Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one?

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Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one?

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:42 pm

Seriously... Coaches: If you cannot ski a turn that resembles a WC turn, what makes you think you are able to coach one? I see it constantly, where coaches with no experience skiing at the level of an elite racer are coaching high level racers. They have no knowledge of the turning forces involved, the rebound energy involved, the range of motion required, how much pressure there really is on the skis, what to do with the pressure when it is released, or even how to release it in the first place. They cannot describe the movements, the results, the sensations, or how to get there. A coach who was a good racer, who has not stayed current with their skiing has no business in this arena either. A coach who cannot demonstrate skiing to a level that puts them at a level where their skiing resembles that done by the best in the world has no right or ability to coach someone who wants to get to a high level, let alone someone who is already there.

The problem is, these coaches don't know they can't ski a WC turn. They don't know they can't describe or coach a WC because they can't ski one. They know that level of skiing when they see it; they know it is different, but they don't know why. Trying to describe the difference between what they do/coach and PMTS is like describing to a person who has only ever eaten raw celery and drank water the taste of a flavorful juicy steak paired with a great glass of wine. You can't talk to these people. They have no experiences on which to base any kind of understanding. Only the coach who seeks to further their understanding to the point of actually being able to demonstrate what they are trying to teach their athletes will ever be able to speak the same language as their athletes, and actually teach their athletes to ski like the best skiers in the world.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby kirtland » Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:09 pm

If I took your reasoning to it's logical conclusion, Béla Károlyi should have never been a great gymnastics coach, he was a hammer thrower and boxer. There have been a myriad of good coaches in many fields who either never competed at the level they coach or are to old to properly demonstrate the movements they coach.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby Max_501 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:07 pm

Kirtland, the coaches of which you speak are far and few between. OTOH, the coaches of which Heluva speaks are a dime a dozen.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby HeluvaSkier » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:11 pm

kirtland wrote:If I took your reasoning to it's logical conclusion, Béla Károlyi should have never been a great gymnastics coach, he was a hammer thrower and boxer. There have been a myriad of good coaches in many fields who either never competed at the level they coach or are to old to properly demonstrate the movements they coach.


1. Skiing is not gymnastics; skiing is timed, gymnastics is judged...
2. The experience of skiing at a high level cannot be understood unless you are able to actually experience it. If you cannot accurately visualize what your athletes are experiencing, you cannot coach them.

Put it this way kirtland: how would you react to someone who studied Essentials or the PMTS instructor manual, but had never skied a turn in their life, showed up as your coach at a PMTS camp as a coach?
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby kirtland » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:17 am

Put it this way kirtland: how would you react to someone who studied Essentials or the PMTS instructor manual, but had never skied a turn in their life, showed up as your coach at a PMTS camp as a coach?

I think you are making my point, from what I can tell, the PMTS coaches do not have experience skiing on World Cup courses making World Cup Turns in the modern era. Yet they understand the fundamental primary movements and are able to teach them. It is not there personal athleticism that makes them good teachers, it is there understanding of the movements, and there ability to teach.
If you want a ski coach's name who, from what I can tell, did not have the back ground, you think is a prerequisite, look at Helmut Girardelli, who coached his son Marc exclusively from, before Marc was 13 to when he won 5 Overall World Cup Titles. More than any other Male Alpine skier in history.
I challenge you to list the the successful ski coaches, that have experienced making successful World Cup turns on World Cup courses, the only one I can think of is Gustavo Theoni.
I think it is a common misconception that personal ability makes for great teachers, I think often people of great ability are unaware of how they do what they do so well and unaware of the process to teach or learn. That often it is the person who struggles to learn and doesn't quite personally master an endeavor, is the one who understands what it takes to learn and teach.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby HeluvaSkier » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:35 am

Kirtland, you're missing the point. I didn't say coaches needed to have WC experience. I said they needed to be able to demonstrate the movements so their frame of reference is the same as the level they are attempting to coach to. All black level PMTS coaches would certainly fall into this arena. Being able to teach and demonstrate is built into PMTS.

The coaches I'm referring to are the typical TTS coaches who can't demonstrate any movements similar to those on the WC yet they claim to be experts at developing racers. In nearly all circumstances what they are teaching their athletes is completely wrong and not advancing their skiing in any way. This is because they themselves have never learned how to get there. They didn't ever need to be a great athlete on the WC but they need to take the time to learn to be a great skier before they start thinking they can develop athletes.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby h.harb » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:53 am

Perfect example, Ron LeMaster, can't ski, can't coach, and makes up technical concepts incorrectly, yet the PSIA thinks he's god, so what does that tell you, bullshit baffles brains, weak ones.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby h.harb » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:06 am

Another example, Rick Fastman, Can't ski, can't coach and doesn't understand skiing. They love him over on Epic, Bullshit baffels weak brains. BTW, all PMTS coaches can make a far better turn than PSIA examiners even Demo Team, or Level 4 Canadian, and they teach the right PMTS movements. Who would you rather have. Our coaches are not coaching World Cup, but they sure can analyze it better than US Ski Team coaches.
I don't think you can win the arguement on either side, Honore Bonnet, arguably the best French coach ever, couldn't ski. Joubert, later destroyed the French Team and he couldn't ski either, so which was the better non skiing coach? Bill Marolt could ski world cup turns, but he was a terrible technical coach, but he had the best recruits, so he won many an NCAA skiing titles . It's not just about coaching, it's about your horses.

Honore Bonnet,

Bonnet retired after Jean-Claude Killy's triple victory at the Grenoble Olympics.

In addition to Killy, Bonnet's champions included Jean Vuarnet, Charles Bozon, Emile Viollat, Guy Perillat, Leo Lacroix, Francois Bonlieu, Georges Maudit, Louis Jaufret, Marielle and Christine Goitschel, Annie Famose, Florence Steurer, Jean Noel Augert, Alan Penz and Isabelle Mir. There were 17 Olympic medals and 21 World Championship medals during his reign -- 16 gold medals in all.

In addition, his racers won seven discipline World Cups and two overall World Cups in the first two years of the Cup circuit. --SM

I knew and skied with most of this group, Late 60ies and early 70ies.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby Max_501 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:42 am

HeluvaSkier wrote:All black level PMTS coaches would certainly fall into this arena. Being able to teach and demonstrate is built into PMTS.


Blue level coaches should be capable of coaching racers too.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby BigE » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:27 am

Marc Ghirardelli was coached by his father... who was an intermediate skeir at best.

IMO, the issue is more fundamental than the ability to make WC turns. The issue is whether or not the coach has a real grasp of the fundamental or essential movements of skiing. If they do, they should be able to see which movements need the most work. By the direct teaching of movement, you have a common language with which you can speak with to your students.

When coaches don't have a grasp of the essentials, they can't relate their teaching to the essentials. It follows that you need to create some sort of language to speak to the kids so that they can be told what to do. If you do not teach movement directly, you are limited to using analogy -- this is never best..... Witness the carnage in the thread in which I've introduced the notion of the ski as a trampoline. (BTW: This is a common analogy up here, and thanks to Max501 for stepping in and clearing it all up.)

So, since teaching with analogy is error prone, some coaches chose to drive kids through drill after drill with little verbal instruction hoping that what they are looking for will rub off -- the concept being you need to do it to learn it and you will learn by repetition. It is then enough for the coach to know how to run through the drills. You can have some success this way, but what happens when you need to fix a movement pattern and you can't identify the single most important movement? What happens when the drills are not done well? Blame the kid. I actually knew a kid that could do the drills perfectly, but skied horribly. They were never told that the movements in the drills were the movements of skiing.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby Max_501 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:10 pm

Ask a PMTS student/racer doing drills what movement is being taught and they will be able to tell you. That is a huge benefit of PMTS. The students have a system that makes sense, is easy to understand, and leads to expert skiing.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby BigE » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:05 pm

The benefit is also that the student can see their attempts at making the movements on video -- they can see what needs fixing, and figure out what is needed. Not so with blind drilling.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby razie » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:15 pm

well, as one that's just going through the CSCF system right now while coaching (and the one probably being picked on here since I just posted an MA), i can say that technique and tactics are just 50% of coaching an athlete. There is a ton of safety, coaching/training/learning and physical and psychologycal stuff that has not much to do with technique - i will get a lot of flack but this is how i see it.

also, per the CSCF if you look at their progression, it would be VERY HARD to get to teach high-level racers: http://www.canskicoach.org/en/certification-programs/structure-progression. I just failed my level 2 DL and I know for a fact that it's hard to get the (performance) level 3 while there's only like a hand-full of level 4 (High perf) and these are the guys that should be coaching high level athletes.

on the other hand, it's also club specific - our club is small and doesn't quite care about the CSCF guidelines because it can't afford big time coaches and lets a level 1 like me coach 13 year old racers that can out-ski me anytime :).

i am having difficulty already - i have athletes at 12-13 that ski already much better than I and it is hard for me to analyze their skiing and find major improvements - they show everything as far as I can analyze and I am working on other stuff with them. my lack of experience is probably showing: i have some trouble doing MA for some of them... i worked on that by reviewing a lot of MA on this forum and epic, but I am stumped. you may see a sample soon... i need ideas.

even if i don't know how to advance their technique much at this point, as far as technique goes, there is a lot of other stuff i can and do work with them: refinement, creative variation, adaptation, different snow conditions, different course setups, tie their hands behind their backs and challenge their balance etc. There are certain processes that allow us coaches to work on stuff and improve what they got without addressing technique specifically.

that being said, I largely agree with you and I have no intention of stopping my own progression and the reason being that I need to keep learning and getting better so I can keep up with my own kids... (they're the reason I coach)... that's why my hyperactivity here for instance, or spending a total of maybe 20 days in courses until this season is over, plus an 8 day masters racing plus whatever I can get my hands on (or rather feet on).

do not think parents are stupid. they watch and observe and think for themselves. so do athletes. and when they see the coach skis like crap like me, AND want to, they can take action. If I see some athlete that i can no longer improve, i will make sure to tell his/her parents, so they can do whatever they want (like start spending the really big bucks).

at the same time, do not discount the extremes. in my opinion, IQ makes up for a lot of experience and there are some that have it... maybe Karolyi or Kostelic are examples.

to summarize:

1. to be a high level coach, if done properly, should be very hard and only really good racers can make it, at least in today's CSCF
2. there's more things to train than just technique - that's only one aspect of a coach's job
3. how do you grow a WC coach?

P.S. rule no 5 of improvement is "be willing to be stupid". i put my own skiing up to critique. I can take it because I need it because I need to get better, because my kids are getting much better much faster than I - you're not getting rid of me that easily :roll:

P.S. I can't yet believe that today, in the age of the internet and public information and forums like this one, a coach that can't ski can get to teach high level athletes.. I don't think this is a big issue, as you raised it. it's competitive and the parents, the clubs, the racers themselves will rid of the stupid coaches through a very much Darwinian process. The really good issue in my mind is: shouldn't it be so that only high level coaches train beginner kid racers? that's when you ingrain the proper movements? Today, the common practice as i see it is to allocate beginner coaches with small kids and go up (somewhat) from there... now that would be a good discussion, eh?

P.S. I have a question as well: as I understand it, at the higher levels, WC included, the athletes are usually pretty well matched in conditioning, technique even... i mean finishing within tens of a second of each-other shows you that... Why do you insist on the 50% so much and completely disregard the other 50%, which is mental preparation, train-as-you-race and such?

cheers,
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby Max_501 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:35 pm

razie wrote:P.S. I can't yet believe that today, in the age of the internet and public information and forums like this one, a coach that can't ski can get to teach high level athletes.. I don't think this is a big issue, as you raised it. it's competitive and the parents, the clubs, the racers themselves will rid of the stupid coaches through a very much Darwinian process. The really good issue in my mind is: shouldn't it be so that only high level coaches train beginner kid racers? that's when you ingrain the proper movements? Today, the common practice as i see it is to allocate beginner coaches with small kids and go up (somewhat) from there... now that would be a good discussion, eh?


Unfortunately that is not what we see on the hill.

razie wrote:P.S. I have a question as well: as I understand it, at the higher levels, WC included, the athletes are usually pretty well matched in conditioning, technique even... i mean finishing within tens of a second of each-other shows you that... Why do you insist on the 50% so much and completely disregard the other 50%, which is mental preparation, train-as-you-race and such?


There is typically a big difference in technique (and sometimes conditioning) between the racers in the top 10 and those in back of the pack. Mental prep is very important, but 50% of the equation?

BTW - get video of the 12/13 year olds and put it up. Unless you have the worlds best juniors all of the Essentials will need work.
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Re: Can't make a WC turn? Why do you think you can teach one

Postby razie » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:28 pm

There is typically a big difference in technique (and sometimes conditioning) between the racers in the top 10 and those in back of the pack. Mental prep is very important, but 50% of the equation?


Ok, fine... 32% :mrgreen: it was 50 in the assumption the others are evenly matched... That is also part of my question: how do they even get to be high level if not with great coaching when not high level... How many great coaches are there?

Man, i wish i could see those differences in technique as easily...

BTW - get video of the 12/13 year olds and put it up. Unless you have the worlds best juniors all of the Essentials will need work

Yeah, everything needs work - but there is nothing major to improve, at least not that I can easily see. Will do some. There are many that need a lot of work and they all work as a group, so I am not too worried, but I can see a few improving fast that may reach a point beyond me this season... Hopefully i can improve at least as fast :shock:

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