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Skills and drills - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchan
Tell them to make the snow fly! on both sides!. You will be suprised how many think the poles are dragging when they are 1-3 ft in the air! :
It's weird, isn't it? They are convinced the tips are touching the snow, and invariably, the downhill one is about 2 foot in the air! You'd think they could feel it.
post #32 of 59
Nolo, sounds like an excellent drill!
On a completely different note, for carving, a drill I like is to pick up the downhill ski early while still heading across the fall line, thus putting all your weight on the inside edge of the uphill ski and starting your turn. You have to learn to trust the ski and it helps learning to carve.
post #33 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiski
Nolo, sounds like an excellent drill!
On a completely different note, for carving, a drill I like is to pick up the downhill ski early while still heading across the fall line, thus putting all your weight on the inside edge of the uphill ski and starting your turn. You have to learn to trust the ski and it helps learning to carve.
kinda like the reverse of a Whitepass Turn
post #34 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Fall Line, that was freakin' hilarious!!!
I'm not an instructor, but this one time, at ski camp, our group was riding up the lift with a young girl who was in the beginner group. She was checking out some snowboarder hottie toy boy, so I told her that every time she extended her legs, she should think about the guy and do a keggle!

Later, in the lodge, she came running up to me screaking, "It works, It works!" Her teacher wanted to know what the heck I told her, but I'll never tell!
She ended up going up two levels in that workshop!

On a more serious note, keep in mind that some of us hate formal drills. If by chance I end up in one of your classes, and you do the "picture frame with the poles" thing, please don't be offended if I walk out.
Lisamarie:

Re hating formal drills. Would that be all drills, all the time? As an instructor, I`m interested in what`s behind your point of view on this.

cdnguy
post #35 of 59
Mia Culpa! I should have said "Some students hate some drills." I dislike any drill that takes something away, without giving something back. The stupid "picture frame" drill is supposed to quiet down the upper body, but what do I learn from it?

Some drills do have their purpose. Half garlands teach me that I can always control my speed by turning them uphill. I also learn a lot from Falling Leaves. They teach me how to stay foward, and they actually saved my life a few time when I accidentally got turned backwards. There was a moment of panic, then I realized that I knew how to get turned back.

That being said, my best lessons are often based on how well an instructor can communicate what he wants me to do. Communication itself, is highly personal. Some people just "talk your language" better than others. I tend to be very responsive to instructors who can correct me while in motion, by giving me a highly specific, direct cue. There is a subtle element of "feeling safe" in this sort of scenario. Snowboarders and out of control skiers usually (not always) smart enough to ski or ride too close to an instructor. Take waya the feeling of "who is going to come up behind me and hit me," and I can be more focused on the skill at hand,

I need a longer period of time to play with a particular skill, so too much off trail chit chat can drive me nuts! I need to be in a "flow state" in order to ski with fluidity.
post #36 of 59
This is a great old thread, and worth reviving, I think.

I like to play with extremes with my students, similar to what Manus mentioned earlier, but with all the skills. So, in addition to that fore/aft exercise, I'll do that laterally (leaning way into the turn or keeping the body directly over the skis), ski weighting (all inside, all outside, and alternating), and flex (tall, short). I'll also do it with rotary skills (comparing pivot slips to uphill arcs, for example).

I'm with LM, though. I like to keep skiers skiing as much as possible. I'll use rest stops and times when others in the group are skiing to say a few words, but skiing is about movement, and I just can't bring myself to spend much time standing still.

What about you? Do you have some approaches that have worked particularly well for different students?
post #37 of 59
I'm a huge fan of the "Saber Turns" as well, 'cept I call them "Whisker Turns". As long as the skier is able to keep the hands ahead of or even with the hips, they can be used as a drill for angulation, or for squaring up, or for flexion/extension. They lend themselves to be customized. Nolo's right though... some students go "Wow! That was really cool! Best exercise EVER!" and their downhill pole never even came close to the snow! That's usually when I say "Good! Let's do them again! Except THIS time..."

Here's another fun one for flexion/extension. Many of our students don't properly move their ankles, opting instead to flex/extend with the knees and hips only. Present this one sometime.

Think of the ankle, knee, and hip as three coils of a spring. If you were to stretch the spring, the coils would stretch equally. So if I extend, I want all three "coils" to move in concert. Same would be true if I were to compress the coils. (Flexion)

Common sense says that the ankle, being restricted by the boot, won't be physically able to move as FAR or as MUCH as the knee. But in the mind's eye it sets up a good feel for making sure that the ankle isn't left out of the equation.

I once tried that with a student who was making me crazy with her locked-up ankles. I'd tried every trick in every book to get her to move her ankles in a functional manner, but she wasn't buying. I mentioned the spring, and she nailed it first time out. Not perfect, but a start. And from there she was able to start making things happen.

Thanks for bringing this one back Ssh!

Spag
post #38 of 59
Like your 360's Ricb!

Here is an exercise that works well with all levels when trying to build awareness in the feet (as most people come to skiing with very developed eye hand coordination but little connection between the mind and the feet).

One of my favorite drills was to draw a foot in the snow complete with toes. Then ask the students to rock forward and feel the pressure move to the balls of their feet (as I circle the forefoot), then rock back to feel it move toward the heels (as I circle the heel), then move fore and aft to find a 50/50 balance of pressure. Next, we make some turns with all the pressure on the forefoot maybe even lifting the heel off the sole, and discuss what we felt? did the turn start easier or harder? Was it easier or more difficult to finish the turn? Then we ski some more turns with all the pressure on the heels and explore the same questions. Then make some more turns while trying to maintain the 50/50 relationship and discussing the sensations. I would then ask which of the three felt the best to them?

Now beginners may notice that 50/50 feels the best while a higher level student may realize that initiating on the forefoot moving through the fall line on the arch and finishing on the heel works well (ball arch heel or dare I say "backpedaling"). Either way the intent is to open up the pathway to sensations in the boot and foot and discover how changing pressure distribution affects the skis in turns. I would then have them ski the rest of the run initiating on the ball of the foot and moving through to the heel at the end of the turn focusing on moving the feet under the hips not the hips over the feet.

b
post #39 of 59
Spag, thanks for this one! What other ones had you tried with her (or would you try with those who are "locked up" as you say)? That's one area that has my attention at the moment...
post #40 of 59
Let me search the memory banks. It was awhile ago...

1. We played with the toes. Toes up and off of the footbed to flex, and down/into the footbed to extend. She was capable of doing just those things, and only those things. She didn't let the concept migrate to her ankles. Failed attempt #1

2. Discussion on "opening" and "closing" of the ankle joint... and the timing of those movements. She got it, but when she opened the ankle, she ended up in the back seat. When she closed it, she levered forward. Failed attempt #2.

3. Without boots on in the locker room I demonstrated the movement. She pointed out that this would be inaccurate because there was no forward lean (from the boots) involved. I agreed, but explained that this was just an exercise. She got stubborn. Failed attempt #3

4. She didn't teach kids much, but I was getting desperate. So I showed her a kid's exercise for flexing that I thought might get things started. Pretend that your knee is your nose, and it's running and really snotty. the top of your foot is like your toungue, and you want to reach your toungue up to your nose and get that snot off your lip! (Flexion) She thought it was hilarious, got a bunch of students "Licking" their shins, but never really did it for herself. Failed attempt #4

5. Leapers. She was determined that her shins needed to ALWAYS be pressed against the toungue of the boot. (Oh yeah. It was that Dogma that was the root of the problem. Should have mentioned that earlier. It's why "shin-licking didn't work) So she literally threw her upper torso into the air, dragging her feet and skis with her. Failed attempt #5

6. Garlands. Once again, shins into the toungues caused her to use a large rotary move in the legs to redirect the skis, instead of complementing a small rotary and edging move with extension. Failed attempt #6

7. Bunch of other things from time to time that I don't remember. Failed attempts #7-??? (Shuffle turns, 1000 steps, tall/small, etc.)

Can't tell you how relieved I was when she found something that worked! She went on to pass her level II and then move away. She now teaches part time at Winter Park. (and I hear has gone on to Level III! Think I see a DIME of that money???)

Spag
post #41 of 59
Spag... I once managed to get my instructor(staatliche and aussie examiner) to say "I've just tried EVERY exercise etc I know for this stuff and NONE of them work" (I think his count was >13).... he then set out to invent me exercises....
post #42 of 59
Woof! Just re-living that made me tired!

Years back one of my first trainers said "Throw enough sh@! against the wall... some of it will stick."

But I learned just as much as the person I was training. I learned that using what I know with ACCURACY is more important than the volume of what I know. I've since worked on getting to the core of my student's needs much quicker. It's made life easier on me AND my students/trainees.

Spag

PS. you know what they say Diss. "Necessity is the mother of invention."
post #43 of 59
Interesting, since all that tossing goes against everything I do in the other parts of my life as well as my knowledge of education processes. The key is actually fewer and more specific, making sure to "hook" the new learning to something already known. That "hook" is one of the most important aspects, and doing that across the boundaries of the various learner types is important, too.

In Joan Heaton's "Experiential WHAT?" article in the Premium Articles forum of the Supporter area, she discusses an approach to teaching for experiential learning that crosses the boundaries of the different learning types. It seems that combining this with focused, accurate drills would be of very high value to any learner of any subject, but especially those like skiing where movement is critical.
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Notorious Spag View Post
PS. you know what they say Diss. "Necessity is the mother of invention."
yeah... in the end (IIRC) it took 4 instructors... of those I think 3 were examiners/trainers and one a race coach.... concerted effort was required to make me move suitably.... they told me it was an "interesting challenge" we got some strange looks when i was doing some of the stuff they tried to teach me....
post #45 of 59
Aaaaah, the old "It takes a village" approach!

Yes Ssh! There is a huge difference between what I call the "Machine Gun" approach to teaching and the "Muzzle Loader" approach. Both will get the job done, but you have to be so much more precise with the single shot! My old trainer's comment was toungue-in-cheek, but back then I didn't know that. So I set out to learn as many ways to skin the cat as I could. When really I could have done just as well (Better!) for myself to learn more about things like physiology of humans, cause/effect relationships, ski technology, children's specific tactics, etc.

Of course, as a rookie instructor my main concern was making enough dough to buy that next 12-pack... College ruled.

Spag
post #46 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Notorious Spag View Post
Aaaaah, the old "It takes a village" approach!

Spag
2 villages in 2 different states.... although luckily 1 examiner/trainer had to go to the other village to do some training/examining... so they had a pow-wow....

It seems describing basic body movements is harder than it would appear at first glance....
post #47 of 59
It can be pretty subjective.
post #48 of 59
Hula hoop turns. Lots of hip/pelvis movement and a great centering drill.
post #49 of 59
There is some really great discussion of skills and drills in the Vail/BC Alpine Teaching Handbook (available from PSIA national as item 172).
post #50 of 59
Thanks for the reference. I just ordered a copy.
post #51 of 59

My bombproof drill

I know, there are different drills depending on situation but I have a favorite one which works in many cases: leapers. Depending on students level it could vary from small hops standing still to leaps in medium radius turn transition to leaping over the bump in bump run.
It does wonders. It gets kids of power wedge – try to hop in wedge position and you’ll understand. It gets students centered – try leap in the backseat. It adds a lot of confidence. It adds fun, kids all love it, especially jumping off small bumps. It promotes good balance and body awareness. Small hops in straight run is one of the best exercises for beginner powder skiers.
Anton
post #52 of 59
Hey look at me I'm Poaching!!!!!
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevensMan View Post
I know, there are different drills depending on situation but I have a favorite one which works in many cases: leapers. Depending on students level it could vary from small hops standing still to leaps in medium radius turn transition to leaping over the bump in bump run.
It does wonders. It gets kids of power wedge – try to hop in wedge position and you’ll understand. It gets students centered – try leap in the backseat. It adds a lot of confidence. It adds fun, kids all love it, especially jumping off small bumps. It promotes good balance and body awareness. Small hops in straight run is one of the best exercises for beginner powder skiers.
Anton
it also got me to leave my private lesson
post #54 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski View Post
it also got me to leave my private lesson
Why?
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevensMan View Post
Why?
instructor involved refused to explain the particular mechanics involved in the "jump" he wanted.... but insisted I did the move anyway with no direction.... I refused... he then tried to force the issue his way by selecting terrain I could not/would not ski... I went around.... and skied to the bottom of run to collect my poles (removed before terrain selection move)...
If I had not had to stop to get poles I would have made the safe haven of the ski school .....(he had only ever taught kids - so it took him a while to work out I had deliberately absconded)

as it was he stopped me and refused to allow me to leave...
which resulted in me returning to ski school looking so upset the kids supervisor asked what was wrong - at which I dissolved into tears....
by the time my instructor returned the following day the whole ski school was telling him what had happened...(including private lesson desk who did not charge me for that next lesson)

After my instructors "investigation" he explained to instructor why I might have trouble jumping etc... and to me how instructor was trying VERY hard as i was his first adult private and ski school supervisor had said to take special care of me.... but his idea of ski lessons involved training the high level junior race club kids... hence he was trying to "teach skiing" not "teach ME to ski"
Poor guy had no idea re disabled skiing either - got a bit upset when he realised the equivalent of what he was asking of me at the time... I got a nice apology via my instructor who says he was quite distressed and very genuinely upset at my distress...
post #56 of 59
Disski,
Wow, this all sound like a horror story or at least very strange for PRIVATE lesson.
I do not think the drill is the problem, it is good drill but maybe it was not appropriate in your case. Or maybe the problem was in communication between you and instructor?

I work with kids and adults and worked with disabled skiers for 2 years. Now trying to remember if I used hops with disabled skiers I say yes, I did. It made one girl absolutely happy, all day we just skied around looking for small things to jump off and we had a blast. Did it improve her skiing much? I do not know, she was OK skier and I did not try to work on something particular that day. I used it with other disabled skiers, very small hops while standing still to show basic skiing position.
Kids normally love this stuff. My experience with adults is mixed, some like it, some not. I never force my students to do anything, if they do not like it I move to other things. It looks like those who do not like it just afraid to look ridiculous and that is main reason for the hesitation.

For those poachers who want to try it here are some basics:
It is hard to do if you are in the wrong boots. Too big is the worse problem, second one is too stiff. If you are on your own trying this make sure you keep your upper body quiet, use double pole plant before hopping, jump of balls of your feet and use front of your boots to generate power, spring off shins of your boots. Do not jump high, it is not a goal, just try to keep your skis parallel to the ground and use front of your boots to generate power and smooth landing. Start on easiest slopes and use groomed slopes in the afternoon – normally they have those smallest “bumps” to jump off. Do not loosen your upper buckles, task is easier to do with your boots tight (if boots are not too stiff for you). If you can do exercise you’ll find yourself in very athletic centered position.
Nice demo of this task: http://www.vailbcschools.com/LEAPERS.htm

Anton
post #57 of 59
I've also used a similar idea as Spag's (utilizing all joints equally), but I've told people to "bounce", and depending on age, like Tigger, or ask if they remember playing operation, can't touch the sides, or think of bouncing like a spring in a tube and trying not to touch the sides. However, typically I'll only use this with lower levels although I have used this in lessons on double diamond terrain too (to maintain moving the core forward the whole time).
post #58 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevensMan View Post
Disski,
Wow, this all sound like a horror story or at least very strange for PRIVATE lesson.
I do not think the drill is the problem, it is good drill but maybe it was not appropriate in your case. Or maybe the problem was in communication between you and instructor?
yes - kids supervisor knew me pretty well as I worked for her indoors when they needed help feeding kids etc...

As she commented - even when he had me all upset and I had tried to leave if he had just thought to take me off for a coffee he could have saved the whole situation.... but by forcing me to continue in "His" lesson he made a total mess of it....
post #59 of 59
(Disclaimer - I am not a sexist. When I refer generically to an individual, however, I use the masculine article. It's simply proper implementation of the English language to say 'he', even though I might mean 'he or she'; the latter is a very cumbersome descriptor and it detracts from the coherency of the statement)

Two drills I absolutely LOVE:

This first one is for beginners/intermediates who get too 'mechanical' when they ski; the ones who don't move fluidly and can't help but hold tension in their bodies. Get to the top of a trail and tell them to ski the first half thinking of every component of their motion: toe pressure, counter-rotation, flexing and extending, pole plants, advancing the uphill ski, and so on. After everyone completes this, tell them to ski the remainder of the trail, but this time, sing their favorite song to themselves. Everyone's better run is always the second of the two. It addresses the fact that some of the rigidness comes from thinking consciously about the movements. This makes them more rigid for the first run, but it establishes the movements in muscle memory. On the second leg their minds are taken off the mechanics beause of the concentration task. This is often a leave-the-plateau drill when the student finally feels the smoothness and effortlessness that a 'better' skier experiences.


The second is a 'high-stakes' drill for intermediate/advanced skiers that simultaneously works on counter-rotation, short-radius turning and strong edge control: The instructor (or a volunteer) holds himself in a wedge pointing straight down the fall line, holding his poles pointing straight backward (grips and hands anchored as firmly as possible at the waist). The student (standing behind the instructor in a hockeystop) links his poles to the instructor's poles (strap around basket, grip to grip, whatever works), and holds them so the instructor is two pole-lengths downhill from the student, and the student is using the poles as 'tethers' on the instructor. Once all set up, the instructor releases his wedge and points straight down the slope. The only thing holding him back is the student, who has to get them both down the hill without sideslipping. The student then makes a turn and goes into another hockeystop. The student continues his direction changes, hockeystop to hockeystop, and gradually starts to link the stops until he is progressing controllably down the fall line, doing short-radius turns while supporting the weight of himself and the instructor. The constant downhill pull prevents the student's upper body from following the skis between turns; all the rotation of the turn is in the hips and it gets them making those turns while looking ahead at their line. It also keeps the turn radius very short. If the student can hold an edge with the weight of two people on it, then edging by himself will feel like a breeze afterward. This is also awesome for getting people to commit to a maneuver, since they have another person that they are responsible for. Just make sure to keep it light hearted, as this is one of the few drills that has a 'consequence' of failure, which the student will be very aware of. If you're the downhill volunteer and a student fails to hold you in control, or causes either of you two to fall, allow yourself to be laughed at by the class; they'll get a kick out of it, and it's kind of a chance to let them put your life in their hands for once. Good trust builder.

That last one might sound a little dangerous, but it's really not if you give yourself enough room. If you get going too fast during the drill you can always ditch the poles and get yourself out of the student's way.
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