Originally Posted by volklskier1
So why then is the first focus of PSIA teaching steering/rotary? Doesn't make sense.
[Andy Rooney Voice]
You know, when I was reading the PSIA bible left on the bedstand in my room at the Holiday Inn Express last night, I failed to see steering/rotary mentioned as the first focus.
[/Andy Rooney Voice]
It's awful hard to have anything "PSIA" make sense if you're not starting from an accurate understanding of what PSIA is. At my resort, we don't teach PSIA lessons. We teach Whitetail lessons. Yes there will be people who will insist that since SSM at Whitetail is PSIA certified and since the training program draws heavily on PSIA principles that Whitetail teaches PSIA lessons. If one can not understand the difference between teaching principles and specific procedures and exercises designed to meet the needs of the students who actually show up for lessons and the gear they have to use, then one is doomed to making inaccurate conclusions of what makes sense. When we opened up new beginner terrain, we changed our teaching program. When our rental fleet converted to shaped skis, we changed our teaching program again. When we got our rental department to put 99% of first timers on short skis we changed our program again. We did not make these changes because PSIA told us to. We made these changes to improve our product. Being PSIA certified and ACTIVELY current on PSIA teaching principles, and being on the training staff responsible for communicating "program" changes out to the experienced staff as well as teaching new instructors I will make the case that I have some expertise on this subject. While my personal experiences may or may not be representative of the industry they directly contradict the painted picture of how lessons are taught at all PSIA affiliated schools.
With respect to "easy to understand, easy to feel and gets imemdiate results", I must of missed that allotment when natural talent got handed out. Try as I might, not only do I have a relatively difficult time learning to perform any athletic movement, but strangely enough I occasionally run into students in my ski and board lessons that are almost half as pathetic as I am. If I had all day to figure these students out, I'm sure I could come up with some coaching that would align with the ideal way to teach. But when I've got 10 people for only 90 minutes, I will resort to cheating that runs the risk of creating a terminal intermediate when the odds are already that my difficult to teach student will be one of the 8.5 out of ten that won't pick up the sport anyway. I've yet to discover any teaching system that is easy to understand, easy to feel and gets immediate results for 100% of the participants. Volklskier, if you've found such a system please share it with us (BTW - tipping is not it).
So, to answer the original question, yes I have resorted to telling a student or two to just weight the outside ski. The funny thing is that most of my "victims" of this already had the outside ski on edge. For these people who are having a difficult time with the "balanced" skills approach that teaches movements in all of the categories (balance, edging, rotary, pressure), if this single focus gives them quick success and allows them to start accumulating mileage, then I've at least got a chance of getting this student to have enough fun to want to come back. It's not an ideal solution, but it can be a practical one.
I'd rather be flexible enough to try unconventional methods to solve rare problems, then follow a perfect method for teaching skiing (cough) that says that anyone who can not balance on one foot can't ski and should not have coaching time wasted on them.
Kudos to Stuart for his successes and his search for understanding. My advice to you is that with a deeper understanding of teaching principles, biomechanics, ski technology, more experience teaching on dry slopes and a willingness to investigate alternative methods you will experience increased levels of teaching success.