As with most things, we start out with a sense of wonderment and fear. As a child learning to walk, play and interact came as a combination of observations and practice with mentors and peers. Just like skiing…
I started down my new journey as a ski instructor after following the advise of an old friend who had been doing it for several years. “How cool”, I thought. She had this whole other dimension to her life That never knew about. She suggested I contact the Brighton Ski School to tryout. I did and got call back from the assistant ski school director, telling me to show up at a time a place to learn more.
At this first meeting I met several experienced instructors that were to become our “trainers”, ok, hold on. “Train for what? Skiing is easy..” I thought to myself. Sooo… there’s work and learning involved? But skiing is so easy… or so I thought.
I need to remember the trainers that day:
Mary (Ski School director).. I would realize later what a dramatic and profound influence she would have on my life.
Carolyn.. Another of my life/ski changing mentors.
Chip.. Great guy, and great trainer.
Deb.. Great skier and trainer.
Jennifer or “Fir” as she was called. Great leader.
Connie.. Amazing skier and always smiling.
(more on these personalities later.. all had a profound affect on my learning and life changing principles)
The next few weeks were filled with learning some familiar skills and so not so familiar. I skied with really cool trainers that slowly (at first) guided our learning and understanding of what would be expected. Part of this learning process was the idea of teaching/learning models. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was actually learning to do things and assimilate the concepts of skiing through other means. For example.. the trainers asked us all to come back one week prepared to teach a “non-skiing” skill. We had to follow a predetermined set of “progressions” to teach this. It started with and introduction, safety, a plan and a measurable goal. This would then be followed with a summary which would include specific parts.. “past, present and future”.
All of which had to be present to the group is a 3-5 minute demonstration… it also had to include some sort of movement.
I thought about this and decided to teach my group how pat your head and rub your stomach.. with an added level of difficulty.
Here was my presentation.. It works and is guaranteed to make even the most uncoordinated person feel like a master of the skill.
– Start with patting your head with your right hand.
– Rub your stomach with your left hand… without stopping your head patting.
– Keep doing this for about 15 seconds so if feels familiar.
– Now switch hands… can you do it? Most can’t without stopping the motion.
** Here’s a hint/trick.. touch your stomach first with the hand that will be rubbing FIRST, then start patting your head.
– Start out by touching your stomach, now pat your head..
– Switch hands..
– Switch hands..
Got it? Practice until you feel comfortable..
Now the added level of difficulty..
This time start jogging in place before your start to pat your head and rub your stomach.
Ready? Start jogging.. be careful not to get to close to another student, if you lose your balance you could bump into them..(“Safety”) now touch your stomach and follow with patting your head. Now witch without stopping or hesitating the motion or rhythm.. Can you do it?
Now you can master even more difficult levels of this skill by adding “hopping on one feet”, “spinning” or simply changing tempos.
Everyone in my class was able to do, I reminded them that before we started there were some doubters and fear about this skill. Now with practice and focus on the “hints” I gave them, they could play with more advanced combinations that I introduced.
I noticed that later some of my trainers were trying to do the exercise off in a corner… “Success” i thought.. I got my mentors to try something new and saw that they were having a difficult time doing it as well…
Life lesson: Learn a skill (even if it seems stupid) and teach it to others. Pass on the new experience..
My personal lesson — I learned some interesting “non-skiing” skills from people I just met, that became friends through the process. You can learn things from everyone you meet. Some of our life’s lesson don’t all translate into immediate results, but the idea of sharing new influences and ideas with interested strangers is a real scary, basic concept we all go through. Facing the “demon” of looking/feeling stupid in front of others.. we all have it or have had it at some point.
**Next up: Getting the job as the real work begins..