EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › A difference between amateurs and pros
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A difference between amateurs and pros

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
The Accenture match play golf tournament was on TV yesterday and I overheard one of the analysts say something that I thought was profoundly true, and wanted to share with you folks and get your responses to it before sharing it with my classes--chiefly, do you think it transfer to skiing?

(Paraphrased) One of the differences between amateur and professional players is what goes through their mind before they hit the ball. The amateur initially thinks of where s/he wants the ball to go, and then on address, thinks of all the places s/he does NOT want the ball to go. The pro initially thinks of all the places s/he does NOT want the ball to go, and then on address, thinks of where s/he wants the ball to go.
post #2 of 17
Nolo,

Great Point. Yes, It does transfer to skiing. Heck, it transfers to all of life. However, I disagree with the amature vs professional thing. More accurately, it should be sub-expert vs expert.

How many times have we seen someone looking at the tree, desperate to not to hit, run right into it just because they were looking at it. That's the difference between a sub-expert and an expert. The sub-expert does not have the experience, therefore they tend to think last about what they don't want to happen. The expert has enough experience to be able to look at the broad picture, filter out the unneeded or unwanted results and then focus on the intended result.

In any activity you can have various competence levels in the same individual. For me, give me that nice open groomer with some interspersed trees and I'll pick a clear line that allows me to have fun zooming around the trees. I focus on where the trees aren't. Whereas as beginner would be totally focused on not hitting the trees and be terrified of hitting them.

Now, put me on a steep trail with deep bumps and all I see is the trougths,: not where I should be skiing. The end result, I'm in the trougths, tight, bending at the waist, and my pucker factor is heading on up the scale. I know that with more training, experience, and work I'll be able to do those bumps without problem. However, right now I'm a sub-expert where they are concerned.

My biggest problem with using the amature vs professional identification is the definition of professional. All you need to become a professional is to be paid for it. The better definition of what we are looking at in this case is expert. Someone skilled in the field of activity we are looking at.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Perhaps in golf the term "professional" is more aptly defined by the PGA (and other countries' pro golf associations) than in skiing?
post #4 of 17
golf and tennis are two sports where amateur vs professional still means something.

the difference between a good golfer and a great one is mental. that much is clear.

the use of the mental process separates the great from the very best. mental toughness, focus, confidence and humility in equal measures.

all the greatest golfers who sustained dominance over others had the mental strength to play through distractions, both bad and good, and the many many mental obstacles that the game of high-level golf puts one through.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Perhaps in golf the term "professional" is more aptly defined by the PGA (and other countries' pro golf associations) than in skiing?
yes.

PGA TOUR CARD represents accomplishment of a different sort than PSIA. it represents competition preparedness.

PGA TEACHING CARD is a different animal entirely.

PSIA's focus is on certification, not quality. that's the first problem.

PSIA's focus is on happy customers, not better skiers. that's the second problem. one doesn't become better simply through happiness. it takes hard work. more drill sergeants, fewer psychologists!
post #6 of 17
Nolo,

I think the pro skier (or expert) thinks about where s/he wants to go on the run. Thinking about where s/he doesn't want to go does not enter into the picture. I know for myself, it is true. However, I am aware of garbage around me, but I don't think about it.

Rick H
post #7 of 17
A friend says he skis trash, bumps, etc., with the thought: "I want my feet to go there....and there next."
post #8 of 17
Pow day at Whiteface 1989. Mike Farmer (SS AD) showing me the trees. After catching one on my shoulder and him hearing my grunt tells me "If you look at the trees you will hit the trees. If you look at the holes between the trees you will hit the holes, your choice."
post #9 of 17

Whats in your mind?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike

the difference between a good golfer and a great one is mental. that much is clear.

the use of the mental process separates the great from the very best. mental toughness, focus, confidence and humility in equal measures.

all the greatest golfers who sustained dominance over others had the mental strength to play through distractions, both bad and good, and the many many mental obstacles that the game of high-level golf puts one through.
Nolo and Gonz,

Great thoughts.

There is no doubt the difference between winning and losing is all too frequently the 6 inches between your ears. Every player on the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the Champions Tour and the Nationwide Tour have a skill set all the rest of us would die for. Frequently it is the player with a "slightly" lesser skill set (emphasis on slightly) that prevails because they refuse to lose or put another way they are not afraid to win.

Generally, once a professional golfer makes a decision they take dead aim at a target so small most amateurs won't understand it, then trust their years of preparations and just execute. Very few swing thoughts clutter their mind. (A credit card commerical asks "what's in your wallet"-wouldn't it be interesting to know "whats in people's minds" as they execute a turn in the bumps or maybe a 180 yard shot across a lake to a small green)

More later-have to run back to Copper for a torchlight parade for the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics.

Edit: found a spelling error-must have lost my focus.
post #10 of 17
Nolo,

I think the focus issue is less prevalent in skiing in the sense that the vast majority of amateur turns are not "stressed" and don't have a significant need for accuracy. The focus issue does come into play for trees, bumps and "relative" steeps (i.e. pitches that appear to be steep relative to the skill of the skier), but I think that the skill of focusing where you want to go is more advanced in skiing relative to golf (i.e. there are plenty of non-professionals who are skilled at focusing on where they want to go). My guess is that most people skiing above the wedge christy level are more accurate at sending their skis where the aim them than experienced golfers are at sending the ball where they want it go.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
PSIA's focus is on certification, not quality. that's the first problem.

PSIA's focus is on happy customers, not better skiers. that's the second problem. one doesn't become better simply through happiness. it takes hard work. more drill sergeants, fewer psychologists!
Gonz,

PSIA's focus is (from the mission statement):
We support our members, as a part of the snowsports industry, to:
* Develop personally and professionally
* Create positive learning experiences
* Have more fun

Yes there are some members that focus on certification as an end result. However, the intent of the certification program is to encourage and support professional development with the assumption that this increases the quality of the lesson product. In my experience (in the Eastern division), the quality differences between the average level 3 cert, level 2 certs, level 1 cert and non-certified instructors supports this conclusion. If your experience in your division is different, I encourage you to get more involved in the certification process to help change the priorities in your region. In the last 10 years, I've seen the Eastern certification process change to focus more on people and teaching skills and to have the skiing skills be evaluated more objectively and evenly across the examiner staff. These changes were driven by feedback from the membership.

The vast majority of the skiing public and the lesson taking public come to the mountain to have fun. They don't come to the mountain to join the army. PSIAs focus is to have fun AND become a better skier. Educational research says this approach is more effective. This is what professional educators do. If you read that your student wants a drill sergeant, you need to teach that way. But if you can't also function as an entertainer and fun coordinator as a means to facilitate your educational role, you will not be as effective as you could be for most of your students.

PSIA is equally focused on identifying the qualities of "good" skiing techniques as they are on identifying the qualities of "good" teaching techniques. I view PSIA as a resource that I can use to help me become a better instructor. The organization does have its problems. PSIA has plenty of room to get better. But they also do a lot of things right. The certification program is effective for what it is supposed to do and putting fun into teaching does work better than being a drill sergeant.
post #11 of 17

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
Nolo,
...I view PSIA as a resource that I can use to help me become a better instructor. The organization does have its problems. PSIA has plenty of room to get better. But they also do a lot of things right. The certification program is effective for what it is supposed to do and putting fun into teaching does work better than being a drill sergeant.
I agree. heres a good example of both ends of the spectrum with regard to PSIA. I have seen the certification process grow right along with the organization. To get each level, more days, more pre-reqs and more money are required than ever before. BUT, and heres the big but......I believe PSIA offers a great overall value to both Instructors and the public based on the current mindset of America today.

What set me off initially was the more money part. I was actually angry that I had to take and pay for a pre-req for my next level of certification when the year before, none was required. (coincided with annual dues payment, by the way) Therefore I went to the pre-req in a bit of a funk....HOWEVER...IT WAS THE BEST CLINIC I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!!! I got more out of that teaching seminar than I can remember getting out of any clinic before it, practice exam, or day on snow. Now, this, much to my chagrin, could only have happened if I had taken (and paid for) all the PSIA events that came before it. It just so happens that this one threw a lasso around all the STUFF that had been sort of floating around or fuzzy for me, hauled it together and put it in a little box I have been calling The Box of Clarity. It had everything to do with how to simplify your approach to the movement pool. I had been approaching it from a very complicated place where I had....Hey, Im getting off track here, anyway, thats for another thread,


Bottom line is that, like theRusty said, Its (PSIA)not perfect, and is maddening at times, but (I think) represents a great value to the industry overall.

The pro vs amateur thing: for classes it might make sense to call the pros "experienced" and your students "soon to be experienced", or something along those lines......an attainable goal. By teaching tactics in a fun way, It gives those students more confidence. more confidence = more fun.

Be careful of being too "fun", and too "client based", though. we wouldnt want that!

Great post!
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpski
HOWEVER...IT WAS THE BEST CLINIC I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!!!
What was it, and who did it?
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty

In my experience (in the Eastern division), the quality differences between the average level 3 cert, level 2 certs, level 1 cert and non-certified instructors supports this conclusion.

The vast majority of the skiing public and the lesson taking public come to the mountain to have fun. They don't come to the mountain to join the army. PSIAs focus is to have fun AND become a better skier.
Too bad the vast majority of the skiing public thinks that PSIA stands for "Preferred Seating Inside Area". PSIA does an excellent job of making better ski Instructors. It does a lousy job of helping those instructors get work and a decent salary. Mountains prefer to use the non-certs at lower hourly wages and the public does not realize they are getting screwed. The new "Go With a Pro" program is a step in the right direction. I would like to see as bold a campaign as "Demand a Certified Pro or Demand Your Money Back!"
post #14 of 17
JP,

I'm willing to bet that most of us who've been around a while have seen a pro that has a regular that makes no progress. In my case, I had to sub for a regular lesson with 3 kids. They were doing great power wedging at speed down the blue runs, but some of those turns scared the crap out of me (but always under the borderline where I would have needed to say no mas). It was clear that they had learned that lessons were supposed to be fun (i.e. they were not going to do Christy turns). I snuck tiny little tips in here and there on the run to try to set up some eventual Christies, but pretty much followed the program " (MILEAGE!)" and sighed. Nonetheless, these kids had absolutely no problem with seeing where they wanted to go and going there.

I think it is possible to have too much fun and not enough learning.
post #15 of 17
Stache,

It's time for a new thread on that topic.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stache
Pow day at Whiteface 1989. Mike Farmer (SS AD) showing me the trees. After catching one on my shoulder and him hearing my grunt tells me "If you look at the trees you will hit the trees. If you look at the holes between the trees you will hit the holes, your choice."
Stache,

Would you like me to say hi to Mike for you. I see him quite often on the mountian here at Snowmass? And if so, who should I say is calling?-----Wigs
post #17 of 17
Back on topic (sorry, I've been gone for a few days, as you'll see below, and am trying to catch up).

I just got back from Silverton. VERY cool place to ski if you can handle going from sea level to 30+ minute hikes above 12,500 ft : <=that's me sucking wind!

We got to the top of some "runs" and the guide would say "don't go to past my tracks to the left or there is a 100 ft frozen waterfall" (or some other "hazard"). Some of the skiers in the group would start to hesitate and become defensive and either look where they didn't want to go or would be thinking about it. Even though these guys were good skiers, this sort of thing brought out the lack of experience in them and their skiing suffered because of it. The better skiers would just focus on the line they wanted to take, get aggressive and ski it. The others would end up doing a bit of side slipping or stepping. One (my best friend) did a 150 ft slide-for-life. Luckily, he did nothing more than bruise an elbow and kill a small tree.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › A difference between amateurs and pros