Qualitative analysis of the final form exams of the skill awards program from Alpine Canada
Kubeck, Kimberley A.
Master of Science
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In 1987, Alpine Canada introduced a skill development program for skiers aged 7 to 15 years of age who were enrolled in one of Canada's entry level racing programs. One of the objectives of the program is to raise the skiing skill level of Canadian youngsters. The program includes eight levels of skiing proficiency. Progression through each of the levels is based on the performance of a final form exam which is the culmination of all the basic skill drills at that level. An investigation was conducted in order to develop a theoretical model of a giant slalom ski turn as the framework for the subsequent qualitative analysis of the skills in the eight final form exams. Using standardized video procedures, data was collected at six different testing sites. Sixty-two performances were selected for qualitative analysis in order to determine; (a) the existence of critical features, and (b) the description of critical features at each of the eight skill levels. The data was subsequently processed using a variety of descriptive techniques. The data analysis resulted in the identification of 14 features which were used to anticipate the manifestation of critical features, five features which acted as links between the phases of the turn, and eight critical features which were fundamental to the efficiency of the turn. Balance constraints appeared to take precedence over aerodynamic considerations for the skiers at all eight skill award levels. Although the mastery requirements of the critical features increased from Level 1 to Level 8, individual critical features were not equally weighted by all skiers. Variability between performances was attributed to the different ways in which the non-mastered features were manifested. Future research needs to focus on the development of deterministic models for all alpine skiing disciplines. In addition, the importance of the development of observation plans in order to guide and standardize both quantitative and qualitative skill analyses was highlighted.