I love helping people learn to snowboard. I am constantly trying to make the lessons I teach as clear as possible, making sure all the information is there for the taking, with out any superfluous waffle.
I went rock climbing many years ago and the instructor was telling me how to do the belay business, kinda important. However, I was wearing a harness and those rubber kick ass climbing shoes. These 2 physical things in contact with me, where very distracting! I know that sounds kinda dumb, but the big monotone guy was losing the battle for my attention. The funny thing was, that I WAS REALLY TRYING TO PAY ATTENTION! I learned from this, and not just how to belay.
On a crowded learning slop, being clear and animated, keeping the students attention is key. So many factors effect students learning ability. What they had for breakfast, how their boots feel, if someone near by is smoking, pretty clouds in the distance… the list is endless!
Doing repetitive work can be monotonous and boring. With teaching so many lessons you meet so many interesting people, however the information is the same regardless. The physics and bio-mechanics don’t change, only the people do. This means I always present it differently depending on the client and how they learn best.
When you wash the dishes, you can rush through it to get them done. Or you can “practice” washing dishes. Taking each dish as a chance to be better at washing dishes, becoming the most efficient, most accurate dish washer you can be.
I take a little of this into my teaching. People obviously are WAY more exciting than dishes! but when your on your 5000th lesson, you can keep it progressive for yourself by giving 100% focus to doing the best lesson possible. Addressing the most important issues first…. is the person nervous? did they have an injury they are scared to hurt again? Or maybe their boots are not tied up!
When all is said and done, its snowboarding, not brain surgery. But when you see people in all emotions racked with fear, crying, elated and shouting with joy, you know it means everything to that person. In that moment, snowboarding is everything. I’m there to share the joy, as cheesy as it sounds, to share the joy and get them stoked on boarding. As instructors we get commissions if people come back for more lessons but for me, the most important thing beyond everything else is that they get to experience the pure unadulterated pleasure of sliding along on the board. IT IS FUN! It can be the most pure & exhilarating feeling in the world. I have done lots of things in my life including diving with sharks, full contact karate tournaments, to name but a few… and NOTHING has ever given me the same all natural “mountain air” high as Snowboarding. Nothing has even come close.
If people can grasp that, if people can get even a tiny glimpse of that magical feeling in a first timer lesson…. I am happy.