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Tough instructor question? - Page 2

post #31 of 44
I've never had a lesson where I was better than the instructor, but I could see it happening. There are in fact some instructors where I ski who don't ski as well as I do. I'd have an open mind about it. I'd be looking for analysis more than demonstration from someone like this. If they could do it well, OK, great.

Also, funny what Weems said. My kid (five) definitely gravitates toward younger instructors. It's a natural, I guess.
post #32 of 44
Doesn't it really come down to what the student's attitude is about his instructor?

If the student believes he is a better skier than his instructor and can't learn, learning may not happen even though the instructor, due to his experience and knowledge, may have insights that could improve their skiing. A perfect example could be a 60ish instructor who no longer skis the bumps with authority, but clearly has the experience and skill to teach a student how to do so.

My own opinion is that a good instructor would / should have the ability to teach a skier better than themselves.

post #33 of 44
Originally Posted by olylady View Post
That's it...Weems you're brilliant! I want to grow up to be just like you.
No you don't. Trust me! I'm so confused at the end of the day!
post #34 of 44
Originally Posted by weems View Post
No you don't. Trust me! I'm so confused at the end of the day!
Wow, you make it through the day before confusion starts to set in? Wish I could swing that.
post #35 of 44
Me too. I wake up confused and things only get worse when I put on my trifocals.
post #36 of 44
I'm a little younger then you guys (not a lot) so I'm still in the "dazed" phase. "confused" I guess comes later.
post #37 of 44
Originally Posted by dogonjon View Post
Albert (Arnaud) was only successful as a 1984 US ski team coach because he can teach people that are better than him. I'm dismayed by the tone of your post and I've had similar experiences on this forum before. I'm out!
This guy didn't get banned for this quote, did he?!? I scrolled through his posts, nothing seemed too bad (or bad at all, actually)...did something get deleted?

It just seems like a pretty light comment to get banned for.

post #38 of 44
Thread Starter 
A thread or post that is loaded with venom will get zapped.
post #39 of 44
Thread Starter 
For what it's worth, I had been lucky. A few times the night boss would ask me ..... "Hey Yuki, can you handle a Level 9? .. the customer could not see the big wink that went with it .. cause they had them read from the get go"

A few times I've passed on a student to a higher group while we crossed paths but only because they would do better in the other lesson.

The young lady in my original question was a good skier .. but (I taught there a few years later), she wasn't up to my kids level .... even at that young age ..... she sent him out with a race instructor and that was a great move. A kid (IMO), needs to see and follow and will not process verbal commands as well.

I always wondered what I'd do .... and I think (or like to think), I'd bring them back to kick them up the ladder a notch if I could not handle it.

Additionally, I meant to, and hoped, this would be confined to traditional instruction ... coaching is a topic unto it's own IMO.

post #40 of 44
Very interesting discussion.

Gymnastics, diving, and bowling are examples of "closed" skill sports, while skiing, and tennis, motocross, white water kayaking are examples of "open" skill sports.

The coaches in closed skill sports, which are done in a controlled environment where the goal is to reproduce a specific movement, with repetition, can use verbal direction more effectively to direct a desired movement pattern the athlete has more than likely seen a few times before.

An open skill sport takes place in a changing environment where the goal is to make something happen, requiring anticipation and decision making. In an open skill sport, the visual (especially in the acquisition and developmental phase vs. refinement phase) is very important to help the observer/student better understand the goal.
Even in an "open" sport, there are a lot of "closed" situations that could be drilled/taught/demonstrated in a more controlled manner.

A coach might not be able to go out and demonstrate playing a better game of tennis than Venus Williams (or a better single volley, or even a better backhand stroke). But a good coach could offer specific tactical advice on different facets of her game and how to put them together, and/or point out (and hopefully try to correct) flaws in execution of specific skills.

I'm not sure where else this line of discussion really goes. If you want to learn to perform physical skills at a very high level, and you want to learn by direct observation, your only choice is to find someone who can perform the skills at that level and is willing to teach you. If someone like that is not available, then you'd better find some other way to improve.

At that point an instructor/coach can try to describe techniques and offer feedback. Or they can work with you on more fundamental skills that they can demonstrate (or can demonstrate in isolation, or in an easier situation than what you are trying to do.)

Bella Corolli (sp?) is not working with beginners.
Presumably an experienced ski instructor/coach put into this position would not be either. I would hope that a skier who is technically better than every instructor at a reasonably-sized ski area is more on the "refinement" side of skill-building than the "acquisition and development" one.

If an athlete is still trying to learn certain fundamental skills, I think it would be a mistake to have them with an instructor that couldn't demonstrate those specific skills. At the very least it's going to be slow going. That seems like a major distinction between "instruction" and "coaching".
post #41 of 44
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
The other instructor thread inspired this thought.

How many of you have ever returned with a student, because that individual was above your ability to deliver an effective lesson?

This did happen with my son when he was about nine and I give props to that young lady

She brought him back down and he ended up with a private lesson that worked out real well.
This is a great topic Yuki, I have been writing an article about this for the last year for submission to 32 Degrees. I'm calling it: Expert+: What to do when your student can ski better than you.

So to answer the original question....yes I have taught many people above my level, both clients and other instructors in a clinic.

One point I'm making in this article is that everyone will ski to their strength at first. It is the instructor's job to build versatility in their student. We must try to take this person out of their comfort zone, even if we are not able to show them how to do it effectively. I am focusing mainly on how to teach someone who may be better at a specific task rather than full differences in ability level.

Another experience I have had is when I took out an intermediate park/pipe clinic a few years ago. Everyone could ride features that still scared the beejesus out of me....and I told them as much. I said "I don't know how much I can teach you guys." One of them said "Well....you can't show us, but you can be an objective set of eyes. I can't watch myself do this so you tell me what you see and give me your thoughts on what is effective." From then on I have never had a problem taking out those of a higher ability.

Would love to comment more, but my girlfriend and her family is beckoning me to dinner.


PS. I know both dogonjon and Albert Arnaud, and that was probably just a bunch of confusion, but trust me they are both very knowledgable and great people to learn from.....even if jon doesn't always get his point across very well.
post #42 of 44
I am right there with you, that other post said a lot. Once you cannot keep up with your students any longer then you know you gave the best possible guidance, your approach has worked and you did a great job.

Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
I can relate to this post perfectly and especially the last sentence is brilliant. I have probably learned more about skiing from teacing it myself than from having it been instructed to me. If you cannot learn from your students then you are really not getting anywhere with your instructor carriere, or your life. Plenty of those arround though. Its hard to find a good instructor.
post #43 of 44
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post
That has never happened to me although particulary on the jr coaching side I frequently run into individuals that are much better at a lot of things than me. If you cannot instruct or coach better skiers than yourself then you have a problem. Offcourse you need to know when to hand over the skier to a better instructor but that only happens when you instruct or coach people for a longer period of time. If you are a very good instructor with not so good own skiing skills it will not take you long before your student has succeeded your own level. Note that particularry with children, ski insturction is not all about teaching skiing. The kids will remember you for their entire life and long after they forgotten whatever skills, movements or trix you thaught them. Its all about how you connect with them and encouragement. All they are really looking for is acceptance. Same goes for many adults.
Very true indeed!
It's been 20+ years now. I can still remember exactly what he looked like right down to his nick name and I "never" remember names. Course he was a little "different" looking. A tall skinny black guy named "China". LOL He was GREAT. Wherever you are KUDOS!
post #44 of 44
I would think it an exceedingly rare occasion where a truly expert skier meets up with an expert instructor through random chance.
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