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Teaching methodology changes over the past 10'ish years

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm just curious how you would describe the changes to methodology, language, focus that have occurred over the last 10 or so years. i am looking to reinstate my Cert and an curious as to the changes that I've missed.

Why might you be able to advise me to look into/read up, etc.
post #2 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus View Post

I'm just curious how you would describe the changes to methodology, language, focus that have occurred over the last 10 or so years. i am looking to reinstate my Cert and an curious as to the changes that I've missed.

Why might you be able to advise me to look into/read up, etc.

The current manuals are a start.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yes, the manuals are helpful, however I was hoping to have a bit of a discussion in plain English about the changes in approach and tactics over the past few years. For instance, before I lapsed there was much movement towards lateral movements and pressure, but as I have seen lately there has seemed to have been some resurgence and re-focus on steering and I have seen many instructors and videos where people seem to be focused on appropriate vertical pressure releases.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus View Post

Yes, the manuals are helpful, however I was hoping to have a bit of a discussion in plain English about the changes in approach and tactics over the past few years. For instance, before I lapsed there was much movement towards lateral movements and pressure, but as I have seen lately there has seemed to have been some resurgence and re-focus on steering and I have seen many instructors and videos where people seem to be focused on appropriate vertical pressure releases.

I guess it depends upon who you talk to.  YM

post #5 of 29
Look into the Alpine Team's development of "five fundamentals" of good skiing.

I attended the recent PSIA National Academy, skied with a number of different team members and their retiring coach. Everyone emphasizes the importance of the outside ski, which has always been there, but was not stressed as much in my contact with team members 10 to 20 years ago.

The Fundamentals:

Control the relationship of the COM to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis.

Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward the outside ski.

Control edge angles through inclination and angulation.

Turn the legs beneath and in opposition to the upper body.

Regulate the magnitude of pressure created through ski/snow interaction.
post #6 of 29

One of the things behind the new fundamentals approach is to put more emphasis on what the skis are doing in the snow than defining performance based on the body movements. With the variety of gear we have today, the same movements on different gear and different conditions can have significantly different results. Is it ok to skid rocker skis in deep powder? Compare to trying to skid straight skis in powder.

post #7 of 29

One of the changes is that fundamental skills are viewed differently. The fundamental movements are now edging movements, rotational movements, and pressure movements. Balance is no longer considered alongside the other three, but rather as a byproduct of the application of the three. 

post #8 of 29

It would be an interesting topic for another thread for someone with old books to go back every 5 years or so for the last 30 years (or whenever new books were produced) and summarize the changes.  There's a song that describes what they'd find:

 

 

Balance in the center of the skis

Majority of pressure on the outside ski

Angulate

Counter

Flex the legs to reduce pressure against the snow

 

Yep, all new....:rolleyes 

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

One of the changes is that fundamental skills are viewed differently. The fundamental movements are now edging movements, rotational movements, and pressure movements. Balance is no longer considered alongside the other three, but rather as a byproduct of the application of the three. 

For current clarity for the OP, there are 3 SKILLS:

rotary, edging, pressure. (Balance is seen as a resultant... )

The SKILLS describe snow ski interaction.

There are 5 Fundamentals that Kneale listed in a previous post. These are more about the body... As someone in CSIA said," we teach skiers to ski, not skis to ski. ".

5 FUNDAMENTALS.

Control the relationship of the COM to the base of support to direct pressure along the length of the skis.

Control pressure from ski to ski and direct pressure toward the outside ski.

Control edge angles through inclination and angulation.

Turn the legs beneath and in opposition to the upper body.

Regulate the magnitude of pressure created through ski/snow interaction.


Now I'm pretty sure someone somewhere will take umbrage and this will quickly devolve into a 'PSIA's a bunch of crap' thread UNLESS people simply answer the OP's question. smile.gif
Edited by markojp - 5/16/16 at 2:29pm
post #10 of 29
The skill classifications are pretty straight forward. We can tip a ski over onto edge and back off of an edge, pivot it around a vertical axis, add pressure to all / part of the ski. A significant amount of overlap has always been part of that model. Tipping to create edge is irrelevent without pressure to create purchase. Pressure without edge purchase is as well. Fore aft pressure can be changes by stance, or rotary inputs. The five fundamentals are management objectives layered on top of the framework of the three skill classifications. So while not new it is a different way to remind us that objectives needs to be a constant focus.
post #11 of 29

 

​I found this interesting.  Not sure it addresses your exact question, but it illuminates the reasons for recent changes.

post #12 of 29
The focus on more technical content and less teaching theory is sort of a return to our roots. While both are important elements of a great lesson, the purpose for any suggestions for change is to change what the skis are doing with the snow. At least in the narrower world where left, right, and straight are the usual options.

Does anyone else remember the freestyle craze and how moguls, became more mainstream and ballet died out. Although many mogul competitors will tell you the technique is hardly PSIA mogul skiing. Interestingly,aerials became part of the terrain park discipline and are still around but I openly wonder if it is skiing, or if like diving is to swimming it really only shares where it is performed.

So for the d-team and their goal of searching and identifying commonality with those five fundamentals some activities had to be excluded.

It all comes down to their niche in the ski world. Competitive skiing is hardly their niche. We might study those disciplines but each discipline has a time constraint that makes the mastery of all disciplines unrealistic. Specialization makes some sense but demand from the skiing public and driving enough interest to support yourself often is the key to making a living teaching a specialty program. From an educational organization perspective teaching a pro to teach mainstream disciplines based on the average customer demands only makes sense. From there a pro wanting to specialize has something to fall back on.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

. The five fundamentals are management objectives layered on top of the framework of the three skill classifications. So while not new it is a different way to remind us that objectives needs to be a constant focus.

Are these changes, introduction of the "new" five fundamentals,  really going to change anything at least as far as what students get out of lessons?  Whether balancing is a skill or an outcome of how we manage moving in the three planes of motion,  doesn't really impact my teaching.    Ski instruction is student centered as long as the student gets what they came for, at least in terms of content.      However,  new students have little information as to what's appropriate, unconscious incompetence.  Therefore an  instructor has more liberty to approach the lesson content from many different  philosophical perspectives.   New students are generally the least capable critics of lesson content.   YM

post #14 of 29
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post

 

​I found this interesting.  Not sure it addresses your exact question, but it illuminates the reasons for recent changes.

 

I tried, I really tried, to listen to this interview ... but was not successful.  

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

I tried, I really tried, to listen to this interview ... but was not successful.  

Why is that?  YM

post #16 of 29
Cycles are nothing new. It used to be a three year cycle where a third of the manual was the yearly focus. With all the different disciplines now part of what PSIA teaches the team obviously felt tweaking the manual was needed.It isn't revolutionary as much as evolutionary.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 5/18/16 at 11:53pm
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post
 

Are these changes, introduction of the "new" five fundamentals,  really going to change anything at least as far as what students get out of lessons? ...

Yes and no. Radical, visible, fundamental change? No. One of the things Dave mentions in the interview is an intent to make it easier for new pros to get "up and running". If new pros get better quicker, that's going to be a pretty subtle change. The five fundamentals don't introduce anything we didn't already know. They just place a different emphasis on them and provide a different way of organizing things. For experienced pros, this will only have minimal impact on their lessons at best, My guess is we don't see a lot of students showing up with full rocker skis. The one problem of teaching "groomer technique" as the ideal to all students does not seem to be that big of a deal. So "fixing" that problem won't have a lot of impact either. How much does the inclusion of online video (via the QR codes) enhance the pro learning process? So, looking at the manual as a "collection" of small fixes one might argue that they accumulate into some meaningful change. On the other hand, making a case that a manual makes a big difference is pretty presumptuous.

 

Updating the manual is just something we have to do. There are some who say that the new manual is just returning to concepts from one of the older manuals. If all we are doing in our manuals is swinging the pendulum from one end to the other, then what is the point? It may be helpful to see this as a tube instead of a circle. Yes, we're back at the same point on the circle. But we've also moved forward on a different axis. Like the grooves on the inside of a nut, you have to go in circles to get the nut to work. At the risk of over analogizing, in my book a manual is a tough nut to crack.

post #18 of 29
Dave is who mentioned a return to past ideas. The spiral idea where a cycle is revisited several times certainly applied TR. How much we gain with each circle is left to the student's gains with each full turn. Another hardware analogy that makes sense is Tighten a nut and it moves in circles as well as towards the bolt head.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by yogaman View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 

 

I tried, I really tried, to listen to this interview ... but was not successful.  

Why is that?  YM


I cringed.  Not at the answers.  At the questions.  

Did you watch it? 

post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post
 


I cringed.  Not at the answers.  At the questions.  

Did you watch it? 

I watched about 25% of it.  Didn't really interest me.    YM

post #21 of 29

This video is excruciating.

 

Is he saying that everything taught to instructors in the past 10+ years was all or partly bogus?  There is nothing new about how the ski engages the snow nor how human body biomechanics works.

 

What's virtuous about inclination?  Is he telling us when inclination is too much and angulation needs to take over?

 

"Pressure along the length of the ski."  What does that mean to most instructors?  What does it mean to students?  (Total unintelligible crap, or?)  Why not say, "balance over the center of the ski.  Get more weight forward at certain times in the turn."

 

"Control the overall magnitude of pressure along the length of the ski."  Someone please translate that to English for me.  I'm impaired...I only have a B.S. and a B.A.  I need help understanding this.

 

What is totally and completely missing is a statement of all the old stuff that should not be taught any more.  Any responsible technical pub has a list of the pages to be pulled when new pages are issued.  This hasn't happened...has it?  I was trained when shoulder-width stance and even weight on both skis was the new best thing.  Some instructors are still teaching this and stuff soon after that.

 

"USSA and PSIA are coming closer together."  So, exactly how do the winning racers from Austria and the other top countries ski compared to the PSIA form?  Not even close as I see it.  Ligety and Shiffrin don't ski PSIA style.

post #22 of 29
PSIA is not USSA. Nor are they trying to be. The fact that philisophically they are finding common ground hardly means they are merging into one organization.
post #23 of 29
What I don't get is why bother with PSIA at all if it causes so much distress? Personally, I see it as providing 'a' not neccessarily 'the' framework for skiing and teaching, nothing more, nothing less. Posts like yours SSG make it seem as though the only exposure to skiing and coaching that instructors have is within the 'dominion' of a heavy handed, silly, and obsolete organization. I've skied, raced, toured, teley'd, was certified in other organizations over the course of 40 or so years on snow before having anything to do with PSIA. Everything I've learned, coached, or been coached before has been invaluable to seeing the larger continuum of the ski experience. What ive gleaned from PSIA has been fun as well, and i enjoyed doing the certification stuff, enjoy giving back to the sport, and paying it all forward. PSIA is one organization... It's a part, but certainly not the 'whole' of my experience on snow. I know for a fact that I'm not alone. I'm also not alone in expecting that I'll get out of any organization what I'm willing to put in. Griping about PSIA on the Internet isn't going to resolve a qualitative thing. Maybe sending Dave an email with questions for clarification would be more productive, no? Or better yet, drop the chairman a line. He's a genuinely good guy.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

This video is excruciating.

 

Is he saying that everything taught to instructors in the past 10+ years was all or partly bogus?  There is nothing new about how the ski engages the snow nor how human body biomechanics works.

 

What's virtuous about inclination?  Is he telling us when inclination is too much and angulation needs to take over?

 

"Pressure along the length of the ski."  What does that mean to most instructors?  What does it mean to students?  (Total unintelligible crap, or?)  Why not say, "balance over the center of the ski.  Get more weight forward at certain times in the turn."

 

"Control the overall magnitude of pressure along the length of the ski."  Someone please translate that to English for me.  I'm impaired...I only have a B.S. and a B.A.  I need help understanding this.

 

What is totally and completely missing is a statement of all the old stuff that should not be taught any more.  Any responsible technical pub has a list of the pages to be pulled when new pages are issued.  This hasn't happened...has it?  I was trained when shoulder-width stance and even weight on both skis was the new best thing.  Some instructors are still teaching this and stuff soon after that.

 

"USSA and PSIA are coming closer together."  So, exactly how do the winning racers from Austria and the other top countries ski compared to the PSIA form?  Not even close as I see it.  Ligety and Shiffrin don't ski PSIA style.

You get points for trying, but seriously, why bother? Within the context of your previously expressed beliefs, PSIA has made little sense and it is unlikely it ever will.

 

PSIA officially only wants to publish "produced" videos. This ain't it and to that extent it only bolsters the official stance on this issue. Of course the video is excruciating if you are coming from a PSIA is bad perspective and you expect "produced" videos. If you understand the context and look for positives they can be found. In all the briefings of the new manual, everyone has consistently stated that there is no earth shattering news here. Frankly, at last check, our understanding of skiing biomechanics hasn't changed much since the last manual and skis still interact with the snow according to the same rules of physics. This video sheds some additional behind the scenes reasoning of some of the objectives of the changes that were made. To some extent the new manual is evolution as opposed to revolution, but to some extent it is also de-evolution. There are pros and cons behind this approach, but if the starting point is "the old manual is all wrong" then the failures of the new manual are a foregone conclusion.

 

So, within that context let's answer your questions:

 

Is he saying that everything taught to instructors in the past 10+ years was all or partly bogus? No.

What's virtuous about inclination?  Have you ever tried skiing without using inclination?

Is he telling us when inclination is too much and angulation needs to take over?  No.

What does that mean to most instructors?  The same thing that pressure control movements meant in the last manual.

What does it mean to students?  Irrelevant.

Why not say, "balance over the center of the ski.  Get more weight forward at certain times in the turn." Because they chose to say the same thing via different words.

Someone please translate that to English for me. "Control the overall magnitude of pressure along the length of the ski." 

This hasn't happened...has it?  No.

So, exactly how do the winning racers from Austria and the other top countries ski compared to the PSIA form?  You've answered your own question here. 

 

 

Now let's dive into the answers in more detail.

Is he saying that everything taught to instructors in the past 10+ years was all or partly bogus?

We know the people that have this opinion. Their results speak for themselves.

 

What's virtuous about inclination?

Lower level skiers don't incline much. Higher level skiers incline more. Higher performance skiers at all levels manage the relationship between inclination and angulation better. This is expressed in one of the new fundamentals. This does not mean that skiers who "bank" are high performance skiers. It does mean that the center of mass has to travel a different path than the skis.

 

Is he telling us when inclination is too much and angulation needs to take over? 

No he's saying that the relationship between inclination and angulation needs to be managed. This isn't rocket science, but is an area where performance differences happen.

 

What does that mean to most instructors?

It should be fair to say that most instructors understand the difference between pressuring the tips, tails or the center of the skis.

 

What does it mean to students?  

PSIA manuals have always been for instructors to guide instructor understanding. Instructors are expected to translate technical knowledge into usable pieces based on their evaluation of their guests needs and abilities. What the manual means to the public is irrelevant. It was not intended for the public. Publishing technical manuals for instructor consumption is not unique to PSIA.

 

Someone please translate that to English for me

The problem with trying to make short summary statements more understandable  via "translation" into other short summary statements is that the deeper meaning is contained in the words that the short summary statement summarizes. One way to look at the offending statement is that all skis react to the snow underneath the ski and effectively communicate those reactions through the sweet spot of the ski. All skiers make movements that either are effectively a result of ski input through the sweet spot or an attempt to direct ski performance via the sweet spot. The skiers job is to manage that communication through the sweet spot to get desired performance. Racers pressuring the tails of their skis to accelerate through the finish of a turn would be one example. Mogul skiers pressuring the tips to maintain ski to snow contact would be another.

 

 

This hasn't happened...has it? 

PSIA has traditionally chosen to issue new manuals as new publications as opposed to revisions. That's simply a choice that has pros and cons. We could have titled the manuals "Anyone Can be an Expert Instructor" volumes 1-x.

 

So, exactly how do the winning racers from Austria and the other top countries ski compared to the PSIA form? 

So, exactly how do the winning racers from the US ski compared to the losing Austrian racers? This game can be played all day.

post #25 of 29
To be fair to all, no one organization claims universal appeal across the wide spectrum of skiing disciplines. Each has a niche but outside of that niche is it fair to expect more from any of them? Competitive skiing is it's own world and we see this in most discipline specific organizations. For Example, Racers are drawn to race teams and race specific coaching, mogul competitors are also drawn to teams and mogul specific coaching. Neither are all that relevant to the average skier who skis a few day a season. But those folks are the life blood of the sport and for those folks ski schools fill that need. Consider the percentage of skiers taking lessons at all levels. 85% are beginner skiers and this means as they start out trying to teach them to match Ligety, Vonn, or Hirsher, is absurd. In that way Ski Schools are a feeder program for those other more specialized programs. So while I believe being all inclusive is extremely difficult, customers drive services and Ski Schools have tried to keep pace with these varied demands. The way we teach is very important in that world and what we teach has lost focus in our attempts to produce better teachers. The shift towards more performance based content in our training was a decision the team felt was overdo. Nothing more.
post #26 of 29

Having one major national organization and national standards makes sense in the interest of standardization and consistency,  however  there is a loss of creativity and the value of dissenting view points.    YM

post #27 of 29

It really depends on your viewpoint of consistency. We all expect consistency in our purchases and a ski lesson is no different. The school's goal should be to meet and exceed customer expectations and when they do that, you might come back for another lesson, at least that is the theory most operate under. Their biggest fear is if that expectation was not met, you won't return, or worse you would insist on a refund. We can certainly get into the idea of reasonable and unreasonable expectations but part of our training is to help our instructors identify and sometimes negotiate more reasonable lesson goals. It is also up to us to help them deliver on that negotiated promise.

 

How and to an extent what they present is scripted at first because these instructors are so new to the job. Over time that scripting gives way to their judgment and their creativity allows them to customize lesson content to a greater extent.However, we all realize the average instructor has less than five years of experience to call upon and this fact suggests standardized training is even more necessary since these instructors still rely mostly on scripted presentations and lesson plans. To be fair this is not limited to the under five year crowd, many experienced pros never graduate beyond the "plug and play" mentality we instill in them during their new hire training. A habit I see present in their solicitation of scripted teaching progressions from myself and other training team folks. It's my belief that when they are seeking a new set progression rather than crafting a unique lesson plan for every client, their certification training stopped well before it should have. The 2001 manual tried to address this with The Stepping Stones concept. It was born out of the idea of creatively crafting lesson content where options instead of linear progressions were advocated. Even then most instructors rely heavily on their favorites and avoid straying very far from that set of options.

 

In this specific example imagine a bit more creativity and customization. Activity wise using a wider variety of drills and such may not seem like a huge amount of creativity but this is exactly where creativity is needed. What is not needed is the misuse of a drill out of misunderstanding of how it relates to the skill they are featuring. For example, I have often written about the hopping wedge and how our newer staff turned it into a standard part of every lesson they gave. Imagine how worn out our guests became trying to hop around for an hour. It's not a bad drill to demonstrate how we as a species hop and land from a centered stance but two or three turns is more than enough time to figure out how to adjust our stance and become more centered. Incidentally, I never saw any of our more experienced pros doing that drill outside of the clinic where we presented it to them. In some ways It would have been good to see them try it with guests and evaluate it's effectiveness. In any case it is only an option but deciding on options based on fit for a particular situation is the whole point. Owning more options and using them effectively is the key to a great lesson. 

 

Beyond that going out and being exposed to more than PSIA, or PMTS, USSA, or whatever system you grew up in is IMO how to gain mastery of ski teaching. Only then are you able to recognize systemic biases, local interpretations of national standards, company imposed mandates, and even your own biases from your particular learning pathway.

post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post To be fair this is not limited to the under five year crowd, many experienced pros never graduate beyond the "plug and play" mentality we instill in them during their new hire training.

Not every one is good at their job.  YM

post #29 of 29

Nor is everyone bad at their job. As they gain experience it is our responsibility to keep them engaged in the growth process. They are free to not participate but at the very least we need to offer the opportunity for further development.

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