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Inaccurate technical advice in lesson - how detrimental - Page 2

post #31 of 45
Hi CharlieP!

Would it be fair to paraphrase your thoughts like this:

"It may be appropriate for an instructor not to teach good technique to a particular student (based on the student's motivations to focus elsewhere--perhaps another corner of Weems's Diamond), but it is never appropriate for an instructor to teach bad technique."

That's one way I might put it!

Best regards,
Bob
post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
Hi CharlieP!

Would it be fair to paraphrase your thoughts like this:

"It may be appropriate for an instructor not to teach good technique to a particular student (based on the student's motivations to focus elsewhere--perhaps another corner of Weems's Diamond), but it is never appropriate for an instructor to teach bad technique."

That's one way I might put it!

Best regards,
Bob
Oct 1, 2007

Hi Mr. Barnes:

You took the words right out of my mouth. Couldn't have put it better.

Think snow,

CP
post #33 of 45
Bob,

Wow, what a post…..I think it would be close to a new record for length! Anyway as for its content, generally speaking I agree with everything you wrote….of course my 3 points is a generalization, but a valid one. It is important to note, that while I expressed the ideas simply an entire book could be written on each point. Now while I wont bore you with a book I will put these ideas forward:


1: Something I noticed over the years is great skiers love skiing. What came first? The love or the great skills? Well the fact that I met numerous less then great skiers who love skiing, but have yet to meet a great skier that hates it, I have concluded the love came first.

Hence this is the idea behind “fun” first. Teach skiers to love skiing as opposed to teach skiers to ski. This is a sutble but crucial difference in mindset for an instructor…it will result in a very different outcome in how the lesson goes. Eg: Do you do that 5th run of pivot slips, or stand on the side of the hill for 20minutes discussing the merits of dorsi flexion? Hey pivot slips are a great exercise, and your student may need to do them, and dorsi flexion may be a key concept which is important to understand….but really? Would ya? I think not. This is not to say that you let those concepts/skills go, it just means you need to think of another way to get them across. To simply say we are here to learn first, and you need to do pivot slips is to me anyway and excuse for bad or lazy teaching.

2: I also noticed getting good at skiing takes a lot of time and hard work. A LOT. One lesson here, or there doesn’t cut it. I want skiers to excel, and I set the bar for them VERY high. It is not fair of me, or professional or realistic to do that with the proviso that they are only there for one lesson. A great instructor (as opposed to just a good one) inspires, motivates and encourages development….THEN provides that latter for them to get there. The latter is not short, the trip up it is not easy.

This is the idea behind “made a new friend”. Taking on the journery of becoming a great skier, to me is a worth while pursuit. But it requires support, encouragement, coddling, lying (yes white lyes are common) and when needed a well timed, but sincere kick in the ass. You cannot do those things with someone you have known, or will know for only an hour or 2 or perhaps a day even. It takes a RELATIONSHIP, and I treat every client, even if they are destination clients, and make the effort with every client to get to know them so that I can offer the support they need to climb that latter that I laid out. This is not to say that it takes months or years to develop the relationship, I work with what I have, but I treat all clients like they matter.

3: With the above in mind, I will talk about “Correct Technical Information”. Let me put you in this scenario…you have been assigned a 3 hours beginner lesson with 6 adults. You go through the normal progression, and things are moving well, but one student is really struggling to make that first turn….can’t pivot the legs to save themselves…you try all the tricks that you know, and just doesn’t seem to work. What do you do? Do you keep insisting on “proper pivoting of the legs” to get the skis to turn, and watch the student become frustrated, or do you get radical, try somting totally new, like making a turn through upper body rotation? I know what I would do in this instance. I would teach upper body rotation, give the student a sense of accomplishment, let them go home feeling that they had a POSITIVE experience on the hill, and when they come back, and other skills or perhaps something as simple as better boots and skis we try to fix things. (Now before everyone jumps up and down and says I need to learn more tricks, or I should have dealt with equipment issues at the start….trust me, I have hefty bag of tricks, and I do check equipment at the start, but those with real world experience know that you cant always have things as perfect as you may like)

Having a student leave with a positive sense of the experience to me is a 100 times more important then them leaving with a correct sense of technique. Again, it is not math, they don’t HAVE to do it….if they have a bad experience, they wont be back…if the student does not come back, you lost.

4: Student Centered Teaching was first introduced to the ski teaching world by the CSIA at Interski about 12 or so years ago and much of the above was derived from it. While most of the above would be endorsed by the official CSIA mantra…the concepts as expressed here are really my own and should not be seen to be more then that. I am glad to see the PSIA is addopting this approach, the Student Centered push in European schools came from the CSIA Interski Presentation....I forget the year....but like a said, it was about 12 years ago.

In conclusion I believe my points leads to more student centered "Wholistic" lesson expeirance. I believe it is my job to do more then just regurgitate or prescribe drills and technique....I am there to make skiers...that involves alot more then just "bend zee knees!".

I am like a drug dealer....my drug is endorphins and addrelline (the ratio mix is up to you). I adminster it through skiing, specifically making your day on skis more exhilerating, more fullfilling, more dam right awesome that you ever thought possible. If I see a student living in an old VW van in the ski area parking lot, begging for change to pay for just one more lift ticket becuase I got him so addicated that he got fired from his job, his "none skiing family and friends" left him, and the only thing he lives for is that next "hit".
I consider that I did my job.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
I allways put my kids and whife in ski-school when we go on skiing vacation. Its pittiful to see these young instructors with the kids trying to keep them in a good mood by constantly having them do games and play. In one week of skiing they do not get even one little advice on how to ski, its just woooohaaaa and jiiiiihaaaaa.
That sounds a lot like my lessons, but I usually have some ideas in mind when I do a certain activity. Did I have the kids jump everywhere they could? I usually do that when I want to work on balance. Did I have them chase each other down the hill? That encourages them to move downhill inot the turn, and to get a good release of the old outside ski. Did I take them on something a bitt too steep for them? That was to facilitate learning the goal skill on the flatter terrain below, which no longer seems steep to them after the steep part. I know what I am doing, but I don't think it would be obvious to a casual observer, esepecially an intermittent observer. I considered it a great compliment when one of my young students came up to me after a season-long program and said "I figured you out- you were really teaching us."

I bet that if you asked some of your kids' instructors what they were doing you might get a good response. You might also find out that the younger instructors were copying more experienced instructors, but really didn't know why things would work. If they were copying a pretty good instructor, they might have a good deal of success without knowing why.

The real problem is not usually with the inexperienced instructors, but with instructors teaching stuff that works but which needs to be unlearned. If this is a function of the instrctor's laziness, or indifference, then that would be a bad thing. Occasionally though, we have to make hard choices. A beginning student is just not getting a steered turn, and is gettting frustrated and tired. Often this student is out of shape or not used to athletic activity, or is a young student with inadequate muscle control to steer the ski. I have to decide if I will teach this student a pressure based turn (any activity which starts a turn by shifting weight to the new outside ski). I know the student will have to unlearn this turn at some point, but in the short run the student is likely to give up skiing if I persist in attempting to teach something the student isn't getting. In general I favor teaching the pressure based turn. I will attempt to teach turn shape, and, of course, balance. Some of the skills will not need to be unlearned.
post #35 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
That sounds a lot like my lessons, but I usually have some ideas in mind when I do a certain activity...

...the younger instructors were copying more experienced instructors, but really didn't know why things would work. If they were copying a pretty good instructor, they might have a good deal of success without knowing why.

In general I favor teaching the pressure based turn. I will attempt to teach turn shape, and, of course, balance. Some of the skills will not need to be unlearned.
The lesson plan: it's challenging (I would think) to develop your lesson plan while meeting your student for the first time, but it seems to me that this is a must. I know from coaching that good results require a well defined plan. Evaluate, then teach based on an objective. Good instructors probably have those objectives eched in their mind along with the skill and drill that 'make it happen'.

The places where I ski offer ski instruction to the masses. Finding 'warm bodies' to join the ski school is not easy, and it shows. There are some good instructors in the mix but what is most noticeable is incompetence. No plan, no direction and yet in spite, some learn to ski.
post #36 of 45
I misstated that in general I favor teaching the pressure based turn- I meant only when a student doesn't have the ability to perform a leg rotation initiated turn.
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
The lesson plan: it's challenging (I would think) to develop your lesson plan while meeting your student for the first time, but it seems to me that this is a must. I know from coaching that good results require a well defined plan. Evaluate, then teach based on an objective. Good instructors probably have those objectives eched in their mind along with the skill and drill that 'make it happen'.

The places where I ski offer ski instruction to the masses. Finding 'warm bodies' to join the ski school is not easy, and it shows. There are some good instructors in the mix but what is most noticeable is incompetence. No plan, no direction and yet in spite, some learn to ski.
When I teach a beginner lesson, I do have a particular progression in mind. There are some elements of the progression which I will never omit because of risk mangement issues. The remainder of the lesson gets adapted on the fly to meet the students' needs. At all times I am thinking about the four or five basic skills or movements (balance, pressure, edging, rotary, and the sometimes included flow). A beginner does use all of these skills, obviously with less skill than a more advanced skier. I feel obliged to instruct on all of these during the lesson, although obviously the most important is balance, and the one I am trying to use for the turn is rotary.

As soon as I get a non-beginner, I decide what skill or skills I will emphaisize during the lesson. In general I will try to focus on one skill, unless I have an all-day lesson, which for me is always a kids lesson, in which case I have more skills in mind, and will rotate drills around these skills. My drills are usually in the form of games. I strongly recommend reading a book like the Kidology book, and seeing what exercises they recommend, but I usually modify those exercises. Sometimes I will let the kids pick exercises out of that book, so they feel like they have some say in their lesson. All of the kidology exercises relate to a fundamental skill, so I don't hurt the kids by letting them choose a skill, and then working on that skill. Often when I improve one skill others improve in tandem, so I am not a stickler for drawing a bullseye around the apparent weakest skill and improving only that. When the students improve a skill, Ihelp them to bring it back into their skiing, and in general their skiing improves.
post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
A beginning student is just not getting a steered turn, and is gettting frustrated and tired. Often this student is out of shape or not used to athletic activity, or is a young student with inadequate muscle control to steer the ski. I have to decide if I will teach this student a pressure based turn (any activity which starts a turn by shifting weight to the new outside ski). I know the student will have to unlearn this turn at some point, but in the short run the student is likely to give up skiing if I persist in attempting to teach something the student isn't getting. In general I favor teaching the pressure based turn. I will attempt to teach turn shape, and, of course, balance. Some of the skills will not need to be unlearned.
I consider myselfe experianced in teaching children to ski and Ive been dooing it for 15y now and I see no end to it. Its fun and its rewarding. Its mainly just play and games. We have a good time. But, most games and plays are drills at the same time. However,there is a way this fun and play and especially the clown strategy backfires if you are not carefull. First, if the children loose respect for you and will not obay then you are in trouble. This happens if you become too friendly with them. Ask any school teacher or day care worker and they will tell you the same. Second, you work up their expectations and in the end the world is not enough.

What do you feel has to be unlearned later when you teach beginners the pressure technique?
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
What do you feel has to be unlearned later when you teach beginners the pressure technique?
good point. Some of the motion is usueful later on, but a fair amount often isn't what we were aiming for.
post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
good point. Some of the motion is usueful later on, but a fair amount often isn't what we were aiming for.
Could you give an example?
post #41 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
Could you give an example?
some of the bending in "magic button" turns. both knees bending in order to pressure one ski. Tipping toward the new outside ski.
post #42 of 45
It's difficult to get information in group lessons that seems to conflict. For example, I was banking turns and an instructor taught the class to turn with upper body weight to the outside of the turn as opposed to upper body facing downhill while legs are turning beneath you (sorry if I'm not expressing that correctly). When you've been banking turns, that approach seems to work pretty well...although no one else ever taught that and I read that it wasn't the best approach to teach. But how does a student determine what is best or not best in terms of approach.....unless perhaps you find someone whose technical competency you're sure of..and you can bounce questions off of them (or this forum.....)?
post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski Spirit View Post
But how does a student determine what is best or not best in terms of approach.....unless perhaps you find someone whose technical competency you're sure of..and you can bounce questions off of them (or this forum.....)?
Oct 5, 2007

Hi Ski Spirit:

Congrats on the successful "handle" change. You've got the "Spirit".

Two responses to your question: (a) that is why you try to enroll in one or more of the three EPIC Ski Academy events to be held this season. (b) search around your local ski area by asking about good Ski Pros. Take a trial lesson (preferably "private") from one who has been refereed by a few sources. Once you settled upon a Ski Pro who is a good match, take 4-5 lessons from him/her each season for a few seasons. Finally, you can keep tabs on your own skiing as well as the coaching you receive by being an informed skier i.e. this forum.

Think snow,

CP
post #44 of 45

Inaccurate technical advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Oct 5, 2007

Hi Ski Spirit:

Congrats on the successful "handle" change. You've got the "Spirit".

Two responses to your question: (a) that is why you try to enroll in one or more of the three EPIC Ski Academy events to be held this season. (b) search around your local ski area by asking about good Ski Pros. Take a trial lesson (preferably "private") from one who has been refereed by a few sources. Once you settled upon a Ski Pro who is a good match, take 4-5 lessons from him/her each season for a few seasons. Finally, you can keep tabs on your own skiing as well as the coaching you receive by being an informed skier i.e. this forum.

Think snow,

CP
Thanks CharlieP; good advice. Will be attending ESA Aspen; also looking for a Pro from among the recommendations I received...hope that will work out. # private lessons you mention seems to make sense....will see how it all fits together ...but lots of really good info obtained on this forum.....thanks all!!!!
post #45 of 45
Interesting discussion. There's some great advice here (thanks Bob), and I especially appreciate the input from the non-teachers.

Ski Spirit, I don't wish to defend what may have been a bad lesson, but sometimes a perceived contradiction regarding technique depends on context: as you probably know, skiers use different moves depending on terrain, turn type, speed, even mood. Banking is a case in point: you can get away with lots more of it these days, and let's admit: it looks cool. Anyway, it’s not totally clear what your instructor was trying to achieve, so if you want clarification please provide a bit more info.

Addressing the OP, there's a lot of inaccurate information out there--nonsense, really--and unfortunately it gets taught. I agree with Bob, there's no excuse for teaching something that's got to be "untaught" later on. It's highly destructive, not only to our students but to the teaching profession too. As coaches we need to do better.
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