Originally Posted by Ghost
Doesn't stance width usually take care of itself?
I guess I was not clear enough yet.
stance width will not necessarily take care of itself. A skier could be doing something that results in inappropriate stance width. The question is whether to fix it by telling them to change their stance, or rather to fix it by watching what they are doing more careful to determine exactly WHY their stance width does not look appropriate for the task at hand. There is no set answer here. It very well may be that they are purposefully using too wide of a stance (probably because someone told them to widen their stance). In that case, it would make sense to tell them to narrow their stance. Or perhaps visa versa could be the case.
it could be the case that they aren't even thinking about their stance at all, they are thinking about a whole bunch of other stuff and the result is as Ghost is saying...stance is taking care of itself...but its obvious to you as the observer that the end result doesn't look right. So why not? What are they doing wrong? Get to the REAL reason. Telling them to change their stance may not fix the real issue, may in fact bury the real issue deeper or may even introduce new problems as they vainly attempt to "look" a certain prefabricated way.
|If a student's stance width is problematic, can't you just tell a student, "For this exercise I would like you to keep your feet farther apart" or "closer together"?
it may or may not be the right solution. Another one I see abused all the time is tip lead. I see instructors harp about tip lead, but no other explanation for why not or how the student is supposed to eliminate the tip lead, if its even appropriate. Then a student can easily do things even more wrong in a vain effort to eliminate this tip lead look that the teacher is observing. The more correct solution is to figure out exactly why the student is exhibiting excessive tip lead and focus on improving that skill. The tip lead SHOULD go away by itself.
indicators like tip lead, stance width, track width, fore-aft balance, etc.. are strong indicators for an instructor that SOMETHING is wrong. But IMHO, the correct solution is not always to fix that exact indicator. Figure out WHY they are falling back on their tails. Maybe they need to work on turn mechanics more than they need to work on generally feeling centered. Figure out the real reason why they are exhibiting these indicators. Its not always appropriate to directly fix the indicator itself.
but like I said, if a skier has just been taught a number of times to ski with a wide stance and its obvious they just need to narrow it up, then maybe that is the best thing to tell them.
Different tasks and points of a turn can result in a complex series of stance widths and ski tracks which most ski students are simply not going to be able to understand. So if you start out by teaching them to ski with a shoulder width stance or a hip width stance or whatever....its fine for quick rough reference point...but don't drill it in as gospel.