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One Hit Wonders

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
So, as the debate continues, as to whether a SINGLE lesson with a specific instructor can make either a significant improvment your your technique, or a change in your thinking, such as one of Weems' tantalizing tactics, I thought it may be time to call in the responses of the "peanut gallery".

So, ski students! Any one hit wonders that you'd care to talk about? [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #2 of 44
Tell you what: I'll allow that one lesson will do alot, IF it results in the student seeking further training. Would it be fair to say that if this doesn't happen, it was a lousy lesson?
post #3 of 44
Thread Starter 
Either it was a lousy lesson, or the student themselves had a very finite concept of learning!
post #4 of 44
Yes, I should add that I don't believe that a lousy lesson is neccessarily the fault of the instructor.
post #5 of 44
I'll agree with that, Miles. I've often said that

"Learning BEGINS when you've got it right!"

That's one way to describe an appropriate objective for a lesson. The student communicates what he/she WANTS. The instructor figures out what the student NEEDS in order to accomplish that "want." Then, together, they agree on a meaningful step in the direction that leads to the goal, one that can be accomplished in the time of the lesson. The measure of that step, besides its clear relevance to the student's goal, is that it can be "mastered" in the lesson. "Mastery" means not that the student HAS practiced it enough, but that he can DO it well enough and consistently enough to practice it effectively on his own.

Then he has to get practicing!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #6 of 44
I'll be the peanut gallery here. Tony Fry, the manager of the school on Aspen Mountain, taught me some hand jive move last season that was attainable in the first two tries. It changed my skiing forever. It opened up tons of new doors. This was a not just a one time lesson, it was a two minute drill.
post #7 of 44
A false messiah:

Six or seven years ago I did a Taos ski week (my first time in a "camp"). While my skiing improved there was one thing that I came away with that I though had transformed my skiing - leading with the inside knee or turning it into the hill (this relates to Fox's thread as well). Until that time I often blocked my turn with my inside ski as it stayed flat or even on the big toe edge. Trouble was it didn't work consistenly. I thought I just needed more practice and that with time it would be the key to making me an expert. While there was some improvement over time this approach never panned out to be what I had hoped for.

A few years later (a few years ago) I figured out how to better initiate edging of the new inside ski from the foot. The feel and consistency of my turns improved very quickly after that. I had heard a number of times about initiated turns from the feet but it was probably reading HH's book that gave me the biggest jump in understanding in regards to this concept.

I think my experience in this instance very closely matches Roger's comments in Fox's thread. I would say that I use a very similar description to Roger's (probably not quite as well stated) when I try to describe the difference between these two cues as an approach to turn initiation.
post #8 of 44
From personal experience, I fall into the "one lesson can make a difference" school of thought, at least if the student spends a few sessions afterwards working on the drills.
Nobody can develop the muscle memory necessary to meaningfully improve in a single session, particularly if the instructor has structured the lesson in proper professional fashion (hear what student thinks he wants, figure out what student needs, deliver what student needs, leave student feeling he got what he wanted). All that takes most of the two hours.
Done right, though, you (the instructor) have sent me (the student) happily off to work on some stuff--spending more time on easier terrain the next few times out.
I did this about six weeks ago. It was a huge success.
As a matter of fact, it was such a success that I set up to take a second lesson from the same instructor. But he had to cancel, then I couldn't get to our make up. So we've set up to do something along these lines about once a month next season. Of course, when I do that, I've left the one lesson thread and am into the "student in a regular regime" role.
post #9 of 44
Took a free group lesson on bumps with an excellent Swedish instructor at Sierra, Bjorn.

I had a breakthrough, a whack on the head. After the lesson, I practiced until closing. I made sure I memorized as much of the lesson as I could so that I could play it back often in my mind. I went home and got every modern book on skiing available in the county library system, just for the bump chapters. I wanted to understand why certain motions were important. I spent hours in Borders and Barnes & Noble. I went online and spent hours reading bump motion analysis and tips on the Ski and Skiing magazine web sites. I asked for and got great tips here as well. I studied my tapes of the Olympics moguls competions. I got some rental skiing videos (old and not helpful). I practiced skiing bumps in my mind. Mostly, though, it was Bjorn's lesson that was the key.

Next ski trip, a couple weeks later, I spent 2 days practicing hard. I got it, and it only took one lesson.
post #10 of 44
Ah wtg, this is what skiing is all about: fascination, emersion and delight.

[ April 23, 2002, 05:49 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #11 of 44
Thread Starter 
I don't want to embarass anyone on this forum, but sometimes you see a clip or an image of someone skiing, and they have an essence that defies some of your misconceptions about the sport.

I've made Weems blush a few times by referring to a segment he did on OLN. His skiing looked so calm and effortless. I remember, for the next few days, for some reason, I kept humming the song "Morning has Broken", by Cat Stevens. {hope you are not offended that it wasn't "Born to Be Wild" }

A few weeks later, I had a lesson with a fellow bear, who made me realize that I was just working too darn hard! So one person set the image for me, while the other provided the insight!
post #12 of 44
Lisamarie - there is a 10 or 20 second shot of Tom Day in the Squaw Shootout segment of Blizzard of Aahhs that defined my skiing for years. It's burned in so well I can see it anytime and still use it for inspiration.

As a matter of fact just typing this in has made the soundtrack music come back into my mind.
post #13 of 44
I'm with you Epic, I still think overall that 'Blizzard' is the greatest ski movie ever made!
post #14 of 44
So that is why most "lessons" I see are just a gaggle of students loosely following the "instructor" down the slope. They are trying to gain an impression to better visualize what they want to look like as they ski.

Too bad only the first to follow get a clear shot.

("Ment to be provocative but in jest)

More thoughtfully,

Considering my low level of participation in the SS system, my experience is
A 1 hour lesson is good for a tip or two
A half day is good for a technique or drill to try and then practice.
A moment is good for a "breakthrough".

post #15 of 44
Originally posted by CalG:
A 1 hour lesson is good for a tip or two
A half day is good for a technique or drill to try and then practice.
A moment is good for a "breakthrough".

I like this.

What about a week long camp?
post #16 of 44
Bob B.

Interesting what you say about learning beginning when you get it right. Mermer Blakeslee says that learning begins when you become aware of doing it wrong.

Your thoughts?
post #17 of 44
I watched my wife (level 3-4 skier) come out of a 2 hour lesson at Mammoth making her first perfect, round, carved turns on groomed runs.

I've also watched her come out of a week of full day lessons and show no visible improvements and, sometimes, a regression to old habits.
post #18 of 44
Would any of you SSDs give this man his money back?
post #19 of 44
I strapped G41s to my feet for a week (sorry, no lessons), and by the time the week was over my skiing improved more than it has since I started skiing 12 years ago. Every turn was a breakthrough. Go figure.
post #20 of 44
Having not taken a week long camp for any sport development I can only surmise that it would sink to the level of a guided tour. That's me only speaking here. I get more out of small bites, and then I need to internalize., experiment and practice. A week of 1/2 days perhaps, or just defining the schedule to allow "independent study".

I find if I have an "expert" around too long, I quit thinking for myself or else start resisting the learning process.

This doesn't stop me from planning a high adventure trip out to eski and holiday's "camp"

I would then keep my expectations in check and hope to be surprised, while observing my children have their confidence and abilities strengthened.

post #21 of 44
Epic. No. We'd give the money back to the woman!

If that woman came to us and said that her lack of progress was due to our poor teaching, I would refund or reteach in a heartbeat. Our lessons are guaranteed.

We would also take the pro out and beat him around the head a shoulders with a sharp stick with a nail in it.

(Actually, we would take the pro and ask for detail and provide coaching.)

However, she may decide to take some ownership there, and she may be also in a process of rearranging herself--part of the learning process. (Mermer's idea of "moment of failure", being the moment of learning) When you do a week, you can get the whole thing rebuilt, but sometimes there are moments of pain.

[ April 23, 2002, 11:03 AM: Message edited by: weems ]
post #22 of 44
Maybe you need to quit thinking for yourself? I know that when I'm doing anything at my best I'm not thinking about it. Maybe that's the advantage of a week long clinic? By the end it might feel like a guided tour, but you could be skiing better than you ever realized.
post #23 of 44

My track record speaks for it's self. I am a BAD student.

I set myself up with high expectations and then blame every one and every thing, including myself, when "nothing" happens.

When sitting, just sit!

I am sure all the pros have many stories, but I have so few let me bore you. There is a lesson in here somewhere.

As a patrol member, we are welcomed in the Perfect Turn activities. "anytime, we want to ski with you guys".

I was placed in an upper level afternoon group with three other gentlemen, all around my age. I was introduced and set apart a bit because of my assocoation, though I had dressed "civilian" in hopes to mix better. Oh well.

Our pro had had a bit of time with the other guests, and I can assume the motives for the instruction were polled. I gathered that two of the men wanted to "ski all day without getting so tired" The third person was a bit hampered by language so I didn't get any "chair talk".
We took a run down some expert terrain, did some javalin turns and then moved to some easier runs. While riding the chair with one of the two guest and the Pro, the gentleman started in on "if he could just ski the day without getting leg cramps". I asked him if he drank water during the day. He replied that he never drank water. I suggested he might want to, to relieve his cramping. The only down side is the "rest stops" I explained. He started in on me that he was 50+ years old and had been skiing for longer than that and he wasn't going to change things now.

I shut right up and was glad for my little bit of willingness to learn.

(See thread on congratulations Mille i.e. growing old is when you stop learning))

post #24 of 44
CalG I love that story. And you were totally right about the water. It's the obvious stuff that we forget.
post #25 of 44
Interesting what you say about learning beginning when you get it right. Mermer Blakeslee says that learning begins when you become aware of doing it wrong.
Good point, Nolo. Clearly, learning can happen in many forms, at any moment. I like Mermer's description too, very much.

Perhaps I should be clearer that I am not referring to learning in general, but specifically to MOTOR learning, and even more narrowly to the formation of good movement habits. These "good" habits can't be formed by practicing "bad" movements, no matter how much we practice! "Grooving" the right stuff requires practicing the right stuff. And that, clearly, begins only when we start doing it right!

But no one would likely ever start practicing anything other than their current technique until they recognize that there is benefit and value in learning new things. In that sense, Mermer is dead on. Show me someone who thinks he knows everything, and I'll show you someone who will learn nothing!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #26 of 44

I like how Mermer has given failure a positive value in learning, because we have celebrated "success" to the detriment of learning. She asks, "Which do you value more? Knowing or learning?" Our society certainly values knowing more than learning. She suggests that ski teachers can help people re-value failure as the threshold to learning, which they can then take to other aspects of their lives, and be more willing to risk, try new things, and generally live fuller lives, unconstrained by the need to appear perfect.

It has the ring of truth to me.
post #27 of 44
This thread seems to have wandered a bit, but I sincerely do believe that it is possible to learn something that you can take home with you in a single lesson. At the same time, however, I think that most people will find it very hard to progress to the next level during a one-day trip to the slopes. It usually takes a three to five day ski trip to really get better. The first day in the mountains is usually spent getting used to the altitude, adjusting for the gear you forgot to bring, and exercising new muscles that you don't ordinarily use. There is little room for improving your abilities that first day, but then most folks go home and don't return for a few weeks. When they do come back, anything learned has been forgotten, and they spend the day getting used to the altitude ... etc. On the other hand, on the second consecutive day, your body has had time to adjust to the altitude, the muscles are beginning to work better, and the repetition is beginning to pay off. On the third day, you are finally poised to realize major improvement. This is the day to take a lesson. If you can spend a fourth or fifth day practicing what you learned in your lesson, you will have a better chance to permanently own the new skills. If you can only afford to spend a few days skiing this year (well, I realize that the season is just about over, but next year), try to spend them consecutively.
post #28 of 44
Thread Starter 
Welcome Big Bear! I agree about the necessity of having consecutive days to ski! Especially since there are very few things in life that can EXACTLY mimic the sensations of skiing.

Some of my best lessons have had a "morning after" effect. If I were to tell the instructor how much I enjoyed the lesson, there's a good chance they'd be somewhat puzzled. I probably was NOT skiing very well in their presence.

Because I too agree with Mermer. Learning begins when you realize you've been doing something wrong.

But the next day, is when the "AH HA!" momment sometimes happens!
post #29 of 44
Hello from Orstralia!
To take the concept further, maybe after viewing a Quicktime clip, a single sentence for contemplation might give insight to an instructor come student who has bravely bared his technique for general comment.
What do you think about http://forum.ski.com.au/scripts/ulti...1&t=003074&p=2
post #30 of 44

A parallel universe!

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