Like the rest of their PSIA-AASI Team members, the PSIA Alpine Team hit Breckenridge, Colorado, with an extensive to-do list that included promoting the new Teaching Snowsports Manual, preparing for Interski 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, and further defining the differences between two of the three key skills of the Learning Connection, people and teaching skills.
“This is the only chance we get to prepare our Interski message and presentations with face-to-face input from all disciplines in one location,” said PSIA Alpine Team member Jennifer Simpson Weier. “Multi-discipline groups worked indoors to hash out outlines for indoor presentations on people and teaching skills. As a group, we believe these two skill areas are the same across all disciplines, and it is incredibly important that we have a consistent message in these areas regardless of what country we are presenting in – whether in the U.S., Bulgaria, or elsewhere.”
Weier noted that along with the new manual, PSIA-AASI also created new online learning resources, and said, “As we enter the season and head out on the road, we can help our membership use all the resources they now have access to.”
Mirroring Weier’s comments, and the association’s overall commitment to consistency, Alpine team member Brenna Kelleher said much of the week’s work went into, “Making sure our on-snow and indoor presentations stay true to our core beliefs as a nation and make our membership proud – as well as wow the other nations.”
“We'll introduce people skills and teaching fundamentals to the world,” said Kelleher. “Although we're still in the final phases of ironing out the details, it's been an important goal in our team training this year to make sure we represent a strong message. We are a student-centered nation and we wanted to figure out how to best highlight that at Interski.”
In terms of consistency, PSIA Alpine Team member Stephen Helfenbein said the entire national team, and Fall Conference attendees, realize this is an area where everyone can improve. “The consistency of our technical message and how it's assessed is too variable and is one of our association’s biggest challenges,” said Helfenbein. “I can promise that in the Intermountain Division a specific focus of ours will be on our scoring practices and how to improve.”
On a personal note, Helfenbein also commented on how important Team Training is in helping each team member continue to improve their own riding and teaching skills. He said, for him, a re-energized focus on self-awareness as an important element of learning – including technical, teaching, and people skills – has been key.
“If you want to get better at something, your self-awareness will dictate how quickly your learning process unfolds,” Helfenbein said. “A component that improves self-awareness is feedback. Focusing on the connection between self-awareness and feedback will influence how I give feedback and refine the content of that feedback this season.”
- Peter Kray