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Question for Instructors

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
When seeing a student for the first time (especailly for a private lesson) do you start teaching right away or do you take a run and see how they ski so you know what they need to work on and then start teaching?
post #2 of 8
First thing was to watch how they handled their skis either as they slid up or even carried them .... that tells a lot.

Second, what they wanted to work on .... goals or problems.

We were lucky in that we had a short lift right in front of the meeting spot where I could do a quick evaluation to sort out reality from fantasy. We always took that short ride for an evaluation before a lesson.
post #3 of 8

Q for Instructors

gobig, First, talk to them, discover their wishes and goals establish some empathy.
Second, go ski
post #4 of 8
For a private, most of the time I have a pretty good idea what the student is interested in by the end of the lift ride. Many times, just watching two turns is enough to know where to start teaching. Sometimes I'll need to see more turns, but since I only have an hour, it does not make sense to me to use a whole lift ride to make an evaluation that I can usually make in a few seconds. If you've told me what you want to learn and I can see something that's a good fit right away, it's time to get started. We can always "course correct" in the middle of the lesson if we need to.

For me, teaching a student for the first time is kind of like how a travelling chef deals with a "cook this" challenge. Even though every kitchen is different and the ingredients may vary, the chef knows what kind of pans to use for different dishes, has a personal bag of tricks with spices and flavorings, can recognize big trouble ahead of time and will make adjustments for things like altitude, the local flavors of the ingredients and the personal tastes of the diners. He learns to make plans quickly and deal with the surprises as they arise. Each dish that results may be unique, but the mechanics of the underlying process varies little from dish to dish.

In reality, I never start teaching "right away", but sometimes it may seem so. For example, if I have a level 2 student, one of my first questions is "Do you have trouble getting off the lift?". If the answer is yes, we'll go over some stuff/do some drills before we get on the lift. For a first time skier in a private, I use the transit time between the private desk and the lesson area to gather info that I can use to modify the basic lesson format (e.g. balance while walking in ski boots can tell me whether or not the student can go direct to parallel). The first time student may think I start teaching right away, but I've already eyeballed their clothing and equipment, made an assessment of their psychological state, tried to suss out their preferred learning style, probed for other sports they do and made plan adjustments before we get started. But I do these things for all students and that's really part of what teaching is all about. So, in reality, I always start teaching right away ! That is what you paid for, isn't it? Or did you just want to cut the lines?
post #5 of 8
It depends on the student. I seem to get a lot of people who take a lesson on the very first run of the season. There's really not much point in trying to develop a lesson plan while watching someone "shake out the cobwebs", so I'll usually give them a warm-up run with some sort of simple focus (think about feeling your feet, make sure your hands stay out in front, etc).

On the other hand, if a person is fully warmed up, I'll head up to a pitch that is easier than their stated ability (espcially if their stated ability doesn't match their gear/appearance/walking style) and watch them make 10 or 20 turns.

The abve methods are for the typical "I want to ski better" lessons. If they have a specific focus like par, steeps, or bumps, I would obviously head towards that terrain.
post #6 of 8
I gather as much information I can on the way to the lift, both verbal and visual (to even know where to start). I then gather as much verbal information as I need on the lift ride so I have an idea about the movement analysis I do on the first part of the run. So, I do pretty much the same as Therusty.


post #7 of 8
Seeing them ski before I start teaching is imperative but I also gather information by askling questions and dooing a little warm up including small balance drills like standing on one ski. In order not to offend anybody I tell my students that I allways start my lessons with a few simple wedging drills. This way we can work on basic fundamental things like outside ski pressure, counter and angulation that might be missing from intermediate students.
post #8 of 8
For a private it is simple, do what they want. For a group we take a run or two without any teaching. Usually this reveals any mis-fit students and makes it easier to get them to the right group when needed. If you think about it how would you get a student to another pro when a split occurs?
Once the group is established, we have a chance to review individual goals and wants. Then and only then do we introduce a lesson plan.
While it might seem like a long process it only takes a run or two to make sure everyone in a group fits well together.
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