Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

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JeffOYB
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Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:53 am

So is PSIA the cat's meow for ski instruction? Or do instructors tend to go their own way. Hard to herd, like cats. Or not served by PSIA? Any other org more helpful?

I've been noticing instructor styles lately and I definitely see a bunch that are lacking. Sometimes so painfully that I am compelled to leave the lodge and intercede. Emergency! Hello, do you need help, ma'am? You appear to be in pain.

My manifesto is: No part of a skill class should make a learner look or feel awkward or unsexy. From beginner to expert there is no room for drills that make people do something that doesn't feel good. I am fed up with instructing that looks like it puts people in a straitjacket of dumbness. Or that breaks up motion to the point that it might be handy to be a robot. No way!

I want them to start by doing something nice that I know they can do. Then add something small and have them do it til they can. I should only take a few moments to acquire each step along the way.

I've been seeing people cut loose for long periods of time, or even being accompanied for long periods, where they're waddling like stiff-legged penguins or zombies in leg-casts. UGH!

I'd rather have them go slower and stop for more squirts from the bota bag and have each step be nice than to have anyone flounder for any amount of time! Floundering is the WORST muscle memory reinforcement!

SKIING IS LIKE DANCING! ...I think each of our phases from never-ever on up should include a pleasant RHYTHM motion of any kind at all. I'm thinking that static poses or one-sided motions that don't deliver a smile are for the birds. So let's go from a very simple dance move to adding more elements. But each phase should still be a dance!

And I've been using these ideas and shepherding a dozen around at a time and having them "get it." If I see a normal person suddenly get lock-legged on me, I zip over. They are glad of a quick fix. It's like sirens go off as soon as I see "motion experienced as unpleasant." Now, the fixes are not set in stone and I haven't done it enough yet to get instant matches of fix with problem. It sure would be nice! I still get nervous because I see things and don't have the answer but so far I've come up with things quickly enough. I wish I could be quicker! Well, each season I lose my feel and I don't do it enough to really advance it but I think the idea that each step should be pleasant is a good one!

Yesterday I saw two "students" in pain. Ugh! It's neat doing just the right intervention. One idea, a few seconds. They're already in overload. The one was being directly coached -- badly -- so that was basically impossible to intervene with. She was tortured for about a half hour of hilly no-poles zombie ski waddling! Any instructor would be pissed to have someone say something to their student, but I did try the quickest little tip when I once saw her drop way back behind the instructor. She was on total exhaustion overload. "I really need to work more at this!"

I saw a top level YouTube production from Tirol with a guy and gal and the gal ended up saying "Whew, this is harder than it looks!" ...SIRENS! He had been saying "push with heel" and she went into stiff leg waddle mode, hinging at hip, late kick in skate. The heel is a good tip but we can't overdo it! ...The Holly Brooks intro vid on YT seems better to me: flex the leg. The USST tip of "push knee to ski" seems elite but I've had beginners eat it up and smile!
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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby davidb » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:23 pm

I agree with a lot of this. I think commercial cross country ski instruction in the U.S. is, generally, pretty terrible.
And,at least at the beginner level, I think lessons should only be taught by serious, professional instructors, not by the new guy, or the former world cup pro who can't seem to grasp why a 30MPH step turn on ice is so hard to master. I think that first lesson should be free too.
And yeah,PSIA,CANSA need to step up.

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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:18 am

Jeff and David, what do you think of Kim and Kai's work at www.crosscountryskitechnique.com?

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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby JeffOYB » Tue Feb 09, 2016 1:58 pm

M, I've noticed that some of her videos make skating look easy which is very good, I think! She keeps it simple. And she looks really good! Natural motions that are kept to a level that anyone can do. ... I have a V2 drill that I often can't do without losing balance -- hopping far from foot to foot -- that would be a bad idea for beginners. But her gentle motions seem just right!

Your link didn't work. Here's one that I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrQow-J-Y7M

Of course, her advice is for skating and somewhat for performance and racing so actually I don't think it's all that suitable for the next big boom in skiing that we might hope for. To me, performance is needed for uphills -- so everyone needs to know how to do it. But for cruising the flats a different style will be used no matter what is taught. So we should work on embracing skiers where they're at, and in light of their goals. "Weight forward" is best for about 20% of the time for most fun skiers, it seems. People can kick and glide nicely without that posture on the flats. I think we need to accept that and even name it differently -- and it's not "ski walking."
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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:30 pm

JeffOYB wrote:I have a V2 drill that I often can't do without losing balance -- hopping far from foot to foot -- that would be a bad idea for beginners.

Yes, that drill isn't needed for beginners, but it is fun to challenge the balance with it for more advanced skiers.

JeffOYB wrote:Your link didn't work.

Here is the correct address: http://crosscountryskitechnique.com/

JeffOYB wrote:Of course, her advice is for skating and somewhat for performance and racing so actually I don't think it's all that suitable for the next big boom in skiing that we might hope for.

She and Kai has a lot of advice for classic skiing as well at the site.

JeffOYB wrote:But for cruising the flats a different style will be used no matter what is taught.

What does that style look like?

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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby JeffOYB » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:39 pm

Most people keep striding while on the flats even though official info tells them to doublepole there. Striding for the flats becomes a Touring Stride which isn't studied or officially accepted. It's considered incorrect. For people trying to look around rather than trying to race they end up with an incorrect upright posture which works for them but isn't considered correct. They get a late kick which works fine for the flats but is labeled an error in official materials.
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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby jt10000 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:38 pm

Most people keep striding while on the flats even though official info tells them to doublepole there. Striding for the flats becomes a Touring Stride which isn't studied or officially accepted. It's considered incorrect

Can you post a link to or a citation of someone saying diagonal stride on the flats is incorrect?
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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby Magnus Johansson » Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:41 am

jt10000 wrote:
JeffOYB wrote:Most people keep striding while on the flats even though official info tells them to doublepole there. Striding for the flats becomes a Touring Stride which isn't studied or officially accepted. It's considered incorrect

Can you post a link to or a citation of someone saying diagonal stride on the flats is incorrect?

Interesting question, jt1000, but how come the name of the one you quoted (JeffOYB) doesn't appear before the quote in your reply like in this one?

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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Feb 15, 2016 9:20 am

Hindman pg 148 suggests to practice striding on an uphill because modern grooming makes the flats too fast for striding.

Striding the flats doesn't fit the standard "gears" concept, which is a really big part of instruction. Striding is a low-gear -- correct for skiing uphill. DP is advised for fast, flat conditions.

But the majority of skiers are going to be striding the flats no matter what the conditions. The most common striding adaptation for the flats is called a mistake: "late kick." The majority style of single-poling, also adapted to the flats, isn't appreciated, either, and would be called a mistake -- straight-arm poling that ends at the hips.

I've often heard and read striding description go from "correct" striding then immediately to "ski walking."

The variety of timings between "correct" and "ski walking" are dismissed.

The majority's approach is also based on gears, but their gears don't mesh with the official gears.
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Re: Instruction... PSIA? Torture?

Postby jt10000 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:48 pm

Hindman pg 148 suggests to practice striding on an uphill because modern grooming makes the flats too fast for striding.
You're misinterpreting what he wrote.

He says it's easier to learn/practice on gradual uphills for the reasons you cite, but doesn't say it's wrong on the flats, just more difficult for learning to do it right. Right before what you cite he says that "The exercises and drills in this chapter exaggerate the movements of the diagonal stride to make it easier to learn." So he's not talking about uphills being the only place to use it but the best place to learn it right.

And in fact, not only does he have pictures of skiers striding on the flats in that chapter, he even talks about it such as on page 154, where he says it's easy to stride along and to "glide and have fun on the flats."
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