Originally Posted by weems
Having said that, I also recognize the danger of using other sports, because sometimes the similarity itself causes the problem. If I say, "this is like walking", the student could very easily pick up and fix on her understanding of walking that is nothing at all like skiing.
Ah, yes. In particular, walking downhill
has a major difference from skiing, for most people, anyway. When walking downhill, we tend to settle back on our heels. This works because our shoes don't slide, usually. (If our shoes do slide, we may quickly end up on our butts!
Since most of us have been walking for a while, this "dig in the heels" reaction is practically hard-wired. Why, I myself have been walking upright for much of the last 3 or 4 years.
This is (IMHO) one of the reasons people tend to sit back while skiing. As we know, it flat doesn't work while standing atop a sliding tool, but most skiers do it anyway at some point in their learning progression. And with this thought in mind, we can understand why it's so difficult to change it.
Nonetheless, I agree with Deb that walking has some valuable analogies, and it is useful to work from an action that people can already perform.
I have an example (oh, brother - here he goes again) where transfer from a common action often doesn't seem to work very well at first. I have been, among other things, a computer programmer, and I have had groups of programmers who want to learn to ski. They are often difficult clients, and I have learned a couple of things:
1. Some dedicated programmers often have very little body awareness. This is not always true, since some are quite active, but many are not. They have no idea what their feet are doing. They may have to actually look at their legs and feet, since they may ignore or not understand proprioceptive information from their nervous system.
2. They tend to communicate a little differently. Many (though not all - generalizations are dangerous) prefer movement instructions given like a program: sequentially, in very small steps. They think about each tiny movement, and they may end up looking a bit like robots, at least for a while. I still ski like the Tin Man, or a stump, way too often!
For these people, the walking analogy may have little value, at least initially, because they have no idea how they do it! Chances are, they've never broken down a physical activity, or even thought much about it. They do have powerful logical skills, however. Cause and effect and the kinetic chain make a great deal of sense to them. "Big picture" statements will inevitably be met with "how" or "why" questions. "Flow" means nothing, unless it's accompanied by "chart." Indeed, "flow chart" may be a useful analogy for this group. Surprisingly, they may not be pure verbal learners, since they need to learn what their movements actually look like.
So, you work with what they have: logic and reasoning; an ability to observe, once things are pointed out; and an ability execute step-by-step instructions.
Transfer from walking or programming or basketball or almost anything else is often effective, but use with caution. Of course, transfer from in-line skating makes my life easier...