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The Making of Great Ski Teachers

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
In recent conversations here there have been differing opinions expressed on what it takes to be a great ski instructor/coach. I was taken to task by some for appearing to suggest that most successful racers possess the potential to be successful coaches. Just to be clear, I did suggest that, I was not misinterpreted.

My opinion is that the ability to be an effective teacher is not some divine gift possessed by just the lucky few blessed with a natural predisposition to excel in this field. I don't happen to believe that becoming an effective ski teacher is such a mystic occurrence. I think there is a very recognizable skill development path which can lead most anyone with a solid skiing ability and a strong desire/dedication to the status of effective ski teacher.

Here are some things I feel are important skills for the aspiring coach/instructor to develop:

* A complete technical understanding of the sport. A clear concept of the relevance of all technical skill areas, and the affects of variations within each of those areas.

* Solid skiing proficiency. The ability to perform and clearly demonstrate all variations of each skill area on a full range of terrain.

* A methodology for developing these skill areas in students and a means to modify that methodology to cater to differing learning styles.

* A keen eye for error detection and the ability to identify the underlying cause of the deficiency.

* Multiple ways of rectifying foundation deficiencies.

I believe all these skill areas can be developed to very high levels by most solid skiers who possess the desire and determination to do so.

What say you?
post #2 of 5
I would agree with most of that. But every once in awhile I see an NFL game on TV and I hear about some offesive coordinator who is considered "the best in the business". Then they show him standing on the sidelines and he looks like he would be damn lucky to even JOG 40 yards, let alone run it in 4-5 seconds! Isn't that what he demands from his players?

I'm just yankin' yer chain Fast. I'm feelin' a little salty tonight after building a friggin' fence in 100 degree heat. Good post.

Spag :

[ August 23, 2003, 09:08 PM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #3 of 5
You left out the one element that's key to every great teacher, Fastman: Communication. I don't care how much you know about a subject, if you can't express that knowledge in a manner the intended recipient can understand, you can't teach it.

To be a good ski instructor, you need to have the understandings you described, the good "eye" for assessing the student's performances and multiple means of explaining/demonstrating the ideas and getting feedback from the student to indicate that the message is getting through.
post #4 of 5
I would add that a great teacher has empathy for the learner's struggle up the learning curve.

Also, most great teachers do not take themselves too seriously but take their subject very seriously.
post #5 of 5

Good thoughts on the mechanical side of ski instruction (or any other sport).

How about the motivational side? Great instructors have an ability to understand their students motivations, to nurture their desires, to facilitate their growth. They treat each student individually, helping them to reach their potential and open doors to even greater growth.

Without the psychological/motivational skill set can the instructor, coach, teacher the really be effective?
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