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Question on Teaching Kids

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Any tips/tricks on how to teach kids to dig in their edges to stop? My seven year old has only been skiing once, where he was enrolled in ski school, and he just didn't seem to get the idea of using edges. So, he would make a wedge to try and stop, but his skis would stay flat on the surface, which did little to stop his momentum. If I go out with him for a day trip sometime in the hopefully not to distant future, I'd love to have a few ideas as to how to get him to "edge in."
post #2 of 15
This might not apply, but easily three-fourths of the kids I've worked with as beginners or near-beginners had their boots on too loose. I don't know if they do that themselves, or they forget to tighten them before they come out, or they just don't know they're supposed to be tight (and hard to walk around in), but it happens, somehow, a lot. So I'm going to suggest that the first thing is to make sure the cuff of his boot is snug around his leg, there's nothing in the boot except his foot and a sock (i.e., his pants are outside), and that the boots are a reasonable size for him to begin with. He won't be able to use the edges, otherwise.

Find a very gentle slope with a flat runout. Go there. Put his poles aside, if he has some. (Yours, too, just to be fair.) Talk about "standing on the sides of your feet," rather than about using your edges, and try it--both the insides and outsides of the feet. Move into sidestepping and herringboning up hill (being ever mindful of how quickly that gets boring) then slide down. See if he can turn in one direction or the other by standing on the inside of one foot (if he's using skis with some shape to them). See if he can stop before he gets to the bottom. As soon as he can, get him on the beginner lift and start getting the mileage in!

[ November 07, 2002, 06:03 PM: Message edited by: daevious ]
post #3 of 15
First of all don't teach your own kid. I have a nine year old, teach full time, and would never offer her a shred of advice. Put your child in the competent care of a good ski school.

Avoid private lessons for kids. Put a kid in a group setting.

Lastly it sounds as though you want your child using their ski edge to brake. The kid needs to turn. Very few children can carve until age eight, nine, or ten. They skid turns for various reasons and it's not a bad thing.

Create movemnent, don't "set" edge angles.

I have had wonderful success with young kids on appropriate terrain doing "thousand steps". It is a delightful drill for kids. I'll ski backwards when it's safe and have kids chase me doing this drill and we all laugh so hard we cry.

Get your kid in a good ski school and they'll be better off!
post #4 of 15
What Rusty said.
post #5 of 15
Upon further reflection, I'd like to elaborate on my previous post. Kids should be taught to control speed through turn shape, not edge pressure. The braking wedge has its place, but it's a dead end as far as skill development is concerned. AS kids move to steeper terrain, they need to learn hockey stops and sideslips. Kids who depend on wedge braking generally get into trouble when the pitch gets a little steep, but speed control by turn shape and choice of line, and hockey stops, work everywhere.
Put your kid in a group lesson, or better yet, a season long program. Peer pressure is the best motivator for kids, and most parents grossly overestimate their kids ability to handle terrain. Kids need lots of mileage on VERY easy trails to develop confident movement patterns.
post #6 of 15
I'm a firm believer in not "teaching" kids, but setting up learning situations. When I taught a lot of kids, which I don't do much any more, I literally had a bag of tricks for this purpose. (Still have it.) I once took a clinic from a children's instructor who used several different lengths of rope to communicate line and for a variety of games and activities. I think a length of rope, some cones, drinking straws dressed up with reflective tape, ski poles, all can be used to create reasons to turn, to come to a stop, to "go there."

Also use natural courses like paths in the woods, gullies, access roads, etc. Games like follow the leader, fox and hounds, and air traffic controller/traffic cop are also great learning-without-teaching activities.

Teaching kids is fun because the creative threshhold is infinite.
post #7 of 15

What everyone has said ... except it is possible to teach your own child BUT not in the role as "teacher". IMHO the role of "playmate" is a much better role for parents as far as ski teaching goes. Lots of easy terrain with some small undulations to play with and just create lots of "fun miles" for the boy. It is amazing how much we as adults can gain from the experience both in the moment and for moments forth.

In Vail & Environs we have many, many adventures for kids on the slope, both day and night. Have a look at this map Just add Imagination, for some of the kids zones we have. The only thing a parent has to add is time, love & patience.

Lots of easy turning miles and the edges will develop just nicely.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. I will put him in ski school every opportunity. I'm a huge advocate of not teaching your own kids. The problem is I also don't want him to think every ski trip means he goes to school and I ski off on my own. I was just looking for a few tips that I could throw out on an as needed basis for those times when he's not in school.
post #9 of 15
I'm headed to Loveland today with my daughter. I will admit to one little trick. I ask her for a lesson!

She knows a great deal more than I realize. She knows all my weaknesses, whether in bumps or on groomers. She LOVES to be the teacher.

Even if she is a little off base we explore a topic and it gives her a chance to think about different things.

I usually tip her with a trip to the Dairy Queen on the way home!
post #10 of 15
Rusty Guy, I hadn't thought of switching the roles of student teacher with my daughter.
In my case I can't get my daughter to consider taking lessons from anyone else but me. She swears to aspire to the standards of level 3 this year. I don't know why, she can't take her level 1 until she is 16.
post #11 of 15
Pierre eh!,

Where have you been? Bob and I were talking about you yesterday.

Your daughter is a fine skier....a chip off the old block!

As noted above saw an old skiing buddy of yours yesterday.
post #12 of 15
Do you ever think we (ski instructors) get so wrapped up in the theory or discipline of education that we lose sight of what's going on in front of us?

I see nothing wrong or dangerous with somebody wishing to go skiing with their child and asking for a couple of tips (presumably from people who know) to help the child get over a particular hurdle. Kind of like asking his teacher how you can help with his homework, in my mind. Yes, from a technical standpoint, it is best to have the child learn from a skilled professional, but that isn't always going to be possible, economical, or as much fun. It's not the ONLY answer.
post #13 of 15
I coached both my kids from age 7 until they were 12 and 14. They were on the race team with other kids on the development squad, racing YSL-J3. They got a bit jealous of me tending to other kids, but all in all it was a great way to bond and spend a lot of time together.

I skied with them in utero, in a front pack, in a back pack, and hauled them up to the mountain with me every day from before they could walk (this place had free daycare). When they could walk, I put them on skis in gradually increasing doses, always careful to quit while they were ahead. When they were potty trained, I put each girl in the Buddy Werner program. The area didn't charge us tuition because they were such great marketers for the program--they loved to turn heads in amazement.

They worked as co-clinicians with Tony Forrest in a two-day PSIA children's clinic when they were 5 and 7. He gave them certification pins (safety pins) and $5 each for their assistance on the demos and for taking the group from time to time. Those two kids didn't touch ground for the whole two days they were so pumped up.

You have stirred up a lot of great memories...I really enjoyed those days.
post #14 of 15

I just returned from a glorious day of skiing with my daughter. I'm sure when I'm OLDER and GREYER these are the days that I will long to repeat. I'm going to try to savor every moment.
post #15 of 15
I am with daevious wrt to the boot being loose. Being myself a parent of now two (1-1/2) skiers and a non-certified insturctor for the past 10 years (just teaching friends and their kids, not professionally), I know that we parents tend to be too attentive when OUR KID says that the boot is tight. Most rental shops do not offer or recommend to pull the liner out to see if the boot is OK, and kids who just start to ski do not have the feeling yet for "what is right" in a ski boot. So when they feel snug, they often say "tight". Not only is it bad for edging, it is also unsafe for the ankles. I recommend before trying on a boot, just squeeze his ankle and foot to show him how the boot is supposed to feel. Then, with the boot on, have him tell you when it feels that way.

There may be one more problem. He may be sitting too far back on his skis. It is impossible to stop snowplowing skis if you are in the backseat.

If, with the boot fitted properly, he is still not able to brake, don't take him to steep terrain.

Also try to find a ski school that does not insist on a snowplow. All kids that I ever taught (not as many as professional instructors teach, but with a season-to-season follow up) have no problem doing parallel turns and hockey stops IF their skis are SOFT, SHORT and DAMP.

Same for adults, except that adults tend to oversteer a flat ski, which sends them into helicoptering patterns which they don't know how to get out of. At best they fall; at worst, I've seen some adults twist-break their legs. For beginning adults, the skis should NOT be too short. That teaches them to angulate their knees and hips.
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