Originally Posted by TreeFiter
One of the challenges I am faced with as a new instructor is deciding what comes next. In other words, now that they can do what I've been teaching, what should I teach them next. I realize that every student may require a different approach, but it seems reasonable to approach ski instruction in general with a systematic approach as long as we can tailor our lessons to the specific needs of a student. So I think we all have a pretty good idea of what Lesson #1 looks like, working up to a gliding wedge, turn left, turn right, stopping using a wedge, and hopefully some linked turns.
Assuming the student is picking up everything being taught during each lesson, how would you determine what to teach next? I feel like certain skills are dependent on others, and should be prioritized. For example, I might not be in too much of a hurry to push for rotational separation if a student is initiating turns with their upper body rather than through tipping and steering.
Is there an accepted sequence out there?
Yes, it seems reasonable to have an ideal progression of skills in mind.
Buy this from PSIA and read it thoroughly during the summer. It defines
level-by-level, from 1-9, what a skier needs to be able to do on piste and
off. You can lock that trajectory in your mind, then you'll have PSIA's
suggested model in your head.
But the best made plans fall apart in the field. The reality is that skiers
who can turn left and right come to you with all kinds of mixed up skiing
strengths and weaknesses. The individuals you'll be teaching won't fit
into those nicely described levels offered in this manual. Nor will they
be able or interested in progressing along the trajectory embodied in that
level 1-9 progression.
Flexibility will be a big strength for you as a teacher. Also you'll need a
big bag of tricks to use to teach all the parts that make up expert skiing.
Learning what that little booklet offers, and collecting drills and conceptual
approaches for teaching all the things an expert skier does, are well-worth
That said, I believe:
--Upper body-lower body separation is very important to learn early because it requires the skier to make turns with the feet and legs, but it takes some folks a long time to learn it because it's so unfamiliar, and because they can't feel what's going on at the femur-in-hip-socket area of their bodies.
--Feeling what being centered over the skis feels like and what benefits result (compared to being aft) are extremely important, but this takes a long time to get dialed in too, since caution moves people aft.
--Flattening and releasing the old outside ski's grip on the snow before the new outside ski is edged is extremely important, but this takes a long time to learn because it feels so insecure at first.
--Learning to get the body to move across the skis and downhill with the release is essential for expert skiing, but takes forever to learn because it feels so insecure to the skier.
--All of these are learned over and over again, season after season, in the advancing skier. Each time the skier learns one of these again, it comes with a feeling of Breakthrough! and adds insight.
As a ski instructor, you get to figure out what the skier in front of you is
ready for. Enjoy the adventure!