Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taha Day 2

Today the boys started to recover their previous skiing levels. Ultimately this didn't require any serious measures - they just needed time.

We started off with simple skating around the turns to get the legs working and to start moving the body.

Individual Issues
Gulsum was still very stiff so I asked her to hold a flexed stance when skiing to try to remove some of the tension. When she  focused on this she was able to show some flexion. I gave the example of how tensing all the muscle in the arm prevents you from flexing the arm - and relaxing the muscles makes flexing the arm easy. Control over the legs requires a similar relaxation and if all the muscles are tensed then the leg becomes locked and unresponsive. 

Taha was able to skate and to work on his hip position - eliminating the trouble on his left leg as a result. 

Mete was rushing the start of his turns and braking unnecessarily. I explained to him that he could allow himself to accelerate and just by finishing the turns off properly he would control his speed and could come to a stop on any turn. 

Cagatay was doing a good job following my line but had a tendency to break into a snowplough when stopping or worried so I indicated to him to try his best to avoid this.

Every opportunity was taken to use a steeper slope for sideslipping - a skill everyone needed to develop. Gulsum was still showing a lack of control over her direction when sideslipping and a tendency to just run ahead with the skis in the hope of finding a place to turn. I explained how the lower hip needed to be pulled back and the bottom facing uphill - bringing the shoulders over the lower ski. Moving the shoulders further downhill was enough to flatten the ski and start the sideslip. Taha had a tendency to let the hip and shoulders return to the original position and just twist the arms downhill. Gulsum was still struggling with the sideslip in general. The boys were fine and understood about placing the hip - especially Mete.

After a break we went over to the slalom for the first time. Gulsum practised a few sideslips at the bottom while everyone when up to the timed run and I prepared to film. The course was very difficult with deep ruts but that didn't put anyone off. Cagatay was confused by the ruts and went into his racing snowplough stance which ensured that he didn't manage to get to the bottom. Mete braked a few time son the first run and this caused him to fall over and so at last he corrected this problem and stopped braking during the turns. His last fall was due to the upperbody rotating. Taha understood that to survive in the ruts he would have to reduce his rotation and hold his body better in towards the turn centre - and so he was rewarded with his fastest slalom time ever despite the tough conditions. 

After the slalom we worked on developing the pivot. I explained that there are two basic ways of skiing - either on the inisde edges all the way around the turn as with using big dynamics in racing - or always on the uphill edges - with both skis downhill of the centre of mass - as in "fall-line" skiing. The morning had been about skating and racing - all inside edges - and the afternoon would be about uphill edges - pivoting. 

Each person was assisted in making single pivots on one foot to feel the correct sensation of the ski pivoting from the uphill edge.  The difference between twisting the ski and "pulling" the ski was demonstrated - like "spreading butter" with a knife. Each person pulled their ski tip against a ski pole in the snow so that they could feel the correct muscle use.

I explained that ideally the foot should roll onto it's lower edge inside the ski boot while the ski stayed on the upper edge. This permits correct muscle use during the pivot and it also flattens the ski making the pivot easier to initiate. We worked on pivoting from the top ski only - avoiding putting the other one on the snow. Everyone showed a tendency to place the lower ski on the snow and use it to stand on and stem the to ski out into a plough so it was important to be on one ski before starting any turn. Typically everyone found this much harder to do on the left leg - but this improved rapidly with practise.

Gulsum began to understand how to control her direction in a sideslip. Control in a sideslip is a prerequisite for being able to pivot.

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