On Friday morning I went to hang out with Daniel Casanga, Eduardo Batarce and Lily Richard from the Chilean team to learn more about why they are introducing freestyle to beginners. The overall goal of the clinic was to explore how we can use the benefits of movement development from freestyle in our journey to making turns as a beginner.

Daniel set out three key movements that would be developed as a by product of bringing freestyle in to the early stages of snowboarding. These are:

  1. Lateral Balance – in Chile’s education of snowboarding, this is movements that are along the length of the snowboard, also referred to by the Chileans as fore-aft. This is a simple terminology change from what you’re used to in SBINZ.
  2. Vertical Balance – this is the same as within SBINZ.
  3. Anterior Posterior Balance – these movements in the Chilean system are the movements used to go from edge to edge.

Once we had outlined the movements, we quickly re-viewed the Safety-Fun-Learning Model that Chile use, emphasising that at these low levels we need to ensure that our freestyle focus is still safe and appropriate for our student’s capabilities. The fun is naturally had throughout use of freestyle here as it promotes more self exploration which in turn contributes to the learning outcome.

Daniel got the group to work through some mellow tasks that challenged each of the 3 main balance components and given it was so slushy, it allowed the group to get more creative and challenge their balance! We worked through presses (both nose and tail), ollies, nollies and frontside and backside tail butters… and then all again in switch along with different combo variations.

Between sets of tasks, we then went back into making turns to explore the benefits in our ability to balance in the slushy conditions. To continue to challenge the group we explored some 180s, flatland 360s and how to continue to develop them before we might take a student to the park.

The key take home was to look for ways within snowboarding to create movement development outside of the “expected” pathway or progression. The approach to this development was to continue to make sure that student safety is looked after throughout the process and that when you decide to use a freestyle trick in a low end lesson, the movements or balance that you are working on is directly related to that trick. Thanks for the good times on snow Chile!

Leo hanging with the Chilean snowboard team

Leo hanging with the Chilean snowboard team

– By Leo Carey