Explaining common sense.. or not?

Explaining common sense.. or not?

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Alwin Bakker   January 21 2018  
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Explaining common sense.. or not?
From a beginner to an intermediate or advanced guest you’re teaching, on most regular teaching days instructors will encounter a lot of little problems that do seem so obvious and common sense. Not all these problems are so common sense to the people you’re teaching, sometimes it will help to explain some things that you might not think about because you expect them to realize that.. but not everybody does...

Explain they’re trying a “moving sport”
People are generally scared of speed, which makes sense, but.. skiing and snowboarding are both per definition “moving sports”, you’re not skiing/ riding when you’re not in motion. They can not be per performed stationary, just as car isn’t driving when it isn’t moving.

Gravity never takes a break, so slowing yourself down is thé skill
I’ve seen many people being surprised when they start sliding without them doing anything. Sliding down the hill in a straight line on your equipment is one of the most effortless things to do, gravity makes is possible. In contrast to many other things we’ve learned, it isn’t the skill to “start” that needs to be practiced, but the skill to “stop”. We all teach braking and stopping at the very beginning, but do your guests actually realise why? Most things in life will stop “moving” when we stop putting effort in what we’re doing, but if we do that out there on the mountain you’ll only gain speed...

Momentum helps you balance
When we’ve learned to control speed and we can perform stops, most things are actually easier to perform with a little bit more speed and therefore momentum, this helps you balance. A tiny bit is usually enough, just as on a bicycle it is way easier to ride on a “normal” speed than trying to pedal as slow as possible or even stand still.

Momentum helps you turning
Turning is a big theme in both the skiing and snowboarding progression, where going through the fall-line is the scariest bit. People usually get scared when they feel like what they’re doing hasn’t the desired effect, and try to overcompensate (in the wrong way) when they feel things are don’t work out like they want to. With a little bit of momentum this actually goes quicker, in literally less time. But also the technique you’ve learned takes less effort to perform, momentum reduces friction on the snow. Ever driven a car without power-steering? Really hard to turn the wheels while parking, but on the highway if happens effortless, same concept.

Fall-line (line of gravity)
Don’t be afraid to explain the fall-line, it’s important, at all levels. Not too much detail needed, it’s already helpful when they start to develop an awareness that there is such a thing. Reading terrain will come at a later stage, but you need to start somewhere, the earlier the better.

Forward on a snowboard
Many people don’t realise that what is forward for the snowboard and the rider, isn’t the natural forward direction. Explain regular and goofy, and that the body moving in it’s natural direction is going sideways on a board, it’s called “side-slipping” for a reason right?

Give examples that people can relate to
Because many of these things are so “common sense”, though counter-intuitive, giving examples people can relate to definitely helps. Examples from every day life that people can relate to, walking, cycling, driving a car etc. To understand the concept of skiing/ snowboarding and the different runs on the hill there are countless possible examples everybody can relate to. This will make it easier to understand the counter-intuitivity and help them progress smoother and faster.

- Alwin -
Tagged under: Common Sense

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