|Originally posted by jimbo:
I have only instructed here in the USA for the last 7 years. For those who instruct elsewhere, and those who have taken lessons elsewhere, please answer the following questions? What is the difference between the PSIA areas of emphasis, and other countries professional organizations? What are the similarities? How and why did the respective different areas merge/diverge in their teaching techniques? Are there manuals that I can purchase (such as the PSIA Alpine Manual and the Core Concepts Manual)?
(This is a bit long and goes off-topic. Did not think I would get so carried away!)
Let me just start by saying that I don't have any direct experience with PSIA. Also any semblance that I'm negative or critical or come across as a know-it-all is only because I may not be that proficient in expressing my opinions in writing. I enjoy this forum very much and only hope that I can contribute in an interesting way to any discussion.
For what it's worth, I can only give you my observations from how I perceive PSIA from the discussions in this forum compared to the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF) of which I'm a member. It may not even be relevant to compare PSIA with CSCF. CSCF is mostly devoted to coaching skiers in competitive race programs. PSIA instructors are often limited to providing a few short lessons to skiers.
My 'perception' of PSIA compared to CSCF is that it is more concerned with the dissection of gross movements and concepts which are then re-assembled as the student becomes more proficient. All this to say that PSIA seems to emphasises achieving proficiency in specific movements that are part of the larger gross movement that is the skill that is attempted to be achieved. There seems to be an overall philosophy or structure that guides all of this (center-line?, balance?, etc..) but the student is only aware of this as a goal to be achieved. From the student's perspective that overall philosophy does not seem required for the conducting a successful lesson. Student are then asked to reassemble the specific movements into the gross movement that is the goal. The test of the suceess of the re-assembling of the individual movements is measured in a framework in which terrain difficulty is the main measure of progress.
Relative to the CSCF, the PSIA approach seems more 'technical', if that's the right word to use. CSCF would have more of a tactical and strategic approach in teaching. CSCF does not usually use terrain difficulty as a measure of a students progress. A framework of 'performance' is used. Better performance is defined in the ability to execute the gross movements in the following gradations:
1) braking is minimized
2) speed is maintained
3) speed is increased
In a race program a coach or instructor has the major advantage that the same students are coached for many sessions, often the whole season. Bad teaching or coaching can usually be rectified at the next session. The bottom line for the student is their performance (e.g. where they place) in the race. As a coach teaches older or better rated racers the coach gets to the point where he/she does not or cannot ski better then their students. It is rarely the case that an instructor does not have to out ski his/her students to be able to get their respect.
Instructors are in the un-envious situation of having to provide the student with definite progress at each lesson. This is because the instructor may only have the student for one or just a few sessions. Also because of this instructors are reluctant to spend time having a student unlearn bad habits because of the limited time they can spend with the student.
Many of an instructor's students simplistically measures the sucess of the lessons by seeiing if they are successful in skiing on more difficult terrain. They beleive that skiing marginally on difficult terrain is better then skiing more comfortably on easier terrain.[ April 26, 2003, 09:46 PM: Message edited by: peak203f ]