EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Are you really a good teacher?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are you really a good teacher?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

The huge majority of posts here about skiing technique etc are way too conplicated or technical to understand eg just read some of the replies to the 'tips for skiing moguls' replies.

Instead of talking about 'angulation' or other meaningless words, try showing how. The best teachers make complicated concepts simple. For example, let's continue with moguls and tell me what exercises do you use to improve bump skiing or teaching someone to carve a turn, and keep it simple.

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

The simplest exercise I know is to shout at the end of a turn, maybe go 'Grrrrrr, like a bear'. People who wobble back and forth in the fore/aft plane find this exercise great. I don't even tell them why they're doing it, and suddenly they stop wobbling and finish the turns balanced in the fore/aft plane, (as long as they're not leaning into the hill too much, otherwise they'll always finish the turn with their weight back).

For those of you who are wondering why shouting helps, try it, and find what muscles tighten, your stomach muscles of course. People don't realise they use these muscles when skiing. After my class has marveled at the improvement in their skiing, I then explain why, so they can take that exercise away with them and use it any time they want.

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiingaround View Post

The huge majority of posts here about skiing technique etc are way too conplicated or technical to understand ...


In answer to the title of this thread, yes, I am a really good teacher (at least, I'm told so by the majority of my students and peers).

Your first post above tends to interpret the volume and depth of How/Why minutia discussed here on EpicSki as being what we deliver when teaching on-snow. It's not. I'd further suggest the majority of participants posting complex, well-defended and verifiable ideas here are probably far better teachers than those unable to follow and comprehend the sometimes complex material discussed here.

I say this because such people are best equipped to understand what a student is actually doing, why they're doing it, and exactly what to do about it based on a truly accurate understanding of skiing mechanics and biomechanics. Such instructors are provably more effective than instructors who merely Demo a few turns and provides a "Bag of Tricks" drill hoping the student will make an appropriate change on their own.

In my own case I often "invent" new drills to adjust several patterns at the same time with one on-the-spot, well-designed exercise that resolves each issue targeted. I construct each task/drill to be a simple pattern and yes, I demo that pattern as clearly as possible. Do I explain it to the students? Sure - but only with enough detail for them to perform the pattern accurately. If they want more information, I share whatever they'd like to know. For instructors I always share my reasoning - and invite people to question any aspect of it they like.


Quote:
instead of talking about 'angulation' or other meaningless words, try showing how.
The word Angulation is not a "meaningless" word. It has meaning - to instructors, coaches, most of our students - and most people reading this post. True, there are new skiers who may not (yet) know what it means but there are probably plenty of new bicyclists who do not know what a 'derailleur' is.

We show Demos all the time. The problem is that uninformed students only 'see' the instructor's whole body moving down the slope. They don't know what component(s) to look at nor do they know what motion to look for in those components ... and that's where defining words like 'angulation' helps. These words define a set of specific body-parts and the specific motions we want students to pay attention to.

It's important to realize many people who post (or lurk) on these forums are extremely well educated with respect to skiing terminology, instructional ideas and teaching theory. Discussions would become a sea of repeated words if we had to spell out every idea in 'simple terms'. ( should I just cite 'angulation' and move on -- or I should I replace that single word with 300 simplistic words spelling the idea out each time the concept is brought up? Which is more efficient on a typed-text forum? Which is more efficient on-snow?)


Come to think of it, you yourself violated your own proposal above! You said, "Instead of talking ... [with] meaningless words, try showing how." After this, you just typed a bunch of words instead of 'showing us how' biggrin.gif (no offense intended) What I'm saying is, we communicate here in the most effective manner this text medium offers. Video clips help, as do diagrams and images but for the most part we're stuck with text descriptions.

Quote:
The best teachers make complicated concepts simple.
I certainly agree with this but to achieve this idea those Very Best Teachers must first completely comprehend the underlying concepts they're trying to teach. This forum is about gaining that comprehension.

Too often even long time Pros show up here with their own terminology, their own perceptions, their own interpretations and their own guess-work geometry/mechanics as explanation for what they believe about how skiing should be done (or taught). They mean well but communication suffers greatly and their confidently believed ideas may well be conceptually (or physically) inaccurate. This forum is one of the few easily accessed places to find competent peer-review of skiing and teaching ideas. That is why so much complex material shows up here.

Making complicated concepts "simple" requires a prior, complete comprehension of those complicated concepts. Once an instructor/coach genuinely comprehends all aspects of a particular technique or movement pattern they're far more able to create very simple presentations for actual on-snow delivery to their students.


If you'd like to hear some 'simple' teaching ideas just start a thread requesting "Simple teaching ideas for on-snow delivery" rather than a thread questioning whether participants here are good teachers or not based on the depth of material they discuss on these forums. (Again, no offense intended - just trying to keep a clear distinction between what people discuss here for investigation and exploration vs. what we actually teach on-snow.)

.ma
post #4 of 13
Am a bad teacher when it comes to skiing. I think I learned at too young of an age and have no real way to verbalize how to ski. You just do it.

That being said, I have thought up one somewhat decent thing to help explain the concept of skiing...

Skiing is just the controlled release of potential energy into kinetic energy and finally tranferring that energy into the ground via your legs (if all goes according to plan)

Other than that I got nothin'
post #5 of 13

Just go skiing for many days and you will learn more than reading someone's forum post. 

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

Am a bad teacher when it comes to skiing. I think I learned at too young of an age and have no real way to verbalize how to ski. You just do it.

That being said, I have thought up one somewhat decent thing to help explain the concept of skiing...

Skiing is just the controlled release of potential energy into kinetic energy and finally tranferring that energy into the ground via your legs (if all goes according to plan)

Other than that I got nothin'


Quick question for you: Does that mean you're not working on anything while skiing? And I don't mean something nebulous like "getting better" or "doing steeps"; rather, something tangible like "engage the edge more after the fall line" or "keep centered over the ski"...? I can't imagine doing a run without focusing on an aspect of skiing. But I only started at 25.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post




Quick question for you: Does that mean you're not working on anything while skiing? And I don't mean something nebulous like "getting better" or "doing steeps"; rather, something tangible like "engage the edge more after the fall line" or "keep centered over the ski"...? I can't imagine doing a run without focusing on an aspect of skiing. But I only started at 25.





That is a really good question. Form or technique wise? Maybe 5 -10 percent of the time. Usually only when I am in tame terrain and do it to play around. Like the other day I was playing with toe pressure when carving with my girls. Or playing just how far can I tilt these suckers...

The rest of time it is more what I would consider instinctual almost stream of consciousness... Miss the rock, hit that lip, catch air, crap... In backseat.... Must get out of backseat..., dump speed and up we go over the ridge, hey that tree looks like a girl I once knew, left or right, left, crap, i knew i should have gone right, yikes... Ice, find an edge, crap no edge, shut'er down boys and watch for rocks until we stop slidin'

Basically about like that. The skiing technique part isn't part of my thinking process. Is it the application of the technique that is. Lord knows I could probably stand to spend some time with a PSIA type and probably should be concentrating on correcting a multitude of sins. But it is just that I have been skiing since I was three and honestly feel more comfortable on skis than I do on shoes.

I kinda think skiing is sort of Zen. You reach a point where you have to let go of what you are doing and just do it... React to the terrain and let your instincts and muscle memory take over. Does that make sense? I am also blessed with some great never the same thing twice terrain.
post #8 of 13

Que: that's really interesting. You have both navigation and recovery elements in your narrative. Well, good to know it's not totally autopilot even for the snowborn! Still, sounds like your narrative is a lot less of a chant and more like a conversation with yourself. 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

In response to MichaelA, you're quite right in what you say. I knew I'd stir things up a bit with my post, couldn't help myself. One thing I've noticed in my clinic in NZ and Switzerland, and this is with top coaches, is we never really got too technical. They obviously knew all the technical stuff, but when teaching fellow professionals, it always stayed real simple. Whereas in USA it always got very technical. I'm not saying anything is wrong with either approaches, but personally,  I found I learned more in Switzerland and NZ than I did in clinic in the states.

post #10 of 13

First off........exactly what Michael said.

 

2nd.  the choice of the recent bump threads is possibly the worst choice as an example of technical discussions here at Epic.  It is important to understand that the "pros" on that thread are truly speaking their own language and not accepted PSIA / CSIA terminology and theory as those of us here in the business understand it.  Angulation is a easily understood and definable concept in both CSIA and PSIA  language.  The use of the word (and others like it) also allows us to not have to define the action / movement / look / stance etc etc each and every time we want to talk about whatever angle(s) we are talking about when the human body makes a turn.  Like it or not, most of the professionals that post at this site are from the US, with a few from Canada and a very small number from the rest of the world. We use PSIA terms with a little CSIA mixed in from time to time.  We have also accepted PMTS terminology which I see as a plus.  

 

The toughest thing to do here at Epic is decide (when one is reading a post) who is who and exactly who REALLY knows what they are talking about.  For the record many of the most talented and knowledgeable here have at best posted only briefly in the recent mogul threads and the rest aren't wasting their time there.

 

Out on the hill things are a lot different.  I avoid the use of technical terms as much as possible unless it is a clinic level situation.  Most times the most easily understood falsehood as an explanation used to simplify your point works the best if you can get the student to feel what is happening.  You can always give them the technical bit a little later on.

 

I'll leave y'all with this.  If the pros didn't fully understand the terms and concepts most of you as the students would suffer greatly.  To teach it properly and be fully effective the understanding of how we operate on a pair of skis is a very complex process when you connect all the dots.at once.  It also changes from millisecond to millisecond throughout the turn. Bob Barnes tries to connect all the dots here when he posts to give the readers a FULL understanding of whatever he is discussing.  (that's why his posts are so long) Now that's an example of technical posting. When you grasp things at the level Bob does it becomes almost impossible to talk about one thing when you fully understand the 9 other things that are directly connected that you almost have to reference to make your point. Mind you this isn't in any way a complaint or condemnation of Bob.  He is a friend and respected pro.

 

AND......If anyone thinks things are technical here now.....you should have been here a few years ago smile.gif

(I now remove my canoe paddle from the pot)


Edited by Uncle Louie - 12/14/10 at 2:01am
post #11 of 13

Quiz question.

 

In post number 2 above the OP in this thread describes a learning style brought to us (and PSIA) by  _______________________________________(fill in the blank with her name) (hint....her name is the same name as her handle here at Epic but she hasn't posted in awhile)

 

There are actually TWO learning styles used in the OP's example.   They are _________________________________ and ______________________________(fill in the blanks)

 

Am I getting too technical here ?? _____Yes     ______No     _____ I have no idea of what the heck you are talking about.       (check one)

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Que: that's really interesting. You have both navigation and recovery elements in your narrative. Well, good to know it's not totally autopilot even for the snowborn! Still, sounds like your narrative is a lot less of a chant and more like a conversation with yourself. 


Oh very much so.... it is a narrative of thoughts without any real defining thing I am working on such as technique. Some times it is just an emotional reaction to what I am doing. Like take my first turns this year... it was in the backcountry.  It was a ~1,800 foot descent of medium pitch, wide open, virgin untouched snow, blue bird day. I'm pretty sure the only thing going through my mind was "oh my god oh my god oh my god" the whole way down. Pretty sure it was coming out my mouth too in between cackling like a nut job.

 

I asked my wife about your question last night. She had some interesting advice as she is still in the learning stage of tele skiing. I think there comes a point where you feel comfortable enough with form/technique that you just stop thinking about it. Call it muscle memory or what have you.  However, what she brought up is also the importance of what you are doing as well as how. Case in point - if I skied at some midwest mountain I would probably become obsessed with form and just how tight I could carve a turn or how fast i could make it down a race course. Not to knock the midwest, but there isn't much about the terrain to force you to do otherwise. Switch over to here in CB, the terrain you ski makes you make the switch from consciously focusing on technique and form and rather dealing with the terrain. It doesn't have to be steep even, just varied.

 

Where I think this analysis is interesting is in the bumps. To a certain degree bumps = groomers in terms of consistency of terrain. But as any bump skier knows, not all bumps are the same and once you get in them, any sort of consistency as to what configuration your body and skis are going to be in goes right out the window. Factor in speed and just the body dynamics of hitting the zipper line, the fact that technique is absolutely critical in bump skiing and you a perfect storm. I think that is why bump skiing is so challenging. It is like Plake said (totally butchering this quote).... buy a pair of carvers and you can follow me around the groomers all day, buy a pair of powder boards and you can rip the pow with me, but bump skiing... that's a different animal. You have to be a good skier for that.

 

Anyhow, good food for thought this thread.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Louie View Post


The toughest thing to do here at Epic is decide (when one is reading a post) who is who and exactly who REALLY knows what they are talking about.  For the record many of the most talented and knowledgeable here have at best posted only briefly in the recent mogul threads and the rest aren't wasting their time there.

 


Bingo. I love teaching. I love having a deep well of technical knowledge, skills and drills. I don't even open very many of the instructional threads here, and I'm sure not going t owaste my time reading drivel about the "right" way to ski moguls, ad nauseum.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Are you really a good teacher?