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1st year ski instructor seeking help

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I just started my job as a ski instructor at the local hill a couple of weeks ago teaching kids aged 4-8 how to ski.  I've found that I am having a difficult time coming up with games and the like to promote the skills we should be teaching.  Does anyone have any suggestions- games or analogies for turning on two skis and proper rotary, edging, and balance movements.  I mostly teach never evers. Also, does anyone have any advice on how to deal with the "complainers"?  Or the younger ones that cry for their parents? I am completely at a loss on how to respond in these situations.

Thanks so much!

post #2 of 13

Calling Captain Zembo. Have a PSIA member friend get it for you from the PSIA catalog for $10.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beetle View Post
 

I just started my job as a ski instructor at the local hill a couple of weeks ago teaching kids aged 4-8 how to ski.  I've found that I am having a difficult time coming up with games and the like to promote the skills we should be teaching.  Does anyone have any suggestions- games or analogies for turning on two skis and proper rotary, edging, and balance movements.  I mostly teach never evers. Also, does anyone have any advice on how to deal with the "complainers"?  Or the younger ones that cry for their parents? I am completely at a loss on how to respond in these situations.

Thanks so much!

Welcome to ski instruction.  You've asked quite a mouth full.   I  never get the really young ones or the never evers.  I  have a couple ideas that I use quite often  with kids that ski a little.  I have a game where I never let them have both feet on the snow at the same time.   So...lots of one ski stuff and balancing demands.  I have another game where I challenge them to see how many turns they can do in a specified distance.   Keeps them working at turning.   I use the 1000 steps exercise to get then balanced and out of static positions and helps remove the death grip on the wedge.  I  have then touch their boots with their hands during transitions.  Just a couple ideas.  YM

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks yogaman, that sounds like it would work.
post #5 of 13
The feeling is normal. Games help keep kids engaged but they also need to show interest. Which is not always a given. I am sure your school has a sick and sad program, ask the childrens supervisor about it.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beetle View Post
 

I just started my job as a ski instructor at the local hill a couple of weeks ago teaching kids aged 4-8 how to ski.  I've found that I am having a difficult time coming up with games and the like to promote the skills we should be teaching.  Does anyone have any suggestions- games or analogies for turning on two skis and proper rotary, edging, and balance movements.  I mostly teach never evers. Also, does anyone have any advice on how to deal with the "complainers"?  Or the younger ones that cry for their parents? I am completely at a loss on how to respond in these situations.

Thanks so much!

 

I'm not the woooo wiiiiiii type of instructor. I keep calm and try to inspire my students through skiing itself. I always help them out except the ones that can stand up themselves but still ask for help all the time. Those I help a couple of times but they soon get the message. The parents better stay out of site and kids like when someone takes charge. But in a friendly and gentle manner offcourse. Off wee go.... and off wee go.

 

Much of the time you spend teaching you actually spend killing time. If you have a 1 hour lesson with a first timer kid age 3-5 and its cold and the kid is no overly inspired you need to figure out a way to speed up the clock in order to keep the kid going and getting your pay. So I start the lesson with a warm up routine. Windmill with my arms, bend down and stretch up, balance on one leg, turn around, walk around etc. It has 3 functions: it warms you up, you'll find out how inspired the kid is and it kills time. In ski instruction less is more.

 

I do lots of skiing ahead of my students. Have them follow me. At all ages and skill level. I also make tracks from ski poles and cones. At the end of every lesson there is a fun part.

 

T

post #7 of 13

Bring back more kids in tears at the end of the lesson than you took out at the beginning.  Hopefully they won't assign you jobs you're not good at.

 

Backward skiing is one good game.  You shout, "backwards," and you and all the kids turn around and ski backwards until you shout "forewards."  Let the kids take turns leading the group to a landmark (snow gun, certain tree, whatever you have), while you ski alongside each one giving them individual instruction.  Whatever terrain features you have, use it.  Small drop-off, rise, trees for slalom, whatever you can play with.  Red light-green light where they stop and restart on command.  Combine with backward skiing.  Count the turns to a landmark, most turns wins.  Sideslips on hardpack, straight sideways, tips down the hill sideslipping, tails downhill sideslipping, sideslip curves--gotta keep the feet close together for this.

post #8 of 13

I recently had a discussion with my daughter who is an elementary school teacher.   Our discussion centered around the idea that when I first get my groups, and I always have several seasonal groups because our mountain has a large school out reach program, I set firm boundaries when I first get my kids.  They  can be  from 7- 15 y.o.  or so.   I immediately set boundaries that set the tone for safety (no hockey stops when approaching the group),  group management (everyone pairs up and is responsible to keep track of their partner)  (when we stop, huddle up quickly so I can say what I'm going to say and then ski without wasting time collecting kids). I start off getting their attention appearing tough and no nonsense,   once I get control and get their attention, I can lighten up.  By starting off strict with good control of the group, they soon realize that I intend to ski a lot and work them hard.  And they want to ski and they want to have success.     The discussion I had with my daughter centered around the idea that kids feel safe with boundaries.  My kids generally appreciate  the attention, the focus on skiing a lot,   and the  sense they get that I truly have their best interest at heart.     YM 

post #9 of 13
The kids in the beginner corral are not all there by choice. Motivating them to participate is part of our task and for the majority of kids our programs work. But not for all. So we need a back up plan for those few who decide enough is enough.

As far as games, teaching for transfer suggests simple games like tag, follow the leader, simon says, and such are a starting point. It is worth mentioning games they already know and like allow them to have some familiarity in the strange new world if skiing.
post #10 of 13

Kids that cry for mom and dad.... I take off their skis and start making snow angels with (these are 4 year olds), play tag, run around in ski boots, promise a trip in if they play outside for a while, distract them with fun.  The most important job you will do with these young never ever skiers is have fun.  Play ring around the rosy in ski boots and then skis, have them chase each other around ski poles on flat ground in ski boots and then in skis.  Set parent expectations appropriately.  Explain if you get the chance that youngsters learn at very different paces and you will work hard to be sure these youngsters play and have fun so they want to come again but they might not learn to ski today.  I will get them comfortable with their ski gear on and maybe gliding.

 

We use hoola hoops and long bamboo bars in our ski wee programs, which can have two or three young ones holding on and go straight down the hill with them explaining how to make pizza.  Often our instructors just have boots on, no skis while they go up and down.  When you get to a flat enough area have everyone let go of the bar and glide.  They tend to find gliding alone a lot of fun.  I can almost always teach a 3 year old plus to use the magic carpet alone and that gets lots of high fives and fun and mom and dad will be impressed with that ability.  It can take several times out for a 3 to 6 year old to learn to turn.  They learn by playing and feeling it.  Use your hands to move like their feet move and have them copy and just say do this with your feet, make airplanes when going in a straight line, have them chase you down the smallest rolls and they will begin to feel direction change.  Always tell them also as some will just get it when you tell and show but lots of excitement, reward every small success and be fun.  Ask if they can sing when travelling up the lift (fill in boring stuff with what they sing).

 

There is lots to do with kids, even those that don't want to ski and just want to play, it's okay, just play and they will want to come back.  6 to 8 year olds will take more verbal instruction and learn faster, often with in an hour, so keep that in mind and let them know if they can follow you they will get to go up the big chair lift etc but again, make it fun and play games to get them doing things.  Follow the leader, airplanes, jump like Kangaroos, paws out front, (good for little ones too).  Ask their favorite animal, what sound does it make?  Every time we make that sound we have to stop on our skis and listen.... Red light, Green Light (big pizza stop on red light part way down, go on green light) once they start gliding with a little control.

 

I could go on for ages ).  I really an not a fan of the youngest lessons but I don't let that stop me from doing my best, keeping my enthusiasm up for the young client and doing a great job. When they do finally get it and you see them having fun, you're likely to have some fun too.  Oh yea, rolling down the hill with the one that won't stand on his/her skis and is crying for mom and dad and laying there refusing to get up will often get them having fun and forgetting about mom and dad for a bit too.

post #11 of 13
Hi there! I teach kids as young as 2 and as old as 8. The two biggest guidelines for the younger ones are... Have fun, and don't try to explain too much! Make everything a game! For never evers, have them do jumping jacks in their ski boots. Have them practice jumping from one boot to another. This exercise helps them to practice weight shifting. You can make this fun by playing "Simon Says". Then have them play around wearing one ski at a time. With young level 1s I generally do not have my skis on. Some fun games to play can be red light, green light. Teach them to ski with their hands out in front of them like they are holding the steering wheel of a race car. With kids under 8, you can usually get them to start turning by simply pointing their hands or "steering wheel" in the direction they want to turn. While still on the lower carpets (without my skis on), I have them "chase me". I pretend to be a bank robber. They are the police and have to send me to "jail". The rules are that they must follow right behind me without hitting me. You can switch it up and have them pretend to be the zookeeper while you are a lion that has escaped. Having cones or obstacles set up to turn around helps tremendously. Stickers, hot chocolate, and candy all make awesome rewards. Make sure they really "earn" them. When the younger ones cry for their parents, try to explain that if they succeed at ski school, they will be able to ski the big kid hill with their parents. Sometimes all of your tricks won't work and the child will continuously refuse to ski. That is NOT your fault, so do not let that discourage you. smile.gif Being loud, energetic, and overly enthusiastic helps so much with the younger ones. smile.gif
post #12 of 13
Oh, one more analogy! To teach very small children edging, compare their ski to a shark or an alligator. The sides of their skis are the alligator teeth, and they must use them to "bite" the snow. I've seen this work on even three year olds!!
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

@lizasaurusrex I love those chasing games! Thanks for your advice!

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