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backseat bandits and wedging - Page 2

post #31 of 37


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Major backseat wedges have gotten me through more than one REALLY steep chute that was too narrow to hop turn and too long to straghtline.th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

It ain't pretty but it is an effective tool.  That said I'd hope it isn't your only option on a wide open trail.



if its wide enough to do a braking wedge its wide enough to hop turn.

 

Incorrect,  You can wedge with less lateral space than the length of your skis, at least the length of my skis.  It isn't fully engaged, but it does shave speed.
2 skis wedged at a 45 degree angle only take up about half the length of one ski across. 

post #32 of 37
If the whole group is stuck on the Magic Carpet or Rope Tow because one or two people are unable to proceed the it's time to call in the supervisor and split the class. No other solution is reasonable (can't take 'em with you, can't leave 'em behind, can't hold back the others...).

Remember that the OP is about absolute beginners. Sure, we'd like to teach ideal patterns using ideal methods but that first experience is pretty important to any new skier. A little success goes a long way - even if it's at the price of implementing less-than-desired patterns that first day.

.ma
post #33 of 37


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hi guys, 

 

Thanks for the ideas. (I may have conveyed the impression that it was a subpar lesson, but another instructor who saw me actually congratulated me on it, and he wasn't even being facetious!) Some thoughts: 

 

Fear reflex - yes, this was an issue (though whether it was the cause or a symptom is unclear still). I can have people with an overly-pronounced fear reflex stay five steps lower on the hill (where it's ridicuously flat instead of simply really flat) and let them build confidence that way. In fact, after a few failed \attempts, I was having these two work solely on the bottom of the hill for the second half of the lesson. But if these folks can't at least do a braking wedge from the top of our most mellow magic carpet area within two hours, I've pretty much failed them as an instructor. In fact, if I can't get them eking out some kind of turn, I think I've failed.

 

Any thoughts on how you would effectively teach a class with two thirds of the participants ready to go up the magic carpet to learn turns while a third is still only using the bottom 3 feet?

 

Strength (possibly flexibility? or boot fit possibly) issues did manifest in one of the two challenged participants as she could not tip the skis to form edges on her own. Including on flats. She could hold them if I tipped them into position for her, and she could somewhat hold an edge while sidestepping (when the terrain provides half of the angle for you). Actually, I'm suspecting loose boots at this point--it was almost ridiculous. Well, I know to check for next time. However, that just adds the issue that my learner's a good 30 minutes round trip away from the rental shop once we've started the lesson... sigh. In the mornings our instructors help with boot fitting so it's less of an issue. This was an afternoon lesson tho--so it's possible this poor girl fell through the cracks. 

 

Kneale's comment on wedging: Ooh, thank you! When I learned both as a new skier and in my level 1, the technique for braking wedge was "brush out" the heels. (I suppose if you call it "brush out" instead of "push out", it doesn't sound as bad. ha. rolleyes.gif) I'll attempt a braking wedge with your technique--though my braking wedge has always passed exams by flexing and "brushing out" the heels. (that's not to say it's effective for learners. It was simply sufficient for the exams.) I still feel a braking wedge is a dead end technique as it puts the learner into a crappy stance with legs over-extended beyond what you'd use for normal skiing--and it's not even helpful when the pitch gets steeper. I'd like to move learners past it as quickly as possible so we can learn more efficient ways of maintaining or eliminating speed. 

 

Re BWPA's comments on my attempts to get the learner forward: Agreed that you can cheat on any of those visualizations (as proven by my learner!), but you can cheat on the vast majority of exercises. I was just going through my laundry list to get at least some part of the fellow's body forward--while demonstrating the intended stance. Some of them have worked on me when I was learning--unfortunately not for this fellow. Sigh. I really like your visualization of keeping the ski under/behind the body when on one ski. We do a lot of mobility on one ski, so I'll add this to the next lesson as a focal element. Also, your (and theRusty's) idea to slide the skis forward/backward under them would probably help them establish a centered stance on flats first. 

 

T-square: We can only move on to turning after success in the braking wedge. That aside, your ideas are sound and I've seen and used several of them in more intermediate-ish settings. 

 

Thanks for the contributions, guys!



I am not trying to rag on you I am just trying to help. after 9 years of teaching I have stopped using anything you said because it simply doesnt work and people will generally be worse of for trying.

 

also one of T square's recommendation IMO arent awesome. Lift your toes up is something I never do myself and IMO is bull caca, because it make people tense where they shouldnt be. I personally never ski with lifting my toes up and if I never do it that probably means its a dead movement pattern. s

 

the stuff I mentioned cant be cheated, and I also demonstrate and coach most of the walking/one footed drill with keeping the lifted skis tip on the ground. With the tip on the ground its extremely hard to 'cheat".

 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by justanotherskipro View Post

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

As far as your best stance, well we go through a lot of ideas here but here's a simple saying that may give you somethings to ponder. Nose over knees and hips over heels. To acheive that you need to flex all of the joints in the lower body.



very right but as you know skiing even in straightline at walking speed is a dynamic balance move, we must remain moving with the skis.

 

T square: editting out someone's post simply because they disagreed with you is WAY overstepping what a MOD on here should be allowed to do. We can only get better as teachers by finding out what works and what doesnt work.

 

I am not trying to disrespect you or Metaphor. I am challenging your drills. If you think they are right defend them. at the very least we will come to an understanding of what works and what doesnt work.

 

for those wondering what this is about T square posted about lifting your toes to get forward. This works but kinda off..... I have found it tends to put people on their heels and also make people ankles static. I stated their are better ways and maybe he should explore them. I didnt mearly say he was wrong, I gave good logical reasons why their could be better ways and just to avoid using that method.  T square I am sorry bud. the bull caca comment was meant to show a bit of humor.

 

 

 


 

I am sorry Terry. I think is simply read the thread to fastly and overreacted to the PM. I think you left the post alone, and I am sorry for jumping on you like that.

 

 

post #34 of 37

Thank you.

post #35 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hey folks, 

 

Just wanted to give some feedback on the suggestions here. Today I had a split group of two in the morning. Both had skied a half day before. The guy was athletic, while the girl was rather sedentary. As expected the guy was able to replicate all ski movements successfully, manage his balance, create an effective wedge, etc. The girl had issues with maintaining her wedge, fear of speed resulting in stance issues, and balance. Straightforward coaching for him--nothing noteworthy to report. 

 

Addressing the girl's issues:

 

To correct balance issues while in motion, we went down to the flats. I gave her the challenge of staying balanced while I pulled her skis. Over the next few minutes of practice she really started making measurable adjustments to adapt!  

 

Maintaining wedge: After the last drill, we went back to the mostly flats. She was actually able to maintain her wedge easier--I suspect she had a better sense of maintaining some sense of tension in her feet. On the steeper (still really flat) area, she was recoiling from the hill though she wasn't aware of it. We talked about how in skiing, a lot of things are opposites, like how when you're beside a cliff you might want to recoil when something is frightening, but when on skis, we really need to move towards the part that seems steep. Then I gave her the "hands on knees" exercise. She could basically immediately stop! We started working on two slowdowns/stops with hands on knees, then two slowdowns/stops with hands in the air. Unfortunately she still needed to ski with hands on knees by the end of the day--but that was a heck of a lot better than being stuck on flats. We continued working on coordinating movements and her ability to wedge continued to improve. 

 

In the afternoon I was given two additional participants. It turned out they were two women who were in another morning group, but weren't able to maintain a wedge. (how pertinent to what I'm trying to get better at teaching!) I had them show me a sample run, and pretty similar issues for one: not able to hold a wedge (including on flats). So same drills for her. The other girl was having trouble with getting more speed than she was comfortable with, then doing a big hard wedge. So we worked on gradual movements, and skiing in a medium speed, then gradually slowing down. 

 

By the end of the day, they were heading up the super carpet. I had the one guy turning, and had one of the girls intermittently turning. The other two were still working on speed control--but at least they were up on larger terrain. Definitely a more successful lesson. And all the participants left with big grins on their faces and will be coming skiing again. 

 

So thanks for the ideas, folks!

post #36 of 37



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hey folks, 

 

Just wanted to give some feedback on the suggestions here. Today I had a split group of two in the morning. Both had skied a half day before. The guy was athletic, while the girl was rather sedentary. As expected the guy was able to replicate all ski movements successfully, manage his balance, create an effective wedge, etc. The girl had issues with maintaining her wedge, fear of speed resulting in stance issues, and balance. Straightforward coaching for him--nothing noteworthy to report. 

 

Addressing the girl's issues:

 

To correct balance issues while in motion, we went down to the flats. I gave her the challenge of staying balanced while I pulled her skis. Over the next few minutes of practice she really started making measurable adjustments to adapt!  

 

Maintaining wedge: After the last drill, we went back to the mostly flats. She was actually able to maintain her wedge easier--I suspect she had a better sense of maintaining some sense of tension in her feet. On the steeper (still really flat) area, she was recoiling from the hill though she wasn't aware of it. We talked about how in skiing, a lot of things are opposites, like how when you're beside a cliff you might want to recoil when something is frightening, but when on skis, we really need to move towards the part that seems steep. Then I gave her the "hands on knees" exercise. She could basically immediately stop! We started working on two slowdowns/stops with hands on knees, then two slowdowns/stops with hands in the air. Unfortunately she still needed to ski with hands on knees by the end of the day--but that was a heck of a lot better than being stuck on flats. We continued working on coordinating movements and her ability to wedge continued to improve. 

 

In the afternoon I was given two additional participants. It turned out they were two women who were in another morning group, but weren't able to maintain a wedge. (how pertinent to what I'm trying to get better at teaching!) I had them show me a sample run, and pretty similar issues for one: not able to hold a wedge (including on flats). So same drills for her. The other girl was having trouble with getting more speed than she was comfortable with, then doing a big hard wedge. So we worked on gradual movements, and skiing in a medium speed, then gradually slowing down. 

 

By the end of the day, they were heading up the super carpet. I had the one guy turning, and had one of the girls intermittently turning. The other two were still working on speed control--but at least they were up on larger terrain. Definitely a more successful lesson. And all the participants left with big grins on their faces and will be coming skiing again. 

 

So thanks for the ideas, folks!


Metaphor, Your post suggests you are teaching to the objective of a wedge stance. You even go on to grade you student's performance based on their ability to maintain a wedged stance. Why the strong focus on a position?

As an alternative, l would like to suggest a stronger focus on the fundamental skills and not grading performance on positions used, or terrain skied. Said another way, it's about Mastery of a balanced stance and the ability to selectively apply any combination of the fundamental skills, not the position or terrain being skied. Through that filter, I would suggest looking at the wedge turn as an incidental outcome of a particular blend of fundamental skills and the slower speeds these skiers are using. Nothing more.

 

So what are the fundamentals I'm talking about?

  • Dynamic balance and the ability to move with the skis along with the ability to move seperately from the skis. (Dual Paths of the upper and lower body)*
  • Rotary movements that either pivot the skis, or change pressure along an engaged ski edge.
  • Tipping movements that either increase, or decrease the edge angle (the angle between the base of the ski and surface of the snow)
  • Pressure control movements that either effect the fore / aft balance point, or foot to foot weight bearing

 

Regardless of the particular blend chosen there is a specific outcome that occurs as a consequence of the blend of skills used. We actually see this in how the skis interact with the snow. If the outcome is inconsistent, the student's skill usage needs to be examined for consistency and appropriateness. Additionally the fore / aft balance point can have a very profound effect on their ability to selectively access one or more of the skill pools. Thus limiting their movement options and in turn, the turns they can create from that stance. (Same goes for levering too far forward, or leaning too far inside (or outside) the turn).

 

This is why it's so important to establish a well centered stance and for the students to gain ownership of the skills it takes to maintain that centered stance long before we start talking about turns, or a converging, or parallel relationships between the skis. It bears repeating that Ownership of the basic ability to balance on a moving ski is something we strive to establish as a "default" stance, or the stance they will adopt when facing challenging situations. Exactly how much time it takes to establish that strong connection depends on the student's willingness to believe in the effectiveness of the movements and their willingness to perform those movements. Fearful students simply take more individual work and patience on our part.

As far as a split, well if possible get another pro to help you but give them the stronger students and stay with your TLC students. Why? Perceptions. The better performing students are less likely to see the split negatively and your willingness to stay with your TLC students goes a long way towards gaining their trust. After all trust is what's lacking here. A lack of trust in their ability to produce a positive outcome, a lack of trust in the movements, and on some level a lack of trust in what you are teaching. Positively impacting all of these trust issues is the key to everyone's success, including the pro who is there to help you.

Ski well!

JASP


Edited by justanotherskipro - 12/31/10 at 12:14pm
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 

Wow, I can't even post a thank you without getting criticized...  

 

jasp, I like your advice in general. You've given me lots of useful help before. A few issues here though. First, I think you have the wrong impression of my lessons go. If I made it sound like I come into a lesson and say "OK guys, the point of skiing is to make a wedge!", I apologize for misinforming you. Consider the audience on this forum: instructors, instructors-to-be, or skiers who are at least generally familiar with typical skier progression terminology, issues, and exercises. When I say "one of the girls was wedging, but only when her hands were on her knees", I imagine you get a vivid picture in your head, and can easily imagine the symptoms and possibly the issue. Less obvious if I said "I had a girl in the class with a balance issue". 

 

Second, it's important to consider what the skier wants. I haven't had many people in lessons who were satisfied with 2 degree pitch in two hours. Yes, I hear there are people like that. Let's talk about most people instead as it's more apt. Demotivation happens when people have ridiculously easy goals. (See constructivist learning theory.) People also tend to weigh accomplishment relative to others. Demotivation for a lot of people if your buddy's going up the green chair while you're on your 2 degree pitch. And demotivation happens when your expectations or objectives aren't met. Instead of demotivating, let's motivate and engage our learners. What I most hear in lessons is "I want to be able to ski the chairlift" or "I want to be able to ski all the blues". People are generally objective-oriented around performance goals. (ironically it's the performance objectives that demotivate upon failure to achieve.) I will give my learners the tools to do meet realistic goals. And no, that doesn't mean teaching the image of a wedge, or the image of a christie. it means teaching the stance and balance and edging to maintain that basic wedge. 

 

Then what? When they've proven they can keep themselves from careening into a tree or off the side of the mountain, we'll learn to turn. But I can't let them go until they can do a braking wedge. Yes, I'm going to call it "learn how to turn", and not "pivot the ski". Because turning means something to the learner. Sure, we're turning through balance, pivoting and edging. That said, I figure you know that as you're an instructor. 

 

Third, if I've gone through my list of fixes for the demonstrated issue and nothing's working for over an hour (and hopefully this is very rare), I want the gopher on duty to take the learner aside for a while to apply their different methodology. And at the end of the day I want to debrief with the gopher to find out what actually did work. 

 

Fourth, you missed a skill in your competencies: Timing & coordination. It's ok, PSIA doesn't seem to realize it exists. 

 

I recognize you want to be helpful, but I think people here can get far too pedantic to the point of arguing over the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. 

 

So again, thanks for the attempt at help, and pardon me for any offense you may take. I do generally like your help. I simply find that last post patronizing. It gets the point of "why bother thanking people"... and then eventually "why bother posting at all if I'm just going to have my head bitten off..."

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