NEW: Ski Skills Development Courses

Phil Smith, Director of Snoworks Ski Courses discusses the history and reasoning behind the all new Ski Skills Development Course.

The winter is the time to ski and go all-mountain. It’s the time to ski places, to experience the mountains, to reap the rewards from effort previously invested. The optimum time for technical development is ideally in the summer and autumn, out of the winter season.

Take a trip up any glacier in the summer and autumn and you will see hundreds if not thousands of instructors, racers and dedicated skiers spread across all the glaciers developing their technical skills in preparation for the following winter.

Photo: Snoworks groups enjoying summer skiing and coaching.

If you really want to take your skiing skills to completely new levels you need to invest time outside of the winter season. Yes outside of the winter season.

We’ve developed our all new ‘Ski Skills Development Courses’ in the summer and autumn for this reason – to develop your skiing.

To explain further…

We’ve spent many hours explaining the difference between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ sports. It’s on our blogs and on many courses we give presentations on the difference in performing in ‘open’ and ‘closed’ environments. The following two sentences sum up the difference.

In ‘Open’ sports the movement patterns are always changing and decision making is spontaneous.

In ‘Closed’ sport the movement patterns are repetitive and decision making is pre-planned.

These two sentences are worlds apart. But unfortunately many skiers are hitting plateaus in their skiing due to being caught up in ‘closed’ sport methodology. Past the red run stage and skiing is very open. So to avoid plateaus it’s imperative to understand the difference between open and closed sports and how they are coached.

The easiest way to explain this is to take something like football as an example. We know how open football is, 22 players on a pitch never in the same place twice. The play ebbs and flows and changes continuously.

Photo: Playing the game. Nothing is ever the same.

So the way football coaching works is the players arrive and the coach and players spend time doing ‘drills and skills’ to develop particular aspects of their play. Passing, tackling, shooting, dribbling and various ball skills along with tactical skills like positioning defending, attacking etc. During this period the coach is available to coach and give feedback as required. Then after some time the coach says “shall we play a match”. Now the match is where everything becomes open. It’s now up to the players using skills previously learnt, adapting and varying them and making spontaneous decisions on the move.

Photo: Skills and drills.

The ‘skills and drills’ training and ‘playing the match’ are very different and this understanding is crucial to improve and develop your skiing in ‘open’ environments. The reason why many people hit plateaus in their skiing is that they are trying to develop ‘drills and skills’ and ‘play the game’ at the same time. There is no differentiation. They also expect the coach to be operating when ‘playing the game’ in the same way as when doing ‘drills and skills’. The roles are different. Can you imagine the coach running around the football pitch in open play giving all the players immediate feedback whilst playing a match. It would be total chaos.

Many years ago when we began the journey into all-mountain skiing we recognised the difference in coaching methodology for open and closed sports. During the winter months we are definitely ‘playing the game’ most of the time. In the bumps, in off-piste, coping with ice and bad visibility, on steeper terrain.

Photo: Snoworks group in the terrain, ‘playing the game’.

Although we can come out of the environment to do ‘drills and skills’ to develop certain skills, time is short and our guests want to be learning to deal with the environment and ski amazing places. It was for this reason that we developed many of the Snoworks philosophies that have allowed us to be so successful.

We’ve also recognised that many of our clients having achieved great results in their skiing would also like to and need to develop their skiing skills to higher levels. Clients need to know in much more detail what areas of technique they need to develop. They need more direct feedback from the coach more of the time. They need more use of video so they can clearly see what they are doing and know how to develop or correct it. In order to do this to the optimum level ideally it’s time to come out of ‘playing the game’ for a while and invest time in skills development out of the environment.

Welcome to Snoworks ‘Ski Skills Development’. These courses are totally dedicated to developing skiing skills. For anyone serious about their skiing and developing their skiing these courses are a must. In an ideal skiing world, summer and autumn training go hand in hand with winter skiing. It’s a win win situation. Developing technique out of the environment and applying it in. Our summer and autumn courses sit beautifully hand in hand with our winter courses.

Photo: Developing skills on a Snoworks Technical Course with the use of extensive video feedback.

Click for Ski Skills Development Course dates

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