What’s the difference?
Is there a difference between Ski Lessons and Ski Coaching?
At the start of every season, we do the rounds, meeting all the new staff in the ski shops, in the chalets etc. Lots of them know us from previous years but every year there are new faces. So, once again our job is to explain what it is that we do at TDCski, how are we different?
What is it that TDCski does that is different?
So I tell a story about a conversation that took place on a chairlift, that maybe did or didn’t actually happen. Whether it happened is not the point, the story helps answer our question.
The conversation is between me, an instructor, and a random friendly holidaymaker who has overheard my conversation, in English, with my client that day.
It goes like this…
“Excuse me, are you a Ski Instructor?”
“Yes I am.”
“I want to get better….but I don’t want to go to ski school.”
And that is it! Right there, that conversation convinced me and my like-minded colleagues to set up TDCski.
Here was a skier on a chairlift, with an obvious aspiration to improve but to them, the thought of going to “ski school” was just not going to cut it.
They wanted to take the skills they already had and they wanted to ski the mountain, be challenged and achieve new heights in their performance.
For them, the idea of Ski School came with connotations of standing in line and skiing one by one to be told what they were doing wrong.
Where’s the fun in that?
The funny thing is that a lot of “Ski Lessons”, run by good instructors, don’t have those negative aspects to them, but that remains the perception!
Giles, Paul, Phil and myself (founding four), talked about this and we realised that we already ran our ski lessons in a way that facilitated improvement and challenged the students. We used the tools that we had all learnt with BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) and we made sure that our students really got to improve their performance. It was not just about technical issues, there were tactical and psychological approaches too (plus a few others but let’s not get too geeky!). We would keep students moving, we would give what were perceived as “tips” and we would set the environment to allow our students to practice and apply them. We kept things simple, but precise.
People liked it, it was safe, fun, positive, challenging.
People improved, did lots of skiing and had a good time.
People described it as Ski Coaching!!!!
Turns out our Ski Lessons were
So what did we do? Well in 2002 we stripped away all the words that implied those old, ski school connotations.
At TDC – The Development Centre – there were no more instructors, we were coaches; there were no more lessons, there were sessions and clinics; we weren’t a Ski School, we were a training and Development Centre.
…turns out that nobody searches for “ski coaching” not even people who want it!
This is still our ethos today, but with the advent of the internet it turns out that nobody searches for “ski coaching” not even people who want it! So all the old school words had to come back in especially on the website.
But still to this day, we call our-selves coaches and we run clinics.
The difference between “Ski Lesson” and “Ski Coaching” is at the heart of everything that we do.
by Colin Tanner – Ski Coach!
Paul, Giles, Colin and Phil started The Development Centre in Val d’Isere 2002 www.tdcski.com