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An observation of the "observation" thread

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I posted this in the "personal observation of ski instruction" thread, but felt it was a bit lost and since I've seen some of the same negativity in other threads, I thought I'd move it and see if I"m off base. I also originally aimed it at specific posts, but I feel it is applicable in the more general form.---

I got some negative vibes from some of the posts in this thread and others.

People belittling pmts and statements stating things like 'you can apply these movements, you'll just never be expert skiers."

The main thing I dislike about PMTS is the us/vs them attitude. I enjoy a variety of ways to look at my own and others skiing. Now I'm hearing that us/vs them attitude from people here.

As a psia level 3, I have very few issues with the progressions and intents. I taught in the Austrian ski school for a season and enjoyed their focus. As an All Mountain Ski Pro Certified coach, I also love Eric D's training. Which includes lifting and lightening, by the way, which some here seem to think of as bad words. (take a peak at the video in general skiing of "erics short turns". I think you'll see exactly what we and pmts teach going on in his long powder/crud turns. Maybe you don't think that's expert skiing, but if not, I'd like to see those experts follow the line ) As a good skier, but by no means great (especially with who I have to ski with at AMSP, like eric d, wendy fisher and jay mack )I focus on a few simple moves that echo pmts alot. Since I started skiing late (19) I'm a cerebral skier and enjoy a technical focal point that brings many things into line. I get that with amsp's technique.

I worked with some level 9's yesterday at Sugar Bowl and they were very strong, but with traditonal movement patterns. One was on the board of directors and said he had skied over 1000 days at the bowl. They both were stoked with the free foot focus. Keys being the relax to release and rolling the new light foot toward the little toe edge. They had been to the psia ski school there, but didn't feel it addressed their level of skier very well. I know that it was just the instructor, because there are pros there who could handle their level. You don't have to be psia/pmts/from austria or famous to make good skiers better. You just have to be open to ways that accent their strengths and teach them to minimize there weaknesses.

Anyway, I appreciate all I've learned from psia, austria, the mahres, all mountain ski pros and epicski.com. This wrong/right dogma seems off base and self rightous on either side.

I think I'm an "expert" and I can learn something from many here. I also think many of you are great skiers with many "experts", but could probably learn a couple of tricks from me. Instead of looking for the problems, I prefer to look for the opportunities.

Until the next time...Make it a great day!


[ February 21, 2004, 08:53 PM: Message edited by: Holiday ]
post #2 of 12
It definitely came from both sides of the PSIA/PMTS argument. A lot of it started out with frank and logical discussion of both approaches, but over time it got a little nasty. What you see is the residue of those arguments.

I would probably do very well within PMTS as a student, since Harb is still a very talented race coach. However, I would need to have a PMTS coach, since my body awareness is rather distorted. Harb has really gone out of his way to overcome the limitations of his book and videos by providing internet feedback and other ways to discuss PMTS with students. The PMTS progression without a coach to observe just doesn't work with me.

I ski with a lot of people that were coached by the pre-PMTS Harb, and while they are excellent skiers, they do show some of the limitations highlighted by some of the PSIA instructors here. Many of them are older, so their application of his techniques may be skewed to match their own physical limitations. I can't say for sure, since I've never been exposed to his teachings firsthand.

A lot of the people around here either worship the guy or absolutely despise him. It seems fairly polarized, and matches what we see here. I won't go into the reasons for some of the local dislike, because I wasn't involved at the time and my knowledge is purely secondhand. It also serves no real purpose other than to fuel the sometimes personal battle.

Arguing who attacked first is rather pointless. There are some very real problems with PSIA, and there are some very real problems with PMTS. Neither one is perfect, but sometimes one works better than the other. The bottom line is that a motivated and knowledgeable instructor is going to get better results, no matter what approach they use.
post #3 of 12
The key is that there is no one best way to do everything in every circumstance on skis. The best skiers and the best teachers have the ability to approach any circumstance with an appropriate response that gets the job done at that moment.
post #4 of 12
My view of this tedious dispute is that there is no appreciable difference between PMTS and ATS. The only difference is cosmetic. The faithful in each camp attend to scripture with such literality that they wage battles over words.

I like Holiday's counsel to take advantage of learning opportunities whatever their source.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response.
My intent was definitely not to renew the "tedious dispute" but to illustrate my perception of the us vs them/ right vs. wrong issue.

As I said, I've enjoyed this forum and when I see fervent statements against ideas that I sometimes teach, my response is predictably negative. The first is, this is a waste of my time (which may be true), the second is to defend what I do. I don't like either.

I've enjoyed my time at epic. Since I've left a ski school environment, this site is my fix for the tech talks and clinics that I used to enjoy at times and facilitate at others. The depth of experience and knowledge on this site is amazing. It is amazing how interesting and addicting it is to share information with others and air out ideas.

Maybe those that are so anti pmts are so because the man behind that program is so confrontational. Maybe, since he's not here and Eric D and myself are here with a positive, constructive presence they should consider that they are attacking us instead of HH.

Of course, that is on the upper end. I don't personnally teach a direct parallel progression. Actually, I've never taught a direct parallel progression. I haven't taught a skier below level 6 or so in many years, so that end isn't what I'm representing.

As a matter of fact, I'm not representing any distictive gospel, but the idea that there are many "right ways" and constantly learning and playing with new ideas and applying them in new ways and in new places is magical.

I apologize if this is haphazardly written. I guess I'm just kind of piecing my thoughts together as I go. I'm not a writer, but I sure do enjoy the exchange of ideas.

Thanks for the chance to work through these thoughts

Until the next time...Make it a great day!

post #6 of 12
Nolo used to have this incredible beliefs section on her site. Something about complementary systems as opposed to competing systems. I wish i had written it down, because no finer words of wisdom have been written about the idea of instruction.

Personally, I have no problem with PMTS. I do have a problem with followers of the system that act like EST devotees, but heck, anyone who worships a system as opposed to a llearning process scares the begeezus out of me. I feel the same way about bhikram yogis, especially when they crowd people into a room and turn the temperature up like an oven. But I digress....

Neither you or Eric have ever posted in a way that sounds cult like, and I don't think that you ever will. You both have far too much knowledge for that.

fot any form of physical activity instruction, there are usually a few methods that will work. Take one from column a and one from column b, according to the needs of the student.
But serve the student, not the system. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #7 of 12
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
serve the student, not the system.
post #8 of 12
Holiday- Could not agree more!

Teaching systems are for the birds.

When looking for a teacher, always choose someone who is an independent thinker. Pick someone with a reputation for teaching each golfer differently depending on his or her physical build, athleticism, learning style and motivation. The thing that makes Butch Harmon a great teacher is his artistry-each pupil is a unique canvas, and he paints each with a different brush.

At all cost, ignore "systems" teachers. These instructors hang their hats on a "proven" method based on "irrefutable" evidence of what transpires in the swing. Invariably, the method has a name- "Three keys to perfection" or other grandiose title. Systems don't emphasize strengths, they magnify weaknesses. Avoid them.

This is a quote from Jonny Miller in the March issue of Golf Digest.

Interesting thought if you replace golf with ski.

post #9 of 12
Find the teachers that seek and use ALL of the tools. Their minds are more open to your needs and questions, as they have asked similar ones.
post #10 of 12
Ric's comment for us was:

"Where's your rule book?"

If you start to "reach" for one, he says "Throw it out"

If you say "What rule book?"

He say's "GOOD!"
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
there's lots of good support here for a pragmatic approach. I appreciate the sentiments and thanks for the vote of confidence. I look forward to more interesting reading and learning from this talented group in the future. Maybe I'll even add my two cents every once in awhile when it may be of value.

Cheers, Wade
post #12 of 12
Originally posted by weems:
Find the teachers that seek and use ALL of the tools. Their minds are more open to your needs and questions, as they have asked similar ones.
I don't think anyone could argue with this approach.

Maybe those that are so anti pmts are so because the man behind that program is so confrontational. Maybe, since he's not here and Eric D and myself are here with a positive, constructive presence they should consider that they are attacking us instead of HH

I think this is often overlooked here. That said, I think the PSIA instructors here sometimes take it personal when PSIA is slammed. I think it's somewhat natural, both directions.

Me, I'm selfish. As someone who started skiing lately at age 42, I just want good instruction. I'm not partial to anything, anybody, or to any system. As to you wasting your time here, I don't think so. You bring a broad based, experienced voice to the discussions. I've enjoyed your posts and learned some things along the way. But again...I'm selfish. Keep up the good work.

ps. As to your comments regarding Eric's skiing, I have to laugh. If you ever see me skiing some of the terrain that he's mastered, one of 2 things has occurred. I've either taken a wrong turn or have sprouted wings. He's pretty amazing.
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