Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sports skills that transfer to skibiking

by G. Kunkel

The best way to learn a new sport is to use movements that one already knows.  The same is true when learning to skibike.

After five seasons of teaching pegs, I think I have a handle on this.  Lessons I've taught this current season really hammer home this theory.

People with experience motorcycle dirt biking and downhill mountain biking pick things up the quickest.  They kinesthetically understand the bike movements and handlebar tilt.  They use the same athletic stance too.

I've had quite a number of teenage boys and men in their 40's to mid-50's who are experienced in both sports pick things up in 45 minutes or less.  Experience on snow is not a factor.  Some of my best learners were from Austin, Dallas, Houston, and other non-snow states in the USA.

There are exceptions though. This past Sunday, I had two adults in their mid-20's to 30's.  The male guest was from Austin and a self-admitted poor skier.  The female guest said she failed at snowboarding and the chairlift really scared her.  Both were looking for an alternative snowsport.

After 45 minutes of coaching them (class size of 2 people, peg bikes), they were making beginning linked skidded turns on a green run.  Neither had fallen.  Fear of the chairlift was a thing of the past - both detachable and fixed-grip lift procedures were taught.

We then moved on to a bit more challenging terrain with more of a pitch.  There were a few falls as they adjusted their technique.  At the end of the lesson, they received their skibike licenses.  They went on to rent the bikes for the rest of the day.  Both had found their snowsport.

Skiers and snowboarders bring some skills to the lesson too.  An expert understands edge angle, stance,  and the basics of turning.  These same concepts are addressed in a lesson by a trained knowledgeable instructor.  It might take the skier or snowboarder from 2-3 hours to grasp all the basic bike movements though.

Those who play sports, really almost any sport, will have balance skills.  They also come into play.  Those without balance tend to struggle on peg bikes.

Not everyone will admit to a disability.  Diseases and injuries can cause challenges.  I often recommend skibobs to those with balance issues.  There are specific adaptive skibike programs like the one at the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado.

If one decides to take a lesson, speak up.  Let the instructor know what sports you play.  They can then do skills transfer analysis and get you going quicker.  This applies to skiing and snowboarding too.

© 2013 G. Kunkel and Skibike and Snow Bike Instruction. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to G. Kunkel and Skibike and Snow Bike Instruction with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Google

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