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Concepts or Movements?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
This is a spinoff of the High-C thread.

Pierre asserts (and I am paraphrasing) that PMTS instructors are trained to teach movements and PSIA instructors are trained to teach concepts, so comparing their training is like comparing apples to oranges.

The question as I see it is, do people ski like they think (ask any psychiatrist: changing minds is a long term process); is their performance decision-based and tactical? Does every good skier have to deconstruct and reconstruct skiing for him/herself? Or is good skiing a matter of following and perfecting a set of specific movements and movement chains, which were discovered and quantified by the best minds in skiing, physics, engineering, etc.?
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
This is a spinoff of the High-C thread.

Pierre asserts (and I am paraphrasing) that PMTS instructors are trained to teach movements and PSIA instructors are trained to teach concepts, so comparing their training is like comparing apples to oranges.
Before I go off to formulate my answers I would like to clarify that I don't think that PSIA instructors are trained to teach concepts. I think PSIA intructors are given concepts to use as tools to formulate lesson content. I think PSIA instructors teach whatever they think is appropriate.
post #3 of 18
I, as a member of PSIA, teach people how to recognize and apply the 4 fundamental skiing skills as they relate to their personal skiing, the conditions of the day and the terrain they like to or would like to ski.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for correcting my interpretation of what you were saying, Pierre.

Do you agree with the other part about PMTS members (which I erroneously called instructors, because many PMTS members are not teachers but students)?
post #5 of 18
I think teaching movements is far more effective for beginners or intermediates. Concepts are meaningless to novice skiers. So even PSIA instructors HAVE TO break concepts down into movements/drills/skills.

This is where PMTS has a clear advantage. Nothing is left to interpretation and the student gets that one "path to Rome". The question is: is this right for everyone?

However, eventually all good skiers graduate to a level where they should be able to develop their own style and then choose what is best for their style, physical limitations and goals. At that point one should not worry about PSIA or PMTS. At that point everything should "merge" into solid, good skiing.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I like what you say, Tom, but I agree with Pierre's edit: the instructors are given a conceptual framework to work within, but each has the option of choosing whether or not to leave anything to the student's interpretation. The more I think about it, the more I think the differences between PMTS and PSIA have to do with Teaching Styles. PSIA encourages the use of many styles, and PMTS promotes the directive style: do this, do that. What I'd like both organizations to recognize is that the style of teaching one uses with a student depends on where they currently reside on the developmental path. Early on, directive teaching is the bomb. But it has to evolve to allow the learner to make more of the decisions (and conclusions).
post #7 of 18

PMTS vs PSIA

I really don't think that any instructor should be bad mouthing either system. I think every instructor owes it to themselves to pick the best from both systems and run with it. I doubt Arcmeister or SnoKarver would disagree with that.

In my comparison, I am not going to center on the disadvantages to each system and compare each to determine which one is better. Instead I feel free to center on the good points of each system.

"We are concept specific in forming the images of American Skiing" This is a direct quote from the D team members. In the dictionary the word "Concept is defined as and "abstract idea or notion". The abstract ideas (Concepts) are specifically stated but the interpretation of exactly what they mean is left up to the individual instructor. This is the essence of PSIA.

PMTS stands for Primary Movements Teaching System. PMTS focuses on the primary movement patterns that is common to all efficient skiing. PMTS also acknowleges secondary movement patterns that complement the primary movement patterns. This is all based on science and anatomy. PMTS lays out a fairly specific movements approach to teaching skiing.

The good points:
PSIA stands for flexibility in teaching and is a better approach to matching something for everyone in any and all conditions encountered on the slopes.
PMTS stands for focus on what counts and is a dynamite path (a super centerline approach if you will) to efficient skiing. Because of being focused, PMTS is clearly easier to comprehend and understand.

The really strong points of PSIA is that the conceptual approach is much better for dealing with and changing the minds of students. The conceptual approach is also much better for working from a tactical perspective on skiing. Many times a student possess far more technique than they are willing to use. It opens up the paths to creative forms of communication and solutions to working around things like compromised balance problems and bad terrain. That is a trait that is very near and dear to Americans in particular.

The strongest asset of PMTS is the approach to Movements Analysis. Any conceptual approach is a disaster in comparison. Concept=abstract=gray interpretation: Movements analysis=judgement=what is the problem=Primary Movements approach. Its a no brainer for me.

Using PMTS you can learn good movments analysis is no time flat. It cuts right through the symtom chasing and gray areas that I have found in most instructors. Movements analysis is extemely difficult to master from a conceptual path and requires many hours of trial and error to gain an experienced eye. PMTS can get you solidly there at about the PSIA level II level of instructor.

PMTS also introduces very good progressions for getting the bulk of students to the advanced level quickly. PSIA's conceptual approach combined with a good understanding of anatomical movement through PMTS will greatly expand the progressions possible to handle odd situations.

These two systems compliment one another more than they clash with one another. Any instructor who dwells on one or the other is hurting themselves and nothing else. You can defend and bash all you want but it doesn't change what is really there. Get off your butts and take a look, get the PMTS instructors manual, the core concepts manual and the alpine manual.

I will say that I think Harb is due some kudo's for starting PMTS. It was badly needed and is a strong compliment to good ski instruction. Its no accident the Harb focused in the areas where PSIA was the weakest.

This kind of discussion is much more suited to Epicski than Realskiers because of the dogma associated with marketing but there are blockheads in both forums.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Do you agree with the other part about PMTS members (which I erroneously called instructors, because many PMTS members are not teachers but students)?
Not totally. Although movements is the primary focus the students needs and concerns are taken into account. How each student needs to have the information presented to them so that they can learn is important in PMTS. In that sense PMTS is not half as rigid as many PSIA folks paint them.

As I have said each side digs in on the bad points instead of explores the good points of each system. The PSIA nazis scream "Rigid system" and the PMTS nazis scream "No focus no system"
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
This is where PMTS has a clear advantage. Nothing is left to interpretation and the student gets that one "path to Rome". The question is: is this right for everyone?
Tom,

To me this is a HUGE disadvantage of PMTS. I've taught ALOT of beginners in my life. ALOT. If I've learned ANYTHING it's that many folks DON'T get it right away. Most are afraid of speed. Most are afraid of falling down. By having "only one path to Rome", then well I'm afraid many folks just won't make the journey. At these levels, 1-2 and sometimes 3, being flexible IS KEY! Give these folks options that works for them. If PMST was to do direct to parallel, that great, but the PSIA model doesn't exclude that either. Here's an example. A few years ago, I had a guy in level 1 that was extremely pigeon toed due to an injury (motorcycle accident) The farthest he could turn his legs inward was to parallel. Even this was somewhat uncomfortable to him. I knew about 10 mins in, that the wedge was out of the question. My next decision was what to do for the next 1 hour and 50 mins. So we worked on D2P, on low angel terrain. Lot's of fan pattens and stepping. He fell a fair amount, but he had fun. He's the only person I've recommended that snowboarding might be a better choice for him, based on his anatomy. We talked for a bit about different stances on a board and movement patterns you make while boarding. All were easier for him. He left in the PM and headed down to snowbird to do it all over again.

Now the question I pose was what if the guy had the opposite anatomical problem, with his feet turned inward? Would the "one path to Rome" be applicable to this person? Was I effective in my presentation? I dunno. I still wonder about the guy. I guess my point is that without the rigidity of teaching movements, I was able to make the most out of our time together. Some people NEED interpretation.

Many times at the beginner lessons, and I know lots of folks are going to disagree with me on this, I don't really care if folks are doing it 100% correctly. I want to get them moving. Standing around isn't fun and I try to minimize it in my beginner lesson. Experiential learning is HUGE at this point. By having the basics and becoming mobile, most folks learn alot more on their own then I could ever "teach" them. Fortunately, our low level terrain facilitates this type of learning. After we can go and stop and turn a bit, I cut most folks free to practice on their own and work with folks 1 on 1 as needed. I emphasize gliding and speed reduction via turning as opposed to braking in a wedge. This is also the time to move them back towards center. But again, at this level it should be a fun experience more than ANYTHING else. I would also argue, never having a PMTS lesson, that it seems that "leaving nothing to interpretation" would detract from this for many people. Who wants to stand in a line and be called down each time (and told "You're not doing it right"). No wonder 85% of first time skiers never come back....

L
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Gee, Pierre, I thought I was being pretty even-handed. Politically and pedagogically I consider myself an Independent. My only loyalty is to the student.
post #11 of 18
Nolo, Pierre,

According to all this however, PMTS should simply be just another "interpretation" of the PSIA concepts. It may be HH's interpretation, but that is not the point.

The point/question is: who has the right interpretation (the right movements or progressions) of the PSIA concepts? How do we differentiate between good and bad? Sure there are several ways to "get to Rome", but certainly not all paths are ideal or efficient.

In the end, there is no escaping some comparisons. Because we are not really comparing PSIA concepts to PMTS movements, we are comparing results.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Gee, Pierre, I thought I was being pretty even-handed. Politically and pedagogically I consider myself an Independent. My only loyalty is to the student.
Nah Nah I went back and read it. You took it wrong. There are two separate thoughts in the last answer to you.

The first was an answer to you. The second was a general comment to the forum as a whole not to let your thread deteriorate into a bashing session. We have had enough of those and its time for the real discussions.
post #13 of 18
lshull,

I hear you. That is why I am not convinced that PMTS is for everyone. But for somebody athletic with no major physical issues, PMTS is certainly attractive. It spells out your path to relatively high success, with no uncertainty. PSIA will leave it up to the individual instructor to make that happen. It is a variable that some people do not want to deal with.

By the way, I am not a PMTS follower. I am a decent skier and I like my style and want to improve on that. I certainly won't follow something that does not suit me.
post #14 of 18
I am just a bystander here appreciating a civil discussion on a very interesting topic, both pedagogically and athletically. But I do have a comment and a question. Comment: I like the 'lead foot-stance foot' and 'little toe tipping' from PMTS and use them myself in trying to improve my transitions for LII prep. And I have just this year started playing around with them for teaching never-evers. Question: isn't it necessary to communicate them early on as "concepts" to the never-ever before they can even start moving? In other words, isn't the major distinction that the concepts for PMTS are just a lot simpler and intuitively apparent to the beginner than those expressed in the PSIA literature?

Second question: Am I harming my PSIA Level II prep training b using these very useful PMTS "concepts" to improve my skiing?

Not arguing guys; I'm too much of a rookie for that. Just inquiring.

JoeB
post #15 of 18

good questions, JoeB

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
I am just a bystander here appreciating a civil discussion on a very interesting topic, both pedagogically and athletically. But I do have a comment and a question. Comment: I like the 'lead foot-stance foot' and 'little toe tipping' from PMTS and use them myself in trying to improve my transitions for LII prep. And I have just this year started playing around with them for teaching never-evers. Question: isn't it necessary to communicate them early on as "concepts" to the never-ever before they can even start moving?
IMH(just barely level 2)O; sometimes. But concepts to folks who arent moving yet may go in one ear and out the other. If you build on simple concepts as the lesson progresses, and can work them in, great. I think that the concept part is more for the instructor.....the practical application and direction is for the instructor to pass along to the student. (at that level)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeB
Second question: Am I harming my PSIA Level II prep training b using these very useful PMTS "concepts" to improve my skiing?
For the skiing part of the exam for level 2, (with PSIA anyway) there is a certain look and feel that seems to exemplify efficient skiing. You mentioned your transitions. smoothing these out, no matter how you do it, or approach it if it works for you is all good. Listen to your trainers and blend in your own concepts to see if they help or hinder your progress. talk to your trainers about your ideas and you will probably go out on the hill to try them out an d see if they work.....This is the best way to put idea to execution. (Examiners/trainers have at me if this is off base, but, for the teaching part of the exam, I think as long as you can back up what you are trying to get across, then new and different ideas and concepts and approaches are a refreshing and welcome thing. Especially at Exams. If I were an examiner, and heard a new or different approach. I would be intrigued about the segment and where you go with it. I think if approached right, you would get some strong scores....)
post #16 of 18

Confused again

Nolo,

Now that Piere has clarified that PSIA pros are not taught to teach concepts are we back to apples vs oranges again?

The TS part of PMTS is teaching system. The TS part of ATS is the same. ATS has been around for so long that people don't recognize the skiing model and the teaching model as the pieces of a teaching system. The teaching model has become so flexible, the latest variation is "build your own". Is the debate rigid vs flexible?

PSIA talks about the 4 skills - BERP (excuse me). But for the past few years we've been talking about these skills with respect to movements. With the relatively new "visual cues", we are now talking effective vs ineffective movements. I'm not trained in PMTS, but the movements that PMTS talks about (that I've seen) are "different" than the movements PSIA talks in some respects. The terminology is different. The organization is different. But good skiing movements in PMTS are not different from good skiing movements in PSIA. That opinion answers your last question. I would expect at least one person to hold an opposite opinion. The bottom line here is that PMTS does not have an exclusive on teaching movements.

With regards to your opening questions, PSIA's theory is that there are all kinds of people and many different ways to teach to each unique student. PSIA says it is up to the instructor to apply their knowledge of different learning styles, their knowledge of different teaching styles, their knowledge of different pathways for learning and their observation skills to determine what is working and what is not. Does PMTS say there is only one "learning pathway"? Or does it describe different learning pathways than PSIA does? We at least know they don't buy in to the "wedge" learning pathway.
post #17 of 18
I'm gonna jump in here a little late and say that there is one word still missing that needs added, and that is outcomes. I'm also gonna say that we teach in all three areas if we are tuned in to our students. I'll further this by saying that no teaching system can exist without underlying concepts, the intelectual orginazation of the priciples and ideas that guide the application and transfer of the of these same priciples and ideas. A complex system built on a total of simpler ideas and principles, and yes, movements.

In teaching we use ideas (concepts) to drive both, outcome and movements. A good lesson will have all three. This isn't to say that we will tire our students by giving them two hours of the entire teaching concepts of any given system, or that we only use an idea to teach to improvement, but....

Take the other thread about pressure control. we might introduce this by saying we want to ski with the idea that we get taller or longer in a certain part of the turn or to deal with a certain part of the terrain, as in bumps. This might be all that is needed to change the outcome, and/or the movements some, but if it is movements we need to explore further, we would pursue the movements to their full range or even to exageration to get the full feel of them. Personaly I like to focus on the movements we use more so than the outcome as this, I think, leads to more versatility. Not that outcome isn't important, but may not lead to true ownership of a movement through the full relationship of the movement to skiing (outcome). It may be that the only difference between one system and another is the movements that are recognized, focused on, and how they are proritized.

Hope my thought is coming through here. So, as someone else said, both pmts and psia are teaching systems. so they must have concepts and ideas as their agregate that gels together to form the whole. Other than the silly notion of who's ideas are better, and marketing, what's the big deal? Afterall, and it's been said many times before, it is just good skiing. Later, RicB.
post #18 of 18
Jpski, thanks, good stuff to think over, especially the point about concepts as more of a background structuring tool for the teacher than something to actually use in the lesson, particularly for newbies.

JoeB
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