“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”
Have you ever watched kids at a playground? The inventive energy is amazing. They climb. They jump. They swing. They can keep busy all day
long on the swing alone. They sit on the swing. They learn how to pump their legs to go faster and higher. They stand up on the swing. They twist the swing in a circle and then
Children’s Chair, Greg Lyons
unwind it rapidly. They squeeze a number of children onto one swing. They jump off straight. They jump off and do a flip. They step from one swing to another. They push someone in a swing fast or they push someone slow. Someone can run under the swing as it swings. Someone can catch the swing in mid-flight and suddenly stop it. And on and on.
Kids are not shy about testing and experimenting with equipment–the swing– even pushing it out of the zone of what it was designed to do. Kids look for every conceivable way to manipulate a tool to make it fun.
How does this apply to teaching snow sports? We can do the same thing with our students as kids do with swings. Experiment. Try something different. Skis and boards offer all sorts of op- portunities for experimentation. Skiers and riders can slide on the tips, tails, centers or the outside edges. They can be in the air and have none of the ski or snowboard on the ground. The ski or snowboard can make different sounds, ranging from the sound of slapping a landing on a jump to the sound of skidding to the minimal noise made when carving. Visually, skiers and riders can put different colored tape, crayon marks or stickers on their skis to define left or right or on a snow- board to focus on front and back. Through vibrations in the equipment, the skier or rider can feel different textures of snow and the difference between groomed, ungroomed, firm, slush and powder conditions. Riding on a box or rail will provide a feeling of how a manmade surface affects the equipment and its user.
It is so easy to take a drill usually performed in a certain way and change it by simply focusing on a different part of the equipment, the body or terrain.
Small changes can make for big breakthroughs.
Think like a child. Think of the possibilities. Think of the things you can think if only you try!
Greg Lyons, Children’s Chairperson