Monday, January 30, 2012

Taha Day 7

The weather was calm so to start the day we took a ride up the Tignes funicular to the Panoramic. I suspected that Gulsum might have a negative reaction due to the tiredness in her legs at the end of yesterday - but there was the option of blue, red or black runs down the mountain. Unfortunately I anticipated correctly and Gulsum had a complete confidence crisis immediately. Although she regained her confidence shortly afterwards we decided that it was best for her to have a rest day and return to the slopes strong tomorrow.

Ice on a cable - hidden somewhere inside...

Skating Muscles
Prior to skiing back down to Tignes I took a moment to teach Taha how to skate properly using the correct muscles. This is done by facing each other - Taha with skis apart and diverging and me with  skis together and parallel. I hold a pole across in front of me to give Taha something to push against and he then has to try to push me along the flat ground. The was so alien to Taha that he would just bend the entire torso over double and not step his feet forwards. Initially he also let his knees point outwards too. I corrected his knees to point slightly inwards to access the adductor muscles (skating muscles - along with the hip extensors) and then we managed to sort out the coordination and keep the upper body upright. Then Taha continued the motion without me in front and soon managed to skate correctly.

Bending Correctly at the Knees and Hips
Despite a shaky start the rest of the day went very well. All three were failing to flex correctly - keeping the legs stiff and bending forwards at the hips - dipping their shoulders. I had to think of a way to encourage correct flexion at the hips and knees - and correct placement of the upper body and arms. For some time now I've used the analogy of sitting on a chair facing downhill to explain how the feet are in front of the body but directly under the centre of mass on the mountain when in a seated position.  One way to achieve this stance is to ski without skis on. Before that though I had everyone bending and jumping on the flat - skis off. The trick was to stand on the tips of the boots when bending - thus allowing the body to compress vertically.  This simulates very well the correct sensation during the dynamics of skiing. As usual there was zero flexion of the ankles required to achieve this. Cagatay was still breaking at the waist a bit but we had to move on. 

Taking the stance and vertical movement into slalom Taha was clearly able to make this work. He was not trying to go fast due to having tired legs - but he made a clear change to his skiing.

Mete was making progress in the slalom but was getting late in his line. I explained that he shouldn't aim directly at the gate because this would force him to turn late - he had to aim slightly higher so that he would turn in towards to gate and pass beneath it. Once the line was being worked on he then had to know that to stay in this line he would have to move his body to begin the turn much earlier than he realised. If you wait until you think it's time to turn then you are generally already far too late and by the time you move you are already past your target. Part of training is about changing perception of timing so that you can act sooner. Cagatay was still steadily improving his timing and his line by himself so I just let him get on with it. He had been told to go a bit closer to the poles and that was helping him to take a faster line.

Off Piste Challenges
After lunch we did some safe but steep off-piste sections. There is enough fresh wind packed snow around to stop anyone from sliding off down the mountain if they fall on the steep sections. Taha was struggling with his quadriceps burning out now that his stance has been changed with good ski boots and he can't stand upright and pressed against the back of his boots. Cagatay was still locking out his outside leg and breaking at the waist even off piste - but was surviving all the same. The off-piste sections were steeper than any black runs and everyone enjoyed the challenge. Considering that only a week ago the boys had completely "forgotten" how to ski this is pretty good progress.

No comments:

Post a Comment