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Inviting Change to Happen

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
In the best/worst ski lesson thread, I expressed dismay at the idea of an instructor yanking on my ankles as a means of teaching edging.
I attended an alignment workshop at a professional conference last week. The instructor said:
"Invite change to happen, and the body will RSVP. Force change, and the body will engage in bracing."

If an instructor, through the use of either verbal, visual, or non intrusive tactile cues, "invites" a correction of a student's movement pattern, the "reply card" will read "will attend" if the student is ready.
If, due to either muscle imbalance or improper equipment, the student is not yet ready for this change, the reply will be "regrets".

But in most cases, there will not be significant negative impact. The student will probably become more aware of what they need to work on.

If the verbal cues are demeaning, if visual cues are used on a non visual learner, if tactile cues are invasive and intrusive, the student will feel "under attack" and the student body will "brace" itself in defense. In some cases, they can even bring about a move that slightly mimics what the instructor is asking for.


The peripheral muscular system will be activates as a defense mechanism. But it is unlikely that the intrinsic, supportive muscles will be effected.

Forced correction may bring about superficial change.
Invited correction goes straight to the core.
post #2 of 14
Forced correction may bring about superficial change.
Invited correction goes straight to the core.
Perhaps you should send this one to GWB ......

Oz :
post #3 of 14
On this subject (LM's, that is! Oz, you norty boy)...from a skiing newsgroup. There's a couple of quite voluble chappies with some pronounced opinions about skiing and teaching. This one I'm going to quote below teaches at a major Summit County resort. He gets pretty, er, forceful in putting his way of teaching and will brook no alternatives. see how invitations to improve are issued here:

(start quoted text):
I usually say, "here's what you're doing" and I imitate them for a few turns. Then I say, "here's what you *should* be doing" and I make a few turns with the correction. They can see the difference but it is still hard for them to break bad habits. Often, I have to give them some guidepoints that will tell them they've reverted. Eg. if they are being forced to the back seat exiting a mogul turn, they are probably not facing down the fall line.

I would:

* get them on an blue groomer.
* Make them quiet their entire upper body.
* Have them put their forward arms around a barrel with knuckles
almost touching.
* Have them bend their knees a little putting pressure on the shins.
* Make them face straight down the fall line and not deviate.
* Show them how to make large radius turns by doing nothing more than tucking their turning knee behind their other knee and rolling the ski on edge.

By having them concentrate on their knee position they don't have to look at tips or anything and they will be forced into the front seat.
By rolling the turning (downhill) ski on edge they will carve with that ski and begin to feel the difference between carving and sliding.

Once they can do that I'd get them to do the exact same thing on a steeper groomer with short-radius turns practicing a mogul run while introducing some limited pole action by spreading their arms out just a bit and only moving at the wrist. Still a completely quiet upper body.

Once they can do that I'd take them to the moguls. I don't think I've ever seen a skier that can ski moguls correctly but cannot carve GS turns on groomers.

It's my opinion that instructors spend too much time teaching people how to make perfect carved turns on groomers. If you can teach them a simple, correct technique and then move them to more difficult terrain as quickly as possible, then the stuff they've skipped over fills in naturally.
(end of quoted text)
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmm, posting political views in the non political section of the forum. Trying to force a change of attitude. About as effective as crashing planes into big buildings, or to bring this back to topic, yanking on someone's ankles to teach them edge engagement.

Ant, very perceptive. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the ideas presented, the poster has an iinteresting use of language. I would be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, by guessing that perhaps his written internet communication differs from his up close and personal teachiing style.

Sometimes people develop a defensive style of movemnt as a reaction to a badly given cue. For a period of time after the "ankle yank" incident, I was skiing with my boots edged into the hill.
post #5 of 14
Invited correction goes straight to the core.
The personal mindset of the individual is what accepts the invitation to change. I.e. change begins with the individual NOT the instructor.

At the time the "grab the ankles" movement may have been an excellent way of highlighting a movement. Alas the individual was not open to receive the instruction as presented at the time. It is amazing the learning that can be achieved when one does not want to control the learning situation. (Taking a lesson from the "names" at the Academy for instance) I venture that the individual was already in a defensive mindset and the "ankle incident" became a "shift of blame" situation.

Terminal intermediate is a "frame of mind". (Physical limitations not withstanding)

As for politics ... well I was just highlighting the hypocrisy of the quote as related to the bigger picture of life learning.


[ May 13, 2003, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Gotta agree to disagree. Tactile cues need to be used very carefully. If the student feels as if they were being shoved around, there will be no improvement. Has nothing to do with the student controlling the situation, A different instructor using the same sort of cue with less arrogance had better results. Instructors who try to psychoanalyze, {You are not ready, tou are controlling, you are making excuses} are, in my experience, covering up for their own ineptitude.

As far as "bracing" goes, read the Aussie Pilates teacher's book Modern Pilates, by Penelope Latey.
post #7 of 14
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
A different instructor using the same sort of cue with less arrogance had better results. Instructors who try to psychoanalyze, {You are not ready, tou are controlling, you are making excuses} are, in my experience, covering up for their own ineptitude.
Is an instructor that does not at least ATTEMPT to analyse the student and situation the one that comes over (to the student) as arrogant?

If two instructors can have such different results with the same method (but not presentation) of demonstrating a point is it ONLY the instructors fault?

Do we all get out of bed every morning wearing the EXACT same "suit of acceptance". Does EVERY student in a class invite learning in the same way EVERYDAY?


[ May 14, 2003, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #8 of 14
quite true, though a student cannot be taught unless they are willing to learn. I mean if an instructor told you to ski in a snowplough for half a day most people would say bugger that because they think they are going backwards, however it teaches you speed and edge control while going straight down the falline, it also gets you lower, (something I need to work on [img]smile.gif[/img] )
post #9 of 14
OK - as probably THE most consistent lesson taker here (& consistency of instructor as well) I can tell you I DEFINITELY have days when I am ready to learn stuff & days when it is a struggle....

My instructors have told me - they can pretty much see it when I appear for a lesson... some days I have the 'I'm going to SKI mode on... those days they can pretty much be sure I'll ski whatever & try REALLY hard to do anything... other days it is like a different person turned up for the lesson... those days are better for consolidation... because I am likely to NOT be a very receptive or useful student...

The TRICK ... is sometimes they CAN turn me around... but I have to be ready to turn...
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Of course, we will respond differently on different days. But the cost of lessons, and skiing in general, being what they are, I do not believe that anyone who takes lessons on a consistent basis does so, because they do NOT want to improve.
Unfortunately, I have heard instructors of all diisciplines use that cop out, when they lacked proficient teachiing skills to motivate and improve their student.

Our varying mood sets relate directly to topic. Seasoned instructors are able to read a students mood, which, BTW, is quite different from analyzing and stereotyping them, based on their demeanor on that given day. With that in mind, professionals need to open their teaching toolbox, and use the appropriate technique for that given day, for that PARTICULAR student. If the instructor's only means of communicating is tactile, and their tactile cuing is abrupt, and almost seemingly violent, they will not have good results with a student who is not in the mood for such cues. Using a cueing method that is inappropriate for the student is a means of forcing change, and IMHO, it usually does not work.

Sometimes I teach these Pilates Stability Ball classes that have about 30 people in the room, for a one hour class. If I go aound the class and adjust the postion in a manner that is even slightly abrupt, I notice immediately that the student tenses up. This is an example of bracing.

At last weeks conference, I took an interesting workshop using foam rollers. Since it was a teaching workshop, the instructor had us pair up.

The particular exercise was for the external obliques, which, OT, is useful for angulation and lateral stability. We were to lie on our sides, with our hip drapped over the roller. Our partner had to sit on our ankles, and pull on our top arm as we came up into a side bend. YIKES, talk about bracing!! In all due modesty, I am actually quite good at lateral strength /stability exercises, but with all the pushing down on my feet and pulling at the arm by my partner, I could barely feel what muscles were supposed to be worked!
post #11 of 14
When I was pitching in high school a century or so ago, our pitching coach took to laying down on his stomach, his hands near our feet on the mound. When we "toed" the rubber, pivoted, and prepared to push off toward home plate, he would grab and hold our push-off ankle, so that we stood there on one leg, as if freeze-framed, to "feel" the balancing act taking place on that "stance" leg.
Our assignment was to hold that position, to feel the forces that were being "loaded" onto that leg, for use in the explosive drive toward the target, our pitching arm(s) more or less just following along.

I don't know what made me think of that.

OH YES, the ankle-holding. It worked.

Sometimes an instructor, of anything, will detect that's what's good for the goose might not be good for the gander.

I remember my second day ski lesson at Snowmass. I asked my instructor, after all the talk about staying in front, "is it possible to get too far AHEAD?" He walked over to me, where I was on my skis, and from behind, pushed me as hard as he could. I fell to the ground, having popped out of my bindings.

"Apparently," he said.

Nah. Kidding. He was too busy tending to his tan.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Again, I think it all comes down to the ability to accurately read the student, and use whatever method is most suitable. No matter how much an instructor believes in the effectiveness of a particular communication style, if the student does not respond to it, its useless. Less experienced/proficient instructors do tend to be one trick ponies, in contrast to the seasoned pros.

While Oz contends that the ssucess of the Academy was due to the fact that the students believed they were working with the "names" in the ski industry, I would contend that the reason these instructors have become "names" as opposed to "also teaches" is due to their diversity of sstyle, and willingness to adapt their style, within reason, to different students.

As far as student's mood goes, well, the only reason I took my first lesson, after having a disasterous lesson with a one trick pony ego maniac 1o years prior, was that Mark really wanted me to.
Talk about an instructor's ability to change someone's attitude. The rest, as they say, is history.

The acid test for the effectiveness of a correctional style, is how well a student executes that change when the instructor is not present.

For tactile cues, has the student really learned to move their body independently, or are they simply moving in response to the tactical cue?

For verbal cues, has the languaage become integrated into the students movement pattern, so that they no longer need to be reminded.

For visual cues, when the student is free skiing, is the image of what they want to do in their own mind's eye?
post #13 of 14
Seasoned instructors are able to read a student’s mood, which, BTW, is quite different from analysing and stereotyping them, based on their demeanour on that given day.
I think "analysing" is a constant with seasoned instructors.

How does a student know they are being stereotyped in the analysis process?

While Oz contends that the success of the Academy was due to the fact that the students believed they were working with the "names" in the ski industry.
I contend that the Academy learning situation was a two way process. From a skiers perspective they came ready to learn due to their prior acceptance of the instructor AND the overriding inner belief that the instructors presented where the best. This would enable the instructors a much broader scope of "willingness" to work with.

I am not dissing anyone here just using the situational process as an example setting up a learning environment. I.e. posting on Epic Ski could be seen as a tactile learning.

LM what did you learn from the "italian ankle grabbing" incident?


[ May 15, 2003, 06:10 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
It actually happened in New England, not in Italy. But to answer your question, I learned absolutely nothing from that lesson, whiich is, BTW, the point of the topic.
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