Instructor FastTrack UK 2013

We launched a new series of clinics last summer and they went very well and were fully booked. I am getting a lot of questions about the FastTrack programme for this coming year so thought I would try to explain the course in a bit more detail and outline all Professional Development courses at Inside Out.

What is the Instructor FastTrack Programme all about?
Well it all started a year ago over a beer with my mate Derek who is a BASI trainer / examiner and runs our Alpine Partner ski school Marmalade. Derek had just finished a month long course with some level 1 candidates and was really pulling his hair out as they had arrived with little preparation and no real clue as to what standard of skiing they needed to be at. A few didn’t pass their exams and he thought with just a little bit of preparation and training in the months running up to their course they would have sailed through. I mentioned that we have had over 20 of our clients go through and pass the L1 course and he was impressed as to how we had gotten them so well prepared mainly indoors. After our second (or was it third beer?) we hatched a cunning plan that would couple some intensive off season training inside at the Snow Centre with myself and then he would do a week of performance training in the mountains to get people up to and past the bar for their exams. Our thinking was as well as instilling some confidence that they have prepared well over the summer months they will have been with a potential examiner and will have a real world understanding of where they are at prior to rocking up for the (somewhat stressful) exams weeks. Sort of a gap year course for adults who have very limited holidays, don’t have the 4-12 weeks that most courses on offer suggest is needed and are keen and committed to making improvements to their skiing. Most people don’t have a clear idea as to what the level of skiing needs to be at nor much understanding of what the teaching side is all about and are a bit nervous of taking the plunge on entering the instructor system.
So we came up with what we think is a unique and very new coaching programme.

Our professional development courses
Our courses begin with our FastTrack training programme which is aimed at experienced recreational skiers interested in gaining their Level 1 and/or Level 2 ski instructor qualifications. Developed for those with limited holiday time but a commitment to improve their skiing and understand the teaching process. The FastTrack programme includes a series of three tailored training days in the UK with Inside Out Skiing monthly from May to July at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, allowing plenty of time for consolidation and practice prior to Level 1 exams run over the summer at the Centre or in the Alps over the winter.
After the FastTrack 3 day course we will run additional monthly training days within our professional development group on the run up to the winter ski season for those looking to continue with their development.
During the winter season we also run two separate week-long training courses in the Alps. The first course, our BASI Tune-Up is geared towards those who have booked an L1 or L2 exam week in the coming season. The BASI Tune-Up is run during January in Meribel with our Alpine partner ski school Marmalade and will be delivered by Derek Chandler a BASI Trainer (instructor examiner). We think this is the perfect way to minimise your time commitment, but maximise your preparation for your Level 1 or Level 2 instructor exams. The second course run in March is our Full On Five and is performance training for those not on the instructor pathway but seeking the same intensive training or are still considering BASI exams but not sure if they are at the level yet.

Instructor FastTrack UK Training course
Training sessions will be run on weekend days each month between May and July, and the FastTrack programme requires participation in at least three of these sessions. There is the option to bolt on additional sessions if you want a more intensive training programme.
Small Group size of no more than 8 per coach for maximum personal feedback, including extensive video review.
Three all-day development sessions to hone your core skiing skills and be introduced to the principles of ski teaching.
Although primarily focused on improving your personal performance we will introduce you to teaching methods, styles and strategies before you are assessed.
Minimum time commitment, Maximum long term gain.
If you are at the level we will take you further, If you are close we will get you there.

BASI Tune-Up training in Meribel:
This optional training week builds directly on the UK training sessions.
Develop your technical skills beyond the level you can be challenged when skiing indoors, to ensure you are fully prepared for your Level 1 or 2 exams.
Training will be provided by a BASI Trainer (instructor examiner).
Small group size, ensuring extensive feedback and video review
Inside Out Skiing will provide advice on where and when to undertake the assessment courses for L1 or L2, the other requirements for completing the qualification and shadowing opportunities for your instructor logbook.

Early Booker Specials and swag
Working in partnership with Head and Snow & Rock we are pleased to offer these great deals:
20% off the Head iSupershape Magnum or Titan skis. These are the weapons of choice for many instructors and are extremely popular for BASI exams at L1 and L2.
Free ski servicing for six months by Snow & Rock at the Snow Centre if you purchase the Head skis.
Right that is the sales patter over with and now here is how the course went last year.
Our class of 2013 starts off in June with a “soft launch” I had a load of work to do on developing the session plans, the link up with Marmalade, getting a deal on accommodation and equipment as well as putting something up on our website. Didn’t quite make it in time for our intended launch date but we decided to go ahead in June as we had two eager students, Tim and John who couldn’t wait until July to get started ;).
The UK training programme is 3 days minimum spread over consecutive months to allow for a bit of flexibility and to give the students time to consolidate their learning and maybe even do a bit of practice between sessions (hint, hint guys and girls).
We get started on day 1 with some individual warm up runs. I ask the guys to do two runs and to tell me why, what and how they warmed up… What do they notice in their own skiing? I didn’t comment but both guys were overly technical, quite negative and weren’t really sure if they were dialled into their feet…
We did another run and I asked them to tell me what they FELT this time and the answers were a lot different to the first go around, they understood and felt what was happening and were now ready to learn as opposed to having just made a couple of pointless runs down the slope to “warm up”.
Right so we are now ready to learn… I explain that each days session will build on the previous one and we will be working on 5 very different topics every day but hopefully we will be able to use some joined up thinking and be able to do several things at a time.
To best get the students thinking like ski instructors whilst developing their own skiing I decide to use a lot of the terminology and methodology the candidates will use when learning how to teach early stage skiers. We start to use a bit of ski instructor jargon than we normally wouldn’t use with clients but hopefully they will be able to pick up on the shorthand instructors use when discussing how to work with students and it will make more sense come exam week.
The five topics we will explore each day will be
Personal Performance (important but not the be all end all), The Fundamental Elements of skiing as BASI define them, The Central Theme which is a building blocks method of taking students from never having skied up to parallel standard, Teaching Methods, styles of teaching and learning and a bit of book work and discussions about skiing and how skiing works Off the Hill
Our personal performance for this session will be to focus on short radius turns but also gently introduce the guys to some teaching skills.
They partnered up and did some short radius turns, one group at a time partner follows and gives feedback, swap over. I sneakily video’d the runs but made no comment and just listened to the feedback given.
They did pretty well analysing each others skiing as they both have had a lot of coaching but the feed back was a touch too long and complicated so we went through the different types of feedback and how best to deliver feedback when teaching a highly technical motor skill such as skiing. (you will have to come along to the 2014 course to find out more !)
This made a lot of sense to the chaps so we swiftly moved onto an explanation of the BASI “Central Theme”.
During their first attempts at making short radius Tim and John were both edge junkies and made very ‘z’ shaped turns due to trying to carve their turns so we decided to pick one central theme and fundamental element to help with their own performance.
After a bit of discussion we decided to use Plough turns from the Central Theme to develop Fundamental Element of Steering using only Rotary movements... Bit of a mouthful but basically making turns by only twisting your feet while keeping the skis in a “pizza” shape wedge.
Plough turns

These are surprisingly hard to do well and we practiced a bit on the lesson slope and watched a little video as we went along. Back onto the main slope and both had a real breakthrough when asked to do the same short turns but only with a rotary movement with no edging allowed, in the end they both ended up with a correct blend of rotary and edging and their turn shape was vastly improved. Eureka !!

Off Hill Equipment set up and Selection and we had a quite detailed discussion on skis and boots. How they are sized and importantly correctly individually set up.

Session 2 July ‘13
We had five students this month, one of whom was a current ski instructor having gained his level one award through Snow Sport England (who historically did instructor training for those wanting to teach at dry slopes and clubs) and was looking to move over to the BASI pathway and was keen to see what differences there are between the two. We also let everyone know that our early booker deal with Head would be going in soon and 5 of the class of 2013 have ordered skis which will help during training and during exam weeks.
We started off with a recap of the June session and went through what we would work on for the coming session. Our Personal Performance focus will be long radius turns and I kicked off going through the BASI criteria for “how good” the turns need to be.

I am always very keen to stress that a warm up, even a brief one, will really help you get dialed into the skis and help you learn. As a way to warm up for our long radius turns we do some ‘eyebrow’ turns, which are shallow edged turns across the hill and then going backwards in same tracks. Most found this quite tricky!
We did some long radius runs and I videod everyone and before looking at the tape we had a group chat about each others skiing. We saw that most people lacked movements and some were not balanced. So we decided to focus on the Central Theme element of straight runs. Most are a bit skeptical that you can learn how to improve your long radius turns by doing some straight runs on a lesson slope but the education begins!
Developing the fundamental element of body management we do some Straight glides and I give em all a bit of feedback. We then progress to more difficult versions of straight running such as slow speed bunny hops, then on alternate legs then just on one leg and finally without poles. This really shows up a lack of movements as well as not being balanced.
At break we have a look at the video as well as having a look at the official criteria for BASI level 1. After the break we were very fortunate to have Pete Gillespie a senior BASI trainer who regularly delivers Level 1 courses at the Snow Centre. Pete agreed to have a look at all the guys skiing and gave some details on BASI and required standard and funny enough he and I concurred on where the team where at in terms of the required levels for L1.
We then worked on posture and went through elements of posture and what and why was important and demonstrated static blockages if for instance the skier had limited ankle flex or had their hips back. We also reviewed stance width, ankle and back angles and hand carriage before working on developing balance.
At lunch we did some video review and all filled out a Questionaire on different learner types to understand each of our own preferred learning styles and to highlight that all students learn in different ways and as teachers we must be aware of this, identify the type of learner and use different methods for each students.

Session 3 August ‘13
In our last session we start to explore different teaching methods and when working on personal performance we shift to outputs. A lot of time we look to change skiing ability by working on changing input parts in an effort improve final performances but as we start getting better it can help to shape performances by working on your own to develop outputs should start to happen and feedback was less on inputs but rather outcomes.

While working on developing the teams performance on short and long radius turns we are using more output teaching styles we explore different teaching styles and introduce the BASI TIED and EDICT models for teaching a motor skill.
All the team made huge improvements over the course of the sessions and all went on to pass their L1 exams with the exception of one student who was advised that it would be a stretch goal to take the exam in the summer but decided to go for it and didn’t quite get over the bar but is still training and will definitely have another crack. Well done all!!