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Turn type or turn intent

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I've realized that as instructors, many of us focus on turn 'types' a great deal. I've done the same thing throughout my instructing careers. What 'type' of turn is my student using? Is it skidded, is it carved? Is it rounded, is it incomplete? Is it a short, medium, or long radius turn? Type, type, type.

 

However, the more I think about it, the more I realized that I may be on the wrong track. I realized it through the conversations that go on here on EpicSki most of all. Should we be focusing on type as much as we do? Or should we be focusing on turn intent more? Not so much what kind of turn we are having a student do, but rather what we want that turn to do for them. Or further, what that student wants that turn to do for them.

 

I feel like as instructors, we have a tendency to lapse into the technical aspects of a turn. Great for chatting around on these forums, not as great when we're presenting information to a skier. Most students don't care if they're learning a long radius turn, a skidded turn, a slarved turn, or anything like that. They care about learning how to do something better. Whether it be ski faster, control speed better, ski bumps, survive the trip down the bunny slope, whatever.

 

I know many instructors are already teaching in this way, and are less focused on turn types. I'm wondering if there is anything we could do (or should we?) to spread this approach to the larger instructing corps?

post #2 of 21

Very few places in the world teach or focus on "turn types" - a notable exception is the USA, and since this board is USA dominated, it might seem like the focusing on the "turn" is common - it isnt.

 

In the rest of the world, instructors focus on "skills".  What skills are present, which skills are lacking, or missing?  We develop those skills as required.  We then show skiers how to apply those skills in a variety of scenarios. 

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Maybe that was a better way to put it. We focus on turns, and we focus on skills. Its more of a form following function type of deal. Don't necessarily teach the skill as an isolated entity, but rather through the lens of how that skill will be used to accomplish a certain goal. I feel like we start with skills and build to goals, when we should be looking at goals, and teaching the skills through the lens of that goal.

post #4 of 21

Well...yes I agree.

 

Generally - "what are you goals?"

 

Student - "i want to ski xyz better."

 

I then work with them to develop the requisite skills to get there....(althought the skills will help them improve in all areas - hence the "desired goal" just changes the flavour of the lesson).

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
 

Well...yes I agree.

 

Generally - "what are you goals?"

 

Student - "i want to ski xyz better."

 

I then work with them to develop the requisite skills to get there....(althought the skills will help them improve in all areas - hence the "desired goal" just changes the flavour of the lesson).

 

Sept 4, 2013

 

Hi Ski Coaches:

 

What if the response to "what are your goals", is a generic "I want to ski better", dropping the "xyz".  Would that be an appropriate response by a skier, either taking a "private" or a "group", but particularly a "private".    

 

If so, how would you as an "coach/instructor" proceed to assess what skills the skier needs so as to be able to "ski better"? 

 

If not, "why"?  

 

I hope this question is in the domain of this thread.  If not, I would be willing to initiate a new one.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
 

 

Sept 4, 2013

 

Hi Ski Coaches:

 

What if the response to "what are your goals", is a generic "I want to ski better", dropping the "xyz".  Would that be an appropriate response by a skier, either taking a "private" or a "group", but particularly a "private".    

 

 

Yes of course.  Many give that response.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
 

 

Sept 4, 2013

 

 

If so, how would you as an "coach/instructor" proceed to assess what skills the skier needs so as to be able to "ski better"? 

 

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

Same way as if they gave a goal. 

 

It wouldn't change.

 

 

 

 

 

So if you said you want to improve bumps and I then noticed your fore/aft was lacking, I'd work on fore/aft and then play with it in the bumps.  If you gave no goal, I would still notice your fore/aft lacking (even if we just stayed on the groomed), and work on it, and then play with it in the best terrain the mountain had that day...it might be bumps, it might be powder, it might groomed, ......regardless, you would notice that your skiing improved in all conditions.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

I feel like if the answer to the question is 'i want to ski better', then that has to lead to follow on questions. "What is better in your mind?" does 'better' mean faster? does it mean skiing steeper terrain? does it mean skiing bumps? What does good skiing look like to them? Who do they consider a good skier? If you have an engaged student (which isn't a given), then you should be able to draw out more information that can give you a way to set a more definite goal than just 'I want to ski better.'

 

OTOH, a lot of times we instructors are imposing labels on what we want the students to do, particularly in beginner lessons. "Okay, we're going to work on a wedge turn today." Sounds fine to our ears, but to somebody who has never slid on snow before, they have no idea. Of course we are going to have to do some imposition with beginners. But rather than imposing a label, we should be (and some of us are) imposing a goal. Rather than "We're going to work on wedge turns", maybe the instructor should try stating "We're going to work on a way for you to slide down the magic carpet slope in control of your speed and your direction." While its a little more of a mouthful for us, it will make more sense for the student. Then they have a clear idea of the 'why' of the lesson, not just the 'how' of the component skills. If we as instructors are continually coming back to the 'why' of the skills, I believe students will be more apt to progress, rather than getting lost in the details of 'how'.

 

If instructors can be consistent in focusing on the intent of the lesson, I believe students will walk away feeling like they got more out of a lesson. It isn't very exciting for a student to walk away from a lesson saying "today I learned to tip my skis and get them on edge more". It is exciting for them to walk away and say "today I learned a way to handle those icy patches on the trails in the afternoon!" Same lesson, framed differently.

post #8 of 21

Sept 4, 2013

 

Hi Ski Coaches and in Particular Ski Dude,

 

Thumbs Up

 

With this type of enlightened attitude, hope I make it up to Whistler/Blackcomb again soon (was there for a week maybe 10 seasons ago) and take a week of lessons from you.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

 

ps:  was chastised once for not being specific, with implication that I was (a) wasting the coaches time since he/she was not a mind reader (b) it was the skier's responsibility to know what he/she wanted prior to taking a lesson.

post #9 of 21

I think its all good stuff:  skills, progressions, mechanics, turn types, snow types, intents, mood of the day, best approach to apres.......even the spritual side of skiing....its all stuff that is part of what makes skiing great and something we can impart some kind of wisdom to our students.

 

But yes freeski, I think its really important to explain the WHY before the HOW.   WHY do they need to learn to make wedge turns?   I think its also important as they learn the skill, for us to help them understand how the skill is related to the particular intent you identified earlier on.  

post #10 of 21

skiing better in my mind is skiing better.

 

you really should sit it on one my lessons.......

 

as i said in another thread on here. "I teach skills and tactics what my students do with them is up to them"

 

My natural looseness, actually let me teach like this since for as long as I can remember. believe it or not I have gone entire never ever group lesson with out ever mentioning wedge(or any other word to mean the same) I just teach the skills needed to turn, quite often those turns end up being wedge turns.....

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

 

 

My natural looseness, actually let me teach like this since for as long as I can remember. believe it or not I have gone entire never ever group lesson with out ever mentioning wedge(or any other word to mean the same) I just teach the skills needed to turn, quite often those turns end up being wedge turns.....

 

Me too - sometimes there will be a wedge, sometimes there wont...but either way, there is always a properly executed turn...and that is all I care about.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I've realized that as instructors, many of us focus on turn 'types' a great deal. I've done the same thing throughout my instructing careers. What 'type' of turn is my student using? Is it skidded, is it carved? Is it rounded, is it incomplete? Is it a short, medium, or long radius turn? Type, type, type.

 

However, the more I think about it, the more I realized that I may be on the wrong track. I realized it through the conversations that go on here on EpicSki most of all. Should we be focusing on type as much as we do? Or should we be focusing on turn intent more? Not so much what kind of turn we are having a student do, but rather what we want that turn to do for them. Or further, what that student wants that turn to do for them.

 

I feel like as instructors, we have a tendency to lapse into the technical aspects of a turn. Great for chatting around on these forums, not as great when we're presenting information to a skier. Most students don't care if they're learning a long radius turn, a skidded turn, a slarved turn, or anything like that. They care about learning how to do something better. Whether it be ski faster, control speed better, ski bumps, survive the trip down the bunny slope, whatever.

 

I know many instructors are already teaching in this way, and are less focused on turn types. I'm wondering if there is anything we could do (or should we?) to spread this approach to the larger instructing corps?

 

Remember "intent" is not a technique, it is a subconscious psychological state of mind and changing it to an offensive GO intent will have profound positive affects on skiing performance without ever mentioning or working on technique.

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I've realized that as instructors, many of us focus on turn 'types' a great deal. I've done the same thing throughout my instructing careers. What 'type' of turn is my student using? Is it skidded, is it carved? Is it rounded, is it incomplete? Is it a short, medium, or long radius turn? Type, type, type.

 

However, the more I think about it, the more I realized that I may be on the wrong track. I realized it through the conversations that go on here on EpicSki most of all. Should we be focusing on type as much as we do? Or should we be focusing on turn intent more? Not so much what kind of turn we are having a student do, but rather what we want that turn to do for them. Or further, what that student wants that turn to do for them.

 

I feel like as instructors, we have a tendency to lapse into the technical aspects of a turn. Great for chatting around on these forums, not as great when we're presenting information to a skier. Most students don't care if they're learning a long radius turn, a skidded turn, a slarved turn, or anything like that. They care about learning how to do something better. Whether it be ski faster, control speed better, ski bumps, survive the trip down the bunny slope, whatever.

 

I know many instructors are already teaching in this way, and are less focused on turn types. I'm wondering if there is anything we could do (or should we?) to spread this approach to the larger instructing corps?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

 

Remember "intent" is not a technique, it is a subconscious psychological state of mind and changing it to an offensive GO intent will have profound positive affects on skiing performance without ever mentioning or working on technique.

 

Terrain can play a big roll on how one may ski a certain slope. As does conditions and ability. It is up to the instructor to recognize these factor and direct their students to achieve a positive result. You betcha!!! I believe the intent is the GOAL and the technique is the HOW. In combination they answer the questions of WHY..

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Remember "intent" is not a technique, it is a subconscious psychological state of mind and changing it to an offensive GO intent will have profound positive affects on skiing performance without ever mentioning or working on technique.

And that's rather the point. So many skiers come to us knowing how to perform any number of skills, but not always why they should be performing them. You're absolutely correct, intent is a subconscious process. But as the 4 panes competency rubric shows, we need to move our students from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence, by making them conscious along the way. If we're ever teaching a skill without having the intent of the skill underlined and bolded first, we're failing our student...

Unless you're teaching other instructors. We just like skills for the sake of skills. Witness 10 page threads about angulation. Lol.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Very few places in the world teach or focus on "turn types" - a notable exception is the USA, and since this board is USA dominated, it might seem like the focusing on the "turn" is common - it isnt.

In the rest of the world, instructors focus on "skills".  What skills are present, which skills are lacking, or missing?  We develop those skills as required.  We then show skiers how to apply those skills in a variety of scenarios. 
Methinks you generalize much too much in the first but have made an important point in the next paragraph. With developed skills you create the possibilities not available before the base of operations has been built upon. The needs and intent creates the shapes of your turns. Your intentions are facilitated by your skills. Build your skills,enjoy the path as it develops.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
 

 

Sept 4, 2013

 

Hi Ski Coaches:

 

What if the response to "what are your goals", is a generic "I want to ski better", dropping the "xyz".  Would that be an appropriate response by a skier, either taking a "private" or a "group", but particularly a "private".

 

If so, how would you as an "coach/instructor" proceed to assess what skills the skier needs so as to be able to "ski better"?

 

If not, "why"?

 

I hope this question is in the domain of this thread.  If not, I would be willing to initiate a new one.

 

Think snow,

 

CP

The interview isn't over at that point CP. Digging a bit deeper will do a couple things. First it helps us figure out their level of understanding and second it makes them open up about what is giving them trouble. Be friendly as you ask "What is giving you trouble?" and it's very likely they will identify at least one situation where they struggle. Another good question is "What compelled you to take a lesson today? A third question is Can you show me what is giving you trouble? Armed with that additional information you can compare their skiing to what they think they are doing, or wanting to do. At that point the movement analysis process makes more sense because we have an intent identified.

As far as the skill development and why a baseline Medium Radius turn size and round shape gets used. It defines intent (tactics), nothing more. Can they perform the task? If not figuring out what is preventing them from performing the task can be identified pretty quickly. If they are hell bent on making a smaller / larger turns go with it and MA those turns. We just need to get them to call their shot and make it. Or at least show their best interpretation of what they said they were trying to do.

 

Once that skier's baseline gets clearly identified we have a fighting chance when it comes to helping them achieve their goals.

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
 

Very few places in the world teach or focus on "turn types" - a notable exception is the USA, and since this board is USA dominated, it might seem like the focusing on the "turn" is common - it isnt.

 

In the rest of the world, instructors focus on "skills".  What skills are present, which skills are lacking, or missing?  We develop those skills as required.  We then show skiers how to apply those skills in a variety of scenarios. 

 

For the record, PSIA promotes student centered, skills focused instruction. There may be notable exceptions (i.e. instructors not using this approach), but I would not call the US a notable exception to skills based instruction.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I know many instructors are already teaching in this way, and are less focused on turn types. I'm wondering if there is anything we could do (or should we?) to spread this approach to the larger instructing corps?

 

First of all, I think you are trying to solve a problem that does not exist. Secondly, the thing you can do is participate in your national snowsport instructor professional organization (i.e. PSIA). An additional way to help is to become a trainer at your home resort. What better way to spread the word than by .... spreading the word?

post #19 of 21

Perhaps the concept of intent dictates technique need to be reviewed. What is the outcome? A specific line and a specific size turn.

post #20 of 21
Hi folks! My first post. Turn type or turn intent has me thinking about teaching technique vs tactic. Consideration of how the student wants to progress and the given skill set and blending the student has will help determine whether we teach new technique, review technique they already use, and apply those techniques tactically to achieve their desired outcome. Ultimately we have to compare the students intent (where they want to ski, how they would like to improve) to the skill blend they are currently using. Comparing turn type to student's 'turn intent' (skiing gates,powder,bumps, etc.)is the first step in helping the student achieve their goals.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

I feel like if the answer to the question is 'i want to ski better', then that has to lead to follow on questions. "What is better in your mind?" does 'better' mean faster? does it mean skiing steeper terrain? does it mean skiing bumps? What does good skiing look like to them? Who do they consider a good skier? If you have an engaged student (which isn't a given), then you should be able to draw out more information that can give you a way to set a more definite goal than just 'I want to ski better.'

 

OTOH, a lot of times we instructors are imposing labels on what we want the students to do, particularly in beginner lessons. "Okay, we're going to work on a wedge turn today." Sounds fine to our ears, but to somebody who has never slid on snow before, they have no idea. Of course we are going to have to do some imposition with beginners. But rather than imposing a label, we should be (and some of us are) imposing a goal. Rather than "We're going to work on wedge turns", maybe the instructor should try stating "We're going to work on a way for you to slide down the magic carpet slope in control of your speed and your direction." While its a little more of a mouthful for us, it will make more sense for the student. Then they have a clear idea of the 'why' of the lesson, not just the 'how' of the component skills. If we as instructors are continually coming back to the 'why' of the skills, I believe students will be more apt to progress, rather than getting lost in the details of 'how'.

 

If instructors can be consistent in focusing on the intent of the lesson, I believe students will walk away feeling like they got more out of a lesson. It isn't very exciting for a student to walk away from a lesson saying "today I learned to tip my skis and get them on edge more". It is exciting for them to walk away and say "today I learned a way to handle those icy patches on the trails in the afternoon!" Same lesson, framed differently.

 

Competitive golf coaching has gone through an interesting evolution over the last couple of decades.  Part of this was brought on by the use of video.  Before video,  focus was on a competitor's goals leading to a balance between feel and technique.  With the advent of instant video, focus shifted away from goals and feel towards pure technique.  This produced golfers with magical swings but a deficiency in ability to compete. Then mental coaching developed to address that, usually provided by specialists rather than the primary coach.  The mantra of mental coaching was to focus on process and not result, further attenuating the role and value goals provided.

 

Today,  instruction is moving full circle back to where goals and feel are placed on the same level of importance as technique.  The competitor sets goals which provides meaning to the technique being taught.  I want to reach every par 5 in two provides something tangible that furthers the student's motivation and ability to absorb technique.  Just as important is the feel aspect because at some point what is taught needs to become natural.  In the case of golf changes can take years if something ingrained is being changed.

 

I'm no ski instructor, but perhaps there's an analogy with golf.  If so, process, feel and result all play a role and the best instructors figure which to apply and when.

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