“Movement analysis training would help. Most trainers and instructors agree that we don't get much in this department. In a national survey of exam candidates done five years ago, the number one response to the question, "in what area of training do you feel most unprepared" (or something like that), was movement analysis. By a long shot.
Why do you suppose that five years later we still have no solid platform for movement analysis training? (Which begs the question, care to create one on EpicSki?)”
I share the same feeling as those surveyed. There is moreover a sense of disconnect or contrast between the practice (movement analysis in a lesson)and the manner that movement analysis is taught (in clinics and exams and exam preps). In lessons, from the apparent improvement I see, the smiles and tips, I believe I am doing a fairly good job of movement analysis. In instructor clinics and exams I feel as if movement analysis isn’t at all well covered. I am not faulting the clinicians or examiners. I haven't come up with the answer. I’m just wondering if there isn’t a better way to teach and practice movement analysis than I have encountered. I shared some of my thoughts with Nolo who suggested that I post a new topic on how movement analysis is taught and how it should be taught in clinics and exam settings.
It seems that there are or may be several flaws in the current approach:
1. Time of and for Observation: In exams and clinics, the amount of time given to observe and the skier is usually two or three turns. The skier’s focus or intentions are not clear. And it seems unsound to assume that those two or three turns are fully representational of the skier’s skiing. It seems to as if this approach tends to urge instructors toward limited observation of a guest's skiing rather than a more studied and careful analysis of that skiing. Does even a Nolo or a Barnes or a LeMaster make evaluations based upon such a small sample when they are teaching ?
2.Time for Analysis: In general examiners and clinicians tend to want rapid fire movement analysis. In a lesson I generally make several tentative assessments based upon a number of observations and revisit and revise those assessment over the course of the lesson.
3.Many Skiers Have A Large Number of Issues: In the exam or clinic setting, the passing skier or the skier captured in the video usually have a large number of issues, as do our guests/students. Examiner’s and clinicians tend to focus on relatively few of these issues. While in a lesson we alos generally focus on a limited number of issues in one lesson, some remarkable improvements can sometimes be accomplished just by reminding the guest of a movement or blend they have forgotten.
4.There Are a HUGE Number of Variables that Need to Be Considered: In my experience examiners and clinicians tend to discount or ignore very significant practical factors that effect skiers when doing movement analysis. For example:
a.Snow condition: For example, is the student struggling because they are using skill blends or turn shapes and sizes that are inappropriate for ice, or bumps, or steeps or crud.
b.Speed: Speed can mask a lot of problems.
c.Student Focus: What is it that the student is attempting to do? In a lesson we have a context, in a videotaped or passing skier, we have to make a lot of assumptions.
d.Clothing: The loose fitting clothing, flaring back “skirts” on jackets, (I’m not a tailor so I’m sure there is a better term, but I hope you know what I mean) oversized sleeves, all compound the problem of movement analysis.
In a lesson, we are able to more readily observe, set and discuss with the guest the conditions, their experiences, deal with the speed and deal with the focus.
5.Determining Which is Cause and Which Is Effect: Maybe the following anecdote isn’t a good example but it is sooo true. In my first Skiing Development session by PSIA an assignment given to the group was to do a high speed hockey slip down a very steep slope in a narrow corridor. I did it, looked up to see the examiner’s approval, and instead was called over and told: "You’re too far back." We did this repeatedly with my progressively moving further and further out over the downhill edges of the ski feeling like I was about ready to catch the downhill edge and spill hard. Each time I looked up, the examiner kept calling out, further forward. I was seriously discouraged and ready to quit. Thankfully I rode up on the chair with Kneale Brownson, a contributor here, who told me to do what I started out doing but not to look up and toward the examiner. That movement of looking up is what was causing the examiner to conclude I was too far back. I followed Kneale’s advice and the examiner exclaimed: “There, you’ve got it. We fixed it.” This example also illustrates the problem of looking only at a small segment of a skier’s performance.
6.Fadism: Unfortunately, while I know PSIA denies it, fads go through the examination and training staff. It is highly reminiscent of the saying "If your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail." Suddenly lead will be the issue du jour, then it will be ankle flex, then it will be shoulder rotation. This may come back to haunt me but a couple of years ago, after getting the sense that a particular examiner was really focused on one particular problem area, I ingratiated myself with that examiner by pointing that particular problem out in every sample skier we were being questioned about. Each time I did this, I was always “right.” I think this sends the wrong message to instructors.
7.Articulating Skill Needs: This for me really a time consuming task. A lot of movement assessment is reduced to "in the back seat," "hands!" "butt wiggle." When, why, and how much are they in the “back seat.” Maybe I’m missing the boat here, but articulating the skill needs seems critical to the next step which is:
8.Prioritizing Skill Needs: This I think is an art and an experience based judgment that is not amenable to a five minute assessment that the exam and seminar and dryland clinicians seem to allocate to each skier. Examiners and clinicians in my experience do not provide a framework for prioritizing skill needs.
9.Developing Exercises and Progressions. I tend to hear from others in a clinic or exam setting what I regard as patent medicine solutions to an issue: "Shoulder rotation -- compass turns for a run followed by reverse compass turns for a run." It sort of reminds me of a saying a neighbor gave me long ago: "Give me a sledge hammer and a cold chisel and I'll fine tune your watch." Maybe I'm too refined in my approach but
Isn’t there a better way to teach, practice or learn movement analysis? A lot of what I have encountered calls for and rewards instant analysis, the recital of the fad problem du jour and the cure du jour.
I’ll stop my rant now and hope the likes of Nolo, Barnes, Weems, etc., etc., etc, will help me and others shape or reshape their thinking on movement analysis. Are better alternative systems already out there? Could EpicSki provide that vehicle?
Movement analysis to me is simply too central to our purposes to be taught in the way it is being taught now.