Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Taha Day 10

Day Ten

Snow conditions in the slalom were becoming difficult with a hard bullet proof surface to ski on, so the task of improving slalom times on the final day was going to be difficult. In the end the day was saved by Cagatay who set a new record at 36.62 seconds. Nobody else in the family could get close to challenging his dominance in the race course today. 

Cagatay did very well today. He still needs to start the turn earlier to get a better line and to avoid trying to throw the skis around to go sideways into the turn, but he is the strongest skier in the family where speed is involved. (Mete is the best for edge control and pivoting on the steep) Inclination needs to be earlier - to generate dynamics instead of late and just as a reaction. It has to become "proactive" but I'm not sure how to explain that to a 6 y.o. Basically you throw yourself over before you get any real pressure under your feet and that then generates the pressure that supports you. Most people move cautiously and wait until there is more pressure before they increase the inclination - by which time it is too late.

Mete is inclining too late also and for the same reason as Cagatay but with the addition of a very strong upper body rotation on his turn to the right in particular (because he is not so comfortable on his left leg). Mete tends to throw his body around the turn whereas Cagatay throws his skis around. Mete needs to work  on upper/lower body separation - which he is very good at in his short turns.

Taha has an almost identical issue to Mete - but with slightly less favourable results...

In addition it also becomes clear that Taha is not moving his CM out of the existing turn - over the lower leg. He is blocking the CM uphill and preventing it from entering the turn. This is something that we later work on outside of the course.

After the racecourse we work for a moment on one ski skiing. This comes in useful on the last descent of the day later on when Cagatay's ski comes off and he can't reset the binding. He is able to ski down on one ski carrying the other so that he can get help. The exercises are interrupted when I discover that I'd dropped a ski pole at the top of the hill and have to run back about 200m  to find it. On returning out of breath my highly disciplined group has completely disappeared from sight - but we all successfully meet up for drinks at the Marmotte restaurant.

Completing the turn on the lower leg - moving the CM out to the perpendicular
After drinks I begin work with Gulsam who has been quietly working away on her own until now practising dynamics and "pulling inwards". The main aim of this lesson is to get Gulsam to understand the "second part" of dynamics - the "coming up and out" of a turn. Just like a motorbike has to come up and out of a turn so does a skier. The main difference is that the skier has a "perpendicular" which is not the same as "vertical". The skier has to get all the way out to perpendicular with the lower ski bringing him/her up - and this means going beyond vertical. Most people just stop at vertical and then block any further movement of the CM with the lower leg. Gulsam had the choice to block with the lower leg in the new form of snowplough that she had been working on - but now was the time to develop the ability to totally remove that blocking. The important thing is to be aware of the options and to have the choice. Gulsam understood the explanation and demonstration and was able to immediately add this to her skiing, making smooth parallel turns on even quite steep slopes where normally she would have seriously blocked with the lower leg.

Short Swings with Rhythm
Immediately after an early lunch I made the slightly irrational decision to get everyone jumping and doing short swings. Gulsam was introduced to short swings for the first time and just like everyone else found it quite difficult. The others managed to show a rhythm and rebound for the first time. This can only be done when the legs are quite relaxed and selective muscle use is possible so it is a very good sign of progress.

Gulsam turning on a Black Run
After the short swings I wanted to concentrate on getting Gulsam to realise that she was able to turn on the steep - in both directions. One other thing had to be added to bring about success. I had to demonstrate - with skis off- the pushing forward of the outside foot during a turn with the boots in the snow. This tightens up any turn and makes the entire process active instead of passive. It is a key mechanism for tightening turn radius. Gulsam tried it in a plough and found it to work straight away. Within a few minutes this brought her the ability and confidence to turn in both directions on a steep "black" rated pitch with no problems.

The boys had started off 10 days ago being unable to ski and now they were ripping around black runs, bumps, off-piste and a steep race course as if they had been skiing for years. The goal was to get the boys skiing and that was certainly achieved but in the process Gulsam and Taha had their ideas about how to ski completely changed and hopefully their confidence levels too. The boys were a dream to work with.

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