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BAD Drills or Exercises that Instructors use

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What drills do you see people do that are ineffective, give bad long term results or just plain dumb....

My hate list so far is....

One ski skiing for First Day Adult Beginners - I see this used all the time, the instructor gets their clients to take off one ski then do one footed glides on the flat, they then side step them uphill and try to get em to glide on one foot straight down. Generally ends in disaster when the students put down the foot without a ski, almost always resluts in a fall and at a minimum they are out of control. I think instructors do this to show off when demoing...

Chinese SnowPloughs - supposed to develop edging skills, (i think) and is useful for advanced skiers but seems to me in intermediates just promotes an A frame and knee collapse.

Airplane Turns - Arms out at the side and a huge lean into the turn, it works in early stage skiers but just doesnt seem right to me. The Tilting motion just promotes bad posture and un balanced movements.

Long radius Javelin Turns - Contentious as i used to think they are great for everything but the moe i think about it they are only good for short to medium turns... Most people do them in pretty big arcs and i think they promote an overly open hip and shoulders.

Hip Pinches - I have heard this one described to me as "try to get your lowest rib to touch your hip". Used to develope angulation but i think this puts the spine in a terribly weak position, a better drill is the superman or "schlopy" drill.
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skimottaret wrote:
One ski skiing for First Day Adult Beginners - I see this used all the time, the instructor gets their clients to take off one ski then do one footed glides on the flat, they then side step them uphill and try to get em to glide on one foot straight down. Generally ends in disaster when the students put down the foot without a ski, almost always resluts in a fall and at a minimum they are out of control. I think instructors do this to show off when demoing...

My teenage beginners in Pila enjoyed and benefited from this on day 1 and 2. It made them laugh, a lot, and for all of them except one they were suddenly centred on their ski losing their backseat position almost instantly. It was in their 2nd 2-hour lesson that I got them to try it, after trying a few other things to get them to stand on the centre of their ski. I didn't demo this, BTW, just told them to do it Wink

I understand the criticism with adult beginners, or perhaps better to say more timid beginners, whose anxiety might mean the drill exaggerates their leaning back.
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skimottaret wrote:
Long radius Javelin Turns - Contentious as i used to think they are great for everything but the moe i think about it they are only good for short to medium turns... Most people do them in pretty big arcs and i think they promote an overly open hip and shoulders.

A steered javelin turn is a tough drill! A long radius, carved, javelin turn is much easier to achieve, so maybe that's why it is used more often than short and medium radius turns?
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I did say Adults on the one footed stuff wink ... Kids love it and as you say once have a little confidence is a good balance drill for them, I just see first timers being given this, huffing and puffing leaning back and waving their arms about being scared witless....

on the javelins i see a lot of park and riding (myself included) in bigger turns and i am just not sure it is doing that much good unless it is more of a dymanic exercise...
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skimottaret wrote:
I just see first timers being given this, huffing and puffing leaning back and waving their arms about being scared witless....

I agree.

I was teaching a couple of friends at MK yesterday and wanted to try a javelin drill with one of them but only thought of it in terms of long radius turns, therefore not really suitable for indoors unless it was empty. I might give it a go in shorter radius turns to see whether I can do it Embarassed
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skimottaret,
Quote:

One ski skiing for First Day Adult Beginners


Agree. I've watched instructors doing this and student after student goes splat on the ground. This is hard for our intermediate kids at race club, what makes instructors think it's good for beginners?! The only one ski stuff i do with beginners is introductory activities, putting one ski on on the flat and pushing around like a skateboard to get used to the slidy sensation, before doing the same with both skis. Once we start sliding it's two skis all the way.
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beanie1 wrote:
what makes instructors think it's good for beginners?!
It's very difficult to do if you're in the back seat, much easier if you are centred on your ski. But you need to be happy to do it otherwise there's a lot of arm-flailing and fear going on, which means a slope which is only just steep enough to glide on, with a flat area to stop on.
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rob@rar, i know it's a good exercise as you say, i just think it's much too hard for beginners and more likely to do harm than good. I've even seen isntructors doing it on plastic, which is pretty painful when you fall (which beginners do!)
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beanie1, a guy at brentwood used to do the one ski on a the flat as an intro... given you cant actually glide on plastic i was a suitably bemused "shadowing" him and learning all his experienced tricks of the trade rolling eyes
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I haven't had many adult never-evers, but I tend to start them just in boots, then one ski, then swap feet. Never had anyone fall over, though - poles and taking it steady seem to help? I like it since it introduces the feel of sliding without two skis that can will slide away if pointed the wrong direction...

I hate airplane turns. The idea is to promote balancing on the outside ski, but that means turning your "wings" the opposite way a plane would turn compared to what your skis will do, so usually the person behind you gets it right, then the rest of the class just pretend to be regular planes and get over the inside ski instead....
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DaveC,
Quote:

I tend to start them just in boots, then one ski, then swap feet.


Are you talking about pushing around in the flat on one ski, or learning to slide? I start them off on the flat on one ski, but both skis once learning to slide.
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DaveC wrote:

I hate airplane turns...


Oi....my teaching practice for my ASSI back in 1988 was to teach a group of kids [actually we used the other candidates but they had to pretend to be kids] to turn.... we did areoplane turns and the examiner was rolling around the side of the slope as i had them makeing gun noises and shooting each other off the slope Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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beanie1 wrote:
DaveC,
Quote:

I tend to start them just in boots, then one ski, then swap feet.


Are you talking about pushing around in the flat on one ski, or learning to slide? I start them off on the flat on one ski, but both skis once learning to slide.


I do some mobility stuff (walking around in a circle, hopping, whatever I think of) in boots, then we go for a little scoot around the flats (or near flats, tiny incline i guess) - with my kids we're pushing a scooter around (no poles), with adults we're just sliding around on one ski - then take that ski off and put it on the other foot. I like it since it lets them figure out bindings too.
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You know it makes sense.
I gave up playing aeroplanes with kids years ago as I realised I was spending too much time trying to get them to tilt to the right side (right as in correct!). Any drill that results in spending ages trying to get the drill right instead of the drill getting the skiing right is a waste of time and counterproductive.
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I've seen kids following instructors recently (ESF) doing a sort of modified "one arm" aeroplane turn but I did notice that most of them were using the wrong arm and bending the wrong way.

Could our instructor please discuss the merits and demerits of a javelin turn as opposed to picking the inside ski up parallel to the outside one?
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DaveC, yup that's what I do. I think what skimottaret, was referring to was instructors who start people sliding on one ski.
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pam w wrote:
Could our instructor please discuss the merits and demerits of a javelin turn as opposed to picking the inside ski up parallel to the outside one?

The javelin turn (where the inside ski is picked up and the tip is crossed over the outside ski) promotes greater angulation as well as being good for developing balance (see the Glossary for a good explanation of angulation). Although as Skimottaret said earlier, there is a danger than you can get a bit out of shape by doing this kind of turn. Lifting the inside ski is good for developing balance, but doesn't seem to be as effective for developing angulation skills.
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Javellin turns encourage pivoting a lot more too, if you get your students to pivot the outside ski under the inside, rather than crossing the inside over the outside. Bad points? They're messy if they go wrong, they're hard to do well, and they encourage bad habits - but that's why it's a drill rather than a feeling to look for in your skiing. I like braquage and speiss (though I'm horrible at speiss so I haven't inflicted it on the kids) for pivoting more though, since they fit back into real life skiing easier.
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Speaking as an older adult novice, the most important thing IMHO is to use exercises that are achievable by the learner in question and boost confidence. One size doesn't fit all - know your learner. Facing exercises/terrain which are too much too soon, or which result in frequent falls leads to fear which can seriously impede progress with potentially long term effects. Been there, got the T-shirt & am still having to work on repairing the damage rolling eyes
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I think the javelin is best used as an advanced drill. For me it's been useful for developing edging skills (fast, long radius turns) and to get the feeling of an angulated stance.
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I don't think there are any intrinsically bad exercises. All of them could, and might work for certain teachers with certain students in certain circs. Some work for most, some work for only a few, we all have our favourite ones. WRT aeroplane turns, they work as soon as you stop describing them as aeroplanes!

I sometimes wonder, reading these threads, if the aspiring/learning ski teachers here quite understand the process. (No offense intended) Exercises are used either to correct a fault, or to promote a certain action - nothing else. If used incorrectly they will cause problems. A good teacher needs a vast library of exercises to pull out of the hat for whatever is required, they also need to be able to invent them on the spot!

Having said that, I personally wouldn't dream of asking beginners to ski down hill on one ski at the start of the first lesson. I recently received a video of this being done at Chill Factore with horrendous results. Shocked
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Quote:

I personally wouldn't dream of asking beginners to ski down hill on one ski at the start of the first lesson.

I'm astonished that this seems to be so common, having never been asked to do it, or seen anyone else asked to do it, except on quite an advanced Warren Smith video. Exercises to promote "bipedal" action (stepping, lifting, etc) are another matter - I've particularly noticed ESF instructors doing that with little beginner kids. One girl asked the kids to lift one ski (they were standing still in a circle), then the other. Which they could all do. Then she asked them to raise both. They looked puzzled for a minute then one little lad started hopping both skis and they all joined in with enthusiasm. Then she had them stepping round in their circle. Super lesson, I thought and she was lovely with the kid. But on one ski? I do think it's important to prevent some adult beginners from being so mortally fearful of falling down, but somehow I don't think this is the best way!
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Quote:

I don't think there are any intrinsically bad exercises



Quote:

Having said that, I personally wouldn't dream of asking beginners to ski down hill on one ski at the start of the first lesson. I recently received a video of this being done at Chill Factore with horrendous results


So that would be a bad one then?
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skimottaret, |I think what easiski, is saying is that it is used inappropriately rather than being a bad drill as such.
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DaveC, what's speiss?
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beanie1, yeah i got that and i also get that exercises are used to promote/improve an action and/or correct faults. What i was getting at in this thread is which drills do neither particularily well and should be avoided.

Anything you see Instructors do with students on the hill that makes your teeth grind ? (with the exception of one footed skiing around and over ski poles) wink
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Mosha Marc, go to 2 minute mark on this video for a very very good demo of a speiss turn.


http://youtube.com/v/M9l7f-_a8Bw
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skimottaret, Ah, those. I hate them; always end up with a blister on my heel.
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Mosha Marc, I end up with a bruised ego even thinking about trying to do short swings Toofy Grin
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skimottaret, That's the point, I don't think any exercises do neither all the time. You don't like aeroplanes, I've seen them work very well, and have used them to effect on occasions, ditto all the exercises mentioned with the exception I have already referred to. Causing adult beginners to fall is not a good idea and certainly not necessary. If the whole group is falling repeatedly and crashing into each other, then it's bad teaching. (This is what the video showed). Any exercise, if it doesn't work with that particular grop/student should be dropped immediately and another one tried. Even in one's native language it can take several attempts to get the right message across.
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easiski,
Quote:

If the whole group is falling repeatedly and crashing into each other, then it's bad teaching.


This is exactly what I've seen happen when instructors do this exercise! I don't understand why they'd think it's a good idea...
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easiski, fair enough I get where you are coming from... I slightly disagree with the there is no such thing as a bad drill, just a bad application of it leading to bad teaching view but lets change tack a bit.. What would your view be on the "hip pinch" exercise from the OP?
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ok i have to ask whats a Chinese SnowPlough
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mugen, skis in plough shape, one of them flat and one of them edged. You ski diagonally sideways whilst facing downhill, so you look like a crab.
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oh just thought of another one the my boss hates with a passion... The shuffle drill when you slide your feet forward and backwards as you make turns... doesnt seem to do a whole lot of good, i guess it is for balance??
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skimottaret, I remember him saying that it doesn't help you do anything other than shuffle! The other coaches I work with seem to like it thoug so I use it too - sure it's not a great exercise but I don't think it's a bad one either. It's a good warm up and I think helps to centre your balance over the centre of your feet.
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beanie1, he has expanded on this with me in that he feels it can create unwanted hip movement... changing tack a bit you have any good fun things for me to try with 8-11's next week?
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skimottaret,

Interesting, I'll have to have a look at that next time i see it being done.

Something you can use with any age and relate to anything is the "imitation game" (shamelessly nicked from a BASI trainer). Can imitate anyone - each other, famous ski racers, old school ESF instructors, you! With younger kids ask them what their favourite animal is, and then ask them to think about how that animal would ski. Gets them to play around on their skis, all good.
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skimottaret, Hip pinches would seem hard to do and rather complicated, but over the years I've heard/seen some even more bizarre things work. Shuffles ... I can see: balance, independent legs, loss of fear of moving the bod while skiing, turning while thinking of something else. I'm sure I could think of more if I put my mind to it - that's just off the top of my head. It's also a good exercise as a prelude to turn of 1000 steps. I can't say I've done it in a while though, but that's not the point. 'Teach the individual skills - not the whole'

What don't I like? Many of the angulation exercises introduced too early so they set skiers back on their heels. Fine later, but I prefer to see the skier properly balanced first - then worry about other stuff.

beanie1, Animals is great, but snakes are difficult - I had to do one recently. Also werewolves! this week I've had a chicken, an ant, a mouse, a werewolf, a rabbit. This season I've done polar bear, lion, gorilla and giraffe!!
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I must confess that the lift a ski up exercise is not one that I like - owing to the fact that I find it difficult to do (which yes, is why I ought to do it rolling eyes ). However, this concept of getting absolute beginners to try it did make me wonder that if you start to do it before getting overly used to having both skis on the ground would it be any easier to get used to doing?

I'm also not keen on the plant your pole and ski round it exercise, but we have discussed that one before Laughing
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