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Falling Down

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I believe one of the barriers to adult learning in balance sports is our increased intolerance to falling down as we age. By intolerance I mean;

1: The resistance of ski schools, instructors and students to accept falling as a natural part of the learning process.
2: The inability for adults to fall correctly in a safe and relaxed way.
3: The increased risk of injury from falls as we age.
4: Liability.

As coaches, what is your view of students falling whilst being taught new balance skills. A useful tool that increases the learning curve, or a liability to be avoided at all costs?
post #2 of 26

I for one will often fall down on purpose in front of a class just to make a point that it's not that bad, and I HATE getting up after falling, but I do it.

 

I also think we need to teach people how to get up off the ground, even if it's just showing them how easy it is to get up by taking off a ski.

 

I do agree that people are afraid of falling, and thus try to de-stigmatize it.

 

I stress being in control and not going so fast that you can't slow down, and that when you fall the fall is potentially worse.

 

If a student is unwilling to put themselves in positions of balance that are shaky they will never progress.  They have to be willing to risk falling, which honestly they rarely do anyway.  Most falls happen to beginners getting off the lift. 

 

Never-evers fall on the bunny slope, but it's so flat and the speeds are so slow that injuries are extremely rare.

post #3 of 26
I will also demonstrate falling down, or rather demonstrate how to get up. This is really important because I could spend a lot of class time helping kids up. It's tiring. I sometimes forget that the first lesson with a class of never-evers is the most energy I will every have to expend while skiing. I have to remember to make sure I've eaten enough carbs beforehand (due to being an insuline dependent-diabetic).

I feel one of the most important students need to develop is how to get themselves up. There is power and confidence in being able to solve your own problem of getting up off the snow. There's awareness of body movements as well as developing muscle groups that don't get used in other sports or others areas of life. Once someone develops skills needed to getting up off the snow, they have also developed a sense of what it takes to remain upright.
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post
Once someone develops skills needed to getting up off the snow, they have also developed a sense of what it takes to remain upright.

 

And a sense of the value of remaining upright!

post #5 of 26

100% agree that able to get up yourself after falling is an empowering tool. 

 

I found it was incredibly easy to get back up if I fell on a steep slope (this maybe counter intuitive to some, but it is true!).  

 

It was incredibly difficult to get back up after I fell on a flat terrain.  I always have to take off my skis or get someone to help me.  

 

Also, someone mentioned to me once, the likelihood of hurting yourself (e.g. fracture) is lower if you fall on a steep slope than flat slope. Steep slope you tend to take a tumble, versus flat terrain you may fall flat and take the hit... Again it is counter intuitive and I am not sure how true this is.... 

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

 

I found it was incredibly easy to get back up if I fell on a steep slope (this maybe counter intuitive to some, but it is true!).  

 

It was incredibly difficult to get back up after I fell on a flat terrain.  I always have to take off my skis or get someone to help me.  

 

 

 

Oh yeah, definitely.  Getting up off the ground on the bunny slope at my age and I often take off a ski and I've been skiing for almost 30 years.  Getting up on a slope, easy.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

I believe one of the barriers to adult learning in balance sports is our increased intolerance to falling down as we age. By intolerance I mean;

1: The resistance of ski schools, instructors and students to accept falling as a natural part of the learning process.
2: The inability for adults to fall correctly in a safe and relaxed way.
3: The increased risk of injury from falls as we age.
4: Liability.

As coaches, what is your view of students falling whilst being taught new balance skills. A useful tool that increases the learning curve, or a liability to be avoided at all costs?

 

Hey MGA, are you saying old people have issues with falling?  Or, are you just attempting to make a valid point based on common knowledge? Anyway, skiing fast and falling down is one of my specialties. A good risk management discussion topic and a concern significant enough to steal an entire season away from under your starving feet. Personally, I have skied at a risk level that has produced only two bone breaks in 35 seasons, one of which I missed due to a car crash. Go figure. Anyway, the benefits I have retained in the face of those costs is a bet I'll take any day of the week.

post #8 of 26
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post

100% agree that able to get up yourself after falling is an empowering tool. 

I found it was incredibly easy to get back up if I fell on a steep slope (this maybe counter intuitive to some, but it is true!).  

It was incredibly difficult to get back up after I fell on a flat terrain.  I always have to take off my skis or get someone to help me.  

 

Also, someone mentioned to me once, the likelihood of hurting yourself (e.g. fracture) is lower if you fall on a steep slope than flat slope. Steep slope you tend to take a tumble, versus flat terrain you may fall flat and take the hit... Again it is counter intuitive and I am not sure how true this is.... 

Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
....

Oh yeah, definitely.  Getting up off the ground on the bunny slope at my age and I often take off a ski and I've been skiing for almost 30 years.  Getting up on a slope, easy.

 

Yep.  Falling onto the kitchen floor hurts more than falling on the snow, even on the flats.  Falling on a slippery slope means you slide instead of coming to a dead stop.  As long as you don't slide into anything awful, the fall on a decent pitch can be painless.  It's the thing that stops you that can hurt.  Been there, done that.


And yes, getting up after falling on a steep slope is easy, and easier the steeper it is.  Getting up on the flats, in addition to being very embarrassing since after all it's the flats and everyone is standing there laughing at you, requires very very strong quads.... most people just take a ski off.  Been there, done that too.

post #9 of 26

"Getting up on the flats, in addition to being very embarrassing since after all it's the flats and everyone is standing there laughing at you, requires very very strong quads..."

 

In my case, when I fell on a flat green, a person had a "concerned" look on his face, wondering why I was out on my own, he asked: "are you going to take a lesson?" I replied; "yes, lesson in an hour, I was trying to do a warm up lap before the lesson..." 

post #10 of 26

One of the reasons I started taking lessons when I got older was to fall a bit less. I had gotten used to falling a LOT through my 20's and early 30's trying to keep up with my friends, and enjoying speeds faster than I could really handle. I still had fun though.

 

As I got older, I got tired of falling so much, in part because of increased pain from falls due to the whole age thing, in part because several knee injuries gave me an increased fear of falls. So now I still try to push myself - and fall on occasion - but I find that taking lessons, and being a better skier, means I also understand why and how I fall, and can hopefully learn from it.

post #11 of 26

...yup, falling usually end up being relatively painless, but getting up...I surprise myself how difficult that can be sometimes  as you get older.   Tip #1 - don't ski chair lines - nothing worse than falling under the chair line, than floundering on your ass like an overturned turtle with everyone watching.

post #12 of 26

If you ain't fallin', you ain't tryin'. 

 

I can't say that I've ever seen or heard of any stigma around falling coming from the instructor. I fall sometimes with my group. Often the group doesn't see it, because it happens in the woods, and I always go last when we ski through the woods. But I make sure to tell them I fell, how I fell, and anything fun or interesting about the fall. There's no embarrassment or stigma around falling with my crew. 

post #13 of 26

I always tell my students that as they improve their falls will become less frequent and more spectacular.

 

fom

post #14 of 26

I take a three prong approach to this...

 

1.  Alleviate anxiety.  Beginner falls are mainly backwards and resemble a slow slide into home.  So, if you fall, just gently slide into home.  

 

2.  Getting up  -  almost impossible to teach on flat bunny slope.  Add zero upper body / core / lower body strength and limited coordination - errrrr   just take off your skis.  Just make sure they put their skis back on the right feet.  (Just kidding I get this question constantly)

 

3.  DON'T FALL in the first place.  Does Superman ever fall out of the sky?  NO.  Why?  Because his hands are out in front of him and he is leaning forward.  So, if you feel like you are falling backwards, cowboy up and do your best superman impression.  Superman saves the day.  Superman is brave.  Superman flies TOWARDS danger.  Be like superman.  Lets practice - everyone in line show me your best superman impression.  Just make sure there is a clear runout area for superman to slowly decelerate.

 

 Another gem is "Losing your cool while falling back?  DO NOT roll down the windows!  DO dive in the pool."  Of course no one under the age of 30 know what the hell it means to roll down a window.  

 

Once you can get your banana peel fallers to follow this Superman strategy, you will do a LOT less picking up pieces.  

 

One last thing for pros - DO NOT let clients try to grab you to stay up or get up.  Keep your DISTANCE. Then I give a short terse speech :  "Please do NOT grab me or pull on my hand until I say.  When I am ready I will count down 1-2-3 UP.  Do you understand?"  Only then will I offer a hand after I have my feet set and am in a good stance.  You do this for a living.  BillyBob who has 100#s on you jerking you around as he lumbers to his feet  =  tweaked back or knee.  Work Smarter not Harder.  

 

DISCLAIMER - I have no idea how to alleviate the well deserved anxiety and excruciating agony of falling on a snowboard.   Maybe suggest wearing hockey pads?

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post
 

I always tell my students that as they improve their falls will become less frequent and more spectacular.

 

fom

Thumbs Up  Now that's one of those real gems.  Couldn't agree more fom.

Problem is they've become so infrequent, and so spectacular, I'm really worried about the next one :eek 

post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat View Post
......

3.  DON'T FALL in the first place.  Does Superman ever fall out of the sky?  NO.  Why?  Because his hands are out in front of him and he is leaning forward.  So, if you feel like you are falling backwards, cowboy up and do your best superman impression.  Superman saves the day.  Superman is brave.  Superman flies TOWARDS danger.  Be like superman.  Lets practice - everyone in line show me your best superman impression.  Just make sure there is a clear runout area for superman to slowly decelerate.

.....

 

Thank you thank you thank you for this.  Love it!  Great metaphor.

post #17 of 26

Nope. I tried that already and it doesn't work.

 

Image result for superman skiing 

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

1: The resistance of ski schools, instructors and students to accept falling as a natural part of the learning process.
...

4: Liability.

 

 

Bullet #4 is probably the reason for bullet #1.

 

Once upon a time, things were different.  When I learned to ski (1980, Copper Mountain) about 15 minutes of the all day adult beginner lesson was to practice falling and getting up ... a couple of times to each side and both keeping skis on and taking them off.  We were self-conscious at first but were laughing and giggling before the end.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post
 

I always tell my students that as they improve their falls will become less frequent and more spectacular.

 

fom

That's about right!!!!!!!!!  YM

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdleuck View Post
 

Thumbs Up  Now that's one of those real gems.  Couldn't agree more fom.

Problem is they've become so infrequent, and so spectacular, I'm really worried about the next one :eek 

That's about right...too!!!!!!!!!!!  YM

post #21 of 26

Question to ski instructors:

Besides lesson on "falling down", do you also teach students how to put skis back on if they lost skis after a fall?

Reason I am asking, this can happen frequently to newbies, lost a ski from a fall, then struggle to put it back on a steep slope.  I learned a trick from my instructor when I was at a lesson in WB.  It was very useful.  (he taught us the trick after seeing his students fell and lost skis too many times.)  

 

Then I wonder, why can't this be part of the standard class material?  Truly, I wish I could have learned it sooner.

post #22 of 26

In part, beginners must pay their dues by entertaining those on the lift with their falls. It may be important for them to know that this and other related troubles such as trying to get up with their ski poles, flailing into the lift line, trying to click their toe into the heel piece and attempting to walk down not realizing the choice is producing more falls than otherwise, are going to a good cause while paying the bills. Since the departure of rear-entry rental boots, we are no longer entertained by the boots on wrong feet debacle and beginners are expected to step it up in other areas as replacement to this devastating loss. 

post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich666 View Post
 

In part, beginners must pay their dues by entertaining those on the lift with their falls. It may be important for them to know that this and other related troubles such as trying to get up with their ski poles, flailing into the lift line, trying to click their toe into the heel piece and attempting to walk down not realizing the choice is producing more falls than otherwise, are going to a good cause while paying the bills. Since the departure of rear-entry rental boots, we are no longer entertained by the boots on wrong feet debacle and beginners are expected to step it up in other areas as replacement to this devastating loss. 

 

I've still had students show up for lessons with the buckles on the wrong side!

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

 

I've still had students show up for lessons with the buckles on the wrong side!

 

Well, apparently, I cannot say I have seen it all. How it is possible that a question of which boot for which foot remains absent from conception through what is probably a long and arduous task for a beginner in the first place and from someone who arrived on the virtue of a current and valid driver's license, is a guess I'd rather not venture other than that drinking commenced upon arrival in the parking lot that morning. Either that or the ski area bus parking lot has a couple of short ones in it. :)

post #25 of 26

Nope they were too young to be imbibing.  Boots were big enough to put the wrong one on the wrong foot.

post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 

Nope they were too young to be imbibing.  Boots were big enough to put the wrong one on the wrong foot.

 

I could see that... Somebody on here had a story once about people getting boots large enough that they put them on over their shoes!! :eek

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