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Why do you ask?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Both in lessons and on this site intructors have asked what other sports do you do. Curious what insight this information offers to an instructor.
post #2 of 15
The answer tells us what sports experiences you have had that we can tie this new experience to. We always try to tie the unknown to the known to facilitate positive transfer of the earlier learning to the present learning. It's a form of leverage.

"Remember the athletic, ready position you want to have when you are receiving a serve in tennis? Well, that's very similar to the athletic stance in skiing." Etc.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Nolo. I was wondering the sports say anything about the type of personality of the individual, and affect the way you would teach? Or is it all reference?
post #4 of 15
Absolutely, Kima--you never really know what kind of information you're going to find when you ask a question like that.

As Nolo says, many sports share movements and skills with skiing, and those skills can transfer directly to our sport. Some sports are almost entirely transferable--skating, both ice and inline, is very similar to good, offensive skiing. The movements, stance, need to control the direction your feet point, and feel of balancing on gliding feet are virtually identical. Other sports involve "negative transfer"--their movements, stance, or even tactics may be very different than skiing, and they can cause some difficulty. The classic example is water skiing--similar to snow skiing in many ways, with much positive transfer, but the leaned-back tail-loaded position that water skiers practice can be a tough habit to "unlearn."

Beyond actual transferable skills and movement patterns, the mental side of various sports is telling as well, as you suggest. Some of the mental skills are transferable, just like motor skills. But other sports you enjoy also give us clues to your personality, your preferences, your goals, and what you might enjoy most about skiing. Do you enjoy team sports and competition, or do you prefer the solitude and personal challenge of individual sports? Alpine skiing can provide either, and knowing your preference can certainly help an instructor make or break your day. High speed, risk, and adrenaline rush? Technique, skill, precision? Physical exertion? Grace, fluidity, and flow? What sports you enjoy can give us a lot of insight!

In very many ways, Kima, you have hit the biggest reason we ask what other sports you enjoy. The physical, transferable skills are obvious. But knowing what you enjoy helps us understand who you are--what turns your crank--and helps us help you get the most out of your day on skis. It helps us pace the experience and choose terrain, activities, imagery, and teaching styles.

It isn't just small talk!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 15

This question gives us a lot of info. Some is physical and some is mental. A linebacker in football is likely to be agressive in their skiing. A soccer player will know where their feet are and have a higher level of skill in using them than a non soccer player. A skater will have exceptional balance and a very high level of skill when it comes to using their feet. Tennis players will have a tendency to lead with their upper bodies and running backs will lead with their bodies even more. Someone who participates in several active sports will have more energy than a couch potato. Rugby players will want to go to the steepest slope they can see and start there. Dancers will have exceptional keinestetic (sp) awareness but might be so good a isolating movements of of body parts that kenetic chains don't function as expected. Finally, as a general rule, the higher the level of skill attained in another sport the more coachable the person will be.

post #6 of 15
Finally, as a general rule, the higher the level of skill attained in another sport the more coachable the person will be.
Great point, Yd!

Learning what other sports you enjoy is only one part of the question. Why do you enjoy them (what do you like best about them)? How accomplished are you at them? How did you/do you learn? Did you take formal lessons? Who was your best coach--and why?

One of my most fascinating students was a recently retired prima ballerina from a large, famous ballet company, many years ago at Keystone. She had the most extraordinary balance, coordination, flexibility, and body awareness I'd even seen. An intermediate skier, she was the most coachable person I've ever met--in some ways. Anything I could show her, she could imitate precisely, on the first try. Any movement or position I described to her, she could perform, exactly as I described it. She could follow me and imitate my movements better than I could myself! And she could imitate any other skier on the mountain as well.

But she could NOT "find herself." Working on her stance, I had her ski very tall, and very short--both of which she did just fine. But when I asked to try to find her own natural stance, she just gave me a blank stare. She didn't even seem to understand the question!

I was fascinated by this. I had thought that, with her incredible body awareness, she would have no trouble identifying efficient, optimal movements, movements that just felt right. But she simply couldn't do it!

Finally she realized why. For years--virtually her whole life--she'd been trained and disciplined to do exactly what her instructor/coach/choreographer (whatever) told her to do, completely ignoring what it felt like. And she was very, very good at it. Much of what dancers do is not "efficient" at all, and may be quite painful and unnatural. She had trained herself to ignore pain. Efficiency meant nothing to her!

We skied for three days, and we were both fascinated by her unique capabilities and challenges as a skiing student. When she retired from dancing (in her early thirties), she had became a ballet instructor, so she was as interested in the learning ramifications of this as I was.

Prior learning and experience have profound effects on current learning--that's the principle of "transfer" in a nut shell. This three day lesson taught ME a lot!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #7 of 15
Tailoring the lesson experience to the individual is the hallmark of GCT (Guest Centered Teaching.). Getting to know your student's other athletic experiences can go a long way towards the tailor made lesson.
post #8 of 15
I taught a "desk jockey"....and related skiing initiation to the moving of his chair to reach for the phone. Inside ski (foot) lead, edge...
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
KeeTov, I just going to ask, what if they do nothing.

Ydnar your statement Finally, as a general rule, the higher the level of skill attained in another sport the more coachable the person will be. gave me pause as I do not do anything really well.

For me the sports I participate in are not team sports. Bike, hike, jog, scuba, snowshoe. I enjoy them all just do not excel at any.

I find this very interesting, thanks to all for the replies.
post #10 of 15
Heh. I was in marching band in high school, mostly so I wouldn't have to have encounters with the sadistic jocks in the gym locker room. What would you do with that?
post #11 of 15
Marching band?.....What moves first when you turn left?.....hint nothing goes right when you turn left.
post #12 of 15
Since I instruct at a "non-destination" area, we see many day trippers who venture out on a warm day. Many of the women answer NOTHING! Some men too. These will be our nightmare group. There are some predictable ethnic/cultural tendencies in operation here.

Bottom line is that you are in for a bad one.
post #13 of 15

Don't worry. My comment about coachability refers to to fact that many long time successful athletes have been coached a lot in their lives and have learned how to make the most out of the coaching that they get. Many nonathletes are just as coachable but it might be a new experience for them and a few high level athletes are a pain in the butt to work with.

post #14 of 15
I'll take Ydnar's last comments even a step farther, Kima. Reasonable competence in a wide variety of athletic endeavors is probably even better than extraordinary competence in one single sport, especially if it is a sport of highly specialized and habitual movements.

Recall a thread from long ago--at least a year, probably--that discussed the importance of just plain "playing" as a child. Tag, baseball, kick the can, balancing on fences, riding a bicycle, climbing trees, swimming, diving, running through the woods,.... I still say that these experiences can be more important than disciplined coaching in any particular sport as an adult.

I don't think video games or television watching count!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

[ September 18, 2003, 08:32 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the replies Bob. The more I learn from you all the more I get out of my lessons.
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