Movement Learning Activities for Developing Skilled Skiing
If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do. –the Cheshire Cat
If you don’t know what you are doing, you can’t do what you want. –Feldenkrais
What: A presentation of Movement Learning Activities (aka Stepping Stones) organized both by levels and by skill(s).
Why: To provide activities that promote learning movements fundamental to skilled skiing. To develop as both a skier and an instructor presenting images (demos) to your students. All of these activities can help in preparation for the evaluation tasks used in our certification exam.
How: To become skilled at these activities will require you to commit to spending the time to first master the movements that the Introductory Activities present, so that you have basic skilled movements to be further enhanced in the related Intermediate and Advanced Activities. If we start with a lump of coal and pressure it to change, with enough time and effort, it becomes a rough diamond that we can then shape and polish to our liking. Bypassing the effort it takes to create a diamond, to just polishing a lump of coal, will never create a diamond. And so with this process, skipping to focusing on the advanced activities without first developing the skilled movements to do them well is one of those detours that is akin to polishing a lump of coal, and will not lead to sparking skiing expertise any time soon. So take your time, enjoy the learning process of the journey, and may your efforts produce the sparking skiing you desire.
Most of us want to be able to ski any way that bring us enjoyment. Additionally, as instructors we need to be able to ski in ways that present clear and meaningful images to our students, to help them learn to be able to ski any way that brings them enjoyment. Working with our students we employ activities that explore movements and build skills to create successful learning experiences that allow the student to progress to more challenging activities (aka stepping stones) as their process of learning to ski evolves.
We need to give ourselves the same opportunity to learn from that process. There are no short cuts to expert skiing, but there are a lot of detours that can delay us from getting there. Embarking on a pathway to learning the fundamental movement that lead to developing competence in basic skiing skills is the first steeping stone of building a process of learning not how to ski, but learning how to learn to ski any way we want to.
Some of us tend to read a book or take a clinic and expect the conceptual to auto-magically transform into physical skills. A conceptual error in and of itself! Learning to ski is experiential and requires a balance of watching, doing, feeling and thinking. A fundamental concept of physical skill acquisition is developing better kinesthetic awareness skills, being more perceptive to how our bodies actually move.
Developing awareness of how contrasting movements produce contrasting outcomes can enable us to “self-coach” via a “try it, fix it” process. This involves learning to first perceive what is actually happening, then choose the correct movements that, with repetition, will result in development of a set of efficient and effective skills. The more skilled your basic movements are, the more variety of skill blends you can create. With a variety of skill blends you have more tactical options in what you can do on skis to adapt to different terrain and snow conditions. This enables us to create skiing we can enjoy, and provide images that will inspire our students. Our process of improving our skiing should improve our teaching as well.