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How much do you expect your instructor to know? - Page 3

post #61 of 67
What beautiful pictures, Ott! The top photo has red in all the right places, especially Rosie's cheeks. She's gorgeous, and so is Franz's wedeln. Thanks for sharing these.
post #62 of 67
Originally posted by David M:

First time skiers have no clue of what is supposed to happen in a ski boot. So they assume that what does happen is supposed to happen: "Gee I can't feel anything. I can't find my balance and my feet are numb. I guess this must be skiing". Try threading a needle with gloves on. Got the idea.

What happens next? An instructor tells the Never Ever to do things they can't possibly do. At this point they are having so much fun they can hardly wait to get off the hill and head for the nearest golf course. Becoming the Masters Champion seems infinitely more achieveable than learning to ski with ease.

"Knowledge improves our ability to see"
Golf course... Lets not go there! [img]tongue.gif[/img]
Believe it or not, very few people know how to use their feet properly. Sadly, even the fitness industry is first starting to focus on the biomechanics of the feet. Considering many people's feet are messed up in some way or other, the implications for first time skiers are fightening!

Oz said "Obvious alignment problems should BE part of a full cert instructor’s movement analysis".

Right on!

"Knowing where to get additional expert help with movement analysis should BE expected of a full cert instructor"

Double right on! I still beieve that no matter how good the equipment or instructor is, if certain gross postural misalignments are present, or if a person's entire muscular recruitment pattern is faulty, they will still have some pretty serious issues with their skiing.

An instructor looking at the way a person carries themself when they come for the lesson should be able to make a few educated guesses as to what can possibly happen when they start skiing. See the thread on posture and balance.

Just an observation, but I find it sort of interesting that this question was asked of students, but mostly instructors are responding.

Although I do not think there is one answer to this question, I would wager a guess that it would depend upon what standards of professionalism the student holds for themselves.

For example, to maintain my own personal standards, I need a seriously high tolerance for credit card debt, as well as an obsession with my subject matter that has me spending a huge portion of my free time researching it.

In contrast to skiing, working out in a gym has rarely caused death or injury requiring major surgery. For that reason, I have unrealistically expected ski instructors to know infintely more about all aspects of biomechanics than I do.

Unfortunately, the obscenely low pay rate of ski instructors does not make this possible.

However, especially in the US, we are experiencing a dumbing down of society, and what I expect maay be quite different from what the average American wants from a ski lesson.

Todd told me this story about a group that he had for a few days that did not want any instruction whatsoever; just lift line privleges. [what a waste of a good instructor's time!}

Wayne Westcott did this rather disturbibg study, involving psychological well being of 2 groups on a weight training program.

One group was given lots of correction. The other was given none at all, just lots of positive feedback, and lots of chit chattiness. After a given period of time, the "corrected" group had much better results, but they tested HIGHER for depression than when they sstarted the program.

The other group had very insignificant results in their level of fitness, but teseted HIGHER for psychological well being than when they started.

I hate that study, because I believe its true.
post #63 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thanks, nolo.

>>> I have unrealistically expected ski instructors to know infintely more about all aspects of biomechanics than I do.<<<

LM, as you say, it was unrealistic. You are a professional in the field and you'd expect a ski instructor to know more than you do about biomechanics? Had I been your instructor when you started skiing and you had told me beforehand what your profession is I would have expected you to move like a cat on those skis, that, by your own stories, did not happen why?

Because the biomechanics of movements in a gym does not readily transfer to skiing, yet soccer players and ballet dancers and gymnasts take to skiing easily. I think it's because of the agility used in movements in their arts/sports.

BTW, football players on the whole do not, they try to overpower the skis which doesn't work.

You liked the lesson you got from Todd, you can expect that caliber lesson from full certified instructors anywhere, those pins are not given out lightly, but don't expect them to be experts in the psychological, physiological or biomechanical fields, all they need to know is enough in these fields to help you along and enough to know where their limitations are and to send them to an expert help in those fields after they diagnosed the problems.

Of course, many are quite educated in those fields.

post #64 of 67
Quite true. It was my problems with learning to ski that made me change my whole attitude about training for sport. Funny you should mention "moving like a cat". Awhile ago I posted a thread about The Cat and the Salamander. Cats are involved in sports that need spontaneity and agility; gymnasts, soccer plaers, etc. Salamanders are into predictable activities, running, weight training machines, etc.

Even in tip top condition, they may totally fall apart on skis, because the patterns of movement are far less predictable than they are used to.

BTW, to give you an idea of where I was at 2 years ago, Todd told me that the team of pro football players he worked with muscled their turns a whole lot less than I did!
I've learned a lot since then.

But getting back to what your instructor should know. What you have just pointed out is precisely one of those crucial things. Assuming that the person who is in great shape will automatically be an excellent skier can sometimes be a false assumption.

I think this was one of the strong points of the Perfect Turn System. On you first lesson, they ask you what activities you particpate in, and would tell you what aspects of that activity you can use for your skiing. As you get better, they tell you what aspects of that activity should be left behind when you come to the slopes.

I do agree that there are definitely instructors out there who have a truly profound knowledge of bomechanics and alignment. I also find it interesting that I am aan instructor trainer, not a fitness director, and all my favorite instructors are also instructor trainers. Water, or snow, seeks its own level.
post #65 of 67
Wow another great thread. How much should we know? It is like the question, how many skis does a ski instructor need? Answer: ONE MORE PAIR! The day I stop seeking more knowledge is probably the day I should turn in my uniform for good. When I think back to my first few years of instructing and what I did not know then, but the people in my classes learned to ski better and seemed to be happy with their lesson. I didn't know enough then.

There are Instructors in my SS that don’t bother to train and/or pursue certifications. I think it safe to say they are not reading this forum. Do these instructors know enough? Are their students happy with their lesson? Do they come back for another lesson? I don’t know and the SSD doesn’t know either. Our SS doesn’t track group lessons above level 3. Maybe that is the bottom line, if the customer doesn’t complain then the Instructor knew enough.
It is not my standard, is it the industries?
How much should an instructor know? More than yesterday.
post #66 of 67
Because the biomechanics of movements in a gym does not readily transfer to skiing, yet soccer players and ballet dancers and gymnasts take to skiing easily. I think it's because of the agility used in movements in their arts/sports.

BTW, football players on the whole do not, they try to overpower the skis which doesn't work. -Ott
So true. Doesn't this show that you certainly don't need to know what muscles move what and what happens when to ski? Practice in movement is much more valuable than knowledge of movement.

Still, to develop systems to ski (like boots) I can see where one would need this knowledge. David M is right about people not knowing what their feet need or are doing. I've met a few people who know for themselves but the frustrating thing is it is not transferable knowledge. They know for them, but can't explain for someone else. This is where the research is helpful.

What really makes me laugh about this thread is the idea that an instructor now can obtain some knowledge about alignment that would make him have the answers. Quite simply, answers don't exist.

There's no protocal of excercises for even figuring out alignment problems and no protocol for solving them. There's just no theory at all. Try to get a straight answer on something like ramp angle and your head is left spining in a fog. Even something as simple as flex. For years the story was little ankle flexion- use a stiff boot. Lots of ankle flexion? -use a stiff boot too. Two opposite pathologies with the same solution!

I can tell you that I've worked with some of the "gurus" in boot alignment and the fact is they don't know the answers. They know a lot more than others and can maybe help you get there - but you really need to know for yourself what 'there' is.

It seems that Biomechanics has been totally uninterested in skiing. Too difficult perhaps? The unfortunate thing is there is just no theory to go and learn! It's not like you can really say - o.k. you need to learn X to understand alignment because no one knows what X is!

Other than that- I don't think that the best instructor is necessarily the one with the most technical knowledge.

Also- imagine someone who just wants to ski being told, "Hold on, were going to have to teach you how to walk and stand properly first. Then maybe we'll get to some skiing." Sure some people would be interested, but...

Last year I looked into getting a postural and conditioning assesment with someone who has all that knowledge of mucsles, movement etc. Well it was going to be almost $500 dollars for the initial assesment plus over 100$/hr to come up with a program and teach it to me.
post #67 of 67
Tog, I told you last year that the price for that assesment was too high! Just to do another shameless plug for the Academy, we will be doing postural assesments as part of the fitness component, and its included in the academy fee.

You are correct in saying that biomechanics is not interested in skiing. Unfortunately, even some of the more cutting edge sports medicine gurus have more of a background in throwing sports or track and field than snow sports.

I do agree that if you told a student that you will teach them to walk better prior to teaching them to ski, you would lose them.
On the other hand, once you get them hooked, you can encourage them to improve their balance and posture off slopes, to improve their skiing. Again, as Oz says, you have to know when to refer them out and who to refer them too. Telling them to join a gym and have some muscle head put them on the leg extension machine ain't gonna do much for their skiing. Train the MOVEMENT not the MUSCLE!

One of the problems with some of the gym trainers who THINK they are giving good ski conditioning advice have gone skiing maybe 10 times in their lives, and probably used the wrong muscle groups. Since their quads were killing them at the end of the day, they assume that they need to give their trainess extensive quad work, thus creating a muscle imbalance, and setting them up for ACL injury.

Sadly, people do not get interested in changing their daily alignment and bimechanics until they have been injured. Mike clark, president of the National Academy of Sports Medicine http://www.nasm.org once gave a fascinating seminar on ACL injuries. He mentioned the fact that although the top athletes obviously have the best equipment, as well as the best technique, they often sustain serious injury. This is because biomechanical muscle imbalances that might make them predisposed to injury are not looked at until after the person has been hurt.
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