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Why do students take lessons? - Page 4

post #91 of 118

More coach than instructor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
GCT,,,, I'd have a hard time with that.

I want to teach people to ski, not cater to their silly whims and strive to make them happy for a day. I want to be a teacher, not an entertainer. I want real results, not fleeting smiles.

When someone comes to me to learn to ski I can evaluate their skiing and quickly know what they need to do to improve. I know much better than they do what their shortcomings are and what's called for if they're to improve. I'm not willing to waste my time on students who aren't interested in devotedly accepting my prescriptions, following my lead, and applying themselves to the tasks I assign with dedicated enthusiasm.

When it comes to teaching skiing it's serious business with me. I couldn't care less about providing a student with fond memories from a short vacation. I'm not all things to all people. I'll teach a student to ski, and to ski well, but only if they're willing to buy into my program and do it my way. If not, it's best they pursue another route.

I don't think I'm instructor material. Resorts want to please everyone,,, keep them happy,,, it's all about the cash flow. I don't care about that, money is not what drives me when it comes to skiing. If it was I could have never justified devoting over 20 years of my life to full time coaching. My sole motivation is the intense pursuit of results.
Rick,

What you describe is more coaching than instructing. You want to work with those who are passionate and driven to improve. There's nothing wrong with that and good coaches are definitely needed for upper level or elite athletes. However, I think the vast majority of people who take ski lessons are not that driven and motivated and certainly are not at the elite level. In most advanced ski lessons you'd probably find some students who would respond well to your teaching style. But the vast majority of students taking lessons want to become better skiers, have fun and be social. Most recreational skiers are just that, recreational. They're trying to have a good time. For a small minority, having fun is skiing at the absolute best one can ski. For the rest, it's being in a beautiful setting, being with family and friends, doing something that can't be done very often, being on vacation. Rick, you sound more like ski coach rather than ski instructor material.
post #92 of 118
As far as GCT goes, from a student's perspective (one that takes 1-2 lessons per year mostly at <cringe> destination resorts) it definitely depends on both the student and instructor. I think GCT falls on a continuum and is not an absolute. Some instructors have more of a guest centered approach and some have more of a direct style. Some students want to leave everything up to the instructor and some want to control everything in the lesson. Obviously, things tend to not work out well if you have an instructor who is more direct with a student who want to control everything. Also, it may take more time for a lesson to develop a specific goal or direction if you have a lesson where the instructor is completely guest centered and the student is looking to the instructor for all everything. The best combination is a skilled instructor that can be flexible in order to accomodate the student's learning style with a student who is humble, realistic about his or her skiing and willing to express his or her desires and/or goals. And, as with any interpersonal relationship, communication is the key.

In the scenerio presented by SugarCube I probably would've been a bit frustrated as well in that the instructor did not explain why short radius turns would help bump skiing. Explaining why is just as important as explaining what. Also, I think that the "maybe this afternoon we'll try some" and "let's see and then decide" comments are discouraging. It might have been better for the instructor to have said specifically what he or she would like to see while working on the upcoming drills in order to progress to skiing some bumps. Give a specific short term goal and reward for achieving that goal. "Maybe" and "we'll see" doesn't motivate.

I would guess most instructors would agree that the best students, from a learning standpoint are those who know and can verbalize what they want and are willing to do whatever the instructor suggests in order to achieve that goal. I think most students want an instructor who is personable, fun and can teach him or her according to the student's learning style. The instructor should definitely be more flexible in teaching style than the student in learning style.

What it comes down to is that students want to have a good time in a lesson. However, a good time is different things to different people. For the hardcore, it may be working on one small thing in techinque that allows him or her to be a more efficient skier. For the happy intermediate it may be leisure and social skiing and being more or less entertained by the instructor. For the uberrich and spoiled in an all day private it may be to have a personal mountain guide and the ability to cut lines all day. It's the instructor's job to figure out what a good time means for each student and then how to provide it. And, as I said before, communication from both the instructor and student is the key to unlocking it all.
post #93 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosper
Rick,

What you describe is more coaching than instructing. You want to work with those who are passionate and driven to improve. There's nothing wrong with that and good coaches are definitely needed for upper level or elite athletes. However, I think the vast majority of people who take ski lessons are not that driven and motivated and certainly are not at the elite level. In most advanced ski lessons you'd probably find some students who would respond well to your teaching style. But the vast majority of students taking lessons want to become better skiers, have fun and be social. Most recreational skiers are just that, recreational. They're trying to have a good time. For a small minority, having fun is skiing at the absolute best one can ski. For the rest, it's being in a beautiful setting, being with family and friends, doing something that can't be done very often, being on vacation. Rick, you sound more like ski coach rather than ski instructor material.
Prosper, see new thread; "Any hardcore students out there?"
post #94 of 118
we're always compelled to ask questions as a means of gathering information. i do agree that we have to start with a carefully-asked, open-ended question here and there ... that's not the only way to get the stuff we need to make a lesson work.

my favorite thing to do is to take a simple reponse and reply: "tell me more about X." then it's time to really listen!
post #95 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
Ghost,
Part of the job is to have the client leave the lesson with a greater understanding of their skiing and the ability to articulate what areas are their strong/weak areas. Additionally, I strive to have them understand a direction for further work. If that does not happen I have not done my job very well. You decided to take a lesson for some reason other than wanting to spend more money at the ski area. The instructor wants to help you but it is a two way street. Sharing what you know and why you are there, expidites the process and narrows the focus into a workable format. Spending half the lesson determining a focus limits the value of the lesson by half. BTW telling them what you said in your last post is enough. I'm having trouble doing _____, but I want you to tell me if you see other areas I might need to work on.
So if I can't identify any particular area of skiing that is a "problem", I need not bother to pay for any more lessons: . (I really haven't seen anyone ski bumps faster than me when I'm feeling crazy, nor do I expect to overcome the laws of physics)
post #96 of 118
I take a lesson or two every year. I do it to keep myself humble and to ward off the bad habits. No matter how good I think I am, there's always something to fix.

Though last year I switched from my local mountain's ski school to CSIA certification.

now that's a real lesson.
post #97 of 118
...
post #98 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
So if I can't identify any particular area of skiing that is a "problem", I need not bother to pay for any more lessons: . (I really haven't seen anyone ski bumps faster than me when I'm feeling crazy, nor do I expect to overcome the laws of physics)
That can't be right.
Skiing for me is a journey towards perfection. Pobody's Nerfect.
post #99 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
That can't be right.
Skiing for me is a journey towards perfection. Pobody's Nerfect.
I think I know what he means. Earlier someone had said they had gotten to the point where they didn't know what the areas of improvement were. That is, they knew they needed to improve, but what exactly they needed they didn't have the knowledge to identify. Some instructors want you to tell them what you want fixed, as compared to others who can evaluate you and let you know what to work on. If you get instructors unwilling to do this for you, then you end up in the situation of not knowing what to work on and no one around to tell you.


....I guess I didn't help that much clearing that up, did I?
post #100 of 118
Quote:
Sibhusky: Earlier someone had said they had gotten to the point where they didn't know what the areas of improvement were. That is, they knew they needed to improve, but what exactly they needed they didn't have the knowledge to identify.
I think I expressed that sentiment earlier. Now back from SLAP at Thredbo. Had an awsome week, including some of the best skiing conditions so far this (poor) Australian ski season. For five days I had my legs skied off. Did I improve, undoubtably. Could the course have been better, yes. Did I come away with points to focus on, yes (particularly hip angulation - interesting topic given the WS thread that is running). Would I do SLAP again, yes.

Unfortunately, with a week away from my office I have way too much work at the moment to report in detail. Will get back to you over the weekend.

Later, Taxman.
post #101 of 118
good stuff Taxman ....

If you happen to be interested in Japan in Jan-Feb then I know an awesome instructor/guide
post #102 of 118
They are big on that hip angulation thing. Sometimes I wonder if it's to differentiate themselves from the US.
post #103 of 118
Quote:
Disski:
Quote:
If you happen to be interested in Japan in Jan-Feb then I know an awesome instructor/guide


Was thinking 1 week Hakuba, 1 week Neiseko late February/early March 2006. Definately interested.


Quote:
ant: They are big on that hip angulation thing.
Maybe I need to take up Tai Chi to work on strength and flexibility. This 46 y.o. body just doesn't want to move the hips enough. :

BTW, Disski, I will probably try a Supersession when I'm down at Thredbo next (about two weeks time).

.... Back to work, 10:00 pm and about an hour to go.... (it is tax time here after all).
post #104 of 118
OK - I will get him to contact you.....

Ant knows him..... wife is Japanese
post #105 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky
I think I know what he means. Earlier someone had said they had gotten to the point where they didn't know what the areas of improvement were. That is, they knew they needed to improve, but what exactly they needed they didn't have the knowledge to identify. Some instructors want you to tell them what you want fixed, as compared to others who can evaluate you and let you know what to work on. If you get instructors unwilling to do this for you, then you end up in the situation of not knowing what to work on and no one around to tell you.


....I guess I didn't help that much clearing that up, did I?
That's the beauty with Guest Centered Teaching, learn what the student wants, and go with it.
post #106 of 118
Ghost,
I agree that a tune up lesson can be valuable and maybe give you a new focus for growth. However, I want to point out that ultimately a lesson is about helping you become self-aware and independent. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to make better tactical choices while skiing. Which maneuvers do you own? Which do you not own? Why are you better at one and not the other? If you come to me without a clear understanding of your skiing skills, I would assess your knowledge base as a weak area (target for possible improvement). IMO a lesson goes well beyond learning movement patterns, it includes gaining the knowledge and experience to make tactical decisions base on your individual and unique strengths and weaknesses. BTW it sounds like you are pretty close to that point already.
post #107 of 118
JASP - that is how I have been taught....

about 3 years ago they embarked me on a "try some group lessons" spree....

One poor instructor (aspiring level 2) ended up telling my instructor I knew more about how I skied than he did.... my instructor had to point out that while he has balls and skies fearlessly I have been in lessons all my skiing life.... I have a good understanding of what I do or I cannot do it .... part of my learning involves the understanding of what I am to do....

I think that is why they kep trying to recruit me for ski instructing though... thy all seem to find it slightly unusual for a student to understand what is wanted
post #108 of 118
An assigned private usually tells me why they are spending the money and time for the lesson. I listen and repeat for understanding, then put together a lesson plan to get to a goal we agree on. This is done on the lift ride up. So, privates are much easier than a group where is a diversity of age, background, experience and expectations. As I greet each individual (and collect lesson tickets), I ask questions like how many times have you skied, what terrain do you ski, have you skiied this season, how many lessons have you had, and most importantally , other than their name, what would you like to gain from this lesson. Most often it is more control, more confortable, get my skis together, and be able to ski the steeps slowley. Others in the group nod as one names something they forgot to ask for (or a me too). Then we set goals that the group agrees on and I make my lesson plan as we head to the lift. While on the snow, I often have to revise my plan after doing movement analysis. Plenty of feedback is given during the lesson and each person in the group is given something to work on while skiing after the lesson. What is important for the people in the group that really want to improve is to tell them how to practice what was done in the lesson and how to procede from there. That often brings up a question from the student, "when should I take my next lesson and what level should I tell the instructor I am?" A conclusion of what was done in the lesson and why helps tie up any loose ends the group may have, and most of all, ski while on the snow and save talk for the lift ride.
RW
post #109 of 118
Very interesting thread. I'm not a ski instructor, but I deal a lot with clients, and I've been a fairly frequent ski student.

I think clients for complex services (like ski instruction) fall mostly into two categories: 1) Clients with specific objectives, like "I want to ski bumps better", and 2) clients who don't know what they need and are looking for your expertise to help them to understand the possibilities.

The problem is that clients often may know what they want, but they often don't know what they need.

When ski instructors would ask me some variation of the question, "What do you want to accomplish?" I tend to flounder. How do I know if I'm ready to try to ski bumps? Is that hill I want to tackle beyond my basic skills? Would concentrating on a fundamental skill be the best use of our time together?

In a private lesson I want the expert to assess my skills and tell me where my time and energy (and money) would be best spent.

And thanks for asking, Rusty Guy.
post #110 of 118
Curtis, if you want to be able to ski bumps, say, that's your Big Goal, but you're still wedge-christy-ing on blues, that's OK. If bumps are really your big thing and you tell us, we can slant that lesson towards your goal. You may not ski a bump during the lesson, but we can aim your progression towards bumps, and tell you why. We can orientate you, and your skills, and the new skills you're developing, towards bumps. And this makes the lesson more relevant to you, and you have a bit of a roadmap as to where you are with your skills, in relation to skiing bumps.

I really like to know what the client's dreams are, because even if we can't get there today, the lesson can be made more relevant and meaningful to them.
post #111 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
The Rocky Mountain Division of PSIA utilizes a system begun at Winter Park called GCT or guest centered teaching. It is a cornerstone of every exam. The first thing any instructor needs to ascertain is one that seems patently simple.

Why is the student taking a lesson.

It is amazing how many instructors fail to delve into motivational issues. I plan to keep a list this winter of responses to the question....."so why are you taking a lesson today?"

Typical responses I've heard in the past.

"I want more control"
"I want to learn how to ski (fill in the blank with the name of a run or type terrain) more comfortably.
"I want to learn how to ski bumps"
"I want to be able to ski with my husband"
"I bought shaped skis and I want to learn how to carve"

If you had to pick one sentence to describe the most common motivation for taking a lesson what would it be?

My anecdotal evidence involves the "C" word........control.

So....instructors what would you say is the reason you hear most folks are taking a lesson? I bet you'll all say you ask and I'll bet a little soul searching will bring you to the conclusion we all make too many assumptions. I know I do. I often ask the question and fail to dig deep enough.

Skiers....if you take lessons what are you seeking?
Great subject. As a skier, my first motivation was "to learn how to ski". After I learned "how" in several lessons I spent years refining many bad habits that I managed to pick up all on my own. It all seemed good enough until I had more opportunities to ski and realized that there were a number of people on the mountain who managed to ski much better than me and have more fun doing it. That is when I decided that I might benefit from lessons rather than continuing to work on refining my bad habits and not really getting any better.

"Control" and the ability to ski in a variety of conditions better than I was capable of were the chief motivating factors for me. The cost per hour of private lessons and the fear of being embarrased by my shortcomings in group lessons were chief disincentives for me for a long time.

If it wasn't for sheer stubbornness, I may have just as easily settled for continuing to ski at the same level. The result would likely have been that I would not have gone skiing more than a few days a season since I was in the classic "intermediate rut" and confined mostly to "Z" turns on the blue runs.

The problem of resuming ski lessons after such a long time is made more difficult by having to unlearn bad habits as well as learn learn functionally correct habits. Anything that can be done to encourage a smooth instruction progression beyond the first three day lesson package might go a long way to keeping more people engaged in the sport.
post #112 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
Curtis, if you want to be able to ski bumps, say, that's your Big Goal, but you're still wedge-christy-ing on blues, that's OK. If bumps are really your big thing and you tell us, we can slant that lesson towards your goal.

...

You may not ski a bump during the lesson, but we can aim your progression towards bumps, and tell you why.
Here's where I beg to differ. It's true, my student might not get on bumps, but I would try to find some umps or, if those were too big; some mps, or, ps, ...or, you get the idea.
post #113 of 118
Too bad you folks have no wind to drop little pieces of debris on a slope to serve as an obstacle course. For you they invented tennis balls (split in half) and drinking straws to carry in your pocket to place on a run for your student to ski around.

You don't have to ski bumps to learn the theory.
post #114 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
...drinking straws to carry in your pocket to place on a run for your student to ski around.
I'll remember that this coming season, thanks for the great tip!

When the kitchen manager chases me down for stealing straws, I'll just tell him it was due to bad outside influences.
post #115 of 118
Dress 'em up with a topper of reflective tape. Duct tape around the straw and the bottom of the tape and they'll last for years. *Duct tape now comes in a rainbow of colors.
post #116 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by ant
Curtis, if you want to be able to ski bumps, say, that's your Big Goal, but you're still wedge-christy-ing on blues, that's OK. If bumps are really your big thing and you tell us, we can slant that lesson towards your goal. You may not ski a bump during the lesson, but we can aim your progression towards bumps, and tell you why. We can orientate you, and your skills, and the new skills you're developing, towards bumps. And this makes the lesson more relevant to you, and you have a bit of a roadmap as to where you are with your skills, in relation to skiing bumps.

I really like to know what the client's dreams are, because even if we can't get there today, the lesson can be made more relevant and meaningful to them.
Ant,

Good comments. I also think that the more advanced or knowledgable a client (student) is, the more likely it is that their goals will be meaningful.

The point I was trying to make is that by simply asking a student, "What do you want?" without sufficient regard for the appropriateness of the goal and the value to the student is a disservice.

From your reply I'd bet that you're an excellent instructor. Keep it up!

Curtis
post #117 of 118
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Too bad you folks have no wind to drop little pieces of debris on a slope to serve as an obstacle course. For you they invented tennis balls (split in half) and drinking straws to carry in your pocket to place on a run for your student to ski around.

You don't have to ski bumps to learn the theory.
The straws work well in the bumps too. Another trainer and I used them last season to define and "force" the line we wanted our clinic group to ski. Great visual-no fear of hitting them if you got a little off line. We first set up a pretty round line then a more aggressive fall line course. It was a bit of a pain in the a** climbing up and down hill to reset them plus pick them up when done but well worth the effort.
post #118 of 118
I would venture a guess that deep down all male students between 18 and 40 that came to the lesson willingly are there because they want to ski like THAT guy.

The guy that was just totally shredding up the gnarly awesome bump run under the lift. The one everyone was looking at and going "wow, wouldn't it be cool to ski like that."

So you go get lessons because you don't ski like THAT guy and it sure seems like he was having a hell of a lot of fun doing it and afterwards got all the chicks.

Maybe you mature as you get older and actually mean things like "just for the enjoyment of being outdoors..." or whatever that kind of mushy b.s. I doubt it though
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