or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is less more ?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I read this forum and sometimes I can even make a "worthwhile" contribution to it. There are some very experienced and capable people who post here, and many have a deep understanding of the technical and techniques necessary to succeed in this sport.

But what about those that are trying to learn ? Can we over load them with too much information ?

Can provide so much information that we create mental confusion because the learning skier may have too many things to think about ? Are we, in fact, taking skiing and at times making it as difficult to learn as the golf swing ?

Last Monday, was our first training session for Special Olympians, many of which have learning disabilities. I know that two and at the very most three minutes of talk including demonstrations, is all that they can handle, and yet things worked out just fine. I ONLY PROVIDE THE MOST ESSENTIAL INFORMATION,WITH THE SIMPLEST OF DEMONSTRATIONS, AND NOTHING MORE !

Once in a while I will be riding the chair with an athlete and they will ask why we do something. Then they get more information than they could ever use. I always conclude the conservation with the most germain points, to reemphsize what is truly important, and trust me, determining that can be a challenge.

[ December 22, 2002, 08:07 AM: Message edited by: wink ]
post #2 of 31
Wink, my philosophy is that the teacher should know enough to be able to accurately identify the source of the student's problem and then fix it as transparently as possible.

If the boot is the problem then it should be fixed. The student should not need to be involved unless their feedback is needed to help correct the problem. Even then they need only be told the bare minimum. In terms of instruction the teacher should try and use metaphors in everyday language that the student can relate to. Technical jargon should be saved for teacher to teacher discussions.
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
To David M:

Exactly !
post #4 of 31
If I might add, less is more up to a point in learning, after which more is more. That point for me came four years post Level III cert. Be sure and appreciate the difference between thintellect (less is more because there is no more) and the simplicity borne of complete understanding of the complexity, which allows one to be inventively simple in a million and one ways.

Getting to that level of simplicity takes some doing.
post #5 of 31
Originally posted by nolo:
If I might add, less is more up to a point in learning, after which more is more. That point for me came four years post Level III cert. Be sure and appreciate the difference between thintellect (less is more because there is no more) and the simplicity borne of complete understanding of the complexity, which allows one to be inventively simple in a million and one ways.

Getting to that level of simplicity takes some doing.
Brilliant as usual nolo. It is indeed getting to simple that is hard. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Beyond skiing...just the process of trying to simplify ones life can be very complicated...why it is ....that's the frustrating part...it just is !

Skiing should be an escape from all that, and the other B.S. of life...it is for me. it has to be...otherwise what's the point?
post #7 of 31
Ok Well you did ask

Here is my example - CalG don't read you already got this

I learnt to read well before I started school - as did a few of my uni friends.

Reading is VERY simple - you match the squiggles on the paper to the sounds as someone else reads.

When YOU want to read you just recall what sounds the squiggles make - DEAD EASY - no more to it than that!

SO - why do we have teachers to teach reading?
why do these teachers need to be TAUGHT how to teach reading?
Do they need to know HOW people may learn to read?
NAH! C'mon it's REALLY simple!

Just chuck anyone who can't learn to read listening to someone else OUT of the education system. Problem solved!
Then teaching reading stays SIMPLE - like we want it to be.
Just READ to the student - they WILL learn. If not tell them they are THICK, STUPID, CAN'T CONCENTRATE, WHATEVER... Just make VERY SURE to EXPLAIN to THEM that READING IS SIMPLE - not complex, as is learning to read.
post #8 of 31
kudos, disski, that was stunning!
post #9 of 31
Ah but it needed to be said [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #10 of 31
This is a pretty interesting thread.
"What about our students. Can we overload them?

However, many times our student need to know some basic cause and effects. Such as if I lean up the hill with my upper body and do nothing with my skis on the snow the ski, they will tend to go the "wrong" direction. Heck, if I am hiking a mountain I am probably not going to lean down the mountain to keep my footing on the downhill foot.
And just rationally telling someone "not to do it", or allow yourself to "stand on your downhill foot" may only last until the next sidehill section. Without a story that it laced with understanding.

The post Nolo made was extremely accurate in illustrating Simplicity to Complexity which breeds simplicity in communicating through understanding the complex.

I have noticed this lately with new instructors. They state things very simply:
Do this! Don't do that! Do that! But they don't yet have the complex understanding of cause in effect... yet.

Lastly, keep things as simple as possible. As a student, ask the teacher to restate it, if necessary. Hopefully, after you begin to "get it" ask to gain a deeper understanding, if that is what you wish.

happy holidays,
post #11 of 31
A few years ago, in a 4-day clinic, my instructor (highly credentialed, Demo team member) told me that I needed to reduce my inside tip lead. She didn't tell me why, or how I should correct it. : At that time I was too timid (I guess) to ask the right questions. It was from this forum that I learned why excessive tip lead is not a good thing, and some ways to avoid it.

The "right" amount of detail varies from student to student, but to me, that was clearly an example of an instructor not giving enough information.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for some great posts !

I guess a possible answer is.........it is,... and at times it isn't. It is up to us to use our judgemnet is to when! So what else is new ??!!

Happy and Safe New Year to one and all !!
post #13 of 31
Originally posted by Susieski:
A few years ago, in a 4-day clinic, my instructor (highly credentialed, Demo team member) told me that I needed to reduce my inside tip lead. She didn't tell me why, or how I should correct it. : At that time I was too timid (I guess) to ask the right questions. It was from this forum that I learned why excessive tip lead is not a good thing, and some ways to avoid it.

The "right" amount of detail varies from student to student, but to me, that was clearly an example of an instructor not giving enough information.
Susieski – We have discussed on this forum before the responsibility of the student to ask questions when they do not understand. If instructors are to avoid information overload, in hindsight we could say the instructor could have been more clear and definitive but I do not believe that would be fair since we were not there, the student really needs take it upon him or herself to ask questions if they do not understand the task at hand. In fact if the student is asked, “Do you understand the task?” they still may not respond. As an example a group of our ski instructors were in a mandatory early morning clinic last Sunday. The goal was to improve balance and many tasks were set during the 90-minute clinic. Every time the leader would ask “Do you under stand the task?” and invariably after the instructor skied down the hill to demo the task several instructors would ask the group “Now what is the task?” The point, it is very difficult to get feed back even from those who should know better. It can be very difficult working with those that may not. When in doubt help the instructor and ask until you do understand. There may have been enough information to create your question?

Information may be like the advise given to me on teaching my children about the birds and the bees when they were very young. (Scary time in my life!) Just give them a LITTLE information and if there are no questions quit talking!

I like to tell other instructors we learn the complex so we can teach the simple! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #14 of 31
Ah but Floyd - there ARE those instructors that when asked a question will answer with responses such as You don't need to know

I have met this twice.
Both times I believe they were covering up their IGNORANCE. What they are really saying is 'I can ski without that info - what is YOUR problem'. I would much rather be told 'I don't know but I'll find out for you'

The first time it happened it resulted in me trying to leave my private lesson within 20 minutes of it starting. (This I am told was a VERY experienced instructor but who teaches children - they do as told & copy - I DON'T!) He stopped me going - end result at the end of 2 hours when I returned to ski school an instructor friend saw me & asked what was wrong - I dissolved into tears!

The second was on a day I was having a bad day skiing - but the lack of suitable response will probably see me change 'fill-in' instructors. I DETEST that attitude & try to ski with those who have a passion for learning - MORE!

Ooooo - actually 3 times - I forgot - a Canadian Level 4 in Whistler - I try to block THAT experience from memory. Blah!
post #15 of 31
I see many of these well thought-out posts as the proverbial double-edged sword. You have students who want or need more information and those who, likewise, want or need less information. As though that weren't enough, you have an instructor that must determine which camp their student fits into best - want or need, more or less. :

I haven't taught skiing for over twenty years, so I'm out of touch with giving instruction. But, I have taken up snowboarding in the last several years. YES, it's true, I ski and snowboard. And, I must say, it's been a lot of fun being a beginner on snow again. [img]smile.gif[/img] It's also been a challenge, I like the idea of having to think about what I'm doing. Like skiing, there are consequences when you get lazy or overly confident. Man I hate that fly-swatter fall. Ouch!

Now, keep in mind that I'm the person that takes things apart because I want to know how they work.

I thought my first day snowboard instructor was fabulous, until, that is, I spoke to my kid's ski instructor later that day - he teaches snowboarding also. While talking about making turns on a snowboard he casually reached into his pocket and produced a small plastic snowboard. As he continued his verbal lesson about turning he simultaneously flexed the plastic board - torsionally and longitudinally - to reflect the dynamics of a turning snowboard. BINGO! "I get it!" I said. That was the visual I needed to pull the other bits and pieces together.

In all fairness to my instructor that day, I have no complaints about my lesson; but at the end of the day, it was that little plastic snowboard that made all the difference in my understanding.

Don't hold out on me. I, for one, need more information. But I want more too.
post #16 of 31
The best day of ski instruction I ever had - and one that I return to in my mind continuously - didn't invlove any of this "knowing" of the kind discussed here. Actually, we were merely two Bears skiing together for the first time, socially. He happened to be an instructor [at another resort}, so as we started out, I said to him, "If you happen to spot something I'm doing wrong, I won't feel bad if you point it out."

Here's what he did:

After skiing with me for awhile, he said, "Ski down to there and see if there's anything you feel when you turn." I skied. He said, "OK, did you notice what you felt?" I said, "Sure, I lift my inside ski when I turn left but not when I turn right." He said, "Try it again. Ski down to there and then tell me what you feel." Did it, same thing.

Then he said, "Now see what it feels like when you try to rip off your inside foot little toe in the snow when you turn left." I did. He said, "Great! Now see what it feels like when you do that for both right and left turns." I did. WOW! I was keeping both skis on the snow, making these turns that really had me feeling confident and in control. I was PUMPED! He caught up to me and said, "You picked that up quicker than I thought you would. Let's make another run doing that."

We made another run, and about a quarter of the way down he said, "Let's see if you can feel one more thing. While you're ripping off your little toe on your inside foot, what does it feel like when you try to force your outside knee right into the hill?" I did that, he caught up to me and he really looked happy, like a kid who just opened his birthday present and got exactly what he always wanted but never thought he'd have. He said, "You know, you're making me feel like the greatest instructor in the world!" Guess how I felt about THAT!

Well, I'll not take the time here to recount the whole day. The point is, without telling me "what I was doing wrong" - and without actually telling me what to do - he helped me to ski better and get immensely more pleasure from the sport. He used very little time explaining, although since I've thought a lot about it since then, I think I can figure out what I was doing "wrong" and how he corrected it.

Once, he did actually tell me directly something that would help, and that was regarding the position of my hands and poles - and the suggestion was and is effective, and I return to it frequently when I find myself getting into trouble in my turns.

Now, THAT guy can TEACH! Without actually discussing the particulars with me, he observed what biomechanically I was doing, figured out how I best learn, and helped me and my thinking body to find our way - once I "had the feeling" and had an idea of how to GET the feeling, I was on my way to better skiing.

Analysis has it's place, and it was in my friend/instructor's mind, in this case. He didn't share his every thought with me - thank heaven! When some folks want and ask for more, as some people need that "knowledge" to learn, let 'em have it! As for me, my body learned more in that day from those simple questions - "How does it feel when you . . .?" - than it ever has learned from all of the abstruse analysis I've ever read here about biomechanics and boot fit.

I agree with disski: It's the teacher's job to know and understand the complexities so that the teacher can simplify it as much as possible - but not more - for the student. In the case of teaching reading, or teaching skiing to a real intermediate like me, the teacher need not and should not share with me everything the teacher knows about the issue. The teacher should somehow guide me to where I need to go. Once my body has learned a particular "thing", my mind just might really want to find out - "How'd he DO that?! Why did that work?!"
post #17 of 31
Ahhh, the zen of ski teaching....

The more you know, the less you have to say.
post #18 of 31
"Follow me ski like I ski" - a 6 word lesson - no thanks I'll get another instructor!

[ December 27, 2002, 06:16 PM: Message edited by: disski ]
post #19 of 31
Exactly, disski! If I could watch and ski like he does, I wouldn't need lessons! This guy never did that. The only time he "demoed" a movement for me is - and this was funny - when he illustrated what I look like when I ski. He was right! It was hilarious! That's when he gave me the suggestion about hand and pole position.

Some athletic instructors are great at "modeling" movements so that the student can better understand what to do. Some of that is ok, I guess . . . but the best instructors of skiing or tennis, for me, lead me to where I need to be . . . but not by demonstration.

. . . and now . . . the rest of the story:

One day some years back [about six years], my younger son and I met John Egan at a Dynastar promo, and he actually said he'd ski with us. My son was thrilled [he was about ten years old at the time]. John would do things like that - "You do THIS!" - and I was like a fish out of water. BUT: My son DID IT! John showed us what to do, and my son just DID it! That's the way his body learns. His sole instruction for skiing as gracefully as he does and making bumps look like they don't exist has been . . . that one experience with John Egan, and several fun hours of watching tapes of John and Dan Egan, Rob and Eric DesLauriers, Nelson Charmichael, John Smart, Mike Douglas, Glen Plake . . . that's IT! And the kid skis circle around me.

Go figure!
post #20 of 31
And yet my students tell me that following behind me is more helpful than a thousand words. I think it's more that they go where I go than that they do what I do.
post #21 of 31
Yep Nolo & they are not spending the whole damn time thinking 'Should I turn yet' or "should I turn there' or 'Should I TURN' or 'oh damn what SHOULD I do' or '@#$% I'm gonna die!'

All they have to think is 'follow her - there'
post #22 of 31
& yep oboe - that is the whole point...

I'm NOT trying to stop those that WANT to learn by watching from doing so. There do however seem to be a bunch that want those that may want to learn by analysis from doing so. They all seem hell bent on stopping those that want to know more, so that when they get the student who can't learn by watching they CAN teach them another way, from learning. WHY? what is wrong with KNOWING more, UNDERSTANDING better? If you don't need it - more power to you. I don't need it in many fields - but do I poo poo it when you do?

I was once made to teach chemistry to half the class by a VERY canny teacher. (I was way ahead of the class & quite bored - did no work) She explained to me that to understand it WELL enough to teach someone that JUST DIDN'T GET IT was a stack harder than simply doing by 'intuition' as I did all the problems. IT WAS! I could do most problems in a minimal amount of work - these guys couldn't follow what I considered FAIRY STEPS - detailed workings of simple problems. I had to explain the stuff I 'assumed' was dead obvious basic knowledge. The 'JUST DO IT' crap I never gave a thought to.

Let us be & let us learn what we want our own way!

I have 3 diff instructors with VERY different styles - in skiing & teaching. I LEARN from them all. Some progress could NOT be made without ALL the inputs I get. Why do you guys want to remove input sources & reduce information flow - where is the threat to you?
post #23 of 31
Wink: You are absolutely right! Unfortunately, not all instructors are good "teachers". Unfortunately, most students want to correct all or most of their problems in one week, one lesson, etc. Although this is impossible, sometimes, the student is not told this is impossible and wonders why they still have many of the same problems after taking a lesson or several lessons. We need to keep it simple and word on one or two things at a time.
post #24 of 31
disski, you sound like a person I'd like to go skiing with. I agree with all of what you say.

When I spoke of the "zen" of ski teaching... "the more you know, the less you have to say", that didn't mean "follow me, do what I do". Those were your words, not mine.

An experienced, skilled and knowledgeable ski instructor can take themes and ideas that many lesser teachers find confusing and complicated and weave a tapestry of words, images, demonstrations and feelings that make immediate sense to students. THEN you go skiing. Maybe you follow me, maybe I follow you... either way, the lesson is about YOU, not me!

In my eyes, a "better" instructor is one who says more with less words. He speaks in pictures. He speaks in images. He speaks in facts. He gets to the bottom line the fastest way possible. He splits up the chairlift rides among the group so people can ask more specific questions and get more specific feedback. He gets the job done, humbly, concisely and clearly.

He does not say: "ski like me".

Granted, such teachers are not easy to find, but they're out there. As nolo said in an earlier post, getting to that level of simplicity is difficult.

I'll stick to my words. The more I know, the less I have to say.
post #25 of 31
Believe me you probably DON'T want to ski with me!

I am just a trifle 'difficult' to teach & I tend to 'squawk' 'squeal' & 'scream' when I feel out of my depth!

I'm sure I'm the bain of my instructors lives - they only tolerate me for cakes & cookies & the occasional meal! (We don't feed our instructors well down here!)
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
I just revisited this thread. Oboe's post and the response by "ihavethesecret" were very good.

Often, if it feels right, we know we are doing it right. The zen or how it feels approach is what I often do with my athletes. Often they forget, but if I again work with them on how it should feel, then they can begin to take their own corective actions. If they have lost some of their form, I can bring them back to it by reviewing how it feels. This of course doesn't work in all situations, but helps in many, especially balance, and positioning.
post #27 of 31
Originally posted by nolo:
And yet my students tell me that following behind me is more helpful than a thousand words. I think it's more that they go where I go than that they do what I do.
What I believe occurs, the student pays attention to your skiing and where you turn not their own skiing. This allows their body to do what it already knows how to do but their mind won't let happen! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #28 of 31
More in reality does not exist. The essence of effortless skiing is very simple and the instructor who understandes this concept finds it very easy to explain the fundimentals of the sport to the student, doing so in a clear and concise manner. Sometimes we can delve so deep into our analyzation of the sport that we complicated that which is simple in our own minds as well as our students. The zen of ski teaching, maybe that is a good term for it. Once you get it it seems so simple you wonder what the fuss is all about. This forum is wonderfull for exploring new ideas, but I just know that that the negative is that those out there that have yet to achieve the level of "zen master" are reading all the therories and speculations and its confusing the hell out of them and making them feel farther than ever from aquireing a clear understanding of skiing. That's a shame when the fundimentals are so simple. I've allways included cerebral education along with muscular training in my lessons, and never was it confusing to my students or at all time consuming to explain the principles of skiing. When they understand what they are striving for it adds meaning to the task, but as the instructor you better understand it yourself or god help your student.
post #29 of 31
Skiing is a game of movement.Continuous and flowing. This type of movement is generated by the right side of the brain. It is here that we visualize the painting and bring it to life on the canvas with our brush. In skiing the slope is our canvas and the skis our brush. Visualizing the movements of a great skier prior to skiing a run can elevate your performance as can following a better skier if one is able to let go of conscious thought and just create movement from the visual image in front of you.

Disski- I agree with you that a good instructor should be able to provide you with answers to any questions you might have, in great detail, if necessary. But, and this is a REALLY BIG BUT, a great instructor would insist that you use only one small bit of all the information given when you actually try to ski. Giving the student a simple, clear focus point prior to skiing is one of the keys to getting results. In your posts you seem to be afraid of any teaching style that requires you to quiet your intellect and trust that your right brain can get the job done.The movement is already in your head . You need to learn to let it out.I truly believe that this is the piece of the puzzle that will allow you to truly elevate your game. Your left brain is beating the sh*t out of your right brain. Tell it to stop!

Nolo-you are a Goddess. Another great post as usual.
post #30 of 31

I am not suggesting that the "only " way to improve your game is visually, but rather why it works for some. Teaching skiing is an inexact science, like medicine. Sometimes an instructor must take a "shotgun" approach with a student like you. By this I mean that a lot of different paths must be explored. The caveat here being that you retain what works for you(like your keep going mantra) and let go of superfluous ideas. Kinesthetic(touchy/feely) cues should be part of any good teacher's bag of tricks. I personally "listen" to my feet when I ski, as the feedback I get from them tells me whether I am just merely getting down the hill, or really flowing over the terrain in the most effficient way possible for me. Perhaps you can learn to make decisions with your feet rather than with your very powerful intellect. You seem to want to kill the messenger-in your case the messenger is the right brain.

Good luck on this journey

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching