La Suisse!

Journée 3 du congrès Interski et aujourd’hui j’ai eu le plaisir d’assister à la session sur neige de l’équipe Suisse, un pays qui est toujours très branché et toujours en recherche d’innovation pour améliorer l’experience des étudiants des écoles de glisse de la Suisse, c’est bien aussi de jaser en Français avec eux, un de leurs languages officiel.

Le but de leur session étais de partager leur façon d’enseigner un mouvement ou une manoeuvre de façon simple et efficace; la manoeuvre du jour… Le Harry. Le Harry est facilement décrit come un nose press avec un backside shifty. Le but était de créer une position stable en nose press et en même temps envoyer le tail en contre rotation avec le haut du corps et une extension de la jambe avant pour produire un effet dramatique et un style sans égal! Assez difficile pour nous garder engagé!

La méthode d’enseignement fut simple… 1: On essais la manoeuvre après avoir vu une démo. Sur une piste verte damée, conséquences potentielle minimale. On en discute, on échange des impressions et on pose des questions…Similaire à la découverte guidée. 2: Quelle sorte de méthodes d’apprentissage sont les plus efficaces et quand les mettre en pratique? On déconstruit la manoeuvre en étape. Sur une surface plate on commence avec un nose press, on explore l’amplitude des movements avant, la position des hanches et les sensations recherchées. On se met par deux et on va encore plus loin dans notre amplitude et on ajoute le shifty, mon partenaire me tenant les deux mains pour stabilité lorsque nous somme statique; pas facile! Nous sommes en Acquisition des mouvements.

3: On glisse! Maintenant c’est le temps de mettre les mouvements acquis en pratique, toujours sur du terrain vert ou les conséquences sont basse pour assurer une performance optimale. On nous donne beaucoup de temps pour la Consolidation des mouvements de la manoeuvre. 4: Application et Variation des mouvements (manoeuvre): Comment individualiser l’enseignement pour pouvoir adresser tout les types d’apprentissage? On trouve des analogies pour contribuer davantage à la simplicitée de l’enseignement et assurer la comprehension… dans ce cas ci: Bowling! On peu aussi comparer à une autre manoeuvre commune: Frontside Boardslide, Nollie, speed checks, etc. On se met en partenaire pour l’équivalent du bon vieux Top Gun, on varie en utilisant du terrain varié (les bords de piste, on essaie en switch) et en augmentant la difficulté et le défi. Tout ça soutenue par une analyse individuelle de la performance.

5: Création et Supplément des mouvement: Que puis-je faire comme enseignant pour aider les étudiants à atteindre leur but(s)? Dans ce cas ci on nous emmène dans le parc pour utiliser les modules; des Harry sur les jointures des sauts et gérer les pressions associées aux changements de terrain, vraiment le fun et un bon défi pour tous.

Donc un modèle d’enseignement simple, individuel et efficace pour une progression plus rapide et une expérience durable avec une progression similaire au modèle Canadien du développement des habilitée motrice (IARCV). Bravo les Suisses; très bonne présentation.


Luc Bélanger

Polands on snow workshop

This morning was kind of cool.After St Patricks day things were a little slower paced for a lot of the teams. With some of the riders taking some well earned rest from the stresses of the previous day.

Not us CASI folks though we were tucked up in bed nice and relatively early as we knew we had a big day today.

So back to how cool the day was, on the 8.15 shuttle to the resort we arrived to see a few people milling around and all the snowboarders congregated in the middle of the village below the demo slope. Not having a specific plan we all decided to go for a ride together , so a few groomer laps and then some in the park with riders from all over the world just doing their thing , it was awesome to see and none of us were focused on doing perfect demos just ripping some turns with like minded people.

At 10:30 we split into 2 groups and went on sessions presented by Poland and Slovakia.

Yuki, Luc and I went with the Polish guys and Jeff and Adam went with Slovenia.

The Session idea was about using methods of contrast in order to get development from students. They took us to extremes with our equipment to help our understanding of our movement patterns. The first thing was to limit the help we get from our bindings and concentrate on using our joints to be able to turn our boards so loosening off our bindings to the point that our ankle straps were only a click or two connected and then riding switch – It made me think a whole lot about where I was stood and how I moved on the board to be able to change edge.

The next task they asked us to try was to take a lack of vision and see how it affected our balance. So we put bubble wrap( you know the stuff that you pack boxes with ) in our goggles and tried riding down the slope, it wasn’t overly challenging try thinking of driving just before you turn your windshield wipers on, you can kind of see people and where the slope edge was but not the smaller details. The next thing was total blackout we upped the ante and put a dense sponge in front of our eyes and it was like trying to ride in a power outage. Trust in the people guiding me was needed as i felt like I’d never been on a board before,for most people our body tensed and lateral movement almost came to a screeching halt with the majority prefering to rush the edge changes in their turns at the last minute. The idea was good and they got us thinking about how our students feel when they are riding in whiteout or stormy conditions as once the visability goes we get into survival mode.

They showed how even limiting one sense in varying amounts can develop9 understanding for students in how they stand and balance on their boards and that we can create extremes aimed at riders from beginner to advanced and use them as development tools in our lessons

Good to Great: Poland, Austria & Germany Indoor Lecture

The topic of this session revolved around the psychosocial aspects in the training of snow sports instructors, presented by German, Austrian and Polish presenters.

The thesis presented is that the goal is to go from being a good instructor to a great instructor. The key to becoming a great instructor is to support people to stay in their comfort zone and coach them so they can go beyond the limits of their comfort zone.

1: Neurobiological Aspects

Factors that influence us without us being aware of them…

What happens when our brain perceives a threat? The example given is to imagine you’re out for a run in the forest, and you encounter a bear in the trail. Increased heart rate, tense muscles, flight or fight mode. The amygdala takes control and prepares an emergency reaction: fight, flight or freeze…what the presenters referred to as “amygdala hijack”.

In teaching snow sports, it doesn’t take much of a threat to put someone in this state. In fact, our brain reacts similarly in social interactions as actual threatening interactions.

The SCARF model describes the way our brain interacts in social situations:

S: Status – relative importance, pecking order and seniority.

C: Certainty – the need of our brain to predict the near future.

A: Autonomy – perception of having things u see control.

R: Relatedness – being “in” or “out” of a social group.

F: Fairness – perception of fairness between people.

So What?

When we teach students (or train instructors) we need to keep the above factors in mind to ensure our students don’t experience “amygdala hijack”.

Our brain constructs our reality. Help your students to construct a positive reality and be in a state of well-being as often as possible.

2. Group Dynamics

Improving the learning experience by observing group dynamic processes.

The three models below show us how group behaviour can be observed:

  • The Iceberg Model
  • The Group Dynamic Space model
  • Rank Dynamic model

Think of an iceberg – approximately 1/10th is visible above the water’s surface, and the rest is submerged and invisible. This is also the case in relationships and group dynamics – most of the important stuff is not visible or happening behind the scenes!

A sense of belonging is a vital part of a good group dynamic.  Here are some examples of ways to create a sense of security and belonging:

  • Getting to know each other by name.
  • Finding out who knows who, and how well – this give social orientation.
  • Actively encouraging contact between different group members during the initial phase.
  • Sharing ideas on how to spend the time together.
  • Putting the group and “WE” first.

The 3 aspects at play here are:

  1. Belonging: People who feel they don’t belong perceive this as a threat. The mind experiences social exclusion as physical pain.
  2. Power: Opportunities for participation and involvement increase motivation. Power demonstrations of the instructor help him/her more than they help the students.
  3. Nearness: Balanced attention by the instructor promotes a good learning climate in the group.

3. Coaching Role

How can we as instructors develop people’s full potential?

Coaching: Giving assistance in reaching desired results by reinforcing existing talents, asking the right questions, and expressing concern.

Using the SCARF principles, a good coach will minimize threats and maximize rewards.

Using Coaching to its Fullest

1. Serve your clients, and make them smile by doing a great job.

  • Show your dedication to your job.
  • They must feel that you care for their needs.
  • Have empathy.

2. Form A Contract

  • Define the rules of working together to ensure total confidence.
  • The contract forms understanding of boundaries of the student and the coach.
  • In a group situation, the contract should be understood by everyone (generally).

3. Set The Aims and Objectives by Defining the Goals and Setting Intentions

  • Helps to realize what we’re here for.
  • Open up, talk to clients, listen to their stories and tell yours.

4. Be an invisible leader – pacing and leading

  • Let the client be at the front. Give them time and space to express opinions and theories. Follow the discussions and guide them gently to achieve results.

5. Promote Teamwork

  • Resonance: Where do we connect?
  • Synergy: Where are we different? Can they compliment one another?
  • Emergence: What new can come of our interaction?

6. Feedback vs. Feedforward

  • People love appraisal and hate judgement. Concentrate on solutions instead of problems.
  • It is easier to show people things they can do better than to prove them wrong.
  • “Feedforward” tips”
    • Give students awareness exercises exploring critical parts of the movements.
    • Explore the functions of the movements by going into extremes.
    • Let them decide if it’s useful or not for their snowboarding. If not, research it further.
    • Let the student describe their own experience / movements in their own words. This improves awareness by finding the words for a body experience, the coach gets a picture of the student, and can build the next steps.

7. Avoid Your Own Agenda

  • Avoid the “too much’s”:
    • Wanting to be liked.
    • Wanting friends (desperately).
    • Proving your skills
    • Wanting results (not conforming to the client’s wishes)
    • Needing income (desperately).
    • Wanting to heal yourself.

8. A Bit of Anxiety Is Good!

A small dose is natural and beneficial. It means you care about how you do your job. But, too much is harmful! It’s crucial to recognize the emotional state of your students, so you can manage the amount of anxiety.

Demo night

What an amazing experience !! Tonight all three Canadian sliders were on the demo slope. CSIA, CANSI and us CASI team, all three teams did the great demonstration.

It was a long day starting on snow shredding with other nation’s snowboarders then attended the workshops on snow, lunch, training on spring boots deep slush on demo slope on the mountain. Then attending another two indoor workshops, 20min dinner got on bus then to demo slope!!

Being the lightest and smallest rider of the team, I needed to have speed so I managed to sneak in a time to quickly wax my board between that busy schedule.

Before the demo, all three Canadian team got together in circle, and team coach of CSIA cheered us up. True team spirit was there.

On demo slope we did two runs, two formations we practiced. As the daytime temperature was so hot, and it was a night show, of course it froze up, very firm snow for the snowboarders. But it was definitely advantage to hit jump as during the day time the approach speed was bit slow.

Led by Adam on the first run. We dropped in right after CSIA team, being the 2nd last rider in the formation, I needed to keep my speed to follow exactly behind the riders in front of me, and right behind me, there was Luc following right on my tail of my snowboard, (I could hear his edge noise) with Go-pro on his helmet.

Towards the bottom of the run, there was a jump set up and of course we all hit the jump. Actually I never told my team mates, but it was my very first time to hit table top at night, I was bit nervous but I trust my teammates, all I need to do is just follow their lines and take off! And I did it! Oldest lady in the demo team can still fly!!

2nd run was another formation. This time I was leading Breen and Luc. Original plan was fast shorts turns, but as soon as I dropped in, I realized that snow was really icy, so in order to keep the steady rhythm, instantly I modified the turn size, slightly larger than our practice so the following riders can match easily (they do have longer board than me)

Toughest part being the front is, I needed to keep the pace and rhythm consistently so the other two riders can match easily. It is easy when the snow condition is good, not on icy steep demo pitch for sure.

It was a great accomplishment for the team, for myself. We are great teammates together. They pushed me to hit the jump and I was so happy that I did it.

Synchro riding may not be the type of riding we do normally but definitely this requires and highlights the true technique in snowboarding. This was a challenge to be adaptable, modifying my usual riding habits, and be consistent.

Yes we did it! And we did it very well!! We showed that Canadians can shred hard!

Thanks for this great opportunity.


Fundamental Skills in Snowboarding (Czech Republic)

This morning Asam Gardner and myself attended a workshop with the single Czech snowboarder here at Interski, also named Adam.

His focus was on relating basic skills to higher end competitive snowboarding. The two skills he chose to examine were edging (which he interchanged with carving) as well as “dynamic balancing”.

He had us try to isolate the movements involved with edging, namely and hips forward position on the toe edge and use of the ankle to adjust edge angle on the heels.

As well, he introduced a pronounced rotational move combined with driving of the knees in carved turns.

Following this, we looked at the use of separation as a means of improving balance skills, especially for SBX riders. He had us experiment with fast straight running in both a “neutral” sideways aligned position, and also with a very open upper body position. This definitely generated some conversation among the group.

Overall it was interesting to see the Czech take on these things and the differences in approach between countries!