Friday, June 1, 2018

Why are coaches so ineffective?

Why are some coaches so ineffective?

This Letter is in response to Irwin's e-mail.

Some will say they are idiots. 

Hi Irwin,

Interesting topic, here are some thoughts.

I look at the situation and challenges of learning how skiing works from this point of view. What I find lacking when people can't figure out movement or order of movements that create skiing, it is based in the lack of the following understandings:

Self awareness of movement
Lacking visual interpretation of movements (basic movement analysis)
Lack of ability to recognition forces acting on the body, from the slope
No understanding or a misunderstanding of forces acting through the body
Missing the simple mechanics of skis
Never including or relating to how the feel and understanding of balance occurs and when it should happen.
Lack of body movement knowledge: isolating one movement, while creating with another

Finding these things lacking, I don't feel is caused by being an idiot. I'd rather say, it's just not part of the gifts inherently possessed by humans. However, there are exceptions, and those exceptions are reserved for gifted humans in these disciplines. Some are born with and have an inherently complete knowledge of every category I listed above. Obviously helped by some basic education, but after that, it comes to them easily and develops through further investigation and experimentation. 

Most skiers and ski educators don't have these gift, or have not been trained to recognize them; even those high on the instruction food chain in our national organizations such as USSA and PSIA don't get it.

The rest of us have to learn, either by rote memory, repetition, or step by step duplication. However to study and learn these skills there has to be proper instruction and the coriculum has to be well structred and delivered. I have yet to see this kind of education at any level in skiing. 

Most people don't immediately translate even correct, effective movement information, into their bodies. And even if they do, restructuring and delivering these movements for others to learn is a elusive skill that requires a high level of teaching. 

This becomes obvious when you watch hundreds of instructors trying to produce highly effective movement lessons for the masses, that they can't interpret. It's just not happening! Only 1 out of 10 instructors naturally and inherently grasp "to us that have observed" a logical progression. We all know how difficult it is to produce logical, easy to achieve step by step, movement progressions that achieve an effective ski turn. 

If this were not the case, you wouldn't have convoluted ski systems all over the alpine skiing world that actually harm human movement learning, rather then helping. 

The examples I draw on to be able to express these comments come from observation of traditional ski instruction. We know this by observing results from thousands of instructors in the world, that buy into totally ineffective movements for skiers. Irwin, if the theories you describe about idiots were the case, it would mean idiots dominate the ski teaching landscape. Is it legit to call almost 99% of ski instructors idiots, or would it be preferable to categorize them as less gifted or uninterested?

From a survival, practical and physiological point of view, if you don't have the observation skills or you are limited in the rest of the abilities I listed above; you have to invent other methods by which you can interpret the sport, based on limitations you possess. 

An analogy might be, if you didn't understand how to make rubber for bike tires, you might end up with wooden rims. Sure they work and you can ride on wooden tires, but is it the best way? Yes, it's the best way, "for you", if you don't know rubber. Your solution for a wheel to work with materials at hand is solely based on your understanding of what is available to you.

One conclusion could be, sure idiots all, except for a few gifted and interested. However, I would rather take the road that tells me; everyone can learn from the gifted if they are motivated to learn. Then you would be able to say, idiots are the ones that don't want to investigate and learn from the best performers. That is, if those performers have figured out how to convey movements, to achieve the best performances.

Fun topic,



Unknown said...

This is so true - not just in skiing but education as a whole. National training schemes indoctrinate their students into believing 'their way' is the only and best way. Not surprisingly, most students follow this belief throughout their instructing careers. The result is a 'Chinese whispers' approach where inaccurate, incorrect and misleading images and advice is given. My favourite hates are: push on your ski to turn it, lean into the turn, push harder to turn better, push your knees sideways to carve etc... The failure is to ignore the outcomes of these 'gems' - they don't work and this evidence can be seen on ski slopes the world over. Thanks Harald for providing a solution that works - PMTS. Why can't others see that this system works! Is it stupidity or just plain arrogance - a refusal to admit that they are wrong or at least misguided and that someone else has taken the time to develop an effective system.

Unknown said...

Where to begin w this topic... Ski coaching in America is a pathetic display of ego, bluster and used car salesmanship. How many coaches say hands up, feet apart, get forward? Just have parents stand at the start they offer just as much information.
Coaches in the US are ineffective because the USSA does not teach how to teach. Master the sound bite, understand what your objective is, be your own worst critic, and stop talking. Some coaches are very good at driving vans and carrying gates. Some coaches understand primary movements and how to teach.