Progression Template

Snowboard Tip by Steve Frink

When we are out there making the magic happen the trick up our sleeve is using Progressions to build the skills needed to reach a goal. Their buddy can tell them to go for it; students are coming to the pros for a little more. Many of these progressions involve making turns.

A first-timer needs to stop, then figure out how to turn the other way, then link them up, leading eventually to carving, dynamic riding, etc. Turn progressions are what we will deal with here. We will look at the similarities all turning progressions have and show how to use those similarities as a template when building other turning progressions.

Whenever you are teaching a new turn, variations of the same drills will create a nice three step progression. Start with a static exercise to familiarize students with the new move, then a directional sideslip and/or a garland to try the new skill in motion, and then the edge change for the completion/initiation phase. Each new turn a student learns can follow that same 3 step progression.
So first determine what a student needs. Let’s assume they are skidding and want to carve so they need to ride the edge.

Fill in our 3 step progression template: Static, Garland, Edge Change.

First Turns Need: Confidence working the brakes (completion of the turn), Change direction (control phase), Switch edges (initiation phase). Progression:

  • Static: Practice edging then add a directional Sideslip; now we have added motion
  • Garland: Now we are creating turns, progressively getting closer to the fall line.
  • Edge Change: Board is going in a straight line (no sideslip), ok now the front foot changes, then the back foot and you are turning (twist)

Carving Turns Need: Less Skidding, More carving, Better edge control. Progression:

  • Static: Practice balancing on the edge.
  • Garland: Balance on the edge and let the sidecut create your turn shape, progressively getting closer to the fall line.
  • Edge Change: use twist not pivot and you are onto your new turn.

Dynamic Turns Need: Retraction. Progression:

  • Static: Draw turns in the snow that demonstrate offset.
  • Garland: Extension in the belly to load up the board and retraction and feel some rebound. Use the rebound to get a split second on the new edge.
  • Edge Change: Now use retraction in the fall line.
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