End of my 10th season teaching.
I had an 8 week program with the same 6 girls, ages 9-12. Most had been skiing for about 1-2 years and were still beginners. We started on the easiest slope on the mountain. All skiing in a wedge, some with a very powerful braking wedge when it got a little bit steeper.
Today was the last day. The skiing this season was challenging, a few of the days were slushy spring skiing, some were icy. Today was pretty bad conditions, slush, mud, rocks, puddles. We finally made it back downhill to the easy slope (not the easiest but close) and spent the balance of the 2 hours there. They all have gotten so much better. They'd progressed to blue squares last week, but the conditions today didn't allow us to be on those slopes.
So I had them focus on their feet, on feeling the center of their feet. Pulling them back, pushing them forward, adjusting to the changing terrain. They kind of got it, a little. One suggested I teach her to ski backwards. Bingo! The rest of the lesson we were all skiing backwards and using that as the way to get them to feel their balance point. Backwards you have to be on your heels more but moving fore/aft has the same impact, just in reverse.
At the end of the day the ski school had a little celebration and we gave out certificates of completion to all the groups. A few of the parents came up to me and complimented me. I know the kids liked me , but hearing things like "the first week my kid had a different coach and said, "I'd rather be at school than do this." After changing to your group she looked forward to it every week. I don't know what you did, but it worked - she loved it."
This was needless to say wonderful to hear. Much of what I do with these kids isn't about skiing, it's about life. Conquering fear, pushing yourself, NOT going faster when your father says you should "It's your choice what to do. Don't let anyone ever tell you to go faster if you don't want to. It's YOUR decision." (This to a 9 year old girl.)
The trip down from the summit was awful, no one enjoyed the mud and puddles. I asked two of the girls at the end of the day if it was fun. They said "no." I said "it wasn't for me either." "But looking back on it, it was pretty cool that we did it, wasn't it?" "Yeah" they said. "Sometimes things that aren't fun while you're doing them are a lot better looking back on them."
Damn I love doing this. Sad that it's over for the year.