Monday, February 14, 2011

Victor Day 1

Timothy remembers how to ski.
Little 6 y.o. Timothy believed that he had forgotten how to ski and was obviously nervous about it. I think that we all forget most of what happened when we were 5 - but fortunately, unconsciously and in the "body memory" there is a lot more remembered than we realise. I had to assist Timothy for one blue run, where he held onto my ski pole at my side and was given the opportunity to recover all the sensations of skiing in security. Towards the end of that run he was already able to take over and ski by himself - though  he was a bit shaky to start with. By the end of the day he was able to ski a red run and the off-piste bumps alongside it, with short radius turns. Fortunately he had never learned the snowplough as a way of skiing (because I taught him originally) so there was never any regression towards defensive actions. 

To get Timothy back up to speed some patience was needed to begin with - just to feed him with correct sensations alongside me until he found his place again. After that it was a case of progressively increasing the demands during the day, with slightly faster and steeper sections. He accepted an explanation of the "magic wall" and that helped him to increase his speed a little with security, but he was far too impatient for any real instruction. He needs to ski with his brother to have some competition and then he will listen to instruction - when he sees that his brother can do things and he can't.

Right from the start, when assisting Timothy I'd tried to get him to side-slip because this skill is the hardest thing for people to develop initially and it was clear that he liked to run along the edges instead a bit like ice skating. Although skiing is based on skating there is a lot more sideways motion in skiing and this can feel very alien to people. During the day both Liliana and Timothy had a few attempts at pivoting (based on side-slipping) but not with a lot of success. However, each effort is a step closer to the goal. I tried jumping into the turns  - which is a way of tricking people to "pull" the skis into the turn and Timothy copied me each time. I supported Liliana and pulled her physically through a few pivot turns - the skis only coming inwards, but on her own there was always a revealing small stem outwards showing that she hadn't really got it.

Late in the afternoon everyone skied together and Rodian mentioned that he was disappointed at not finding any big bumps to ski. I said that before going near any big bumps he had better learn what to do in them so as to ski them properly. My first question to him was "Why do bump skiers keep their feet close together". Rodian had a few good guesses but didn't get it right. The reason is so that the uphill ski stays on its uphill edge through the turn initiation.

Preparing Rodian for the bumps was also a good excuse to continue working on the pivot turns on the flat  - so the whole family set to work on pivoting.Victor remembered this well from before and was the only one to get it right from the start. Although he pivots well there is still a lot of rotation and when pivoting in free skiing he has a "step" or glitch due to the Centre of Mass not  being used actively to generate the pivot. This will have to be worked on. We worked a little on pivoting on one ski only in both directions, then pivoting with both skis simultaneously.

When we were in the bumps I explained that the strong pole plant used for bump skiing was to permit the Centre of Mass to be positioned downhill of the skis without the skis changing edge - so the Centre of Mass becomes active in initiating the turn. This greatly improved Rodian's stance on his skis and immediately stopped his rotation. His turns tightened up dramatically too.

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