Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why is Traditional Ski Instruction so convoluted and vague?

      A typical guideline for a traditional ski instruction task.

At first glance, ok, this looks reasonable, until you start trying to use it or produce it.

Here is a direct printout of how Motor Skills are described by a major Traditional Ski Teaching organization.

  1. Motor Skill Development:
    • Choose task for situation;
    • Task is related to skill level of student. 

      And here is what they give you to work with:

      • Use all joints to maintain balance;
      • Lead the turning effort with the lower body;
      • Manage separation for angulation to provide grip;
      • Coordinate movement patterns for efficient turn linking. 

        What is clearly lacking here is the fundamental understanding for teaching human movement. 

         "The emphasis on accuracy, specificity, and economy of movement information is what we strive for, always. Without the understanding of efficient movements in skiing, a coach is basically lost. What I accept as part of this understanding is that movement analysis skills are part of that bigger picture of complete skiing understanding and effective coaching".

        Far more effective would be to describe how to teach and how to convey movements to students. Movements in skiing, like in any other sport are based on a body part and a muscle group. 

        Skilled and effective ski teaching defines the movement, the body part that is to be used and how to move that body part, in a logical sequence. None of the direction or information from traditional teaching systems above doses this. 

        Skinig movements can be broken into a list of basic activities, for example: to start a turn putting the ski on edge produces a ski snow interaction that creates a turn. For this to be effective for a student the instructor must know at what angle on the slope to start, and what the first movement in the sequence of movements is.

        For example: In a logical progression, it requires a simple process of providing information to the student, the instructor must give an attainable first step. 

        For Example: From a very low angle slope, with both skis directly pointed downhill, pick up one ski and transfer all of your balance and stand on the other ski. This is a series of directions to achieve an outcome. This does provide movement information and it is movement teaching. 

        Movement teaching in most cases also includes a detailed description of what body part to focus on. 
      • Example: to transfer balance to your right foot and leg, lift your left knee and bend your left leg enough to clear the snow with the ski. Keep the lifted ski level to the surface. To maintain balance in this simple movement example, the CG or body must also move laterally over or toward the standing foot. 
      • This is the first step in a logical movement progression. Rarely does this simple approach appear in traditional ski lessons or coaching.
      • This type of understanding can be used for every step in a skier's movement development. However you have to understand what movement development entails first.

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