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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-20-2012, 08:26 PM
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I've never been an instructor although it is something I'd like to try some day. I have taken a few private lessons and I can give you my good and bad experiences.

Good - My instructor for the session looked very young, like 16 years old young. I'm 43 and wanted to learn some basics on how to successfully ride a box. My first impression was negative, a young kid - probably a self-entitled little park rat with an attitude doing lessons he didn't care about to ride for free. I could not have been more wrong. Turns out he was actually 20 (still young!) but just looked like a teenage kid. He was incredibly polite and a professional maturity well beyond his years. What he did right...

He listened to me, what my goals were and what my anxiety was. He quite literally coached me. We discussed on the lift what step(s) we were going to work on on the next run, talking me through the steps. He demonstrated those steps on the hill with me observing. Then he observed me and provided immediate constructive criticism and feedback before moving on to the next progressive step.

Not only did I sincerely thank him but I did tip him out very well. I also spoke with the head of the ski/snowboard school and gave him a glowing review and the next day wrote an email to the resorts GM letting him know that he had a very talented young man on staff and they should encourage him to further pursue instruction.

Bad - I decided I needed another refresher on park features. I've become more risk adverse and figured another lesson was a great way to force myself for at least that one hour to spend it on features. I also wanted a check-point, how was I doing now that it had been about a month since my original lesson described above. I had a different instructor, also somewhat young but seemed to be in his early 20's. Completely opposite experience this time. For this lesson, I was just another number. There was little interest in working with me, it was like he was just punching the clock so he could log another hour of instruction. During the session, he would give a couple words of advice like "just go man, you can do it!" and "Uhhhh yea, just like... ride up and over it you know?" and I basically would ride the run top to bottom without further interaction. I'd occasionally see him off to the side of the trail in the trees. At the bottom, he'd meet back up and ride the lift back to the top. The only constructive piece of feedback he gave me was related to my general riding stance and tendency to over-rotate my upper body downhill. I've always done this, for 20+ years of riding to where it is my default natural riding position to me. Not the most efficient body position but I've always rode this way. That being said, I was open to his feedback and knew it was a life-long bad habit of mine and I figured I could at least get SOMETHING out of this lesson so I asked his advice on how to correct it... he had no idea, just that it was "not the right form". Thus ended the lesson for me that day as I told him I was good the rest of the hour and to take off. I spent the rest of the hour just cruising.

So I guess my take-away for you is this - do it if you love it and enjoy teaching. If this is just a way to get a free lift ticket for you, it will show to your clients/customers. Don't waste our time and money, make room for someone who actually cares about what they're doing.

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