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How do you learn?

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
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Over the years of going to clinics, whether it was ESA, women's clinics, PSIA clinics, individual lessons, and tactical camps, I've witnessed different teaching styles.
Heck, during ESA we'd move people from group to group to get the most out of the student's experience.
I recall watching @Bob Barnes with a group that was an interesting blend, yet he was able to individualize the teaching to fit the needs of each student.

FF>> when I was taking clinics for my L1 I had a coach continue to ask me to do this drill and *feel* what I was supposed to feel. There were other students who got it right away but I never felt it. I could tell that the clinic leader was getting frustrated with me, but frankly I was getting frustrated with him too, because....that wasn't working for me.
Later I took a personal lesson with a different clinic leader and explained my issues (well, not ALL my issues ;) ) and he took me out for a bit.
He gave me one step to get the first part of the movement, then another step to piece things together and... BOOM! I felt it! I got the sensation that the previous clinic leader was asking me to feel.
This revelation way back then made me realize just how important it is to be able to mesh teacher/student and the necessity for an instructor to be able to teach different way to fit the needs of the student.

FF>> I took a golf lesson last week. The golf pro interviewed me to figure out my needs and explained that he likes to teach via layering. First take your club in the right hand, line up your left hand on the grip like this, then overlap with your right hand, align with the ball, check your stance.....
I immediately connected to that and have already found progress.

That begs the question:
Do you learn by feel?
Do you learn by layering (putting pieces togeter to find the aha moment)?
Do you learn by visuals?
Do you learn by...(fill in the blank)?

Perhaps there should be another thread: How do you teach?
 

surfsnowgirl

Instructor
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May 12, 2016
Posts
5,832
Location
Magic Mountain, Vermont
I'm a feeler mostly with a combo of layering with the occasional visual. You can show me all you want but I need to do it and feel it to get it. I was skiing with Mister Moose the season before last and he told me what to try on bumps and I did it, felt it and badda bing.

This past season I was skiing with Mrs Guy in Shorts who demonstrated a couple things to do when skiing big bumps or getting stuck on the side of the trail and I was afraid to turn on the steep terrain. Seeing her do it gave me the visual of what to go but I needed to do it to feel what my body was doing before I got it.

I had a fabulous instructor for my 7 week ladies clinic this past winter who broke everything down and each week was a different exercise for our 2 hour session . It felt like a fabulous block of learning. By week 6 all of us were like wow not sure what we've been doing all these years but we finally know how to ski. This was how I learned I'm a layer learner also to achieve the aha moment.
 
Last edited:

4ster

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
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Nov 12, 2015
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7,246
Location
Sierra & Wasatch
I can see it pretty quickly (no matter what the sport or activity, even if it’s one I don’t regularly participate in).
I can hear about it but don’t fully understand until I can talk about it.
BUT… I don’t own it until I can feel it!
 

robertc3

Out on the slopes
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Sep 12, 2017
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515
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Kenmore, WA
I learn mostly by doing. Sometimes that is by hearing and then trying the skill. Sometimes it is by watching and then trying to imitate. I like to get instruction, then plenty of practice reps, and then some feedback. Occasional feedback during my practice reps is fine, but let me get some reps. The more reps I have doing something in "the old way" the more reps I will need trying "the new way" to get it.

I have been in clinics where it was talk, talk, talk, try three or four turns, then talk, and more talk. I never got much out of those because I never got to actually practice the skill. No matter how people learn they only acquire the skill by performing it.

For the how do you teach, it has to be all of the ways above, plus as many others as required. Every student learns in their own way. If you only have one or two tools in your toolbox you will only reach a small subset of your students. The one generality that I do make is that the younger the student (I only have experience coaching/instructing kids 18 years old and younger) the more likely they are a visual learner. Younger kids are great imitators. I don't know anyone who instructed their kids on how to walk. They just walked around and the kids figured it out. Running, skipping, jumping, and other physical skills, same thing. Eventually, they start learning to take verbal instruction and translate that into body movement, but if you have a 10 year old that isn't getting a skill. Show them and ask them to imitate you. Even as they get older and better at understanding verbal instruction they are still skilled at visual learning. They also really like it when their coaches participate with them.
 

Yepow

Excuse me, I'm an intermediate
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Mar 8, 2022
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555
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SK, Canada
"poorly and slowly" when it comes to kinesthetic things, it would seem.
 

Nancy Hummel

Ski more, talk less.
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Jan 10, 2016
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1,044
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Snowmass
Combo but mainly watch/copy.

In school, must see words on paper. Not a fan of auditory only.

I had a feeling once.

I have done quite a bit of long distance running and biking. Distracting from feelings is helpful in those sports.
 

Sibhusky

Whitefish, MT
Skier
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
Posts
4,827
Location
Whitefish, MT
I need to be shown what I'm doing wrong. And also told WHY it is wrong or why another movement is better. Lots of instructors tell you "do it this way" and guess what, I think I'm already doing it that way. In fact, I really need video proof, too.

"Positive reinforcement"? Useless if I don't know what it is I'm doing right (just like I don't know what I'm doing wrong). And "You can do it!" just instantly makes me convinced I can't. So if you want to use those phrases, just shut up and pass me along to someone else.

I'm a really really bad student.
 

oldschoolskier

Making fresh tracks
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Joined
Dec 6, 2015
Posts
4,284
Location
Ontario Canada
Over the years of going to clinics, whether it was ESA, women's clinics, PSIA clinics, individual lessons, and tactical camps, I've witnessed different teaching styles.
Heck, during ESA we'd move people from group to group to get the most out of the student's experience.
I recall watching @Bob Barnes with a group that was an interesting blend, yet he was able to individualize the teaching to fit the needs of each student.

FF>> when I was taking clinics for my L1 I had a coach continue to ask me to do this drill and *feel* what I was supposed to feel. There were other students who got it right away but I never felt it. I could tell that the clinic leader was getting frustrated with me, but frankly I was getting frustrated with him too, because....that wasn't working for me.
Later I took a personal lesson with a different clinic leader and explained my issues (well, not ALL my issues ;) ) and he took me out for a bit.
He gave me one step to get the first part of the movement, then another step to piece things together and... BOOM! I felt it! I got the sensation that the previous clinic leader was asking me to feel.
This revelation way back then made me realize just how important it is to be able to mesh teacher/student and the necessity for an instructor to be able to teach different way to fit the needs of the student.

FF>> I took a golf lesson last week. The golf pro interviewed me to figure out my needs and explained that he likes to teach via layering. First take your club in the right hand, line up your left hand on the grip like this, then overlap with your right hand, align with the ball, check your stance.....
I immediately connected to that and have already found progress.

That begs the question:
Do you learn by feel?
Do you learn by layering (putting pieces togeter to find the aha moment)?
Do you learn by visuals?
Do you learn by...(fill in the blank)?

Perhaps there should be another thread: How do you teach?
One thing that I have learned is that it very seldom the student that has limitations (though there are some). As a Coach/Instructor/Teacher the good ones can adjust to the student and have a vast bag of tricks to get the message across. The best ones step back and let the student teach them, there by letting the student teach them what they need and create a new method to solve the issue.

Failing that the best a also can say openly "I do not have the skill set to help you understand what is needed" as it still encourages without discouraging. This last method is most important for the instructors to learn as it is mistakenly misunderstood as failure for the instructor, it is not.
 

fatbob

Not responding
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Nov 12, 2015
Posts
6,330
I'm a mimic and a learner by doing. I've had terrible lessons where the instructor has pontificated badly on physics and drawing arcs on the snow ad nauseum. Probably most I ever achieved as a kid was a Scottish guy at Cairngorm for a week about 17 when 4 of us took the train up. That really was bombing around while being taught by stealth.
 

luliski

Making fresh tracks
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California
I’m visual and learn by doing and feeling.

I had many lessons as a child in the 70s, and now I’m very comfortable on skis, but I need to unlearn some habits I developed skiing long, straight skis. I haven’t taken too many lessons as an adult, and I’m still figuring out how to get instruction that helps me.

One way I don’t learn is by someone constantly pointing out what I’m doing wrong while I’m just having fun skiing with friends. Especially when the berating is not followed by an understandable, clear and positive solution to the problem.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Tricia

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
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Reno
I can see it pretty quickly (no matter what the sport or activity, even if it’s one I don’t regularly participate in).
I can hear about it but don’t fully understand until I can talk about it.
BUT… I don’t own it until I can feel it!
You are one of a handful of instructors that I mesh with. This is probably why.
I often can't learn it until I put the pieces together but once I feel it, I own it.
 

SkiMore

Getting on the lift
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First, I have to understand the theory and have the system clearly organized in my mind. Then, I learn best through visuals. I like Nancy's comment about watch and learn. I think a lot of kids watch athletes on TV and try to mimic their movements. I listen to feedback, but it is sometimes hard to put in practice without seeing oneself. The areas I need to improve just come to life when I see myself on video. I was at a clinic this season and we got about 10 runs on video. So very helpful for understanding one's skiing and where improvement is needed.
 

tch

What do I know; I'm just some guy on the internet.
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If you believe in Kolb’s learning cycle (and I used it to structure lessons for years in my college clases), to truly learn something you have to understand it conceptually, experience it in a concrete way, experiment with different applications, and review and the reflect on the material and experience. Kola argues that this is a cycle — but it doesn’t matter where in the cycle you start (hence some people need concepts explained first, some people need to just try doing something, and some people need to see and think about it first) or the order in which you go through these steps — as long as you get through all of them at least once.

what this means for a teacher is that you have to be aware of your own biases in presenting material and also be ready to start in a different place for some students and/or let them move through the stages in a different order. The truly best teachers let the student guide them as to what they need when they need it.
 

Pat AKA mustski

It’s no Secret! It’s a Ranger!
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I need to see it demonstrated AND have the process explained. Then I need someone to tell me where in the process I am falling short. After that, repetition does the trick and I start to feel it. What will cause me to fail every time is an instructor who wants to move it to harder terrain before I feel competent on current terrain. I’m a slow kinesthetic learner, and I’m ok with that. I will also happily take pointers anywhere anytime. Some of my biggest “aha” moments have come from a nugget offered by an instructor friend.
 

Chris V.

Making fresh tracks
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Mar 25, 2016
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Truckee
This season trainers were emphasizing the superiority of external cues. I started using that more heavily that in lessons, with success. I found it a good focus for personal improvement, too. What are the skis doing? What would I like to change in their performance? All right, now how do I need to change the input to achieve that? But I believe it's essential for a student to experience how that change in skiing feels, even if only once, and then be motivated to serk out that same feeling again. Start with the external cue, integrate everything else with that.
 

JESinstr

Lvl 3 1973
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I can see it pretty quickly (no matter what the sport or activity, even if it’s one I don’t regularly participate in).
I can hear about it but don’t fully understand until I can talk about it.
BUT… I don’t own it until I can feel it!
I am in this "bucket" as well.
Golf issue: there are a series of new Golf Videos out on YouTube by a bunch of Old Farts preaching what they call the "Easiest Swing", and it is all about flow relieving tension and feeling what you are doing. In particular, I have often heard the saying " Feel the weight of the club head" but really was unable to put it into a relative context. Well, I finally I saw a video which explained that I could not reliably "scrape" the surface of the ground with the club until I had grip pressure that allowed me to feel where the club head was in relationship to the ground. If the grip was too tight, the hand's input to the brain was inaccurate. This is a work in progress, but it is showing considerable promise.

When it comes to carving, you really need to be supple and envision, understand and feel that the skis are converting straight into circles and that you are being pushed vs pulled. Once you feel that, then your actions to make the ski perform will make a lot of sense.
 
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