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Checking for alignment issues in lessons - Page 3

post #61 of 75
It's an interesting coincidence - beginning of season, i guess - i had just started collecting quickly identifiable equipment issues on my blog: http://www.racerkidz.com/wiki/Blog:Razie_Ski_Blog/Post:Be_a_good_coach_and_check_the_equipment

It's not just the boots, but also the skis to keep an eye on. I will be adding a bunch of other stuff, in time.

Cheers
post #62 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by borntoski683 View Post
 

 

Perhaps boot certification would be a great addition to PSIA.  At a bare minimum instructors should know how to MA and evaluate boot performance.  Watch for alignment issues, watch for fore/aft boot issues, flex issues, etc.  Well Bud is going to come up with a very comprehensive list, I can't wait to see it.  Why can't this become official part of certification?  I think it would be just outstanding.

 

Acutally BTS taking the Masters plus course in bootfitting from Masterfit U can qualify you for continuing credits from PSIA.  Their webpage listed credits through eastern and I checked with Central Division and they granted me two years credits.  The cost difference is not that great and would give you that leg up.

post #63 of 75

That's an interesting and nice idea worth considering!  

 

What I am suggesting is that I think L3 ski instructor certification should include some awareness of equipment and how to assess things like boot alignment.  In other words, you can't call yourself an L3 instructor if you don't know how to do some simple on snow tests to spot alignment problems and to understand how this is going to effect the skier's performance.  Beyond the assessment, I think ski instructors should not mess with the boots or try adjust them; however, this awareness and assessment may also play into how ski instruction is handled for a given student.  Awareness of a particular kind of equipment deficiency can very easily influence the way the lesson is conducted and the things the student is asked to do.   And of course the instructor can make some recommendations and send the skier to their favorite boot fitter in town for further consultation.  It could go even further if the teacher gave the student a note card with some notes on it for the boot fitter.  

 

There is an idea Bud, how about some pocket sized cards that instructors can fill out in a standardized way to send off with the student to give the boot fitter feedback of what you observed on snow.

post #64 of 75
In theory L3 teaching exam is supposed to delve into professional knowledge concerning alignment. I don't think boot fitting comes up. Might be a gender neutral issue since I don't know of any females that are gear geeks like many male instructors myself included.

Even though I know quite a bit on the subject I wonder if there is anybody out there that fits there own boots successfully? Last year 3 days before Christmas we had a fire in our locker room and I lost my ski boots. While I knew how they were set up I tried to set up the replacements myself and got the heal lift too low. I hated how I was skiing until after the holidays when I was able to go see my boot fitter and get it sorted out.
post #65 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

...Might be a gender neutral issue since I don't know of any females that are gear geeks like many male instructors myself included.

CoachZ meet TrekChick!

We dont know much about you yet, but my vote is for @Trekchick on the gear geeky-ness biggrin.gif
post #66 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

It's an interesting coincidence - beginning of season, i guess - i had just started collecting quickly identifiable equipment issues on my blog: http://www.racerkidz.com/wiki/Blog:Razie_Ski_Blog/Post:Be_a_good_coach_and_check_the_equipment

It's not just the boots, but also the skis to keep an eye on. I will be adding a bunch of other stuff, in time.

Cheers

Hey, Razie that's great.  Hope people add to your list.

post #67 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post


Even though I know quite a bit on the subject I wonder if there is anybody out there that fits there own boots successfully? Last year 3 days before Christmas we had a fire in our locker room and I lost my ski boots. While I knew how they were set up I tried to set up the replacements myself and got the heal lift too low. I hated how I was skiing until after the holidays when I was able to go see my boot fitter and get it sorted out.

Yes I do but I still get help in the initial evaluation and final checks.  Just got boots a month ago.

 

I have significant issues that make alignment difficult.

post #68 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

In theory L3 teaching exam is supposed to delve into professional knowledge concerning alignment. I don't think boot fitting comes up. Might be a gender neutral issue since I don't know of any females that are gear geeks like many male instructors myself included.

Even though I know quite a bit on the subject I wonder if there is anybody out there that fits there own boots successfully? Last year 3 days before Christmas we had a fire in our locker room and I lost my ski boots. While I knew how they were set up I tried to set up the replacements myself and got the heal lift too low. I hated how I was skiing until after the holidays when I was able to go see my boot fitter and get it sorted out.

As Cgeib suggested.....You and I should meet some day. 

 

When I taught at a small mountain a few years ago, it was a drought year and lessons were hard to come by so I shadowed some of the senior instructors most of the time.  Since my strength was/is about ski gear, alignment and fit I ended up doing more with fit and alignment than teaching skiing.  The head of the women's clinic program has contacted me about the possibility of working with them this coming winter. 

post #69 of 75

Well, we have open a can of worms and they are crawling everywhere!:rolleyes  

 

I liked Razie's blog which touched the surface and illustrated good subjects a level I instructor or coach should be aware of and be able to offer sound advice.

 

I would suggest that the worn boot soles are a big issue for all skiers who are looking for a solid connection between skier and ski.  A worn boot sole will tend to rock back and forth laterally in the binding which is like have way too much base bevel on your skis.  Set your boots on a glass table or granite counter top and tip them up on a slight edge and let go.  If they rock back and forth without finding a solid flat, you are sacrificing lateral edge control over your skis.  Also note many brand new boots are NOT FLAT out of the box and will have two different planes between toe area and heel area causing the boot to rock back and forth between these two flat zones.  If you see this in your own boots have them trued or planed flat by a boot fitter.

 

There is sooo much more, but thats all for now, back to work.

post #70 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach Z View Post

In theory L3 teaching exam is supposed to delve into professional knowledge concerning alignment. I don't think boot fitting comes up. Might be a gender neutral issue since I don't know of any females that are gear geeks like many male instructors myself included.

Even though I know quite a bit on the subject I wonder if there is anybody out there that fits there own boots successfully? Last year 3 days before Christmas we had a fire in our locker room and I lost my ski boots. While I knew how they were set up I tried to set up the replacements myself and got the heal lift too low. I hated how I was skiing until after the holidays when I was able to go see my boot fitter and get it sorted out.

You are right, it is supposed to be part of the tested knowledge but tends to never surface because, most examiners are not comfortable enough with the topic to go there and there is virtually zero content in our manuals to educate the instructors.  It needs to improve!  The "TEPP" skier analysis model is a great place to begin illuminates the need to understand cause and affect better.  TEPP shines a bright light on equipment issues and psychological "Intent" to turn issues.  Once the instructor/coach realizes that performance issues can be traced to one of the four areas of TEPP, they realize working on Technique, when the problem or impediment lies in the Equipment area, is futile until the alignment/equipment issues are resolved.  but I digress back to this thread topic.

post #71 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
 

Bud I think you were a bit hard on Coach Z there.  I clearly understand your desire to stamp out the harmful myths that pervade quick fix alignments.  I consider any quick fixes to be for demonstration purposes and improving the current lesson only. I am very clear about temporary fixes being temporary.

 

Coach Z may very well get some improvements with his approach but, I will fault Coach Z for making blanket statements without clarification or caution.

 

I am not sure his jump test really shows anything definitive other than gross balance although I am going to play with that one.

 

Both ankle joint and external leg angles can be affected by putting in heel lifts in the case where there is a substantial wedge shape to the leg at the top of the boot cuff such as having part of the calf muscle down in rear cuff area.  Heel lift can raise the calf muscle and reduce the effective forward lean.  Because heel lifts affect  ramp, fit and ankle range of motion a good working knowledge is needed.

 

Removing spoilers can effect external and to a small degree internal ankle angles if the leg is wedge shaped around the spoiler area.

 

Coach Z does make single point use statements about heel lifts without a clarification of when to use them.  The primary use of a heel lift is not to affect forward lean.   Although Coach Z might know more than what he has written, the problem with blanket use of heel lifts when trying to effect external angles is, the possibility of unlocking the midfoot in some skiers with undesirable results. The wrong application of heel lifts may improve he eye look of a skiers stance and might even improve the jump test while at the same time, substantially decreasing edge control and dynamic balance. Negative feedback from the skier you are trying to help is a good indication that you blew it.

 

Bottom line, unless you have a good working knowledge of the effects of the temporary changes that you are thinking about. it is best not to give quick temporary fix advice. When you toss in delta and binding mount position it makes it tough for anyone to assess someone's fore/aft stance purely by external angles and muscle fatigue First rule is do no harm to yourself or the person you are trying to help.

 

I would like to clarify one point from Bud's response that may not be clear to some.  Adjustment of the forward lean angle of the boot cuff effects both the angle of the ankle joint and the external angles of the leg as well as boot fit. All have to be considered when making that adjustment.

Sorry, don't mean to be harsh just accurate.

 

Let's look a little closer at the sagittal plane and the methodology I suggested above.  when you start blurring the line between internal boot angles and external angles and the order in which you address these angles, we can cause much confusion.

 

Concerning your statements in blue above: This is why I feel it is important to determine the "net" forward lean angle (ramp angle and cuff lean angle) of the boot based on dorsiflexion needs BEFORE we assess the external angles or knee position/lower leg angle.  Nail the internal angles first, start with the foot and work up and out when addressing sagittal and frontal planes.  Once the internal angles are set do not change the forward lean to change lower leg angle or knee position.  This is done by adjusting the delta angle by adding lifters under the boot toes or heels or under the binding toes or heels.  The last order of business if addressed at all, is the binding mount position.  

 

Also consider heel lifts are generally sold in 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" increments but I would suggest these need to be fine tuned to meet the skiers' needs as these are gross amounts.  An good skier can easily detect and 1/8" or 3mm difference in heel lift.  Also realize that a 1/4" heel lift in a size 4 boot is quite different than a 1/4" lift in a size 14 boot.  Just a little more food for thought.

post #72 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

It's an interesting coincidence - beginning of season, i guess - i had just started collecting quickly identifiable equipment issues on my blog: http://www.racerkidz.com/wiki/Blog:Razie_Ski_Blog/Post:Be_a_good_coach_and_check_the_equipment

It's not just the boots, but also the skis to keep an eye on. I will be adding a bunch of other stuff, in time.

Cheers

Like your Blog Razie!!

 

Let's take your list and expand it with everyone's input here!

 

Level I knowledge base:

proper fit, shell size 1-2 fingers behind heel

appropriate flex for ability level and weight

buckle tension

smooth sock, no wrinkles, snow cuff outside boot

snow/ice cleared from boot/binding interface

proper forward binding pressure (don't adjust, simply inspect and send to shop if needed)

boot soles flat?  rounded worn boot soles = poor edge control

 

alignment:

Fore/aft:  observe body position from side view.  Look for delta angle (boot length, binding stand height differential, lower leg length).  Lower leg too vertical will have difficulty balancing, flexing ankles, will ski broken at the waist to balance.  Lower leg too tilted, skier will have difficulty pressuring tips, will ski with hips aft and unable to extend fully.

 

Lateral:  observe skier from front or back.  Look for relationship between knees and skis, are knees centered over skis when skis are flat on snow? 

 

Transverse: observe from front.  Look for range of motion to turn feet inward or outward.  Watch skier walk in boots.  Some skiers walk extremely duck footed or pigeon toed indicating rotational limitations in the hips that may cause difficulty skiing.

 

Learning to spot poor alignment and suggest solutions and/or resources for adjustment is the first step for a coach/instructor

post #73 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Sorry, don't mean to be harsh just accurate.

 

Let's look a little closer at the sagittal plane and the methodology I suggested above.  when you start blurring the line between internal boot angles and external angles and the order in which you address these angles, we can cause much confusion.

:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
 

 

 

Both ankle joint and external leg angles can be affected by putting in heel lifts in the case where there is a substantial wedge shape to the leg at the top of the boot cuff such as having part of the calf muscle down in rear cuff area.  Heel lift can raise the calf muscle and reduce the effective forward lean.  Because heel lifts affect  ramp, fit and ankle range of motion a good working knowledge is needed.

 

Removing spoilers can effect external and to a small degree internal ankle angles if the leg is wedge shaped around the spoiler area.

 

 

Concerning your statements in blue above: This is why I feel it is important to determine the "net" forward lean angle (ramp angle and cuff lean angle) of the boot based on dorsiflexion needs BEFORE we assess the external angles or knee position/lower leg angle.  Nail the internal angles first, start with the foot and work up and out when addressing sagittal and frontal planes.  Once the internal angles are set do not change the forward lean to change lower leg angle or knee position.  This is done by adjusting the delta angle by adding lifters under the boot toes or heels or under the binding toes or heels.  The last order of business if addressed at all, is the binding mount position.

 

Also consider heel lifts are generally sold in 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" increments but I would suggest these need to be fine tuned to meet the skiers' needs as these are gross amounts.  An good skier can easily detect and 1/8" or 3mm difference in heel lift.  Also realize that a 1/4" heel lift in a size 4 boot is quite different than a 1/4" lift in a size 14 boot.  Just a little more food for thought.

Bud, I fully understand why you are a stickler for accuracy because  I have seen it too many times myself. 

 

Someone comes to you after flunking a level !!! exam.  The examiner told them they likely have alignment issues (usually fore/aft) and they just spent $900-$1000 at the beginning of the season on new boots and having an alignment.  You look at the situation and see a person in a poor alignment boot for them with significant issues that were not uncovered in the myth strewn cook book alignment they received.  Now you have to inform them that you cannot fix what they have and they will have to start over. They don't understand why you cannot fix the last guys mistake and think you're just trying to run the charges up.  You explain the problem and offer some options.  You do what you can but the guy is not all that thrilled until he reports back later that you were right and he should have done the whole shot again and he wishes he had come to you in the first place instead of the place offering 45% off on the boots he bought. I would like to have a piece of cake alignment for every alignment like the one I just described

 

I am not totally certain what context Coach Z was talking but most of the questions on here have to do with "What can I as an instructor do in a lesson when I don’t own a ski shop close by" 

 

My comments were not in the context of "this is how it should be done"  My comments are in the context of "this skier has no footbeds and no alignment. I have this person in front of me for a lesson and I need to give this person as much value as I can, right here, right now and I think I can make some minimal quick fixes and accomplish that as well as educate my student".

 

I intentionally left out  a lot of things in that explanation that both you and I would do in a quick evaluation with a student over a cup of hot chocolate. Things that would only take a couple of minutes to check but would take a post two pages long and thus not be read.

There is always the danger of quick fixes becoming permanent fix's and I think that is the reason why there is very little useful on the spot practical information written  on the subject of "What can we do in a lesson?"  As my experience in the example above suggests there is a tradeoff between confusion with quick fixes becoming permanent or cover good alignment procedures.  Does that mean we should not try to define quick fixes?  We have got to make inroads somewhere.  Its just like the age old question "Why do we let rookie instructors teach never-ever's  to ski instead of seasoned instructors when never-ever's are the most vulnerable to miss information?" 

post #74 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post
 

Like your Blog Razie!!

 

Let's take your list and expand it with everyone's input here!

 

Level I knowledge base:

proper fit, shell size 1-2 fingers behind heel

appropriate flex for ability level and weight

buckle tension

smooth sock, no wrinkles, snow cuff outside boot

snow/ice cleared from boot/binding interface

proper forward binding pressure (don't adjust, simply inspect and send to shop if needed)

boot soles flat?  rounded worn boot soles = poor edge control

 

alignment:

Fore/aft:  observe body position from side view.  Look for delta angle (boot length, binding stand height differential, lower leg length).  Lower leg too vertical will have difficulty balancing, flexing ankles, will ski broken at the waist to balance.  Lower leg too tilted, skier will have difficulty pressuring tips, will ski with hips aft and unable to extend fully.

 

Lateral:  observe skier from front or back.  Look for relationship between knees and skis, are knees centered over skis when skis are flat on snow?

 

Transverse: observe from front.  Look for range of motion to turn feet inward or outward.  Watch skier walk in boots.  Some skiers walk extremely duck footed or pigeon toed indicating rotational limitations in the hips that may cause difficulty skiing.

 

Learning to spot poor alignment and suggest solutions and/or resources for adjustment is the first step for a coach/instructor

Good post.  This is the kind of thing that I think might just work for guidelines on the slope. I think this approach might eliminate some confusion over quick on the slope fixes to help students.

post #75 of 75

Thanks Perre, I agree.  We should also point out that the level of attention we pay to these issues depends on the student(s).  If you are in front of an unruly group of school program kids who have the attention span of a gnat and are on rental equipment, you will probably just look at insuring the boots are on the correct foot and they are buckled.  If however you are with a private lesson client, your full understanding of the topic should be offered. 

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