Friday, January 27, 2012

Taha Day 4

This morning started with the bad news that Taha had the stomach bug. He was putting on a brave effort to come out and ski. This bug makes you feel really weak so it's genuinely hard to do anything physical when you have it.
Mont Blanc through layers of cloud

Warm Up
Gulsum was present so the whole family skied together. Initially we went over to the Vert training area and warmed up with skating and dynamics. The boys were a bit lazy with skating inwards during the turns but they were picked up on this by Taha and corrected. With dynamics there was still not a lot of movement present. The best executed exercise was when taking the skate and adding dynamics to it to create short parallel turns - everybody picked up the natural rhythm to some extent - even Taha who could not do this before. We couldn't ski hard with Gulsum there and Taha ill so it was important to make good use of the time without overdoing the skiing - and so we went indoors for a lesson on how to use the feet.

The Feet
Feet are complicated things - highly underestimated, shut away in shoes and forgotten about. One quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet.

Each person removed their right boot and I removed both of mine. In my case having no boots on means that both my feet can be clearly seen and for the others they can feel what effects manipulation of the foot can have against the boot. The relationship between the foot and the boot is very significant. I got everyone to feel the ankle collapses when standing on the whole foot and bending - and how the boot hides this collapse. Then we looked at standing on the heels and at how this is much stronger at the ankles. Bending then comes from the knees and hips instead - but not with the upper body bent over forwards breaking at the waist. 

Rocking the feet from the subtaler joint, beneath the ankle this was linked to motion of the centre of mass in the same direction as the rocking - the feet going from edge to edge. It was shown that this rocking cannot be done with weight on the whole foot and the knees just move around instead.

On a slightly more subtle level the ideal place to situate the weight is a point just in front of the heel - because this activates the core muscles and keeps the shin in contact with the front of the ski boot while still permitting the foot to rock. This is like "centering" on the foot - but it's not the physical centre of the foot.

Outdoors we tried this on a very gentle gradient to begin with. Mete managed to do it best and it really changed Taha's stance allowing his legs to come closer together than usual. 

At this point we had to head for the slalom and...

The Big Race between Dilsat and Taha!

Dilsat showed very good control of rotation which sealed her victory over Taha! Taha did have the handicap of feeling very ill and weak so a rematch will definitely be required.

Technical Skiing
Looking at the skiing in general Mete was making the biggest and most accurate changes. He listens well and applies what he hears. His use of the feet looks great. In slalom he is still having trouble rotating the shoulders down and into the turn. Cagatay managed to lose his snowplough in the slalom course so he became significantly faster and stopped falling over. He is also managing to stand up properly and avoid the excessing leaning against the back of his ski boots that he was doing all the time until yesterday. Gulsum is skiing parallel - which means she is using dynamics. There is still al lot of tension there but she is aware of it and working on it. When encountering a problem with steepness of ice she is now able to sideslip and get down without a crisis. Taha looks much better when using the feet and is starting to make the connection between centre of mass, leg adductor muscles and the rocking of the foot - all pulling towards the centre of the turn. When skiing on his own it's clear that Taha doesn't complete his turns and that this makes him lose his good form and cause a defensive "pushing out" of the heels and pressure of the back of the boots. We skid a bit with Taha behind me so that he could follow my line and try to complete the turns properly. This is also his weak area in slalom and so it is good to train for this outside of the gates as well.

Later on (after Taha had retired for the later part of the afternoon) we did a lot of jump turns to get the legs working and to try to improve dynamics, confidence - jumping coordination and to bring the legs closer together. 

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