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Turning an instructor into a coach???? - Page 2

post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

This idea of civilians joining PSIA as a way to accelerate skills development comes up several times a year here. Seems to me like the first question when considering such action would have to do with whether the person has a genuine interest in teaching. No?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

it should be pointed out that USSA, PSIA, CSIA, are not free to join and their official clinics cost as much as a group lesson. So no significant savings happens by joining any of these organizations.
.

I have two friends, one of whom eventually became an examiner, who joined PSIA so they could partake of the ski improvement training and THEN became interested in teaching.
post #32 of 58
That is much less common though. Most don't stick around very long. So we have to replace them every fall and the cycle continues.
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So suggesting the cheap way to learn to ski is to take an entry level ski teaching job is IMO questionable at best. Not to mention self serving when it is primarily about your skiing and not that of your clients.

 

Nobody is suggesting the OP take a ski teaching job.

post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post


Customers see that lack of interest from a coach/instructor pretty quickly and that is one of the main reasons drop out rates rise. Hiring commited coaches who teach and are passionate about the sport is what schools try to do. That does not mean new coaches are equal to highly trained and experienced ones but that really isn't the question here.

 

Did you see where the OP said this - "General interest in teaching... yes.  I been in a volunteer teaching position for our young guys at work for several years.  It's only a few days a year, but I'm one of the few (out of 50) that volunteer for that type of work.  Additionally, I've coached my son's baseball teams and always enjoy passing something on to the little guys.  I can't imagine I'd have a hard time teaching kids or first timers."?

post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

 

Nobody is suggesting the OP take a ski teaching job.


I did.

post #36 of 58

Oh, you did! Apologies to jasp.

 

Based on that quote, I really do think he should take his level 1. 

post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanBoisvert View Post
 

Sounds like you're a motivated student who wants an organized plan to improve, and is willing to put his money toward that goal.  If your instructor isn't willing to accommodate you, I think that says more about the instructor or school than you.

 

I second HeluvaSkier's suggestion about talking to JR at Timberline, and also expect you'd find satisfaction there.

JR is not the SSD at either CV or Timberline so he cannot help you  in the manner  suggested.   

post #38 of 58
I mentioned very specifically if your interest is self improvement own that and act on that. The teaching job route has benefits for sure but the expectation is you are hired to do the job first and foremost. That means your personal improvement must be subordinant to the doing the job you are being paid to do. As it should be. Customer first!
Edited by justanotherskipro - 12/16/14 at 2:39pm
post #39 of 58

Interesting discussion of becoming an instructor to improve your skiing. At my mountain the most important trait of becoming an instructor is your ability to communicate with the public  first and your skiing ability second. We wouldn't put a level 6 lesson with a ski level 7 instructor but will put a level 1-3 lesson with a ski level 6 instructor as long as he/she knows how to do correct demos for the skills they need to teach and how to effectively communicate what it is the student needs to learn. An instructor can always improve their ability and should work to do so. On the other hand  I've had clinics with level 3 certs who couldn't teach and from examiners who had a difficult time communicating with all students.      

post #40 of 58
You need all of it but a willingness to serve others is the common denominator among all long term pros worth their salt,
post #41 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwillg6 View Post

JR is not the SSD at either CV or Timberline so he cannot help you  in the manner  suggested.   

JR has changed roles, but unless you are JR's boss, I'd refrain from claiming what he can or cannot help the OP with.
post #42 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

My experience is that I spent well over 40k a year for race academy tuition and training for my youngest. I also spent several thousand on my cert training. Not to mention several hundred dollars every year / or every other year on CEC's. So suggesting the cheap way to learn to ski is to take an entry level ski teaching job is IMO questionable at best. Not to mention self serving when it is primarily about your skiing and not that of your clients.

Hmmm - Seems to me you just said it's a lot cheaper to teach and get trained on the side than it is to pay for all your training. If you compare joining the school versus paying for private lessons every week, it is certainly cheaper to teach. But the reality at most schools is that joining the staff won't earn you free private lessons with the director every week.

 

At my school we get a few new instructors every year who join primarily for the free training. It's rare that I see a new instructor whose primary motivation to teach is external (despite an "I love to teach" answer). That's ok. For most people. it takes 2-3 seasons to really understand the job and fit the commitment into your lifestyle anyway. The first 2-3 seasons weed out a lot of new pros for many different reasons. That's just going to happen. We don't hire anyone who does not love the sport. That's enough to get anyone started teaching. If a rookie's motivation to teach does not evolve over the first 2-3 seasons, then the school has an opportunity to improve.

post #43 of 58

Dirt,

 

If time is more important than money, see if you can work a deal out with your SSD and tip him very well. There are some SSDs who can fit a regular private lesson into their schedule and some who can support an irregular schedule. There are some who don't get to teach much at all. I don't know any SSD who couldn't use some extra cash. There are quite a few instructors who have regular clients that they coach. The arrangement you've asked for is not all that rare. If the SSD is not available, ask him for recommendations.

 

That said, it does sound like becoming an instructor could meet your needs. One aspect of this approach that has not been mentioned is that there is an element of your own understanding that expands in unique ways when you teach versus just being a student all the time. You probably won't get the same level of personal attention that you could get by booking an SSD for weekly privates, but you will get access to all of the top instructors in the school.

 

In Canada, new instructors go through CSIA level 1 certification before joining a school. In the US, most instructors get their new instructor training from a school and PSIA level 1 certification is a validation of level of teaching skill that requires actual experience teaching (of some kind) on snow. There are pros and cons with each approach. It is simply a choice. In the US, it is possible to become a member of PSIA before you get a job teaching. This could be a relatively simple and inexpensive way to get access to top level coaching (through PSIA clinics), but would not be very practical as the training events you'd want to take would be relatively infrequent and require travel.

post #44 of 58
TR, my point is no training is free. Someone always pays for it and if it is the school, they set the agenda. That means the target is training the new staff to meet the customer's goals and expectations. Personal development certainly occurs but that is in the hope that translates to a better lesson experience for our customers.

So I would pose the frank question, why use up limited resourses (the usually meager training budget) on folks mostly interested in their goals and not the organization's needs.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 12/17/14 at 1:41pm
post #45 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

 

Nobody is suggesting the OP take a ski teaching job.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Oh, you did! Apologies to jasp.

 

Based on that quote, I really do think he should take his level 1. 

 

Metaphor, I know you are coming from a place of trying to help, but reading through this thread, you have done a great deal to confuse the issue. The OP is in the Eastern USA, so if he were to choose to become an instructor and become certified, he would fall under the auspices of PSIA Eastern Division. As a Canadian instructor who I presume is a CSIA member, your certification and qualification process is different. On multiple occasions, you have talked about "Level 4's". PSIA does not have a Level 4, and the OP is likely to be confused by this. You also may not be aware that in PSIA-E, in order to join PSIA, and take a Level 1 exam, you need to be employed by a PSIA member school, and have a certain number of teaching hours. So while we are discussing the OP becoming a PSIA member, it is presumed that he would be working as an instructor, as this is mandatory to the process here in the Eastern US. 

 

To DirtViking, I would say that if you're looking to improve your skiing, becoming an instructor can definitely do that. You might not get to ski with the SSD all the time, but there will be other great instructors you can ski with on a regular basis. Being instructors, we have this compulsion to instruct, even when we're free skiing.  If you have a basic enjoyment of teaching, and a strong passion for skiing, that's enough to get you started. Your passion for teaching definitely grows as you do it more. The caveats are that it really is a job, and there are going to be days that try your patience and your will to continue... but that's only occasional. Being an instructor was the best thing that ever happened to my skiing, without a doubt. 

post #46 of 58
Or He could defect to Canada and get a fair-er deal tongue.gif

duel.gif

Hey, I like the idea of not having level 4s - that puts my lowly level 2 in a better light, doesn't it?

beercheer.gif
post #47 of 58
So if he wants to ski with the SSD all the time what should he do? That was the original question after all...
post #48 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

So if he wants to ski with the SSD all the time what should he do? That was the original question after all...

TBH, if that ski school is like any other ski school I've worked at or seen, skiing with the SSD regularly isn't gonna happen. The SSD spends most of his time doing admin, and doesn't have time in his day for a regularly scheduled lesson. Heck, when I was a ski school supervisor I barely ever had time to teach, and I was two levels below the SSD. 

post #49 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

TR, my point is no training is free. Someone always pays for it and if it is the school, they set the agenda. That means the target is training the new staff to meet the customer's goals and expectations. Personal development certainly occurs but that is in the hope that translates to a better lesson experience for our customers.

So I would pose the frank question, why use up limited resourses (the usually meager training budget) on folks mostly interested in their goals and not the organization's needs.

I would agree that clinics and trainings are focused on the delivery of the product to the customer, as it should be. Part of that is always going to be personal skill development, since we can't teach our students skills we don't know.

 

However, I think the most valuable resource for personal development as an instructor isn't always the formal trainings. It's the access to a group of highly skilled skiers who happen to enjoy teaching skiing. As I started in the journey as an instructor, I always got the most out of free skiing with my coworkers. I learned a great deal from them, because they were always willing and eager to help out the new guy. Since then, I've enjoyed paying that same thing forward, and helping other new instructors improve. Meanwhile, I still benefit greatly from skiing with my coworkers and collaborating to improve. 

post #50 of 58
All of that is great if you have the same time off. The irony is top pros are also the busiest pros. So freeskiing with them is difficult.
post #51 of 58
So if he really wants to ski with the SSD, hiring him seems the most likely way to accomplish that outcome. Maybe calling him to see how available he is the best course of action. (see post #2)
post #52 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post


JR has changed roles, but unless you are JR's boss, I'd refrain from claiming what he can or cannot help the OP with.

Never said that.  Nor am I his boss but only aware of the changes taking place in his employment status.  Everybody was talking SSDs and most here know the time demands on those folks.  I know this gentleman's role and possibly in the new situation he's in he may be better equipped to help.  

 

I will say this about becoming a PSIA member working for a ski school, that the training that will be received when going through the certification processes will improve skiing levels exponentially.

post #53 of 58

Long ago, in a state far away, I was interested in learning how to ski. The area at which I bought passes had instructor clinic every Friday night. Seemed like an Idea so I started teaching skiing because 1,The pass 2, the clinics 3, I thought that teaching might be fun. By the end of the first year I totally loved teaching, was amazed at how much I had learned about my own skiing, and if I had to buy the pass to keep teaching I would have done it. 

 

A couple of points about becoming an instructor. You do not have to be a great skier. In fact when I am evaluating potential hires ski ability is about the last thing I look at. If you can manage solid level 5 skills I can use you. Personality is far more important then how you ski. We're a ski school, we can teach you to ski. Frankly the best instructors I know the personal history of are some variation of mine. They want to improve their own skiing. Most hot shots wash out relatively quickly because they "already know everything", and its hard to work with people who struggle with things you have never personally struggled with.

 

My SSD was an examiner, as were my supervisors, and most of the trainers who were working to shape me up. One thing they all agreed on was that unless you were serious about certification there was no reason to join PSIA. The pin makes you more valuable and portable but its the work that makes you certified, the exam is recognition of where you are. As such until you have the teaching time in you needn't think about certification. As a former supervisor, in my dreamworld new hires would teach nothing but (skier ability) level 2 lessons their first year, and learn class handling skills. In reality there aren't that many 2s around and as generally the most programmatic level a well trained new hire should have little trouble with 90% of the first timers they will encounter that first year. The other 10% is their introduction to the joy and terror of teaching.

 

I've never regretted trying to learn to ski by becoming an instructor. The level of skill and knowledge floating around any decent school is astounding. There is nothing like trying to teach someone else to learn it yourself. If it's not already to late this season take Epic up on his suggestion and see if you could start this year.

 

 

post #54 of 58
Thread Starter 

There have been many interesting replies in this thread.  I'm greatful for all the comments and opinions.  They've helped me understand the business a bit better and shed some light on how things look from the ski schools point of view.  It's a learning process, and I'm still learning!

 

I know many have said that my ability is at a level that is sufficient to teach, but my gut tells me that I should try to improve before taking that leap.

 

So, several days ago I tried to make contact with my instructor, who apparently is not the SSD.  He's is the representative for local district of the PSIA.  He's in some sort of supervisory role, but I don't know exactly what he does.  I saw him pictured addressing new hires at the ski school and wrongly assumed he was the director.  The person in charge of hiring, which I believe to be the SSD, is a different person.  

 

I tried to make contact (by leaving my phone number at the ski school) with my instructor and the SSD.  Neither of which has called me back.  I don't get discouraged too easily, so I'll make another attempt, by phone, email or if that fails, by snail mail.  My intent was to talk to my instructor solely about my own personal training agenda, and if in fact, he'd be interested in taking on a project like myself.  I also wanted to contact the SSD to at least start the communication process hopefully get myself on his radar when he decides to hire some new people.  So yes, I've decided to persue an instructor trainee position, but I'll seek out my own "personal" training first.

 

I contacted a resort in WV, and they were lukewarm when it came to my idea of training for several days in a row.  Instead of agreeing with me I got a version of what the Director thought I should do.  His idea was to take a lesson and then decide if I should take a lesson the next day depending on how I feel.  That's basically what I do when I'm on vacation with my family, so there would be no real benefit in doing that.  Or should I say, no real training.  I was clear when I told him that I wanted to train, but his solution was very vanilla.  To his credit, he said that he could assign a Level III to me for the entire 5 days.

 

I contacted a 3rd resort and they couldn't have been more helpful.  They've got 4 Level III's and 10 Level II's on staff.  They were receptive to my idea of training and liked the idea of 2 hours a day for 5 days.  They wanted to be able to rotate different instructors with me so I wasn't with the same instructor for the entire 10 hours.  They wouldn't bend on that issue.  I suppose there are merits to having multiple instructors, but I'm inclined to find the 1 person that I like and then stick with them.  They are willing to cut me a break on the lesson fees, if I were to pay for the entire package up front.  That may be the best deal for me as it works out to be about $64 an hour for 10 hours.  Not too shabby.  It seems like a lot of coin to drop on training, but that's much less than I would spend at a ski camp somewhere. 

 

As an aside, I believe I owe something to those that responded by saying you should only teach if that's the one and only goal.  That's a pretty tough thing for anyone to say.  They are a number of factors that I have to take into consideration when even thinking about pursuing this as a job (wife, kids, my full-time job, location, travel, etc.)  I certainly wouldn't be doing it for the money, in fact due to travel and lodging I'd probably lose money by instructing.  The appeal would be to teach, but it would also be an opportunity to learn.   What teacher is ever done learning?  I can't look at those two issues independent of one another.  To me they go hand-in-hand.  I don't mind teaching and would guess that I'd like it, but I also have to have an opportunity to learn.

 

I understand the idea of teaching as a way to improve you skiing.  That's the same basic premise of why I teach my guys at work.  I enjoy doing it, but it also keeps me sharp and up to speed within my profession.  If those skills aren't honed, they become dull over time...

post #55 of 58
Do not disregard the racing/coaching side of things. I don't really know much about the USSA but it should be more free wheeling and parent- driven or at least parent-friendly.

Good luck either way
post #56 of 58
It is weird that the coach has yet to contact you. Even to decline the offer.
post #57 of 58
Unless you ask... The answer is always... No!
post #58 of 58
Thread Starter 

Instructor was out of town.

 

Finally got to him via a lesson.  I mentioned the idea of training and he said, "have you ever thought about being an instructor?"  Thumbs Up

 

Long story short, I'm starting my new job as an instructor this Wednesday.  Well, sort of.  I have to observe 5 lessons until they free the shackles and let me do it by myself.

 

The whole process was kind of humorous.  It's taken a couple weeks for me to get to this point.  I haven't filled out a W2 in about 20 years or so.  I sat there for 10 minutes trying it figure it out.  It finally made complete sense and I pushed on.  I can tell you one thing, employment paperwork has certainly increased.  Wow.  I think I had about 20 pages to fill out.

 

One thing I didn't expect was that I had to pass a physical of sorts.  It was specifically designed to test certain strengths that they felt were important.  It was given by a 3rd party fitness center.  I passed with flying colors.  Additionally, I was given an employee manual and guide and have been trying to commit sections to memory that pertain to instructors.

 

I've probably missed my opportunity to get my level 1 this year, but I may be able to take advantage of some other instructor clinics.  We shall see.  I've ordered the "new instructor" manuals from the PSIA and will hopefully start nailing that information down.

 

I haven't had a new job in about 18 years, so this is all very exciting to me.  Hopefully I won't wear out my welcome the first week.

 

Thanks to all for the insight and suggestions.

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