Today was my first time leading a clinic in the Southern Hemisphere! So stoked on the training culture and crew vibe here at The Remarkables in New Zealand. Humbled by the amount of instructor experience gathered in this cool little corner of the world, and honored to get to be a part of it. Thanks to all the attendees for the warm welcome and great discussions this morning!
My clinic today was described as “How to train an improve yourself and get ready for exams while you’re teaching your lessons.” As I was wrapping up the day, I wrote down these four points to recap the clinic for anyone that was working and couldn’t make it today… thought I’d share them here as well!
1. It’s not actually about the results.
Exams are designed to evaluate what you do every day as an instructor, but the nature and format of exams can make them more stressful and don’t always feel representative of our daily work. Remember that it’s not the end goal or result that matters, it’s the actual process of working towards that goal – the hard work, the long days, the tough lessons with splits, he tech talks, and even the failures along the way – that actually improve you. A certificate or a pin doesn’t suddenly make you a better instructor, the pin verifies the journey you’ve been on!
2. Find a training buddy / squad, and ride with intention!
The schedule of our days here at The Remarks creates some great opportunities to develop yourself. Find a couple of buddies that will encourage you and hold you to making a few laps between lineups. It doesn’t matter if they have the same goals or certs, what matters is that you can motivate and encourage each other. 30 minutes is enough time for some reciprocal feedback or a mock teach. Quick videos on phones make for easy conversations on chairlifts or between lineups – even if it’s raining. Take video of your students so you have video review material anytime you have a squad. The important part is setting that intention (“I’m going to ride this whole lap switch,” or “This lap I’m working on down unweighted large radius carves,” etc) and having someone to watch or video you.
3. Own your training and development!
Learn your strengths and weaknesses, and take the time to continue working on feedback you receive. Training managers, trainers, and clinics create a great framework, but it’s up to you to put in the work between sessions. The staff lounge chairs are always calling, but they’ll still be there after you make a couple of laps with your training buddies. You might not always have a trainer with you, but the time you spend riding, teaching, and developing between clinics is the best way to prepare so you can optimize time when you are out with a trainer.
4. Go snowboarding!
This last one is by far the most important, and I can’t say it enough. Go snowboarding. Go skiing. Go snowskate. Go roll in the snow and make snow angels. Have FUN! Training, preparation, work, clinics, studying, video review, conversations in the locker room and over beers – they’re all important. But not as important as maintaining a grasp on the passion that drives you to pursue this as a career. Getting out and riding for fun, that’s good for the soul, and if your soul is fed, working on the rest of it is so much easier!
While we were in China, several of the AASI Snowboard Team members checked in to report from China, where we were working to help train Chinese ski and snowboard instructors for a Level I exam. Learn how this event is helping bridge cultures through snowboarding and help the Chinese’s government to reach a goal to grow the Chinese ski and snowboard population by 300 million before the 2022 Olympics.
Tune in for this episode with George Thomas, Stacey Gerrish, and me on making the most of teaching and training during lean snow seasons. Maybe we can even provide better training opportunities when the powder days are few and far between?
In this episode of First Chair, Last Call George and I dive into return instructor training and how it sets the tone for a great season. Listen in for how you, as a returning instructor can make the most from it and get psyched to introduce more people to the sport this winter!