Monday, March 11, 2013

Inna day 2

Before heading out to ski we revised the use of the feet indoors without boots on. I made sure that Inna knew what the wrong feelings were – the ankle collapsing and the knee twisting inwards – before moving on to the correct feelings working from the heels and using the subtaler joints between the heels and the ankles. It’s important to do this without boots on so that everything is visible and the strength of the ankles can be felt without any support from ski boots.

Posture and Hips

Our first skiing today was to warm up and to apply the feet rocking accurately. Inna’s stance was definitely stronger than when we started out yesterday so progress was continuing. After warming up I decided to work on improving other aspects of Inna’s stance – especially at the hip joints. Skating gets the hips working quite well but this is not enough – there needs to be a lot of awareness to avoid locking up and resisting with the hips. I asked Inna to first of all tilt up the pelvis at the front and then to bend at the hips to release the hip joints and relax the muscles. Once this was done I asked her to tilt the upper-body forwards from the hip joints. I knew that when she skied like this she would feel very strange as if she was tilted far too far forwards so I videoed it to show her that it looked mush better, more natural and more relaxed. We worked also on a “goalkeeper” carriage of the hands and arms. The first section of the video shows Inna leaning forwards… she appeared to retain this relaxed posture for the rest of the session.



We did a small amount of work on pivoting from the uphill edge of the uphill ski. Inna felt very confused because this skill is still totally alien to her. The main goal today was to show how the tilted upper-body posture was needed to place the weight correctly over the skis for pivoting. I’m not sure she understood this but we made some progress towards familiarisation with the pivoting skills. The coordination – rolling of the feet, pulling inwards with the adductor muscles, moving inwards (towards the turn centre) with the centre of mass, relaxed hips with the upper-body tilted forwards – are common skills in all skiing. Pivoting helps to develop this coordination further.

Dynamics / Slalom

We returned to working with dynamics with improved feet and posture awareness and because Inna was starting to feel this working better we continued to ski for a while on some longer runs to give her the opportunity to practice. I wanted her to feel confident with this so that we could begin working in the slalom course. After a drinks break we went to the slalom and the basic rules were explained to Inna. The goal of slalom is “technical skiing” and speed in a race course is a consequence of good skiing. You don’t try to ski fast directly or use force because you quickly find that those things don’t work. The course was heavily rutted so Inna was shown how to take a very wide and slow line (speed is controlled by choice of line and not by braking). The idea was to ski down the course applying all of the elements of dynamics that she has been working on – using the poles as a reference for directing the centre of mass towards. The photographs below show that everything is basically correct and that tomorrow if conditions are better she will be able to take a tighter and faster line comfortably. Inna found the experience enjoyable – and that’s how it should be when done correctly!










Foot Forwards

After the slalom I introduced “Foot Forwards” technique. The exercise we used was without skis and while using the inside leg as a support we had to spin or turn around this inside leg pushing the outside foot forwards on the snow along the inside edge of the ski boot (making a clear arc in the snow). Normally people find this exercise very difficult but Inna managed it first time. It gives an accurate feeling of what needs to be done with the skis on. At first Inna didn’t feel much difference but soon she was understanding and feeling how it tightened the turn radius. Two things work together to control the turn radius – dynamics and pushing forwards of the outside foot. This is usually very clear when skiing on steep terrain where it greatly improves the grip and control of speed keeping the turns short and tight. One advantage of pushing the foot forwards is that it makes it much easier to stay strongly on the heel as the turn progresses.


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