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The Coach vs The Instructor - Page 3

post #61 of 81
I agree, JASP. Harsh is seldom productive. A coach can be motivator, a no nonsense teacher, without being mean. From what I've seen, harsh is often just a mask for incompetence.
post #62 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Tom, I think you'd be very surprised. Racing is all about developing a broad base of top level skiing skills. That's what quality race coaches do. Fast is just the byproduct.

Didn't read vlad's definition. Doesn't matter.
rick is dead-on.
fast IS just a by-product.
You take jackie gleason's corpse, strap it to an alpine snowboard and send it down a steep hill, it'll make it to the bottom faster than the top DH snowboarder in the world.
doesn't mean that a dead 350 lb. comedian/character actor is a better racer than the top DH boarder in the world.
one can negotiate a course, the other cannot.
in order to negotiate a course, the athlete must learn how to slow down:
two principles in racing dictate all the others:

1. Hunting speed

2.Scrubbing speed

anyone can ski fast, and most can slow down.
it's HOW we effect both that makes us better, all other skills derive from those two base concepts.

When the best snowboard race coach in the world took me on as a pupil 15 years ago, i was already a really accomplished carver. head-turningly good. I lived to carve.
It was in teaching me how NOT TO carve, when scrubbing was needed, that kept me in combinations out of which I would previously have catapulted.
learning how, effectively, to scrub speed, is far more difficult than learning how to glide or carve.
any good skier/boarder can carve, it's fun and it's easy.
learning how to run in controlled slipping takes far and away more skill and finesse.
post #63 of 81

please to be thanking you .. vlad

For the fine "visuals" there. Yes, I am fully aware of the need for visualizations in sports and agree they are important.

Tonight, I'll be nodding off (as I was just about to do), and I'll be seeing ..

The horrid grey corpulent corpse of "The Great One" hurtling down ..... on a freaking snowboard.

My wife is gonna kill me ... cause I'll start snorting and laughing and wake her up.

too much to ll lkj000s040=-a43 end ... trouble again ...
post #64 of 81
Bang, zoom, to the moon alice!
post #65 of 81
Yes, I add my compliments too vlad. Very funny stuff!!
post #66 of 81
I have a very different take on this as of late than I would have even a year ago.

Not long ago my opinion of race coaches was that it was all about speed and that technique was expected to take care of itself. This approach produces back seat carvers that stem to scrub speed and get fast but never great. I thought a level 3 was much more equiped to deal with technique.

That has changed. I have been observing the wrong coaches. Although I have never raced gates the two people here on Epicski that are closest to my way of thinking about ski technique and both are race coaches. Rick and Gary Dranow.

This year some of these guys just rubbed off and I decided to add the element of speed instead of being content with some element of scarving in every turn. The result is that my speed has gone through the roof and so has the fun factor. I already had all of the technique elements necessary to hit the gas pedal. I just never did. I am getting edge angles I never dreamed of.

Since I can change turn size and speed at will I am starting to eye them gates and wondering about racing tactics. Gates are not that much different than killer moguls. Both dictate when and where to turn so adding the element of gates seems like the next logical step. I am confident that I can read when and where to turn or how to efficiently scrub speed but what to do with the gate itself would be the challenge. They look like hitting little trees to me.

I have even found myself doing a few sivots to stay on the trails or avoid other skiers. I did not really understand what they were until I discovered I was doing them. Since I have no base line for time in gates I have no idea how I really stack up so don't ask.

My opinion now. Level III intructors who think like race coaches can make dramatic changes in the skiing performance and smile factor of intermediate skiers.
post #67 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
I have a very different take on this as of late than I would have even a year ago.

Not long ago my opinion of race coaches was that it was all about speed and that technique was expected to take care of itself. This approach produces back seat carvers that stem to scrub speed and get fast but never great. I thought a level 3 was much more equiped to deal with technique.

That has changed. I have been observing the wrong coaches. Although I have never raced gates the two people here on Epicski that are closest to my way of thinking about ski technique and both are race coaches. Rick and Gary Dranow.

This year some of these guys just rubbed off and I decided to add the element of speed instead of being content with some element of scarving in every turn. The result is that my speed has gone through the roof and so has the fun factor. I already had all of the technique elements necessary to hit the gas pedal. I just never did. I am getting edge angles I never dreamed of.

Since I can change turn size and speed at will I am starting to eye them gates and wondering about racing tactics. Gates are not that much different than killer moguls. Both dictate when and where to turn so adding the element of gates seems like the next logical step. I am confident that I can read when and where to turn or how to efficiently scrub speed but what to do with the gate itself would be the challenge. They look like hitting little trees to me.

I have even found myself doing a few sivots to stay on the trails or avoid other skiers. I did not really understand what they were until I discovered I was doing them. Since I have no base line for time in gates I have no idea how I really stack up so don't ask.

My opinion now. Level III intructors who think like race coaches can make dramatic changes in the skiing performance and smile factor of intermediate skiers.

remember that moguls are dictated and formed by the rythmic pattern of skiers, not vice-versa,
and gates are not.
there is little similitude between moguls and gates.
i would aboslutely love to see a system evolve form the ussa and the psia wher eboth foundations merge at a notch just above their level IIIs (well, in ussa it's higher than III, but yet the gist) and they converge.
both associations would benefit greatly, and america might doinate olympic alpine podiums.
post #68 of 81
Rick: Tom, I think you'd be very surprised. Racing is all about developing a broad base of top level skiing skills. That's what quality race coaches do. Fast is just the byproduct.

You are right, a coach would certainly help me. I should have said that either coach or instructor would work fine for me, as long as they are competent. In other words, I don't need a race coach exclusively to become a strong all mountain skier. Right?

vlad: Tom, I, too, am 43 years old , and I can assure you that were you and i to get together, and i were to stand, in my danners, at the base of a small hill while you took a dozen runs, and i were to speak, after each run, with you about some things you might wanna tweaK, you would improve dramatically, have a b last, and be shocked at your improvement.

I have no doubt about that, but that is because you can probably be as effective instructing a recreational skier as you can be coaching a racer. Good techniques should apply to both, although strategy may be different.

My point is that weather you consider yourself a coach or an instructor (or both), you still want to taylor the lesson(s) to the needs of the student. A desire to improve in the gates, is very different than a desire to improve in bumps or steeps.
post #69 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
remember that moguls are dictated and formed by the rythmic pattern of skiers, not vice-versa,
and gates are not.
there is little similitude between moguls and gates.
If this were true mogul skiing would be a snap for most skiers.
post #70 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomB
Rick: You are right, a coach would certainly help me. I should have said that either coach or instructor would work fine for me, as long as they are competent. In other words, I don't need a race coach exclusively to become a strong all mountain skier. Right?
Right, Tom, I much agree. When it comes right down to it, it's the knowledge and teaching skill of the individual that dictates what a student will learn. I know top notch instructors who really know their stuff, and who given similar levels of interaction with students would produce similar results to that which quality race coaches would.

I attribute much of the differences in teaching methodologies (at the upper levels) to the nature of the hour lesson, as opposed to the multi year high intensity relationship. You just can't cover technical areas and formulate long term plans in the wham bam lesson the way you can with everyday interaction.

I have to hand it to instructors, because I couldn't do what they do. I'd find the sacrifices the time constraints require in the depth of technical training I typically go to just too frustrating.
post #71 of 81
Pierre, thanks for the kind words.

Gates are fun, glad to hear your considering giving them a try. Don't worry about gate impact. At the beginning you can stay well clear and still learn to go very fast. Move in on them later when your tactics/technique has become refined and you're looking to gain fractions of time.

NASTAR is a great environment to get your feet wet. You can also practice on your own between races, in you have no access to training courses, by using your imagination in finding a means to indicate turning points (pseudo gates) on the slope.

I think the turn placement dictation your bump skiing entailed will prove to be of some value in the gates. The difference will be in the type of turn you'll need to make (pure carved, or pivot/carve), and learning how to place those in a precise manner at high speed. I think you'll like the learning process.
post #72 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
Gates are not that much different than killer moguls. Both dictate when and where to turn so adding the element of gates seems like the next logical step.
Actually, I would suggest that it is the skier that dictates when and where to turn. For racing, some choices are faster or shorter or both; others are slower or longer or both. Choices are made by the skier with the goal of minimizing the amount of time it takes to finish.

Moguls, of course, allow many different lines, all chosen by the skier, not the mogul. Some skiers may feel that the mogul dictates their turn, but I strongly doubt that Pierre falls in this category. Again, some choices will be faster, some slower, some smoother, some harsher, some easier, some more difficult.

For the recreational skier, the choices (and quality of the results) are much more subjective than they are for someone competing for minimum time through a gated course.

Although a coach is usually concerned with helping his or her skier make choices and movements to minimize time, while an instructor is usually concerned with helping his or her skier make choices and movements to maximize enjoyment, a fully developed instructor/coach (and I certainly would not claim to qualify as such a person) can help skiers pursue either goal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
remember that moguls are dictated and formed by the rythmic pattern of skiers


Since skiers are not always rhythmic, some moguls are fairly even in size and nicely shaped, and some are not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
If this were true mogul skiing would be a snap for most skiers.


I’ve skied some handmade purpose-built bumps. They are easy. Most steeper mogul runs have a variety of shapes and sizes, which tends to add complexity to the challenge of skiing bumps.


Go play!
post #73 of 81
Ah, the one hour lesson. It is hard to do much in such a short time frame. So IMO going out for just one hour seems sort of pointless. Then again some of my week(s) long return business has come from a short introductory lesson. It is just hard to tell where it might lead but if all someone wants is a tip or two I try to meet them early in the morning or after my normal lessons end. Typically if they want the morning I charge them but an hour at the end of the day I usually do gratis. It's surprising how many people come back the next day and pay for a full day lesson because I gave them an hour of my time.
post #74 of 81

Depends on the coach/instructor...

...but for me, they're just labels. I'm not against doing either in terms of a system, on some level. In fact, it's good in some ways. I'm not close to the U. S. coaching system, but I think they've agreed on some common principles so that J5 coaches are basically on the same page with the World Cup coaches. Interestingly enough, at least from what I see in Epic Ski, the ski teaching community appears to have gone the opposite way...are you PMTS or PSIA? Do you believe in angulation, inclination, or neither? And so forth.

I don't teach for money any more, but I do teach friends because I like teaching...comes also from my background as a writer. I'm a technical writer by trade, but I've also written for Ski Racing, Powder, and so forth, and I have a bunch of articles that folks have found useful at the RMM site (www.rmmskiracing.org).

One of the the things that technical writing has taught me is to hold to the KISS principle...people can hold onto 5, plus or minus 2, ideas at any one time...and that's if they're sitting down reading. I don't overcoach, and I don't believe in information overload. I also believe in coaching individual skiers, not espousing schools of technical methodology.

I think it comes down to teaching style. When I was teaching, and especially after I got my L3, I wanted access to what everybody was saying and doing re technique and teaching methodology, but I essentially made my own choices about what skiing was and how to teach it.
Sometime when I get the time, I'm going to get my L1 or L2 coaching cert, too.

I'm a Masters racer, and although I'm not formally one of the coaches in my training program, we all coach each other. My coaching style is indistinguishable from my teaching style...and that's true regardless of what I'm teaching...tennis, biking, writing, you name it. I want to tell somebody what I see, and first of all, ask them if they agree with what I'm seeing. I don't know everything, and so if I'm missing something, I want to hear about it, and we'll reset. If we both agree that, for example, you need to get on the new edge earlier, I'll say here's a toy you can use to make it happen...like rolling to the little toe of the inside ski...what HH calls "everting the foot." Did that work for you? Great. If not, let's try this toy. Are you happy with where that's taking you? Great, enough technospeak for one day. Let's go make some runs and get the move into auto mode, then let's get back in the wickets. My favorite Ron LeMaster saying is "I'm not an absolutist," meaning that the world of skiing is wide and deep, and different things work for different people, something he proved a couple of years ago in a talk where he compared Mario Matt with Schoenfelder in a slalom course.

One thing I've learned from the good coaches I've had (hint: not all coaches are gods, just as not all instructors are pure as the driven snow...) along with KISS, is there's a time for pure positive reinforcement. There's a standard opening line a lot of us use (and I've been guilty of it), which is regardless of how well your student/athlete is doing, you always start of by saying "That was good, but...".

Early in my race career, one of my favorite coaches decided we were finally going to start getting early in a slalom course, so he did a bunch of essentially negative reinforcement things like standing below a flush and telling us he was going to deck us if we came out of the flush low and took him out. He knew his audience, though, because we were all self-sufficient, confident pupils who were willing to hang it all out to get better. And we did. Then came the pure positive reinforcement. I had one of my better runs, and he said "That was f***ing great!" Maybe it wasn't, but it sure felt that way, and that was exactly the right moment to hand me a gold medal. One of my favorite coachingisms is "That was a great run! Now go do it again before you lose the feeling..."

So I think it comes down to the individual coach/instructor and how well he or she can teach, because that's what coaching and instructing is. One of the things I always emphasize when I'm coaching someone is what are your goals? If you're clear about that, it's easy to (a) learn something from just about anybody (b) spot a coach/instructor who's really going to help you get to where you want to go.

In racing, it's usually pretty simple. My goal for 2007 is the same as it was in 2006: start winning races again in my class, concentrating on GS. It also helps to know why you want to get to a particular place. I just want to win a GS next season because I know I can do it, and I just want to give myself a chance to ski well enough to make it happen. It's a personal thing. Sure, I'll have to beat my buddies to do it, but that's not the reason I want to win. I just want to have an experience that most people will never have, which is doing something that you love as well as you can possibly do it.

So if somebody wants to ski better in the bumps, that's fine, but I kind of want to know why. If the answer is "Because it's a challenge, and I never backed away from a challenge"...well, I'll do whatever I can to help, but the best thing I can do is get the hell out of the way. Because that person, as we used to say when I was teaching, is probably going to succeed despite anything I can teach him or her...
post #75 of 81
Thread Starter 
Great post to bring back an old thread .
Later
GREG
post #76 of 81
A good coach challenges themself to expedite the learning process for that student. Hit the target(s) and keep the learning momentum going. Ain't got all season to effect a change, you know?

My, guess is, yep, get outta your way and it'll take you a helluva lot longer to acheive your goal than you would with a good coach.

Goals (particularly outcome types like "winning") are great. Now you gotta figure out what to do acheive it in the time you set out to do it.

If your goal is to win 1/25/07 - you've got 265 days. Assuming you'll ski 60 days (you're from CO), averaging 4 hours per day between now and then, you'll have about 2400 minutes of actual ski time (generous) to get ready.

Do you want a coach that helps shorten the learning process or one that "gets out of the way"?

And please, in no way read into this as anything but absolute support for your '07 GS goal. Go!
post #77 of 81

Good point...

Quote:
Originally Posted by whygimf
A good coach challenges themself to expedite the learning process for that student. Hit the target(s) and keep the learning momentum going. Ain't got all season to effect a change, you know?

My, guess is, yep, get outta your way and it'll take you a helluva lot longer to acheive your goal than you would with a good coach.

Goals (particularly outcome types like "winning") are great. Now you gotta figure out what to do acheive it in the time you set out to do it.

If your goal is to win 1/25/07 - you've got 265 days. Assuming you'll ski 60 days (you're from CO), averaging 4 hours per day between now and then, you'll have about 2400 minutes of actual ski time (generous) to get ready.

Do you want a coach that helps shorten the learning process or one that "gets out of the way"?

And please, in no way read into this as anything but absolute support for your '07 GS goal. Go!
...what I really meant to say was something like "If your athlete succeeds, regardless of whether or not you had anything to do with it, give him/her Unconditional Props. If your athlete is struggling, point out the signposts on the road to success."

Thanks for the support. You're right about two other things:

- If you have a vision, you gotta have a plan. I can always dink around with technique, tactics, equipment, etc., but what I really need to do is grow some fangs and get into Attack Mode. Hey, it works (I already tried it), and life is a lot more fun in the Fast Lane, too.

- Next season starts now. In that spirit, think I'll get in some serious miles on my road bike this week, then go up to A-Basin on Saturday and train some GS with SwissAm.

Go big or stay home, everybody!
post #78 of 81
"Early in my race career, one of my favorite coaches decided we were finally going to start getting early in a slalom course, so he did a bunch of essentially negative reinforcement things like standing below a flush and telling us he was going to deck us if we came out of the flush low and took him out."

Interesting to see that I'm not the only one who stands in the way of a bad line. (ya gotta be able to move fast ) Don't do the threats though.
post #79 of 81
Someplace (can't remember where) I read a story about a coach driving gate wrenches (or something similar) into the snow where he didn't want his racers to be: so if you weren't where he wanted you, you'd break as ski, if not a leg.

Perhaps a bit harsh.
post #80 of 81
Yeah, that's kind of excessive. Not unlike the bike tires I used to use for pole plant targets though. They didn't break anything but used to get tangled in the skis and poles once in awhile.
post #81 of 81
I think the crowbar story was from Lisa Feinberg Densmore. It was after her coach had completely exhausted every method he could think of to get her to carve a turn. Carve or break your leg. Interesting approach.

For me, race coaching was a whole lot cheaper than going through PSIA- especially at the more advanced levels. Today I'd spend more on two ski school lessons than on an entire season of Masters race training. I also tend to respond better to structured, progression-oriented systems that have defined goals (go fast, turn lots).
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