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Opinion on keeping instruction/coaching in the family

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I debated where I should actually post this. Racing or instructions? FWIW, I decided to do it here. You think I should have cross-posted?

There appears to be a difference in opinion when it comes to teaching one's own kids (or any other significant others).

PSIA says absolutely no. Friends (or family) don't teach friends (or family) how to ski (or something like that). Issues with attitude, attention, etc.

Many race coaches prefer (and insist on) just the opposite. Many young racers come from families with racing/skiing history. Many racers are taught by their own strong racing/skiing parents.

What is your opinion?
post #2 of 17
Absolutely not.

Coach someone else's kids, freeski with your own.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
I debated where I should actually post this. Racing or instructions? FWIW, I decided to do it here. You think I should have cross-posted?

There appears to be a difference in opinion when it comes to teaching one's own kids (or any other significant others).

PSIA says absolutely no. Friends (or family) don't teach friends (or family) how to ski (or something like that). Issues with attitude, attention, etc.

Many race coaches prefer (and insist on) just the opposite. Many young racers come from families with racing/skiing history. Many racers are taught by their own strong racing/skiing parents.

What is your opinion?
What are their coaches suggesting? My advice would be to only work on something with them if the coach suggests that you could play a role in their technical development as a skier. This is not to say that you aren't playing a role because you are the guy standing on the side of the hill all day and carrying their coats to the finish, but it is possible that you could introduce things to their skiing that are counter productive from what the coach is working with them on.

I suppose that if one of your girls were to solicit your help that you could offer it in a positive constructive way, but I wouldn't push too hard because the last thing you want to do is take the fun out of "skiing with dad." I have seen coaches and high level [technical] skiers work with their own children - but have not ever seen it encouraged that a parent with no training step in as the athlete's coach. I don't know where you fall, but if you do not have formal training, or extensive racing experience and understanding I would caution against it.

If you are just looking for something outside of their normal training you have to first make sure they are going to be willing to sacrafice their "fun time" on snow for more training. Some of the best training you can get for them will to have them on the snow with, and watching other good skiers. This way they will be able to recognize good skiing (and thus what to emulate in their own skiing) and will likely allow them to progress much farther than if you worked with them on the technical aspects of their skiing.

Later

GREG

BTW, if you just want to add a skier to your trio sometime - you know where to find one.
post #4 of 17
I am not a coach or instuctor but like all of us I have tried to help a friend or family member with skiing at one time or another. I have had mixed results. With my GF it was a complete disaster, she hated me and skiing by the end of the day. With her dad, he said I gave him some of the best tips he has ever had; and this man has taken many a lesson from many a professional (yes I am gloating).

Friends were very helpful to me when I was relearning to ski and I think it went very well; since I progressed from barely skiing greens to ripping black diamonds one season after my return.

But I would probably say let someone else do the teaching, add some advice if needed after that person has some foundation laid down by a pro other than yourserlf. IMHO.
post #5 of 17
divorce lawyers recommend teaching your spouse to ski...
post #6 of 17
The problem as I see it, is when Dad knows something, or the coach is simply wrong, or the coach makes a big deal out of nothing. Even worse things can happen:

Eg. You go outside of the coaches parameters for length, say getting a longer ski, and the coach tells your kid that their skis are too long. (Which could happen this year.)

IMO, that coach is a moron.

They've created a lose-lose situation -- either Dad is an idiot, or the coach is an idiot. Either way, there is a huge loss. How does the kid feel about their coach when they show up to ski? Can the coach now involve this parent at all without triggering a mental conflict? Wo'nt they have knocked poor old Dad down a few rungs on the respect scale?

If there are conflicts, then one must not involve the child , even remotely.

These conflicts do vanish if Dad is the coach. But Dad can only coach if Dad has the expertise to teach the technical, tactical and mental aspects of skiing.

Parents that are ex-racers/coaches can do it, because their children respect their skiing. This is not usually so for the parent that does not run the gates or is SLOWER than their child.

Bottom line: Let a qualified coach do the work, unless you are a qualified coach and have the childs' respect as a coach to do the work. Having the respect won by being Dad is not enough.
post #7 of 17

My two cents

I'll leave the issues of qualifications aside. Let's assume that you are qualified, otherwise the issue is moot.

It all depends on your personality and the personality of your child. I have seen it work. But, it doesn't work far more often that it does.

The issues are the dual role. It's hard to both support and critique your child. Because love is in the mix, what you intend to be a constructive comment can readily be interpreted as hurtful, public criticism. You can unintentionally over or under focus on your child. Also, it's hard for the child to respond to you on the slope as a coach and then switch modes before and after practice. So, it can be an issue not just for you & your child, but for the other children in your group.

I'd compare it to dating someone in the office. It can work, but it can also fail miserably. And, there's really no formula to follow to improve your chance of success.

While at times I'll answer a question or provide feedback when asked, I don't coach my son's group. But, I'll give him a hug before his race or provide encouragement for persevering to learn a new technique, or other dad-like things.

BTW - I did try to teach my girlfriend back in the late 80s at Sugarbush. I was a ski instructor at the time. I was trying to get her to unweight more between turns. "I AM UNWEIGHTING, DAMMIT!" was the response. She took off well ahead of me in disgust. I gave her some space and followed a minute later. Turning a corner, I found her lying on the snow. When making the turn, for whatever reason, she had gone up a snow bank, fell backward, and buried the tails of her skis in the bank. Essentially immobilized on her back with her head down the slope, she proceeded to explain why her predicament was also my fault, and went on to list some of my character flaws and less appealing physical aspects. That was the last lesson I ever gave her; at the end of the run, I enrolled her in a lesson program for the remainder of the week.

We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago.
post #8 of 17
While it can work, the odds are definitely against it. Put it this way - would you teach or coach your significant other? And if so, do you see them being able to draw the line between constructive criticism and a negative comment from a loved one? My point being that if an adult can't draw that line, how can you expect a child or teenager to do so?
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Bottom line: Let a qualified coach do the work, unless you are a qualified coach and have the childs' respect as a coach to do the work. Having the respect won by being Dad is not enough.
Still wrong. I'm technically proficient and a good instructor. I coach 3 programs each week in the winter.

When I ski with my son, he wants to ski with me. He knows I'm good at what I do. He loves to come along when I'm teaching the younger kids and help out. But he by-gosh does not want me to coach him. Why? Because it takes the fun out of skiing with the family. He works with his coaches, he plays with me.

I would rate parental teaching in the same category as a BFE - boy friend experience. It damages relationships.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
Still wrong. I'm technically proficient and a good instructor. I coach 3 programs each week in the winter.

When I ski with my son, he wants to ski with me. He knows I'm good at what I do. He loves to come along when I'm teaching the younger kids and help out. But he by-gosh does not want me to coach him. Why? Because it takes the fun out of skiing with the family. He works with his coaches, he plays with me.

I would rate parental teaching in the same category as a BFE - boy friend experience. It damages relationships.
I used to think that way too, as a rule. But I have to admit, it is only my rule (and yours I see). My kids don't want me to ruin their weekend.

However, in all successful parent coach cases, the parent was a qualified coach. It can be done. But not in my family.

That being said, from time to time, they ask for me to give them a drill to do. I get a real kick out of that.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just to set the record straight (and not get myself in more trouble if a coach I know happens to be reading this ), I don't qualify to be a race coach (by far and with all modesty aside) nor was making reference to myself. I have some background with ski instruction and work very closely to our race coaches in our club. The question that I posted here is based on my observation, analysis and curiosity. It's to generate a candid conversation - please don't speculate.

Now, with that said, in this region (not only in our club), there appears to be quite a few young racers that are trained in the same group that their parents coach. I'm referring to pro USSA coaches or equivalent, not just any aspiring wannabee (wink wink). So, these guys more than qualify to play that role.

Now, onward with your what you guys were saying...
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Parents that are ex-racers/coaches can do it, because their children respect their skiing. This is not usually so for the parent that does not run the gates or is SLOWER than their child.

Bottom line: Let a qualified coach do the work, unless you are a qualified coach and have the childs' respect as a coach to do the work. Having the respect won by being Dad is not enough.
I guess I can relate to that somewhat. (yeah, I did say the thread isn't personal)

It is rare but during the situations when a kid sees his/her parent as a coach in a group, the learning can actually happen. I have had a couple of chances to experience that for myself (both as an instructor at the ski school and as a helper when the club is shorthanded). But, when I'm viewed as a parent, the attitude/frustration begins.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Greg, I think you're giving a different answer than the one I was looking for. Nonetheless, your response still touches on a topic that is worth discussing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
I suppose that if one of your girls were to solicit your help that you could offer it in a positive constructive way, but I wouldn't push too hard because the last thing you want to do is take the fun out of "skiing with dad."
Yeah, we're only human. I think I'm sensing some of that (from the older) for that reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
I have seen coaches and high level [technical] skiers work with their own children - but have not ever seen it encouraged that a parent with no training step in as the athlete's coach.
I have seen that, during training and at a race. IMHO, the parent, who has little or no training, is crossing the line. Afterall, if one thinks the coach isn't good enough and he/she has to contradict with the lesson plan, why isn't the kid being pulled.

As for me personally, I don't believe in contradicting the coaches. If and only if obvious wrong is being done (like the kids' feeling is unnecessarily heard due to mistreatment), I then step in. I don't tolerate attitudes from my own and no coach should have to deal with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
I don't know where you fall, but if you do not have formal training, or extensive racing experience and understanding I would caution against it.
Wouldn't think of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
If you are just looking for something outside of their normal training you have to first make sure they are going to be willing to sacrafice their "fun time" on snow for more training. Some of the best training you can get for them will to have them on the snow with, and watching other good skiers.
That is what I have in mind. When it comes to techniques, I feel that my role to them extends no further than being a partner who can help them practice. Of course, my analytical, impulsive and explosive nature often gets me into more. That can occasionally turn into family feuds on the snow.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post
BTW, if you just want to add a skier to your trio sometime - you know where to find one.
Hey, I may take you up on that.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
Absolutely not.

Coach someone else's kids, freeski with your own.
I agree, but then again, family coaching certainly didn't hurt Marc Ghiradelli or Janica Kostelic.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
I agree, but then again, family coaching certainly didn't hurt Marc Ghiradelli or Janica Kostelic.
Or Swedens Anja Parsson and Jens Byggmark
post #16 of 17
I've heard that Marc Ghirardelli's father could only make stem turns. He was a terminal intermediate.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
I've heard that Marc Ghirardelli's father could only make stem turns. He was a terminal intermediate.
So then there's hope for me and my boys... Also, Kostelic's father was a team handball player, not a skier at all. And he developed two world-class skiers, not bad.
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