I have four kids in my group, three who can almost parallel ski, turn and are starting with pole planting and one who's still in the wedge phase.

 

Thank you.

post #2 of 14

I am not sure where you are, but my advice is to look into taking your Level 1.  If you are in the US, PSIA or Canada, CSIA....it will help you immensley and your students.  The kids you are teaching deserve a qualifed instructor.
 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yes, that would be nice at some point but in the meantime I'm taking "clinics" that are offered to us volunteers and watching instructional videos online.

And just so that you don't think I'm totally "clueless" several folks commented today that the kids in my group had made great progress in just two sessions so I must be doing something right. :-)

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Makiki View Post

Yes, that would be nice at some point but in the meantime I'm taking "clinics" that are offered to us volunteers and watching instructional videos online.

And just so that you don't think I'm totally "clueless" several folks commented today that the kids in my group had made great progress in just two sessions so I must be doing something right. :-)


I dont think you are clueless at all, but I know that taking a level one will provide you with a good framework to develop from.  It will benefit you and your students immensly.  The courses are typically weekends or week nights, and only 3-4 days so it is very doable for all, no matter how busy you are.  These course will also provide answers to all your questions with lots of good reading material and teaching resources.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I'll definitely look into them!

post #6 of 14

Hi Makiki, 

 

It's great to hear your enthusiasm around teaching! I second skidude's suggestion to take a level 1 course. You'll learn more than you ever imagined, and it'll definitely improve your own skiing. 

 

More important than having a list of activities is being able to assess a learner for their skiing strengths and opportunities, then creating a development strategy to help them improve the skill. After assessing the skiers, a good instructor chooses one tactic and tailors it to the different needs of everyone in the group. For example, you may have a group like this: 

 

Skier 1 rotates his upper body to create turns

Skier 2 is skiing in a wedge despite displaying no skill deficit

Skier 3 is leaning over the inside ski throughout most turns

Skier 4 is skiing z-turns

 

Which exercise would you use with all of them? How would you customize it to create improvements for all the skiers? 

 

So why this whole cautionary tale? It's so easy for new instructors with good intentions to throw out drills without understanding what they're trying to develop in skiers. A classroom analogy would be drilling students on quadratic equations when they actually show a deficiency in their multiplication tables. (unfortunately our school system is structured this way in North America, but that's a whole other discussion!) While I'm not saying this is the case for you, I just want to set out that expectation that it's more important to understand skiing skills and be able to assess, rather than knowing a long list of exercises. 

 

That said, skinerd has made a list of exercises (which he's presumably used with his Section 8 training program). You really don't need to know more than a handful as a new volunteer. I know a quarter of that list, and am not lacking for exercises. As long as you have a few exercises in your pocket and good assessment skills, you can customize the exercises you do know to target the skier's needs. 

 

 

Keep in mind that exercises are a small part of ski teaching, and represent only one of many tactics to create a change in a skier. A couple of other easy tactics include getting your group to just follow you, or giving a visualization/kinaesthetic cue and a specific goal ("See how far you can turn uphill at the end of each turn before starting the next one."). 

 

Good luck with teaching!

post #7 of 14
SD is spot on here. Reverse the situation and you will see his point. Most of us would not try to be a school teacher. You certainly are more than qualified to teach, you just need the foundational framework to correctly match cause and effect and which activity would be appropriate for that situation.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, including the great link that lead to "Tobin's Tool Box" . 

 

Since my group of kids is so small I can watch each kid's progress and movements closely and give him/ her individual things to work on and to have fun with. 

 

I realize I'm not a trained ski instructor (yet) but neither are most of the Moms and Dads out there who are skiing with their kids and they're still learning and having a great time. :-)

 

Hoping for more snow this weekend!

post #9 of 14

As fantastic as it would be to get a Level 1 certification, that is dependent upon where you are living. If you are in Canada, great. But if you are in the USA, you need to be actively employed by a member ski school in order to join PSIA, and subsequently gain any certification. Just wanted to put that out there so you have all the information up front.

post #10 of 14

keep the kids engaged, make up some levels they can progress through, keep a big eye on safety. what can i say - you should really consider taking a level 1 coach or instructor course.

 

I really appreciate what you're trying to do, but you have no liability coverage, remember that...

 

kids like to learn and progressing through some levels will make them feel successful, which in turn keeps them engaged. i did this a few years ago with my kids, had them progress through some levels i arbitrarily made up

 

challenge them. ski on one ski next to the magic carpet, ski backwards, timed competitions, synchronized skiing in twos or threes

 

here;s a site with drills you can choose from: http://www.skismarts.com/lessons.htm

post #11 of 14

you should consider buying "the essentials of skiing" - it's a good book about the essentials of good skiing, includes some drills and explanations as to why this why that.

post #12 of 14

pm sent


Edited by razie - 1/16/13 at 12:29pm
post #13 of 14

The obvious assumption here is that teaching a sport doesn't take much training. As a patroller I picked up a lot of broken skiers who were students of one of these untrained coaches. I rarely had to pick up a ski school student. As a long time ski instructor / coach / staff trainer I have had maybe two or three students who needed patrol help. That body of experience includes thousands of skiers over many decades at all level and on all terrain. I simply cannot agree with the idea that untrained but well meaning volunteers are a wise choice for teaching a sport. If the school system wants to make skiing less expensive there are ways to package programs and make those ski trips more affordable. As sponsors / group leaders those teachers are invaluable but when they take on the role of ski instructor they are too hands on to do the rest of their job. Here's why. Suppose one of the students actually ends up in the patrol room / clinic. Does the teacher stay out on the hill with the rest of the class, or should they be in the patrol room with that injured student. Mind you we are talking about minors and in that medical situation even touching them without a guardian's permission is an issue. Yes calling the parents will happen but do you really want the patrol to track them down? As a parent my first question would be where in the hell is the teacher who I left my child with. Telling them (me) that they are out skiing with the rest of the kids would be even more upsetting. So on so many levels, it isn't a good choice to take on so many roles.

post #14 of 14

To add to JASP's paragraph, the mountain ski school has much better communication/back up plans/training, etc... for basic class management, including plans for 'independent study' students who get lost, make a wrong turn, etc... or otherwise get separated from the group. Doesn't happen much with our school, but it does occasionally even with the best on hill class management. Happened to me the other weekend matter of fact. Pointed to a traverse that I wanted a group of 8 to follow me across including pointing out the next rally point. Each had a partner as well. One got to the proverbial fork in the road and took it. Had a supervisor notified and at least 4 people looking for him within 5 minutes. He was found and returned within about 20-30 minutes including their wait time at the bottom of our destination lift. 

 

Just one additional comment, but without training, I hope they at least covered how to safely manage your students on the slope, i.e., where to ski, where to stop, grouping up tight, accessing local slope and terrain hazards as well as opportunities, passing along the basic tenets of the skier's code of responsibility, etc...  Being an academic teacher is a huge leg up in many regards, but doesn't cover your 'ski'  teaching knowledge including the basic stuff mentioned above that is really unique to ski school specific training. Good luck and have fun! And here's to this experience opening you up to the possibility of pursuing certification as an addition to your teaching quiver of skills!

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Volunteer ski instructor- looking for tips/ fun activities to teach 10-16 yr. olds