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What comes from the heart

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
What comes from the heart cannot be bought, though it can be sold. And its presence is a necessity for success and health and worth of every relationship...A love of the action of skiing is the foundation of what we, as professionals, do...But in skiing as in all things, the best comes from the heart. Always straight from the heart.

--Dick Dorworth
Dorworth wrote that in an article in The Pro Skier back in the 90s. The quote is on the t-shirt given away at PSIA's National Teaching Seminar, Sept. 1996, which I found in the back of a drawer and decided to wear today.

I think this is the ineffable "it" that defines a great pro, regardless of their teaching and skiing skill level. The love relationship they themselves have with skiing is critical to their ability to be the matchmaker in the love relationship between a student and skiing.

Do you agree that this is the foundation on which good instructors are built?
post #2 of 25

as a student

it's the first thing i want to know, and it's apparent pretty quick whether or not it's there.
post #3 of 25
I would say that it's at least a critical part of the foundation. There are other foundational pieces, but this is where I believe that I start. It is my proud bias.

I love the way Dorworth writes. He's always been the best writer about skiing, in my view, with Christin Cooper a very close second.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Weems, would you please explain this:
Quote:
There are other foundational pieces, but this is where I believe that I start. It is my proud bias.
What are the other foundational pieces and what do you mean by a "proud bias"?
post #5 of 25
For me, it always goes beyond a simple love of the sport and its movements. An instructor's love of the mountain, its quirks and nuances, and the lifestyle associated with it that inspires my learning. It's not just about teaching skills, it's about inspiring me to explore the mountain. Show me beautiful things to look at. Find this little hut that few people know about where I can have some cocoa when I'm cold.

Entice me to fall in love with the "big picture," and I will be motivated to become the dancer who can dance with the mountain.
post #6 of 25
Yes Nolo--a clarification.

There is a danger of being heartfelt to a fault. I've known instructors who come at this with so much heart, yet so little sense of tactical clarity, technical fundamentals, and the lack of will to integrate their spirit with their mind and body, that this beautiful heart is wasted.

I can have all the heart in the world, but unless I also have some moves to share, this will not take me very far. I've had lessons from people I hate, and learned much, knowing that they don't care at all about me, or how I do it. They were just so good that it didn't matter.

Again, though, the heart place is my bias, because that's where the whole thing has been the most fulfilling. I'm in it for more than the skiing. It's what LisaMarie says. (And what I know you believe as well.
post #7 of 25
When I ski, I am The Artiste, The Minstrel, The Jester, Milady of Snow.:

In my head, at least.
post #8 of 25
You're the queen, Bonni!
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Weems,

I understand that about being well-meaning, but what I am talking about is love of the sport. It's what drives an instructor to learn more and get better and be a more effective teacher. It's the love of the sport that is the most important transfer between coach and student.

You know the old saying, "they won't care what you know until they know that you care"? Maybe the most important thing for the student is that the teacher really cares about good skiing (loves the subject he is teaching). Just a thought.
post #10 of 25
I have mixed views on this one. I think a passion for the sport is essential to being a good instructor. Unfortunately, passion often leads to fanaticism and fanatics (whether religious or non-religious) tend to look down on heretics and non-believers. There is nothing worse than an instructor who feels his/her students aren't worthy of his/her attention.

Personally, I've always thought the axiom "Those that can't do teach." fit the best instructors. The best instructors I've known started the sport late or had to work at their skiing. They weren't naturals and few had years and years of instructing when they were young. Their having to work at their skiing made them understand it better plus they had a much better empathy for their pupils.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
I have mixed views on this one. I think a passion for the sport is essential to being a good instructor. Unfortunately, passion often leads to fanaticism and fanatics (whether religious or non-religious) tend to look down on heretics and non-believers. There is nothing worse than an instructor who feels his/her students aren't worthy of his/her attention.

Personally, I've always thought the axiom "Those that can't do teach." fit the best instructors. The best instructors I've known started the sport late or had to work at their skiing. They weren't naturals and few had years and years of instructing when they were young. Their having to work at their skiing made them understand it better plus they had a much better empathy for their pupils.
By that description, you just told me what color my parachute may eventually end up being.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Weems,

I understand that about being well-meaning, but what I am talking about is love of the sport. It's what drives an instructor to learn more and get better and be a more effective teacher. It's the love of the sport that is the most important transfer between coach and student.

You know the old saying, "they won't care what you know until they know that you care"? Maybe the most important thing for the student is that the teacher really cares about good skiing (loves the subject he is teaching). Just a thought.
I don't have any argument against that. Passion and enthusiasm and love (for both the sport and the student) are completely indispensible. For me, this is the fuel that feeds the rest.
post #13 of 25
Weems' post "clarification" say it all. Well said. bob
post #14 of 25
You instructors must love the sport and passing it's joys on to others; you sure aren't doing it for the money!

Oh yea, there are the groupies, aren't there Weems!
post #15 of 25
We are a sexy profession!
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
And the topic is passion, to know that which you do not know well enough yet.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio
I have mixed views on this one. I think a passion for the sport is essential to being a good instructor. Unfortunately, passion often leads to fanaticism and fanatics (whether religious or non-religious) tend to look down on heretics and non-believers. There is nothing worse than an instructor who feels his/her students aren't worthy of his/her attention.

Personally, I've always thought the axiom "Those that can't do teach." fit the best instructors. The best instructors I've known started the sport late or had to work at their skiing. They weren't naturals and few had years and years of instructing when they were young. Their having to work at their skiing made them understand it better plus they had a much better empathy for their pupils.
Passion must have a purpose. In this case, I think the passion to see others enjoy sliding on snow even more than I do is what drives me, together with a love of the alpine environment and a desire to share that with others. Given that, there is no likelihood of looking down on others; only a desire to share with them what I have found. Perhaps some would interpret that as "looking down" on them, though.

When I was teaching swimming, it was an unspoken rule that the best swimming teachers never got in the water. I saw this consistently. They might demonstrate movements with their bodies, but they never jumped in. I'm not quite sure how this merges with visual learners, but maybe the demos aren't as important as we seem to think?
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
And the topic is passion, to know that which you do not know well enough yet.
...and, one could argue, can never know completely...
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
We are a sexy profession!
Yes, you are, but it eventually goes beyond that. It's all about liberation, and I'm not talking about the BS political rhetorical definition of the word. Accomplishment of ski skills is about liberation from fear, and liberation from feeling incompetant. IMHO, there is more of a deep psychological feeling of overall accomplishment from skiing than there is from any other sport.

I think back to the DH Lawrence quote I used to use in my sig file:

"Be Braver in Your Body or Your Luck Will Leave You."

In The Virgin and the Gypsy, the analogy goes beyond sexuality. She became liberated from the whole oppressive lifestyle her parents imposed on her.

Back to skiing. I think that anyone who gets stuck at the "groupie" level never really learns the sport, or perhaps they never really want to. Some people just love to live in a perpetual state of infatuation with whoever they perceive as being "in control." I'm not making a value judgement, just stating a fact.

But to learn to ski, it has to be less about the instructor's personal attributes than it is about the instructor himself. I fell in love with Weems' skiing before I ever took a lesson from him. He was featured on OLN, and I said, I want that!

But no matter how well he skied, or how gorgeous he is, if he did not have the gift of being able to show us how he does it, he would be pretty useless as an instructor.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
...and, one could argue, can never know completely...
WORD!!!!
post #21 of 25

Rio said:

"Personally, I've always thought the axiom "Those that can't do teach." fit the best instructors. The best instructors I've known started the sport late or had to work at their skiing. They weren't naturals and few had years and years of instructing when they were young. Their having to work at their skiing made them understand it better plus they had a much better empathy for their pupils."

I find that very interesting, a little surprising, and the kind of thing that a late-starter with thoughts (only) about instructing benefits from and appreciates.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Yes, you are, but it eventually goes beyond that. It's all about liberation, and I'm not talking about the BS political rhetorical definition of the word. Accomplishment of ski skills is about liberation from fear, and liberation from feeling incompetant. IMHO, there is more of a deep psychological feeling of overall accomplishment from skiing than there is from any other sport.
I think of this liberation in a more complete way. Skiing well liberates me from the limitations of my normal biped existence. Suddenly, I am able to move faster than a leopard, fly like a raptor, and float like a dolphin. I become what I am not. I am liberated.

It is that sense--both physically and metaphysically--that brings me back to skiing over and over. It is also that characteristic that has me evangelizing others: come and experience life as you never have before.

Man! Now I've gone and gotten myself stoked, again!
post #23 of 25
That's what I meant! You just said it better!
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan
I find that very interesting, a little surprising, and the kind of thing that a late-starter with thoughts (only) about instructing benefits from and appreciates.
You have to realize, when I say late-starters I'm talking in their teens or later. Many things in skiing becomes instinct if you start real young. Its hard to relate something to someone when you just do it and you don't think about why or how. A couple of the best ski instructors I know didn't start skiing in earnest until college. (One earned ski instructor of the year twice at Beaver Creek/Vail.) Their having to catch up made them sponges when it came to technical knowledge.
post #25 of 25
I always thought that no matter how much we would like to believe we are a rational, logical, intellectual beings we are still lead by the heart, by a passion and love. It is that primal emotional connection that inspires us to persevere and move beyond what we are now. Without this spark we are soulless, indeed, we are lifeless.
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