EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Centerline the way of the Buffalo
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Centerline the way of the Buffalo

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
For the non PSIA folks, "Centerline" and "Final Forms" were conceptual tools used by PSIA instructors to evaluate a student through movements analysis. "Centerline" and "Final Forms" became "the way to ski" to many instructors who began using it to teach instead of evaluate. As a result, PSIA scraped both concepts. The concept of "Stepping Stones" is a little bit more of a teaching tool than and evaluation tool but somewhat replaced "Centerline". Keep that in mind if you are a non PSIA instructor trying to follow this thread.

One of the benefits of being a PSIA instructor for a while is old goodie tools in the tool box. Although the Centerline concept is dead in PSIA circles its not dead in mine. No if I am trying to prepare someone for a PSIA exam I do not talk about centerline but instead talk about Stepping Stones.

The Centerline concept was so simple that most instructors could not grasp it. The simplicity of the Centerline concept was also it tremendous power as a tool. Like Final Forms, I morn its passing but understand the reasons for abandonment.

Stepping Stones started off great like Final Forms and Centerline but I am starting to see the concept of Stepping Stones being cited as justification for teaching inefficient technique. So goes the circle of convoluting simple tools in ski instruction.

I think the troops are going off the path because of the way Stepping Stones has been introduced in the PSIA trickle down methods. Stepping Stones is seen as a multiple path it was intended to be but any and all instruction meets that criterion.

Like the Buffalo, Centerline and Final Forms we set for erradication but are still around, just not in the abundance they once were.

Okay, now you can tell me to just shut up and go away.
post #2 of 19
Ahh--nice reminiscence, Pierre. I agree completely. It is unfortunate to see such simple gems fade into memory. The Center Line concept, in particular, remains to me the most accurate and timeless model of skiing movements ever constructed. All movements past, present, and future fit onto the map of the Center Line. I mourn its loss!

Happy New Year, Pierre!
Best regards,
Bob
post #3 of 19
Pierre,

The stepping stones concept takes into consideration more than most instructors see in front of them at their resort. Some of the staff training at local resorts teach ineffective movements and people question why they are "stepping stones". It is the "trickle down" process that corrupts any educational process. Getting staff to get involved in PSIA and it's educational events is the cure for the "trickle down" effect. Some ideas die hard, and it's the new instructor that often is the most influenced by by gone techniques preached by "trickle down (often self proclaimed) trainers".
Quality education is the key.

RW
post #4 of 19
Quote:
The Center Line concept, in particular, remains to me the most accurate and timeless model of skiing movements ever constructed. All movements past, present, and future fit onto the map of the Center Line.
Would you say that Centerline was better than the Skills Concept, Bob? I find both to be equally brilliant concepts for understanding ski technique. Both should have been equally influential to the development of ski instruction in America, though unfortunately CL seemed to be generally misinterpreted as a new version of Final Forms.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
Pierre,

The stepping stones concept takes into consideration more than most instructors see in front of them at their resort. Some of the staff training at local resorts teach ineffective movements and people question why they are "stepping stones". RW
Acutally Ron they don't question why they are stepping stones as most accept what they hear in a clinic. Only later do some of them question it.

In trying to introduce stepping stones, one of the most most favored methods is to pick a goal within the group and see how many ways that goal can be approached. The danger here is in accepting ways of getting to the goal that are clearly inefficient just to keep the group moving along and in harmony. Pretty soon diversity is the goal and not good skiing. There is more of a danger is going astray for instructors who have been teaching a while and believe they know a lot more than they actually show in their own skiing.

Diversity is great but not if you degrade your ultimate goal of "first do no harm".
post #6 of 19
I liked CenterLine as well. It balanced the concept of exploration at each level (like stepping stones) with the idea of steady progress through milestones (actually, also like stepping stones).

I feel it failed in its usage because,
--some instructors only got that, on one side was pressure/edge while on the other side was rotary. Actually there were many different opposites to work with here: soft/hard snow, short/long turns, steeper/flatter terrain.
--some instructors felt that this was a license to do whatever, that anything goes.
--some instructors felt that this really indicated a need to be on the center all the time.

The thinking from combining all that is something I carry with me always today..
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I feel it failed in its usage because,
--some instructors only got that, on one side was pressure/edge while on the other side was rotary. Actually there were many different opposites to work with here: soft/hard snow, short/long turns, steeper/flatter terrain.
--some instructors felt that this was a license to do whatever, that anything goes.
--some instructors felt that this really indicated a need to be on the center all the time.

The thinking from combining all that is something I carry with me always today..
Weems I think you are putting things into perspective a bit for me. Talented diverse instructors just love concept based teaching tools but the world is not made up of students who are all this way.

There are a awful lot of students who want things in black and white. Use a step by step approach and they feel fine. Natually there are many instructors who fit in this group as well. They will always try to make something black and white out of a diverse but simple concept. In some ways PSIA does fall short for many by sticking firmly to a concepts base when many are simply not comfortable with that idea.

I run into black and white thinkers all the time and they are never comfortable with concepts. An example; Question? "Are there any Alligators in these waters?" Concepts based answer; "Probably Not". Black and white thinker; "What the hell kind of and answer is that? Are there or aren't there Alligators in these waters?"

For these folks there is comfort in a PMTS style approach over a PSIA concepts approach. The "give it to me in a written step by step" members are not well addressed within PSIA.
post #8 of 19
I see the skills concept, centerline, stepping stones as all aiming for "the simplicity on the other side of complexity" (Horst Abraham). Weems's Sports Diamond is another of this ilk--not an algorithm, formula or method, but a kind of map that each of us can use to get to know the geography of skiing. They are all very cool tools, each unique yet complementary.
post #9 of 19
I understand what you're saying, Pierre. And recognize the need for that for many people. My concern is my sense that Reality doesn't work exclusively in a linear sequence. I think there can be repeatable sequences within variable conditions, but once you rely exclusively on either as a description, I think you create weird limits. This is why I advocate so strongly for the idea of "holding polarity: maintaining the tension between opposing, yet interdependent imperatives". Sequence/concept, process/results, change/stability, carving/skidding.
post #10 of 19
Thanks, Weems!

Not sure how you are able to express that so succinctly. I sure appreciate it though.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
My thoughts exactly Weems. Having it totally conceptual or exclusively sequencial seems to completely miss large groups.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
My thoughts exactly Weems. Having it totally conceptual or exclusively sequencial seems to completely miss large groups.
Exactly.

You guys from Akron are smart!
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
...

In trying to introduce stepping stones, one of the most most favored methods is to pick a goal within the group and see how many ways that goal can be approached...
actually, in my limited experience, that method would only work if you're teaching a group of clones. In real life, different "steps" must be used for each individual with each having a different outcome. (The steps used, of course, cannot be predetermined, as no one can effectively predict the future of any lesson.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
...

I run into black and white thinkers all the time and they are never comfortable with concepts. An example; Question? "Are there any Alligators in these waters?" Concepts based answer; "Probably Not". Black and white thinker; "What the hell kind of and answer is that? Are there or aren't there Alligators in these waters?"

For these folks there is comfort in a PMTS style approach over a PSIA concepts approach. The "give it to me in a written step by step" members are not well addressed within PSIA.
The question to me is: should instructors form sequential exercises for those students who need "black and white thinking?"

Notice I did not say PSIA, as any standard set by PSIA is unenforceable at the individual instructor level, except in an exam situation. Same rationale goes for individual schools. Admittedly my experience is limited to only 4 different ski & ride schools, but no matter the "official line," the individual instructor is going to teach what he or she finds effective at that particular time for that individual student.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre View Post
My thoughts exactly Weems. Having it totally conceptual or exclusively sequencial seems to completely miss large groups.


But how do we as individuals carry that message?
post #14 of 19
I'm with Ron White. The problem is not necessarily the Centerline or the Skills Concept but the way these are diluted and misinterpreted by the "trickle down" to ski school staff. I would argue that any formulation of concepts by PSIA is susceptible to this form of corruption. That is probably part of the appeal of final forms inasmuch as they are concrete rather than abstract concepts. In a flawed chain of communication the information tends to degenerate to a sort of least common denomination ie the form conceivable by the least capable link in the chain. When I was teaching I grew weary of this seemingly perpetual flow of disinformation which only served to discredit PSIA amongst ski school staff. Every year I used to hear about the purported latest dogma from PSIA and this was invariably a corruption or misinterpretation of something acquired at a clinic. In addition to the downright ignorant there are a fair number of instructors (if my experience is indicative) who are disgruntled with PSIA, probably because they were failed in an exam at some point, and these in particular always seemed eager to pass along something they experienced at a PSIA Clinic as an example of how wrong PSIA is (and how correct they are, I suppose). Why these people bother to attend something they seem determined to fault is a mystery to me but they effectively discourage quite a few others from joining and benefitting from PSIA.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
In a flawed chain of communication the information tends to degenerate to a sort of least common denomination ie the form conceivable by the least capable link in the chain. When I was teaching I grew weary of this seemingly perpetual flow of disinformation which only served to discredit PSIA amongst ski school staff. Every year I used to hear about the purported latest dogma from PSIA and this was invariably a corruption or misinterpretation of something acquired at a clinic. .
I sat and listened to Chris Ryman and Mike Porter describe both the origin and the meat of CenterLine in the spring of...(some year or other). By the time it reached the Ed Staff training in Colorado the next fall, it had morphed into something I did not recognize from my understanding of Mike and Chris. People just hear stuff differently, and therefore all original ideas are subject to corruption as the move through the population.

I think the best one can do is develop systems that don't lose essence when subject to corruption of their form. Very tough challenge.
post #16 of 19
I thought I was the only one who wasn't sure what centre-line, stepping stones and final forms were. A BRIEF summary might be interesting.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems View Post
I sat and listened to Chris Ryman and Mike Porter describe both the origin and the meat of CenterLine in the spring of...(some year or other). By the time it reached the Ed Staff training in Colorado the next fall, it had morphed into something I did not recognize from my understanding of Mike and Chris. People just hear stuff differently, and therefore all original ideas are subject to corruption as the move through the population.

I think the best one can do is develop systems that don't lose essence when subject to corruption of their form. Very tough challenge.
People hear things differently and/or they are each essentially creative to some degree. The contribution of each is somewhat additive (or subtractive, in many cases) as a creative or destructive reconstruction of what is received. That is my own mangled interpretation. Perhaps the solution is to accept this as a near inevitability whenever any lengthy chain of communication is involved and attempt to shorten the chain by bringing the ed staff closer to the ski school, ie more direct PSIA staff training clinics instead of the usual travel of individuals to remote locations. It gets back to the organizations approach to the quality of schools as opposed to attempting to reach a few individuals. If schools had more incentive ie. a marketable school certification product available from PSIA there would be more incentive to contract with the organization for staff training.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
I thought I was the only one who wasn't sure what centre-line, stepping stones and final forms were. A BRIEF summary might be interesting.
Here's my brief.
CenterLine was a really good attempt to bring back some structured pathways (milestones) to teaching. It was a model that included both a direction (pathway for growth) and the advocacy to explore (lateral learning) around each level before moving on to the next. It came about after a period where the clarity of direction indicated by final forms seemed to get lost in the bifurcation growth pattern involving simultaneous or sequential edge change as acceptable patterns. For a while there just seemed to be no solid defineable progression. Porter saw a bunch of skiers doing diverse moves at Interski in Banff and thought it would be nice if we could develop some skiing that was right along the center line of all that diversity.

The Final Forms were distant predecessors of centerline in that they represented the finest skiing available at each level. (I think there were about ten: from straight running through short swing.) These are the milestones we taught, and instead of doing much exploring around the possibilities of each, we tried to move people directly ahead through each. They were also quite rigid in form and we really tried to make them perfect, until we decided that this was stupid.

The stepping stones are, in my view a "softening" of the centerline. You still have to go along the line: cross the river. But the path you take is extremely flexible and may involve various and unique deviations in the path. I love the Stepping Stones because of my ADD bent for flexibility. Also, I think it is an accurate description of how people learn. I believe this metaphore will be recognized as a great contribution by Megan Harvey.
Brief enough?
post #19 of 19
For us who have been around a while, this is a refrishing conversation.

Many ski and ride schools are not fortunite enough to have highly trained and qualified staff trainers that are directly trained by a demo team member or a national ed staff member that can bring focus and clarity to the training staff. I wish more schools would take advantage of the demo team members and ed staff members that are available through the PSIA.. I am fortunate enough to be able to work directly with Mermer B. as one of her trainers, as well has having 3 examiners (weems, you know Franz Krickle, my SSD), an ACE, 2 DCL's and others on staff who have been trained above LIII. For some of us, it is a matter of logistics to be able to move above LIII and be able to balance our private lives.

Most ski schools have 300+ staff members between full time and part time, and to train each one to a high level of understanding and proficiency on skis is an impossible job. I feel if the trainers do their jobs well, more of the staff will take advantage of their experties and want to either get involved with or go the next level in the PSIA.

RW
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Centerline the way of the Buffalo