By far the most difficult and often fruitless lessons to teach are the ones in which the students do not want to learn anything. Whether it's a parent, friend or loved one who has dragged them out to learn snowboarding, or even if they "just want to ride," there are few less receptive students than the ones who simply don't want to be there.
What could be more fundamental in our sport than a desire to have fun? (Let's not even argue that people come to us because they want to learn how to be safe.)
Recently I've been putting a greater amount of effort and focus on having fun. That's not to say that nothing is being learned. On the contrary, I believe that when we are at play our bodies are constantly receiving stimuli that provide a physical sense of how to maintain balance and move efficiently. This lets us explore the limits of our environment and how we might enjoy ourselves within these parameters. The lesson becomes more of a guided learning experience. Think about those times when you are out having fun with a posse of instructors. Don't you find that you learn and improve from those "guided discovery" shred sessions?
Often times one of my first questions to a student is, "What do you want to learn?" Without that guideline I would most likely teach in the direction of my own riding strengths.
This isn't just good for having more fun in a lesson. This lets the student know that they will be able to learn what they want. This shows them that they are empowered and that their opinion matters. Because they are working toward their own goals they will gain a positive feeling about the lesson and for the sport and will hopefully return for another lesson. This is good business, too. What better way to create a desire to learn than to go out and have a blast with your student?
"When can I go straight?" can turn into "How do I do that?" pretty quickly when you take the time to show your students something new and exciting. A student who has been completely detached can light up with curiosity if you nose roll into a switch stance and ride away clean. Once they've taken the bait you can explain, "Well if you want to do that we have to practice this first."