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Teaching Never-evers - What are people trying new this season?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just curious if others are exploring new techniques with never-evers this season too. This is my 5th season teaching and I'm wiling to experiment with new things if they help clients learn the dynamics of snowboarding with less pain and more FUN. I'm with a new mountain this year and they've given me the freedom to explore and in how I incorporate their material into my own. I've mainly taught adults the past two seasons.

1) I've dumped teaching toe-sideslips and heel-sideslips. This was great for teaching edge angle and speed control and getting students moving quicker but now I think the long term effects out-weigh the benefits. Once introduced, I've found it's too easy for students to fall into this defensive manuver and long-term hampers their their learning curve. I'll miss it but it's gone.

2) After teaching gas pedals for the past four years, it's mostly gone too. Instead I'm trying a hybrid and incorporating material from my new school. As they say "take the material presented and make it your own". After teaching straight glide, then straight glide with toe-side J-turn, then straight glide with heel-side J-turn, I've traditionally taken the class up the beginner lift and taught toe/heel sideslips before teaching toe/heel traversing. Now, after the J-turn material, I'm going straight to toe/heel traverses but instead of gas pedals, I'm introducing more hip/knee placement, movement of said hip/knee, and how to stop with said hip/knee movement. I also explain (as in prior years) how such movements catch and release the edges of the snowboard. I always taught hip/knee action but the gas pedals seemed to introduce more foot action than engaging entire lower body steering of the board to new students. This technique (when properly presented) in the long-term seems to benefit clients more in that when you get to the point of introducing turning, they are already using more hip/knee action to turn the board. After a few hits & misses, I think I've finally got something that works. I had a group of seven adult never-evers who were all skiers between say the ages of 35-55 years old with about half men and half women a few weeks ago. I introduced the above material while also mentioning transfer concepts they all understood from their skiing. Within 2.5 hours they understood how their board turned, and how their lower body made the board turn, and they were all linking turns. They were all beaming with ear to ear grins and were all eager to tackle the beginner run to the base of the mountain. Two declared they were giving up skiing as this was much more fun. After similar results the other weekend but with only one declared ex-skier in the group, I think I've got it mostly down. I have left out some material in the above description but it's the general gist of things.

3) I love my new beginner hill. It is completely roped off from general ski traffic so I don't have traffic from the race course buzzing at top speed through my classes and scaring my students.

4) Since my new mountain has a different beginner hill arrangement, it gives more opportunities to stress safety issues such as: look uphill before going, stop where you can be seen from above, don't stop in the middle of a trail, fall/stop before running into someone/something.

5) I'm having a blast this season. I'm having more training opportunities this season and am adding to my bag of tricks thanks to all my wonderful team-mates.

Anyone else care to share their enlightenments this season?
post #2 of 7
Well, I have not had too many enlightenments. I taught about 3 lessons and then the hill has been closed for the last 3 weeks. But we did switch over to Burton LTR gear in our rental fleet. This has given us the opportunity to tweak our lessons to take advantage of the new gear. Mainly this has been emphasizing twist/front foot action more and letting them go earlier in their progress due to lower risk of slamming. So far, I'm giving the Burton gear about a 30% improvement in lesson effectiveness, but that's a guess because part of my early season success was very soft snow.

I do a lot of boot and one foot in exercises focused on the AASI four board performances and do "C" turns instead of "J" turns. We have a very flat beginner run (5-7 degree pitch), so we don't need to teach sideslips.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Sorry about your hill. If you miss snow, you can always come out here and shovel the snow out of my driveway and my neighbors. It seems to snow every weekend about every Thurs./Friday for the past three weekends. Today we had a good melt day so now I only have about two feet on top of the grass. The temp will plummet tomorrow and then comes the snow for the whole weekend, again. Four weekends in a row of snow. Maybe the people doing the snow dances back east aren't giving good directions.

We have the Burton LTR gear rental gear too. They are kinda like riding a giant taco. This has prevented some slamming but we still have alot of people show up with different rental gear or their own brand new gear with their own unique, uh, stances/setups. I've always gone with board twist but this year I'm introducing it with hip/knee instead of emphasis with front foot. I tried explaining it together at first but it only confused people. I've found that explaining the hip/knee action is enough but it does still however create that front foot twist.

After checking boot fit, I try to do some standard one foot in exercises too. I then introduce stacked alignment, edges, and weight placement... etc. I still however like the J turns. I don't let people get too far up the intro beginner terrain from the flat run out. My objectives on our intro beginner terrain is to get people used to that forward motion, good alignments, and begin to engage toe/heel edges. Once I see that comprehension and no out-right fear, we'll go learn lift procedures and then go up the lift to get to the secondary beginner terrain. Once there I'll cover the above material. My old hill had some very steep terrain at the top of the beginner terrain so side-slips made sense there.
post #4 of 7
Not too different from what I do. I don't talk about hip/knee movement for twist. I talk dancing! It's all about the boogie!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by therusty View Post
Not too different from what I do. I don't talk about hip/knee movement for twist. I talk dancing! It's all about the boogie!
Sorry, I can maybe only dance to funk and alcohol is usually involved and I've corrupted others as well. Last time I danced was at the Aspen Yacht Club and snuck my James Brown Greatest hits CD onto the "sound system". I conned 20 other drunk sailors onto the "dance floor". We brought down the house.:

Sorry, I digressed from discussing snowboard instruction.
post #6 of 7
After I teach about getting around and one foot in drills I usually start on toe and heel side turns. The one thing which seems to help is telling adult students that I want to turn the board by pressing the front of the board, then keeping the edge on throughout the turn. I usually tell them to imagine a car in the snow. If you want that car to perform properly, the engine is in front (providing weight in the front), the front tires turn the car, and the back tires are there to keep the car moving around the turn. Can you imagine if the weight is in the back of the car and the rear wheels turned the car. How would that car perform?

Another trick I use is right from the older AASI video lesson. I take the surfing drill and modify it. I tell my students that the front hand / hip should only move between 11 o'clock, 12 o'clock, and 1 o'clock. The 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock position is to guide them into turns (depends upon being regular or goofy), and 12 o'clock for maneuvering accross the slope. This trick gets them forward on the board and allows for better positioning of alignment. It seems to work but I'm just a level 1, so tell me what is wrong.

I have more trouble explaining bending of the knees. They always bend over at the waist. The only way I have been able to explain it is to do a wall squat. Maybe this should be a new thread?
post #7 of 7
Welcome to Epic PBS!

I've been having success getting knee bend to occur in my static exercises. I have my students shift their weight back and forth from the front end of the board to the tail by sliding their level hips front and back and noticing how one leg gets long/straight when the other leg gets short/bent. The dance move also encourages independent knee bend without breaking at the waist. Another exercise I do is demonstrating "karate waves" with my hands and arms. If you try to wave your hand with your arm straight you will feel tension in your arms. Then I demonstrate a karate punch showing punching power coming from the bending of the arm combined with the rotary movement of the fist. If you try to wave your hand while bending and unbending your arm, it's easier to do and you don't feel the tension in your arms.

When my students are riding with straight legs, I will often ride up next to them and tap them on the sides of their knees. In my static exercises, I've taught them to wiggle their knees back and forth. You can't do this with a straight leg. When I tap their knee and they try to move it laterally, they have to bend the knee to do it.
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