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instructors: At what age do you teach Edging?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
When I am on the mountain - I see some kids speeding down the mountain on some black diamond slopes - with a Pizza/snow ploughing technique.

my questions to instructors are:

do you impart edging, carving, pressure, body mass movment concepts to 10-12 yr olds in a group lesson. Can a 10-12 yr old understand/utilize these concepts?

The larger question is - in a typical group lesson with 6-8 kids who are comfortable on blue slopes and above - what can be realistically expected from an instructor. Do you consider your primary responsibility to be that of a babysitter/mountain guide. Or do you have the time to teach specific skills to specific kids.
post #2 of 28
You can't really develop skills with kids as you would in adults.

I prefer to just do little fun excercises and drills with 'em, 'cause when it's fun, they can't help but learn.

Power plow is a great edging drill for 'em, as well as any of the standard progressions into parallel skiing. From there, their mobility will improve, and they'll ski the more difficult terrain in a safer and more competent manner.
post #3 of 28
We teach it to kids as soon as they aren't constantly trying to brake. Of course we're teaching them to race.
I've seen kids that were 7 or 8 riding on both edges. We had an eight year old at Brule this weekend who had it figured out. The rest of that group were 9 and 10. and about half (4/5) could do it by the end of camp.
post #4 of 28
The "death wedge" isnt a result of the skiers being too young to understand edging; its a result of a skier on terrain way over their head. You'll see it with age beginning skier on tougher terrain.

10-12 years old is more than old enough. theres no specific age that one startsd teaching proper technique to; ive had kids as young as 5 understand and kids as old as 16 not get it at all. Its all about their comfort level and motor skills.
post #5 of 28
One of the major issues with teaching kids to edge, is their ability to seperate portions of the body. In this case, it means seperating the left and right, and being able to have both side do the same thing, rather than mirror imaging the left and right sides. This usually happens around 8 years old (just a rule of thumb, and can vary by a couple of years). Once they get to the point where they have enough motor skills and body awareness to separate the the left and right halves, and you can get them to turn the left ski to the left while turning the right ski to the left, you can teach edging on corresponding edges.

However, even before this, when they haven't seperated the two sides, and left and right are still mirrored, you can still teach edging on opposing edges with exercises like crab turns, side stepping, skating, setting gates on a slope that's very easy for them to get them to go as fast as possible, etc.
post #6 of 28
I've worked on edging with kids as young as 6. Now at this age you obviously can't explain edging, you just have to make up games/drills that are fun and force them to use the edges. It's usually the 8-10 year olds that "get it" and it starts to show up in their every day skiing. I do have one 6 year old from last year (a regular in Jr. Ski) that can do it, he just refuses too, lol. I'm sure that will change over the course of this season or next. He's quite advanced for his age.

Basically, for me it's not a question of what age, but more what ability level. Sure, the motor skills just aren't there at say 6 or 7 years old, but the seed has been planted.
post #7 of 28

Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FanOZakk
You can't really develop skills with kids as you would in adults.

I prefer to just do little fun excercises and drills with 'em, 'cause when it's fun, they can't help but learn.

Power plow is a great edging drill for 'em, as well as any of the standard progressions into parallel skiing. From there, their mobility will improve, and they'll ski the more difficult terrain in a safer and more competent manner.
Edging starts when there is a reason to turn from point "A" to point "B". Girls to boys or boys to girls is a great reason or miss a tree etc. Parents often miss this point!
post #8 of 28
FanOzakk, your quote:
[Power plow is a great edging drill for 'em, as well as any of the standard progressions into parallel skiing]
I know your mentioned power plow as a drill but I would not even bother talking or showing this. This power wedge is just going to give them some negative habits of pushing the skis out and powering to an edge, I try to teach only to turn the feet and legs to make the skis turn. Nice round turns (they will be skidding somewhat) is much better to develop then a pushing, scraping of the skis out to get to edging. Develop e edging gentler after (kids especially) they have learned how to control speed by turn shape. There are lots of drills one could do, but I think working on turn shape by steering the skis will lead developing skiers into good habits that they can then take to more difficult terrain without having to power wedge down.
Just standing side ways on any pitch of hill will exspose kids or anybody to "edging", as kids prgress to more difficult terrain working the knees into the hill will get the skis on edge . One way to think about doing that is to think of squeezing out some tooth paste thru pretend holes in the side of the cuffs of your boots up the hill, this will get the skis tipped on edge especially towards the bottom of turn, then try to make a game of it in who "squirts" out the tooth paste the earliest in the turn. But no pushing on the heels to make skiis tip on edge.
post #9 of 28
A child younger than 6 or 7 generally has a tendency to sit in the back seat -- way back. One cannot effectively edge until the weight is shifted forward out of that position.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty
When I am on the mountain - I see some kids speeding down the mountain on some black diamond slopes - with a Pizza/snow ploughing technique.

my questions to instructors are:

do you impart edging, carving, pressure, body mass movment concepts to 10-12 yr olds in a group lesson. Can a 10-12 yr old understand/utilize these concepts?

The larger question is - in a typical group lesson with 6-8 kids who are comfortable on blue slopes and above - what can be realistically expected from an instructor. Do you consider your primary responsibility to be that of a babysitter/mountain guide. Or do you have the time to teach specific skills to specific kids.
At 10-12 yrs. old, yes, you can absolutely be working on edging atthat age. As has been said before in this thread, you can work on it earlier depending on the kid.

As for the larger question, which I don't think has been addresed yet. I figure my number one goal is to come back with the same number of kids, and that they all be looking the same as when they left. Hopefully with bigger smiles though. Once safety is taken care of, you can start teaching specific skills to specific kids.
post #11 of 28

No Wonder

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
A child younger than 6 or 7 generally has a tendency to sit in the back seat -- way back. One cannot effectively edge until the weight is shifted forward out of that position.
Try moving your centre C.O.G. upwards, you'll be in the backseat as well.
Its not until they get older that theirs moves south
post #12 of 28
Get kids on the right terrain and teach them to go, to go there, to go over there, to go there as fast as they can, fast, faster, fastest!

They'll tip, turn flex/extend, scream, yell, giggle.
post #13 of 28

Childrens Development

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin-uk
Try moving your centre C.O.G. upwards, you'll be in the backseat as well.
Its not until they get older that theirs moves south
Good point Colin.

In younger children, with their head being proportionally larger than older children, their center of gravity will be higher. At about 7 the CM starts to move down toward the navel allowing more efficient stance and movements. (With many thanks to Dr. Carol Gordon, a retired neurosurgeon and Copper Mountain instructor, who helped me prepare a presentation on junior golf instruction focusing on childrens development).

In general, their muscular development proceeds from head to feet, center of the body to the extremities and from gross to fine motor control.

Much of the hanging on the back of their boots is simply lack of strength-they are using their skeleton and back of the boots for support-because they have to.

Interestingly it is in the 4 to 6 age (developmental not chronological age) start to develop the ability to perform seperate operations with different sides of their bodies.
post #14 of 28

Children center of gravity

The COG thing makes sense. Although I have noticed the backseat situation with a child all along, I've never connected the cause (at least this one) with the effect. So, shall we say that until a child's center of mass is lowered, he/she is likely to be too young to edge/carve? Any way to overcome the resistance to move forward for someone that age?
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
A child younger than 6 or 7 generally has a tendency to sit in the back seat -- way back. One cannot effectively edge until the weight is shifted forward out of that position.
I'm by no means a kids expert, but if this is true, it's the instructors fault (if they are in a lesson). I've seen plenty of young kids (6-) that are in perfectly balanced stance. And yes, children have larger heads in proportion to their bodies than adults do, and this will cause some movement to the back seat, but it doesn't have to.

In addition to the COM, a few other reasons kids move to the back seat are:
1). They are on terrain that's too steep for them.
2). Their equipment is improperly balanced for them.
3). We fail to reenforce proper stance and balance.

We can change 1 and 3 and they are definitely related. If we teach our younger students to glide, and how to control their speed by making turn (and not a wedge), there is much less temptation to get into a defensive power wedge. In fact this is a position I try to teach only to stop. However, many of our students are excellent scientists and discover this position on their own. If I'm with a group of kids that starts to power wedge, it's time to traverse (or do something else). If you keep it relatively flat, 1 and 3 won't be a problem. It can create a bit of a misunderstand with the parents at first (most of whom equate how good we are by where we go irregardless of HOW we ski it...), but if you explain WHY we stayed on easy greens all day and when they see their kids rail their skis, it's all good.

There's not too much we can do about #2 except talk to mom and dad. Quite frequently kids get boots that are either too stiff or too soft. Both of these can have detrimental effects on their stance. Boots that are too stiff cause our little guys to break at the waist to lever the front on the ski. Boot that are too soft (esp rear entry boots for kids) often fail to give rearward support, where their butt dumps out the back and again a break at the waist to balance things out. This is much more common. I've seen too many instructors simply ignore the obvious fact that their students are in the trunk. If you see somebody back their, gently remind them where we should stand. (Squish the bugs under your toes....) But again, quite often these students are in terrain that is much too steep for their skills.

I generally teach adults but due to training session for most of our regular kids instructors I got a group of 4 level 6 kids between 7-10. With proper introduction we focused our edges most of the afternoon. We learned how to engage them to keep up from slipping on steep pitches, how to carve with them on the flats, how to release them to start the turn and how to sideslip (forwards and back). While carving we also talked about how to change the shape of our turns using our edges. Fairly advanced stuff, and they all got the concept and applied it. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Keep it fun, keep them engaged, and keep moving!
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
I'm by no means a kids expert, but if this is true, it's the instructors fault (if they are in a lesson). I've seen plenty of young kids (6-) that are in perfectly balanced stance. And yes, children have larger heads in proportion to their bodies than adults do, and this will cause some movement to the back seat, but it doesn't have to.
Pray tell us how it is the instructors fault. Developmentally children may vary 3 to 4 years on either side of the published norms. That is, a 7 year old could be developmentally a 3 to 4 year old or a 10 to 11 year old. If a child is physically incapable of maintaining a balanced stance in motion on an inclined plane what would you like the instructor to do? Ignoring physical development characteristics documented in skiing and other sports instruction publications is a cop out. Yes there can be other causes as you stated but it can also be simply physical development.
post #17 of 28
Other that being partially tongue in cheek (but just partially), read the whole post. I guess I was responding to the fact that a blanket statement was made and the fact that I've seen many young kids with great stances. I'll 100% agree that we must address multiple developmental issues (both physical and mental) when teaching skiing to children (part of which is the strength of the legs, the ability to move their limbs independently, and gross vs. fine motor skills, etc, etc.). But awareness of these issues this CAN and SHOULD be addressed by where we take our skiers. Would you agree that if children have trouble maintaining balance on an inclined plane, if we increase the pitch of this plane the problem will only be worsened? Conversely, if we lessen the incline of the plane the situation will improve. Children do not walk around with their weight to the rear on a regular basis. The walk in balance just like we do. If they can walk that way they can ski that way. I guess what I was getting at was that if is a huge issue, most likely the terrain we are on is too steep. One way we can address this is by choosing where we ski with our students. These are issues we should be aware of and can easily correct.
post #18 of 28
I never ask them how old they are and just watch them and guide them and try and set up no plough situations.

If a kid is in a plough he\she is already edging ....

The trouble with most kids is they spend so much time following bad examples.
post #19 of 28
I think it is more of a developmental issue more than an age issue. You also have to take into consideration that some skiers never get more than their initial lessons. Edging techniques can enter lessons early on through the exercises that are used in the lessons. Most instructors do this without refer to it as edging.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
Other that being partially tongue in cheek (but just partially), read the whole post. I guess I was responding to the fact that a blanket statement was made and the fact that I've seen many young kids with great stances.
I think you did the same thing when you jumped on me too quickly. Note that I said "...generally has a tendency to seat in the backseat. ...". I didn't say they all sit in the backseat unconditionally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
But awareness of these issues this CAN and SHOULD be addressed by where we take our skiers. Would you agree that if children have trouble maintaining balance on an inclined plane, if we increase the pitch of this plane the problem will only be worsened? Conversely, if we lessen the incline of the plane the situation will improve. ... I guess what I was getting at was that if is a huge issue, most likely the terrain we are on is too steep. One way we can address this is by choosing where we ski with our students. These are issues we should be aware of and can easily correct.
I do not disagree. However, with that said, the great stance (which I maintain being uncommon) that you're referring to can only be found on easier green trails. Now, how would you address the more advanced young ones who are ready for more (e.g. pre-racers)? Are these harder terrains really beyond their ability? Sure, you can train them on the gentler slopes but they have to eventually move onto something that has some steepness to it. I think I can generalize by saying that as soon as they hit the steeper trails, no matter how good their stance is on the green, the younger they are the more the tushies will naturally shift towards the rear and the longer. When edging/carving is introduced in the equation, they would just have to deal with the lack of effectiveness until they are more physically and mentally developed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
Children do not walk around with their weight to the rear on a regular basis. The walk in balance just like we do. If they can walk that way they can ski that way.
Walking and skiing are two different things. When walking, there is no speed nor wind hitting you in the face, amongst other things. There is no resistance to speak of. To them, it's all about trying to stay in the comfort zone.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
I think you did the same thing when you jumped on me too quickly. Note that I said "...generally has a tendency to seat in the backseat. ...". I didn't say they all sit in the backseat unconditionally.
Maybe. Sorry about that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
I do not disagree. However, with that said, the great stance (which I maintain being uncommon) that you're referring to can only be found on easier green trails. Now, how would you address the more advanced young ones who are ready for more (e.g. pre-racers)? Are these harder terrains really beyond their ability? Sure, you can train them on the gentler slopes but they have to eventually move onto something that has some steepness to it. I think I can generalize by saying that as soon as they hit the steeper trails, no matter how good their stance is on the green, the younger they are the more the tushies will naturally shift towards the rear and the longer. When edging/carving is introduced in the equation, they would just have to deal with the lack of effectiveness until they are more physically and mentally developed.
Let me ask you this question. How often do you see kids in the back seat that are parallel skiing ? Not many. I guarantee that most of the kids we see in the dumper are still in a wedge, and most commonly a breaking wedge. They head to the dumper because they must brace against the skis to support themselves when they slow to stop (due to inertia) or they are bracing against steepness. They are in a HUGE wedge and are afraid of picking up speed. If this is the case, you have done your students a dis-service by advancing them (terrain wise) too quickly. If we teach them that turns and not the wedge control speed, and keep them on slopes where they can accomplish this and until they can accomplish this, it's much less of a problem when we move to steeper terrain. If they are in a parallel stop, they generally aren't bracing against the skis as they do in a breaking wedge, and therefore aren't as prone to move into the dumper. I've seen 5 year olds carving pure arcs, so I know that while there are limitations based on age, it's not impossible thing to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
Walking and skiing are two different things. When walking, there is no speed nor wind hitting you in the face, amongst other things. There is no resistance to speak of. To them, it's all about trying to stay in the comfort zone
Thanks for making my point. How about running then. It's a dynamic and moving activity yet kids don't run in the back seat. Anyway, if we're doing our jobs, we really shouldn't have our younger students too much out of their comfort zone, should we?. Do you really think kids get blown in the back seat by wind? (sarcaism) A main reason kids get in the back seat (other than those without the physical strength to hold themselves up, (which is mainly an issue as speeds increase and kids have to lock out their legs and brace against the outside ski in order to support themselves)) is they want to maintain a perpendicular relationship to the center of the earth, not the slope they are on. They are leaning away from downhill. In short, it's fear. If they are afraid, we've screwed up. Skiing at this age should be about fun, and if you're scared it's not fun.

Now, I'm not saying stay out of steep terrain altogether. One thing that kids love and is super fun is skiing over rollers and "whales" and other terrain features. Try straight running over these in areas with long runouts. Start low and work higher. Explain to your kids to keep perpendicular to the hill. Have them try to touch or reach out for the end of their skis as they do it (Frankenstein arms) They can do it without heading to the back seat. If they can do it there they can do it for longer pitches too.

I understand that not everyone has super teaching terrain that's long and flat. I also understand pressures from mom and dad to move little Jill up the hill. I understand that kids get bored skiing the same hill/trail over and over. I understand ski school politics. I understand not wanting to stand on the beginner hill all day. However, we are all professionals. These are situations that professionals must deal with for the good of our students. It's not about us, it's about them. Yes, it might look good to mom and dad to say, "We skied dead man's drop today". While in the short run, it may line our pockets with tips, in the long run we're hurting our students ability to advance.
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
Let me ask you this question. How often do you see kids in the back seat that are parallel skiing ?
I have two that I live with. Actually, maybe almost 2. The younger one, 5 now, was almost matching her skis completely (by staying in the backseat) at the end of last season. She still braced in a exaggerated wedge when we occasionally skied on the blacks (due to fear/discomfort as you had pointed out).

My 8-year old OTOH has been parallel skiing quite confidently for 2-3 seasons. She started carving last year. She can pretty much rip up any terrain that was handed to her. Every knowledgable skier who had seen her ski, including her coaches (I don't coach her), commented that she skied in great form except for one thing -- her weight is in the back. Her edging just cannot be all that effective by being in that position. Her coaches and I had been working on that problem for over a year but we have not had luck in completely fixing it. We think she understands the concept but she just couldn't do it (COG/weight?). I am hoping that maturity, both physically and mentally, will get her out of the backseat this year, which BTW will joyfully start next week.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
I have two that I live with. Actually, maybe almost 2. The younger one, 5 now, was almost matching her skis completely (by staying in the backseat) at the end of last season. She still braced in a exaggerated wedge when we occasionally skied on the blacks (due to fear/discomfort as you had pointed out).
Why were you there ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
My 8-year old OTOH has been parallel skiing quite confidently for 2-3 seasons. She started carving last year. She can pretty much rip up any terrain that was handed to her. Every knowledgable skier who had seen her ski, including her coaches (I don't coach her), commented that she skied in great form except for one thing -- her weight is in the back. Her edging just cannot be all that effective by being in that position. Her coaches and I had been working on that problem for over a year but we have not had luck in completely fixing it. We think she understands the concept but she just couldn't do it (COG/weight?). I am hoping that maturity, both physically and mentally, will get her out of the backseat this year, which BTW will joyfully start next week.
Try skiing 1 ski tip tracers. No way to do it from the back seat....

If you can find it, I suggest you track down a copy of PSIA's spring 2002 Professional Skier and read Scott Mather's article "MiniMe". I think it will give some insite on what really young skiers can do.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
3). We fail to reenforce proper stance and balance.
If they physically can't do it then "reinforcing" means and does nothing.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidecut
If they physically can't do it then "reinforcing" means and does nothing.
My original statement assumes that the kids CAN do it, and for what ever reason we don't make the correction. Other than that I'll agree.

L
post #26 of 28
I agree, some physically just can't do it. I like to plant the seed, but until their bodies grow, some kids will just stay in the backseat and enjoy the ride.

I had a kid last year, 9-10 yrs old iirc. He was so far in the back seat it was comical yet made my knees ache just watching him. But, he was a good skier. I worked with him all day in a Jr program trying to get him forward, I just knew if he got forward, it would all click. At the end of the program, the parents wanted to hire me for a private with him the following day, I passed on the offer and turned him over to an L3 that is very knowledgeable on children. After an hour, this L3 confirmed it. The kid would not get forward until he had a growth spurt and it was physically uncomfortable to be in the back seat like that.

I bet that growth spurt happens this season or next for him.
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
Why were you there ?
Of course, you are referring to taking my young one to the steeps, right? Exploration and introduction. Nothing else. And, remember I said "occasional". IMHO, there should not be anything wrong with that. Nonetheless, she enjoyed skiing there quite a bit until she hit ice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lshull
Try skiing 1 ski tip tracers. No way to do it from the back seat....
Since I'm not familiar with that term I'm assuming that it is to turn/edge/carve with one ski on. If so, she actually was quite good at it and even with alternating skis. Please note that her weight was only slightly shifted to the back.
post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
Since I'm not familiar with that term I'm assuming that it is to turn/edge/carve with one ski on. If so, she actually was quite good at it and even with alternating skis. Please note that her weight was only slightly shifted to the back.
It's one ski skiing (with both skis on) with lifting the tail of the inside ski off the snow. Pratically impossible without getting forward. Try only on flat terrain and a low to moderate speeds. Alternate feet between turns. Focus not only on keeping the tail up, but keeping the outside foot turning to shape the turn. Tell them if they fell "tippy" or like they are going to fall to ski with both skis. Make sure they know this isn't they way we ski all the time, just something to try for fun and to get better. Explain that we balance much better on 2 skis than one. A fun way to do this is to take your skis off and to try and get the kids to try and push you over (both with one foot and two feet). Fall over dramatically with one foot and then get all of them to try and push you over with two feet (keep adding students one at a time (Suzie help Billy, Oh you guys need Stan too, etc). Guaranteed laughs, but it makes a good point to them they will remember. You can even explain as more of them pushed on you, the harder you had to stand on your outside leg. Just like gravity and the effects of speed.

It works with adults too, but I don't know if I'd let them try and push me over.... :-) Give it a try the next time you ski.

L
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