Germany – The Snowboard Compass

The Germans presented a half-indoor, half-outdoor session covering their Snowboard Compass tool. (Sorry team, the link to the image is broken and I can’t find it while googling). They have a circular image with Slope, Race, Offpiste and Park on the edges; there’s another layer that further breaks these domains down, with things like SBX, Halfpipe, Groundtricks, etc…

The tool is designed to encourage instructors to think broadly about snowboarding and to remember to incorporate as many disciplines as possible into every lesson. On courses they go further and train their instructors to use the tool to view and select varying terrain. In the session I found the compass to be a good way to remind myself of types of riding I don’t often think about (like half-pipe) and how to view the terrain (not a half-pipe) with a more open and creative eye.

This feels very similar to how we encourage an open and global teaching approach in our own system. Good lessons aren’t limited to just one task or type of riding and often the cross-training of kinds of riding actually creates more improvement than not.

Spain – Importance of Breathing for Snowboard Technical Work

The spanish team presented an interesting session highlighting how breathing with purpose can enhance performance. They brought the theory over from their competition stream and were trying to develop how to implement the same principals in general teaching.

We started with an interesting exercise involving pinching or index finger and thumb together while either inhaling or exhaling. Someone would then try to pull the fingers apart. There was a noticeable difference in strength with one compared to the other; some people in the group had more strength while exhaling but most seemed to prefer inhaling.

We then tried to apply this to our snowboarding by coordinating our breathing with specific movements, parts of the turn and sets of turns. There is definitely some application for purposeful breathing in our snowboarding, but the Spaniards agreed that they had not worked out the most reliable techniques yet (the session was being used as a workshop to generate more ideas on the topic).

Germany – “The Model of Movement for describing techniques of snowboarding”

The first thing I learned about ski instruction in Germany is that there are multiple organisations that certify ski instructors in Germany. Today’s presentation was presented by snowboarders from the German Ski Association – Deutscher Skiverband (DSV), also attended by a snowboard representative from the German Ski Instructors Association – Deutsche Skilehrerverband (DSLV).

The German (DSV) model is elegant in its simplicity and usefulness as a descriptive and analysis tool.

3 Points to their Model of Movement:

1. Position — the Germans have a base athletic position they teach to beginners and new instructors, but very quickly their system emphasizes riders changing the position to be specific to personal preference and the task the rider wants to acccomplish.

Any position is suitable as long as it allows riders to accomplish their task; although they emphasized that most of their corrections when teaching come from position faults.

2. Actions — this covers all movement patterns that move the snowboard. Starting from ground up, these are:

  • ankle dorsiflexion/plantarflexion,
  • lower joints: vertical/along the length of snowboard,
  • rotational and counter-rotational from hip joint, hips and body,
  • head and eyes: controlling and stopping rotation, planning line and making decisions.

3. Regulations — these are movements a rider does not intend but just keep a rider upright. These are neither good nor bad, but are a key analysis tool. When you’re a beginner the regulation movements you make are very large as you get better the regulation movements should become smaller and smaller.

To apply this model to movement analysis an instructor looks for Regulation movements as well as ability to perform the task. If the Regulations are detrimental to the rider’s performance, then the first step is to provide improvement to Position. After that (or if Position is not the cause of the negative Regulations), then an instructor will focus on improving Actions with a focus from the snowboard up.

Fun fact: the Germans will usually use “frontside and backside turns” instead of “toeside and heelside turns”.

USA – Freestyle

Today I had the pleasure to attend a freestyle session presented by Tony Macri of the AASI. It was a fun session that kept everyone engaged and involved in the park, using the AASI’s 6 Fundamentals as a base for creating the trick outcomes we worked on. He also introduced the TAD model to help us evolve and improve the tricks as we went.

The 6 Fundamentals and the TAD model combined are an interesting take on similar concepts to our 5 skills. Tony gives a great rundown of these concepts that you can check out here:

Ultimately, we’re talking about the same things in different ways, which is a common theme here at Interski; however, I think there is a lot of value in trying to interpret one concept many different ways, as it can bring greater clarity and understanding of the base concept. In CASI, we like to say ‘there are no rights and wrongs, just actions and consequences’…

New Zealand

Feedback tool box

Styles of feedback we explored where : Negative, positive, immediate, delayed, intrinsic, extrinsic, augmented and seek give seek.

The New Zealand association builds and develops there feedback styles throughout there levels. Looking at positive attributes and negative attributes to each style. Helping the instructors decide which approach to take.

Key take aways :

There are pros and cons to negative vs positive , immediate and delayed.

The use of intrinsic feedback is a way of creating internal feels associated with improvement.

Extrinsic is external feelings associated with improvement.

Augmented uses probing questions to help develop specific outcomes for student. It is more collaborative.

“Seek give seek”uses several different types of questions to help student and instructor develop feedback direction. Onus is on student for helping develop what they would like to get out of there own riding. It is a collaborative exchange. This method is best used with advanced students.