Originally Posted by onyxjl
Do you feel that a wider focus can be a hinderance to the developing skier at all?
I ask this from the perspective that as a student, I think it is beneficial to focus on learning the basic mechanics of a carved turn very well before moving on to experiment with more subtle techniques. In my opinion this will provide a strong foundation from which to explore the other areas. If I don't have that foundation, too much experimentation can muddy the waters a bit on what is really generating improvements.
As I understand from most modern teaching, it appears that once you have this basis down, skiing the rest of the mountain is adaptation. After the inside ski thread, I purchased "Ski the Whole Mountain" and Eric and Rob seem to be saying this same thing. Harald Harb seems to be saying this in his books. Instructors on this forum seem to be saying that in their posts. Everywhere you see it. If the basics of your skiing on the groomed green trails aren't as good as they can be, they aren't going to get any better off the groomed.
I understand that learning as much as you can will give you the widest base of support, but do you feel that students would be better served with a directed, narrower focus until a certain point? If so, what point?
In this sense, I have found the relatively narrow focus of the PMTS learning progression to be rather helpful. The steps to get from here to there are fairly explicitly laid out and have worked for me.
Although, reflecting on this idea, perhaps you aren't just talking about the power portion of the diamond. Probably you are referring just as much to the other 3 corners which are needed to progress. In this case, I think I hear you loud and clear.
I think you do hear it clearly. And the answer to your first question is, absolutely
. Too wide a focus, too early, can be detrimental, because it can lead to chaos within the learner--who already has a pretty full plate.
This refers to my beliefs about holding polarity: specifically,
clarity<---->flexibility. The technical progressional systems are mostly about clarity. If one focuses too much on them, they narrow the scope and breadth of the sport and develop rigidity and dogma. Too much focus on flexibility (the wider focus) creates chaos and confusion.
Harb's and Lito's and many other systems are excellent at clarity, giving the students a predictable, repeatable set of movement patterns that work every time. The arguments go on and on about which is best, or most accurate, or most like WC, or most repsonsive to student needs. But they're all pretty damn good and help people with the tech focus as a grounded platform.
My concern is that people tend to get overwhelmed with that, and their focus becomes so narrow that it becomes rigid and un-adapatable. On the other hand I think that these tech sequences come to life when they are informed and supported by all the other corners.
I'm learning to ride my motorcycle. The more I learn the more I realize I know very little. I do know that, in the corners, I would like to slow down prior to the corner, then accelerate smoothly through to the end, and that I have to countersteer, and bank, and push the outside knee against the bike, and load the inside foot peg, and transfer the weight to the front wheel by off throttle, or by braking, to dive into the turn, then maintenance throttle to hold the angle and widen the contact patch of the rear tire while shifting weight off the front, then accelerate smoothly to load the back wheel to stand up out of the corner, and if I had entered to fast, maybe trail braking with either the front or back brake would be a good idea, not to mention smooth downshifting with a blip of the throttle while re-engaging the clutch, and, oh yes, hanging the inside knee out a little to help the weight stay to the inside, and...and...and... all this in about 4 seconds!
I'm sure that Harb, being an excellent rider has a very simple and quick progression for this.
However, even so, that is a lot of stuff, and guess what...I don't feel overwhelmed by it because I am shifting constantly from techno-terror to reminding myself of Purpose (staying upright and alive, working the line, developing good traffic strategy, having some fun), and Touch (feeling the road irregularities through the wheels, being relaxed and loose, looking to the end of the turn, working on timing and smooth brake/throttle work), and Will (staying focused, staying alert, riding in all weather, staying centered, commitment to the connection between me and the bike)--all that stuff keeps from getting locked up anywhere, and keeps every ride fascinating and worthwhile and so far, safe.
For me, the diamond provides the clarity without rigidity. The material within each resource provides the flexibility to match my efforts to what's really happening out there. Also I use it as the doorway to grasp the incredible richness of all sports without being overwhelmed by it.
It's fine for a beginner who is motivated to focus for quite some time on tech material--unless, of course, it doesn't work for them. Then you try something else!