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How would you handle this situation?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here's the situation: A clinic series for 4 - 7 adults who are generally competent skiers in their own way, with skills ranging from mid-intermediate to advanced. Many are self-taught or have taken lessons from a long time ago. Most are "Z" turners, with their turns generated by strong rotary motion followed by a pause at the end of the turn, skidding in an excessively countered position. As predicted, most hate moguls because they can't do them. However, by March, they will have to display some competence in moguls, and to execute rounded carved small, med, and large radius turns on groomed.

I want to get them to round out their turns, and using turn shape to control speed. Later, I want them to apply this tactic to their bump skiing. My theme is based on having them view turns from apex to apex rather than the top and bottoms of the turns. I started by introducing them to "box turns" (as discussed here elsewhere). Later I progressed to skills in rounding out the corners of the boxes. After that I will introduce the idea of steering/skiing their way around moguls rather than skid and flounder their way through them. Comments about my strategy so far, anyone?

In general, I am experience good success from most folks. However, in this class I have one or two who seemed incredibly resistant to new ideas. For example, my comments to get them to decrease their inside tip lead or to be less countered were frequently met with "Well, that wasn't how I was taught before!" or "I have always done it this way and it seemed to work."

I realise that no learning will happen unless the student wants to learn. However, the problem is that there are two of these malcontents in this class, and they feed on each other and their gripping is beginning to disrupt the harmony of the group. At one point, I came close to saying, "Fine, do it your way. But don't be surprised if you come back in a month and a half for your evaluation and I flunk your sorry a*s". I am close to sending these two clowns off to "practice" moguls on their own while I work with the rest of the group in peace - which might be the equivalent of "drop and give me 100 pushups while the rest of us do something more pleasant".

All you long time teachers out there, how do you handle a situation like this? Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 8
Sounds like a good time for a game of cat and mouse. This of course assumes you can really carve those skis. Have them pair up. Make the 2 that are running their mouths about about how "it always worked before" pair up with one of the students that are beginning to carve round turns. Or have them follow you. The idea of the game is that they must follow your tracks. no short cuts, no cutting across the turn apex. Their goal is to catch up or at least keep up.

Make sure you make several turns across and up the hill carrying your speed through the whole turn. Change the shape and size of your turns.

Your main goal is to make them realize that there's so much more to skiing than making z turns down the hill. The exercise will also give the other students a chance to try different things. The follower will need to turn based on terrain and the person they are following. This helps them to anticipate and turn where the leader goes. It teaches them to adjust to many factors as they change. This will aid bump skiing as a lot of bump skiing is doing just that, adjusting to the terrain.

post #3 of 8
The only answer I have as to their attitude is to link the techniques you teach to the new equipment they are (hopefully) using. You can even be derogatory about the old equipment, like "If those old skiis are so good, why don't they make them anymore?"

Same with technique -- "If it's so good why doesn't anybody teach it anymore?" I'm assuming that they are actually with you to learn something. And of course, new equipment means better ways to ski.

Is this pass/fail thing important to them?

The drills I suggest are to traverse on one leg, traverse switching legs, ski a whole turn on one leg, switch at neutral then ski the other turn. Thumper turns, 100 steps, 1000 steps. All designed to rebalance them, which would help to remove the tip lead. Drag poles (pole boxes) in all these drills whenever you see needed.

I would not address rounding directly yet. Once they have displayed good balance, do pivot slips. Then arm position and balance poles on wrists in front of body as they ski or do more pivot slips with poles on wrists...

Hold poles halfway and ski "through the window". Any drill to improve upper and lower body separation. Drag poles for sure! (You said rotation was an issue.)

You may also want to do some turns that are skidded ALL the way around, with no hard edges. This alone will round the turns.

Then, do the round turns as they follow you in the skiing drills. Then do 5 turns, and have them come one at a time. Tell/ask each skier what they see in the next skier's skiing. The best one goes first. Make sure they know you are looking for patience at the top of the turn (no rotation) and soft edges before transition (enough pressure control for no Z's).

That's my 2 cents. Hope it's worth that much.
post #4 of 8

Virst I recommend that you start pronouncing more ov your vords vith the letter v. Zee Austrians do not have zuch troubles in zer clazzes.

Next I recommend Chinese bamboo torture.

With respect to the troublemakers, when a student shuts the front door, I go for the back door solution (e.g. dchan's cat and mouse). The idea is to give them guided discovery exercises where they have to stop doing the excessive tip lead and/or it's damn near impossible to Z turn. 1000 steps comes to mind. Javelin turns might help as well.

When trouble makers shut the back door too, it's time to break out the heavy artillery (in my case - this would be "evil Rusty"). Evil Rusty's version of cat and mouse starts with the mouse being very easy for the cat to follow, then slowing turning up the juice to find the weak point. Once the weak point is found (e.g. 2-3 turns getting sloppy) and the cat just barely starts to fall behind, mouse turns on afterburners to "instantly" double the lead, then stops, gives a "hmmm" look (might try a Matrix come here finger wave next time) to the victim and repeats. Barking immediate feedback (e.g. "ehhhhhhh") during mistakes in exercises seems to hit troublemakers below the belt. "Impossible" challenges can also help. I like one turn to a stop drills. Sometimes I will toss an old racquetball down the hill (this works much better when the snow is firmer because you toss it out a doable distance, but then it just keeps rolling to the impossible distance). Usually I demo making the one turn to that point and stop first, but for troublemakers I'd make them guess how to do it. They have to stay stopped until the whole group has finished. Closest person wins. Evil Rusty would synchro ski an inside track (or outside)with the troublemaker and "ehh" when they got too close (e.g. cutting the turn too sharp to get to the desired stopping point, steering instead of carving, etc. ), then say "toast" when they reached the point where they were unable to reach the goal, then leave them and get to the point. Evil Rusty might also have your troublemakers shuffle their feet back and forth through the turn.

There's nothing wrong with the "that's how I was taught this" way or the "it works this" way. But if we want to be complete skiers, we need to able to ski different ways. There's usually more than one way to get skis to work. When one is able to ski multiple ways, one has the luxury of choosing which approach works best for their particular situation.

Zo now ve vill start all over again and zis time ve do it on von schki! Schnell!
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by therusty
Evil Rusty might also have your troublemakers shuffle their feet back and forth through the turn.
Hey, I like that one! Nothing evil there at all! Same with bounces where one concentrates on flexing the ankles through their turns and traverses... Try THAT with excessive tip lead.....
post #6 of 8
Taking lessons or coaching is to become BETTER. To become BETTER requires CHANGE. To CHANGE means to do something DIFFERENT. If it's DIFFERENT it feels STRANGE. So:

"If it don't feel strange, you will not change."

. . . with apologies to Johnny Cochran and Bob Barnes for this theft.
post #7 of 8
If these two people have nice big egos, which it sounds like they do, you could try putting them in the gates (easy, NASTAR type), and watch and laugh as they get their doors blown off by the people who are learning.
post #8 of 8
Unfortunately, it sounds like your wanting for their success is greater than theirs. Bummer.
When they challenge the leader....REMIND them who is the leader.
Make sure to emphasize that you have passed the EVALUATION and you are tyring to coach them to do the same. In other words.....do your best not to be adversarial.....(sounds like you are heading that way )
Use as many exercises as possible to work from their current skiing styles. There is the possibility that they are having trouble carrying out the tasks....and are using the distractions..... as a way to be 'right'... to keep their own confidence in tact.
Emphasize, that the exercises are working toward a POSITIVE EVALUATION.
Though, their 'old ways' may be used in getting around the mountain..It is not accepted as the current skiing model and it will FAIL THE EVALUATION.
If they seem to be indifferent to their success...then further personal engagement should be carried out. Bring the students one by one on a lift ride and ask them their true goals...include an evaluation, to date. Mention, in the mock evaluation, their behavior in the group...and point out that their behavior may be limiting their own ability to learn. By doing this individually it will diminish the power of a 'partnership' and realign the power toward the goal.

Since they are making Z turns. Most likely there is some stemming going on. Some exercises that can compliment this movement and progress out out of them are(but not limited to)
Edge/Wedge hop turns
Hop turns...edge to edge...emphasizing steering both legs simultaneously
Linking pivot slips emphasize steering
Linking hockey stops emphasize steering/edge set
Using these and eventually adding in turn shape may help their progression. I know they are basic...but tried and true...add some spice to my suggestions.

Good Luck.....You could always whip them with a wet noodle!
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