Simplify your teaching – Improving your skiing by focusing on less

Rules, regulations, laws, and complexity. Since the birth of the constitution there has been no year with fewer laws than the previous year. Simply look at tax law, and realize that there is no one person who knows all the rules. These rules become so complex that it requires a professional to navigate the waters for us.

complex pool.jpg

Today my daughter made up a game around the pool table. There were so many rules to the game that we lost sight of the point of the game. And even though we wanted to play the game, we were lost in the minutiae. We played anyway, and half way through the game she stopped us. Then proceeded to add more rules to the game, as well as adding a new objective. My son lost interest, and I listened and followed along politely. 

“Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler”    – Albert Einstein
This a wonderful goal for a teacher, or maker of rules.

Copy, Choose, Create
As a teacher of skiing develops they go through these phases of presenting information to their students.  PSIA-RM Document

Copy– New instructors are taught a progression of steps to bring a student from a to b to c. If the instructor runs into a stumbling block they either continue to try to tell the student to try the same thing until the student either succeeds or quits. Or they look around to see what somebody else is doing, then they interpret the movement and share it with the student. And often inefficient movement patterns are created.

Choose– The teacher has a few progressions and quick fixes in their bag of tricks. This level of instructor can teach to several types of learning styles. 
Often an instructor will move through one progression and find that the student will be performing well, yet still in need of practice and mileage. The experienced instructor realizes this is a natural part of learning and is willing to offer modest coaching of existing movements. The less experienced instructor desires to add new movements prematurely, or pile on another progression immediately. This is know as “puking on the student” or “downloading” on the student.  Everything the instructor knows is given to the student. It rarely is beneficial, yet the student rarely realizes that it is detrimental.

Create– This is a first level of mastery in an instructor. It is the ability to draw upon progressions, “tricks”, terrain, lesson timing, movement pools, psychological understandings, etc to customize the experience to the student or class. 
The lesson may or may not follow an order ever shared by the instructor, or it may be a plain “vanilla” progression. The Mastery of this Creation is in the simplicity it is delivered and understood. When a student says, “Wow, nobody has ever told me it that way before.” you can be quite certain you created a special lesson.

The expert instructor has a desire to create, and build simplicity into the lesson. The first few times you create may get messy, it may cause you to backtrack or restate things during your lesson, that is ok. This is part of the process. To accelerate the process, talk with an experienced pro about your ideas, this can help you through your learning process. Most pros are happy to talk shop. 

Simplify, simplify, simplify, but no simpler. There are only a few things worse than teaching “dead-end” simple moves to an eager student. Do the creations translate to movement patterns shared by an expert skier? They should. Even a wedge turn has movements an expert uses.

Jonathan Lawson is an instructor and staff trainer at Loveland Ski Area in Colorado. He has been teaching skiing since 1991, and teaching in Colorado since 1993, and a PSIA-Rocky Mountain Trainer since 1999. He continually works at making skiing easier to understand so that students can ski more.

Wikipedia: Rookie is a term for a person who is in his or her first year of play of their sport or has little or no professional experience. ยป

What if… Breck Training 06-07

What if…
You could ski with your family and everybody could have their own optimal experience. Adjust gravity, pitch, snow conditions, weather conditions and surroundings.

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What if you could change all the rules?
That was a theme for Breck Trainer Training this week.
Retinal Scanners, TAGR (Thought-Adjustable Gravity Regulators) with VAK plug-in (Visual Auditory Kinestetic), COPs ((Conveyer of Pillows (drops) and Conveyer of Pipe (Endless pipe)), LPAs – Learning Preference Adjuster, Orgasmitron suits (instant feedback), “Powderoy” (adjust depth of snow with the skis and boards sliding on a perfectly groomed surface, and GUT Goggles were all conceived, and explained. We even created the perfect run and mountain the “BUFLET” Breckenridge Ultimate Family Learning Experience Trail, viewable from the EverSun Deck with integrated UV protector.
What if…
You could ski with your family and everybody could have their own optimal experience. Adjust gravity, pitch, snow conditions, weather conditions and surroundings. Ski with your friends and family and see them at all times (only if you wish).
Science fiction – yeah probably.
But perception many times defines our reality. One person’s death-defying run of glory is another persons intermediate groomer. How can the instructor create these alternate realities? What becomes our role as professional instructors. How do we share these “supernatural” powers with our 550 instructors at Breckenridge? These were all questions asked, and considered. How can we affect such change as a band of 50 trainers?
Every morning Breckenridge instructors, as well as thousands of instructors worldwide, have the opportunity for training. To not only improve their skiing and riding, but to also take what they have learned, and share the passion with an individual or group of ski and ride students.
What if…
a skier or rider could see, feel, and experience the mountain the way the pro does? How fast could learning take place. Instant feedback. Understanding when one is doing it well, the instant it happens. The power of an affirmative response the instant it takes place.
The power of quality instruction, and of quality learning.
Thought-Adjustable Gravity Regulators don’t yet exist. But the ability to perceive gravity in a different way. That adjusts every time you slide on snow.
For more ideas on this subject (on and off snow), check out , and come back to for the inside scoop!
Thank you to our facilitators Christina, Tommy, and Nina.
Keep looking for the pro of your dreams,

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