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Practice during lessons?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This has come up in the How can we coach/instruct thread.

My question for all the veteran instructors (or any suggestions from the terminal students) is How do we as instructors allow for time in those short 1 or 2 hours when with a group of say, 5 never evers or level 2-4 classes. Time is short and the push by the SS and Managment is to get the people skiing and on the hill as quickly as possible. Tactics, processes, or hints are all welcome to help this green instructor [img]tongue.gif[/img] I'm sure the SS will have their ideas too. I will have to try to balance them all..
post #2 of 11
Teach a bunch of mini-privates within the group. When someone needs specific attention, do a short teaching segment with them nearby while the rest of the group practices what is going on rather than making the group watch what you are doing with the individual. This can be done at any level.

Remind yourself to allow people to actually try something fr a bit before seeking to modify what they're doing.

Once first timers or beginners are going I usually let them ski until they choose to stop, which they do often enough anyway. then use those resting times to engage verbally or do some easy static activities.

Teach through activities instead of words, as long as they are active, they are praciticing.

With intermediates I try to limit stops to once or twice per run so we ski at least half a run at each go. (depends on terrain and fitness level though)

With advanced and up I often ski entire runs without stopping. We talk on the chair. Do the setup as we get off, and once ready we go, we go all the way. If I question the effectiveness of a course of action we stop 10 turns or so before the bottom to check for understanding and begin to modify the plan. I always let them know they can stop if they want to or have any questions.

Remember: "Learning is Experience, Everything Else is Just Information."
post #3 of 11

Overteaching is how we eat up the time that otherwise could go to practice. This may seem counter-intuitive to a new teacher who is trying to give the greatest value to their students. If the beginner terrain is served by a lift, I have found the best tactic is to be a stationary target halfway down the slope, ask the students to cycle up and down, and have them stop by me on their way down for feedback (if desired). Even with advanced students this can work well, if the slope is not too crowded for you to pick your students out of the crowd skiing by. Another tactic is to set a slalom course with cones or ski poles and increase the offset of the gates to require more rounded turns as they improve turning skills. I have not found a student, whatever their age, to not enjoy running gates. Practice should be the fun part of the lesson. There is a guy named Captain Zembo (John Alderson) who describes a good lesson plan: Play, Drill, and Adventure. Practice can fit into any of these segments. Play could be fox and hounds. Drill could be the slalom course. Adventure could be a trip on a trail through the woods.

Best of luck on your first year! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 11
Dchan: You will be handed a very specific "game plan" for the L-1 group. Just think of it as a "core curriculum" and that you have to cover each of the components. At this point, time management becomes crucial because you may be given limits to work within. At our hill, you get one hour for one to five students, an hour and a half for five to ten (occasionally 12). I think each component is important from the ski shape/binding intro to the lift safety portion at the end.

You will have to deal with issues such as unbuckled boots and students who want to quit (remember, the clock is ticking). Regarding the quitters, some, just let em walk away. I had a woman who was partly deaf and about ten minutes into the class wanted to leave since she did not want to hold back the others. I convinced her to stay (she did not share this prior to the start) and used more visuals as well as spoke directly at her so she could read my lips. It was a great class. But spending ten minutes on a "dude with a tude" is not fair to the others who paid for a full lesson.

Sneak a quick look at your watch and try to keep an eye on other classes to gauge your progress. Word of caution.... some instructors will cut sections of the "game plan" : Better ones won't.

You will see a pattern emerge that goes something like...Of an average class of 10:
2 will have full command of every point
4 will have reasonable skills
4 will be hackers but there is still hope
2 will never leave the comfort of the bar again

Since (being the detailed person you are), you probably will fall behind......... the clock is now ticking toward the next line up .............. keep a few candy bars in a pocket and don't over hydrate ...... nearest relief is not often close.

Be the first in line and have the biggest smile cause the boss likes to snag mopers and hiders.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 20, 2001 07:36 PM: Message edited 1 time, by yuki ]</font>
post #5 of 11
Yuki, I'm in awe:
>>"At our hill, you get one hour for one to five students, an hour and a half for five to ten (occasionally 12). I think each component is important from the ski shape/binding intro to the lift safety portion at the end."<<
I want your hill. You can have my 10 minimum but try to hold to less than 20 students for 50 minutes in a 10X60' corridor with no lift.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm feeling better already! Sugarbowl is planning on running a "fast Track" program for levels 1-4. This program is to get skiers on the hill sooner. Therefore the maximum size of the class is supposed to be 5 people [img]smile.gif[/img] I was more interested in your tricks and tips to keep them all interested. It sounds like the concensus is to keep them moving and trying things and not spending as much time actually instructing/talking
post #7 of 11
As a level 5/6 student, I can tell you what I want when I book a course of lessons.

i) Someone to show me the resort - where the good runs are in different conditions, what's tricky, what's busy, which runs are easier/harder than their official grading

ii) Technical instruction & lots of different suggested ways to practise/improve

iii) Fun. My last instructor-for-a-week spent a small amount of time teaching us 'tricks' like skiing backwards, 180/360 turns, tiny jumps etc which kept us amused & interested.

If I'm paying you for a morning (or 5 mornings) to teach me, I don't want just to do lots of miles because that's what the afternoons are for; I want to get value from your skills & teaching ability.
post #8 of 11

Once after I have instructed a class in, let's say first timers direction change, then we will ride a chairlift for the first time. Then I will so them how to do a direction change garland. As we use direct parallel, the initial direction change is stepping turns. So the garland is three steps down the slope and three steps up the slope. This is across a very shallow beginners slope. At the end of the first garland, I teach the class to use the "Bullfighter" turn. I will have the class go back and forth, using the garland at least four times. Our beginner area is about 300 feet at the top and narrow to 150 after the first traverse. The issue here is practice. I notice that after three traverses, most classes have the direction change down pretty well. After the last traverse, it is pretty flat and I ask them if they want to attemps a complete 180 degree turn. Most are able to complete the turn. Then it is back up the lift for something new, ie shuffle turns, which leads into a rough parallel.

The practice here is focused on balance, edge control and weight transfer. If I have a student who is not getting the task, I will go right along side of the student, coaching along the way.
post #9 of 11
Pierre eh!: Ouch! I'll never complain again ........... I promise!

At least I'll try not to!

Dchan: .......... Keep a comb in your pocket to scrape the ice chunks from the bottom of the students skis. Nothing sharp though... I even use one of those rubber/bendable pens....... I'm sure YOU never fall ......... but just in case.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm laying on the snow all the time always wondering How the heck did that happen? : : :
post #11 of 11
dchan, "I was more interested in your tricks and tips to keep them all interested. It sounds like the concensus is to keep them moving and trying things and not spending as much time actually instructing/talking "

Its important to remember that our students will learn without or inspit of us. If we over-teach we will inhibit their learning.
Remember we need to guide their learning. We need to teach movements that enhance their skiing.

The best advice I recieved 23 years ago was "don't sweat the small stuff, and be sure they ski as much or more than they do when they are on their own" also" If they are moving they will learn. If you are lecturing they are probably becoming confused"

When teaching level I's I establish the boundries of our class space and then keep the students moving in a cicle so that most all of the students are moving at one time. This helps eliminate the feeling of being on stage. It only works well when I am successful at speaking to each student as they make a lap arround the circle. I can also jump in and demo as often as needed.
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