or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Level 9, Six Year Old Movement Analysis.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Level 9, Six Year Old Movement Analysis.

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
This is a video of a 6 year old that I taught last year.  We are doing a rotational separation drill with our poles as he had no separation at all (rotational or lateral.)  I just wanted to start a discussion based upon this question....what would you teach him now?  Would just like to see some of the different opinions.  Oh, and I surely didn't make him this good, this is how he came to me.

Have fun!

-nerd

www.vimeo.com/6371783
post #2 of 21
 I'd ask him to stop turning the ski and let the ski turn him.
post #3 of 21
I would work on patient turns at that point in the lesson. Due to his physiological development, the upper/lower separation you have there is as good as its probably going to get at this point. It's definitely good to introduce and practice for the future, but the development of his nervous system won't really take him further than where he's at until he's a little older. So in any case, he's doing very well for his age, but his proficiency is in a skidded turn. Now is an excellent time to introduce a carved turn. The first thing to do for that is to get him to slow down his turn initiation. A drill I use for that is the patient turn. When he completes his turn, have him center his weight over his flat skis, and let the skis turn themselves into the fall line. Only after he gets to the fall line should he set his edge to complete the turn. That will give him a better feel for how to turn the skis using something other than rotational skills.
post #4 of 21

Along the lines of the drill being done, I'd ask him to ski the same run keeping the shoulders constantly faced down hill.

 

I can see "those" in the (let's call it) "carving" camp, going "OMG - you're permanently ruining this skier". My second reaction (  ) was "It's just a drill (take a breath). It's just a drill". So the kid is a pretty solid unit and more solid than we'd normally expect for a 6 yo. The only separation he's getting is shoulder driven, but he's also got a fair amount of power turning his feet. This is normal out-in development for a child. My preference would be to do physical development off skis and live with the performance hit of lack of separation during parallel skiing for now. He's due to grow out of this soon enough.

 

So I'm with Epic, except that I'd start with looking at how he skis "normally" (i.e. not doing this drill). He may already know how to let the skis turn him.

post #5 of 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

 I'd ask him to stop turning the ski and let the ski turn him.


Ding ding ding ding!  We have a winner!  Its time to teach him how to ski.  Why worry about the upper body when he doesn't understand how to use his skis?  Start with the feet and work up from there.
post #6 of 21
This is a kid you can have a ball with and get moving with.

Along the lines of the rest of the group I'd recommend playing some games.  Lifting the inside ski and skiing only on the outside ski during the turn.  That way he can feel the ski dig and start to carve.  It also develops independent leg movement.  (This will depend on his stages of physical and neurological development.)

Maybe try some stepping turns (100 step/1000 step) to get some feel for both inside and outside edges.

Slow and fast games.  "Can you turn up the hill and go real slow and then let your skis skinny down the hill to go faster?"  i.e. a clockface type drill without the big name.

Do cowboy turns with him.  Legs spread like you are riding a horse and make turns.  Get on bigger and bigger horses.  (Spread the feet wider and wider.)  This develops inside foot/leg steering,

Play in the park and use the terrain to keep his skis parallel.

Do some pedal turns.  (One leg is a tall like a giant the other is tiny like a mouse.)

I liked your "Great job, nice." at the end.  Positive reinforcement works wonders.

Find out what he likes to play, what superheros he likes and work that into the games and play.
post #7 of 21
Nerd, You chose to work in the rotary world. If i can ask, to what end? Rotational seperation, does that mean you are introducing upper - lower body seperation? If you could share what the objective was and why you chose that as a focus, maybe we could be more on target with alternative suggestions. At this point all we can base observations and suggestions on is the drill he is doing. 

I see a big pivot and skid from the beginning through the middle of his turns and a strong edge engagement late in the turns. Was that part of the drill, or was that just how he stopped the big rotary momentum he introduced when he pivoted the skis so strongly. Can you share your observations about this in a bit more detail Nerd? The higher percentage of body mass of the head at his age explains his slightly aft stance and may also explain the rotary bias as well but again without seeing him free ski it's hard to say for sure.
All in all he does demonstrate some edging and pressure skills though. Which might mean he can use those two skills earlier to produce rounder more blended turns. Then again it may not and changing his skills bias might need to wait until he grows up a bit more. 

As far as a alternative approach, I'd probably go play in the race course for a bit and then just free ski demoing different turn types and playing Simon says, "do what I do" types of activities.    
post #8 of 21
I'd also suggest using garland turns and traversing edge drills to some degree as well. By the video, we already know this guy can get his skis up on edge, but he's doing it in an on/off type of way. By staying out of the fall line a bit, you'll be able to get him to work on more subtle edge work. Whether his small muscle groups have developed to the point that he can successfully control his edge angle that precisely remains to be seen. In any case, looking at the big fat smile on his face at the end of that video, I'd call the lesson a success, regardless of if he's learned anything new.
post #9 of 21
I've coached many 6 year olds. First, keep it simple...use as few words as possible and lead by example - you need to have solid technical skills. They learn more from watching and doing than from hearing. Second, focus on the basic fundamentals of skiing (balance, steering, pressure and edging) with lots of mileage. Focus on only one skill in a session. With a solid foundation in technical skills, the carved turn will come naturally. There are numerous exercises available for each skill. As the skills improve, move on to steeper terrain and start all over again.

My favorite line is: hips and shoulder down the hill, both feet on the snow.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Nerd, You chose to work in the rotary world. If i can ask, to what end? Rotational seperation, does that mean you are introducing upper - lower body seperation? If you could share what the objective was and why you chose that as a focus, maybe we could be more on target with alternative suggestions. At this point all we can base observations and suggestions on is the drill he is doing. 

I see a big pivot and skid from the beginning through the middle of his turns and a strong edge engagement late in the turns. Was that part of the drill, or was that just how he stopped the big rotary momentum he introduced when he pivoted the skis so strongly. Can you share your observations about this in a bit more detail Nerd? The higher percentage of body mass of the head at his age explains his slightly aft stance and may also explain the rotary bias as well but again without seeing him free ski it's hard to say for sure.
All in all he does demonstrate some edging and pressure skills though. Which might mean he can use those two skills earlier to produce rounder more blended turns. Then again it may not and changing his skills bias might need to wait until he grows up a bit more. 

As far as a alternative approach, I'd probably go play in the race course for a bit and then just free ski demoing different turn types and playing Simon says, "do what I do" types of activities.    

Thanks for being interested in what I was teaching him JASP.  I asked him to do this drill because he was having trouble making short-radius turns (objective).  I thought that if he was able to separate upper and lower body in the roational plane then perhaps he could begin to feel what it is like to steer his feet.  I was also curious just to see if the little bugger could do it.


His pivot and skid was not intended/actively coached, I see that as being an area of further refinement in getting him from short-radius braking to short-radius gliding turns.

He LOVED the race course, by the way!  I gave him a 5 gate lead and only just beat him, it was hilarious.

I didn't realize how limited the MA would be because he was actively trying a new drill so I have uploaded him free-skiing in Dick's Ditch (a badge of honor for any kid riding JH.)  So I hope this gives you something else to base your MA on.

And just to be clear, my intention in posting these videos is pure curiosity about others on epic and how our MA skills may diverge or converge.  Have Fun!

http://www.vimeo.com/6388383  (may need to give it until 8pm EST to finalize)



-nerd

Edit 9/3/09 T-Square - Added video to post.
post #11 of 21
Ski___nerd,

A drill is not a good way to analyze someones skiing, but the 6 year old did do better as the drill progressed.  What I find with talented kids that age is not so much how they move rotationally, but how they balance for/aft and also laterally.  T-square advice is solid, but use drills sparingly for kids that age.  They don't have the muscle development to ski that way for any length of time.  Anything that will help him balance over the skis better will help him progress as long as it is fun for him (and you).

RW
post #12 of 21
This six-year old is doing really well.  He has the movement that the Level 3 skier in your other MA request is looking for.

The main thing I do with kids at this age & ability level is simply ski lots, and ski lots of different terrain.  The technical focus is very simple:  front of the ski, outside ski.  Most of the training is tactical (lots of terrain variation), mental (building awareness and confidence) and physical (build strength through mileage).

Fun is the main goal at this stage, so he keeps coming back to learn more.  The smile on his face at the end of the clip says you've really succeeded on that count.

In general, I don't like to use drills with young kids, especially specialized drills that are intended to isolate or re-inforce a narrow skill focus.  I would experiment with braquage with this young boy though, to build on the good vertical movement that he is already showing, and to see if you can get some of the separation you're looking for.
post #13 of 21
Okay, now seeing this little guy's skiing without the picture frame drill, it's pretty easy to see that one of the biggest things he needs to work on is keeping his arms out in front of him, and keep them from swinging. He's cranking his arms around a lot, sometimes it's part of his turn initiation, other times it just looks wild, particularly when it's accompanied by his shoulders dropping and crouching. I would say take one of his poles and balance it across his wrists, then have him ski a gentle slope. That way he can get the feel for keeping his hands and shoulders quiet and out in front of him. On the other hand, there are a number of turns in there where he's actually doing a pretty good job of turning the skis underneath him and keeping his shoulders squared up to the fall line. It's not all the time, but it's an element which is there, and that's encouraging. Another good thing in this particular video is to see his ability to sideslip well. He is controlling his edging much better than he was in that first clip. If you can translate that sideslipping edging into his turns, he'll be doing well.

Also, he's definitely falling back into his wedge during most of his turns. I'm assuming that is a result of the terrain, which looks fairly steep and narrow. That's fine for now, but if it's something he's doing on gentler terrain at all, I would do some thousand steps and independent leg steering work with him.

I won't address how far aft his balance is in that clip. He's six, and he's on steep terrain, I don't know if you're going to get him any further forward at this point.
post #14 of 21

SN,

So good to see that many of the instructors are taking into account the neuro-muscular development of the child. First a couple of general things for teaching children of this age.

 

Never use a drill as such with this age child. Hide the drill in a game of some sort. The drill will soon be forgotten and never repeated. A fun game will be remembered and repeated and better yet shared with others. If you can keep it so simple that a six year old can teach the game to friends and family I can guarantee a successful outcome from the lesson.

 

One thing at a time. Eliminate the word ‘and’ from your lessons with children this young. They are just not ready to hold two concepts in their minds at the same time let alone perform them.

 

Now, this child in particular.

 

You referred to him as a level 9. He isn’t. He is a level 6-7 that skis very defensively. I will assume that he is called a level 9 and skis defensively because of the steepness of the terrain that he can ski down. He shouldn’t be on that terrain, not until he loses the back seat push the ski defensiveness and the stem entry to his turns.

 

Start by de-emphasizing the idea of ‘turning’. When skiing we don’t ‘make turns’ we go there and then go over there or go back and forth on the hill in curves, emphasize the ‘go’ part of this.

 

Tell him to point his toes where he wants to go. This will get him to learn to use his feet and legs to guide the skis instead of using his whole body. Do this on very gentle terrain and encourage him to go fast. After pointing his toes for a while put a black sticker on his left ski and a white sticker on his right ski. Tell him to go that way (point to his right) all he has to do is to point his white toes that way and to go the other way (point to his left) all he has to do is point his black toes that way. This will get him leading into the turn with his new inside ski. These things will also help him center himself over his skis.

 

On very gentle terrain have him walk or run through very big arcs (This is thousand steps for kids), you might even want to start with figure eights on flat terrain. These things will get him centered over his feet.

 

Personally, I would recommend dropping the idea of short radius turns. All that will do is re-enforce his back seat push the ski style of skiing. Once he learns to work the ski a little his small size and the very small side-cut of his skis will produce very short turns when they are needed.

 

This is a whole seasons worth of things for a child of this age but it will produce a skier who is well centered and capable of skiing the whole mountain.

fom

PS. Forgot one very important thing. Teach him to skate on his skis and do a lot of it. Again this will get him centered over the skis.


Edited by fatoldman - 9/3/09 at 7:16am
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

I won't address how far aft his balance is in that clip. He's six, and he's on steep terrain, I don't know if you're going to get him any further forward at this point.
 


Here's two screen captures that are pretty representative of how the young lad skis through the clip.  This looks like pretty decent fore/aft balance to me:

 



When he extends, he comes straight up because he's opening his hip joint more than knees & ankles, but I still don't see him sitting back.  I really like the way he comes to a stop leaning way forward on his poles -- the way they stop is a cue to the way they ski, and the ones who come sliding in on their tails are the ones that need fore/aft work.

This terrain is well within his comfort range and ability, and I would continue in this environment, adding some speed with good runouts, and playing in steeper terrain as well.

Going back to gentler terrain for technical training is not something I would be doing with this six-year-old.  I would hate to see that smile get lost in drill training.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post
 
Never use a drill as such with this age child.

(nerd) He actually liked drills.  He didn't get bored or lost and told everyone what we did.  Exceptions to every rule I guess, but I hear you about using games.  I have seen many young eyes glaze over at a drill, but brighten up at the prospect of play.
 
 
 
Now, this child in particular.
 
You referred to him as a level 9. He isn’t. He is a level 6-7 that skis very defensively. I will assume that he is called a level 9 and skis defensively because of the steepness of the terrain that he can ski down. He shouldn’t be on that terrain, not until he loses the back seat push the ski defensiveness and the stem entry to his turns.

(nerd) I agree.  By effective skiing standards he has fundamental problems that a true Level 9 doesn't have.  But I think for his age, terrain skied and the ability of other children in the program, he fits there.

I think the drill takes away from his real ability on this terrain (easy blue.)  He is focused on doing what I asked and not as concerned with the back seat push, the ski defensiveness and the stem entry to the turn.  Sort of going to what you said about taking out the "and" from tasks.  If I try something new with him some more effective movements will probably fall away.
 

-nerd
post #17 of 21
MM- I agree, his fore aft balance is pretty good in the first clip. In the second clip however, he is much further back. It's almost certainly a result of the terrain.

Also, I don't see a bit of a terrain reach as something that is entirely bad, especially when you're teaching younger kids. Of course you want to always keep safety in mind, but occasionally using some terrain that is at the upper end of the student's capability has great uses. First off, it gives the student (and instructor) a way to see where his ability level is really at. Also, it gives the student a way to learn how to improvise and deal with terrain that really challenges him, and navigate it in relative safety, under the watchful eye and helpful guiding of an instructor. Learning how to traverse and sideslip, utilize terrain features to pick an easier way down a hard slope is crucial to learn, especially for younger skiers. If you limit the student to what he can ski with complete comfort, he'll get that invincibility complex. Then when he's out on his own, with his friends, siblings, or parents, inevitably he'll overestimate himself, and get himself in trouble. On the other side of the coin, every kid wants to go to tougher terrain, and is proud to have conquered it. So using that as a motivator ('if we do well with this stuff, we'll ski this at the end') works wonders.

I'll typically do that type of run as my second to last run in a lesson, if it's something I think is appropriate. A little reality check, as well as a little carrot to motivate the student. I don't do it as my last run, because if the student really struggles, I'd rather have space to do one more 'hero' run, to put him back in a positive state of mind and finish his lesson on a high note.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post

MM- I agree, his fore aft balance is pretty good in the first clip. In the second clip however, he is much further back. It's almost certainly a result of the terrain.

 

FS,
Sorry, I was focusing (too much) on the first clip.  I think we're seeing the same things.
post #19 of 21
 I could be wrong but it looks like he is wearing my most hated Dalbello rental boots. Nobody stands well in those.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski_nerd13 View Post

He actually liked drills.  He didn't get bored or lost and told everyone what we did.  Exceptions to every rule I guess, but I hear you about using games.  I have seen many young eyes glaze over at a drill, but brighten up at the prospect of play.
 

I'm generally not a fan of drills for kids this young, but his smile & enthusiasm are the acid tests that show you know your student and are giving him something worthwhile. 
post #21 of 21
Haven't read any of the responses, but my first thought is TURN SHAPE!!  Help him shed that pivot and learn some edge control skills. 
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Level 9, Six Year Old Movement Analysis.