Friday, July 24, 2015

Alex Slalom Day 2

Today we were together on the first train and cable car up to the top of the Grand Motte. That's how to maximise the day properly. Clear skies had transformed the snow into hard ice so we would have a good surface for the first few hours at least. 

Mike and Alex helped me set out the course. I'd have liked to explain some things to Alex but it was enough just to keep him out of trouble when carrying the stubbies (short poles). 

Stopping Rotation

Alex had reviewed yesterday's video and so knew that he was rotating. We did a few static exercises with the legs being rotated but preventing the pelvis and body rotating along with the legs. I also had Alex walking through poles stepping forwards or laterally - but without the body turning. The ChiSkiing we had already worked on is part of "not rotating" but I was planning to come back to that subject later on.

Immediately in the poles Alex was able to improve this issue somewhat and went visibly faster. The real problem is that there are so many things to work on he would tend to forget to focus on a specific issue.


I explained to Alex that part of being a good athlete is developing the ability to focus. We have to practice this to become good at it. It helps if you can find something to focus on inside your own body.


Despite being coached by both me and Philippe since starting skiing Alex could not anwser the most important question in skiing - "What is the only thing a skier has to do?" The answer of course is "fall over!". This is all explained  in "Dynamics" and Alex has heard it a hundred times! The ski's job is to lift you back up.

I explained to Alex that this effectively means moving his "centre" - the same centre he focused on for ChiSkiing purposes - but now moving it across the skis and down towards the snow. This is what makes skis and skiing work. Immediately this made Alex faster. He was starting to understand that he had to move his body directly.

On his first run thinking about dynamics he had one fall - caused by locking his hip joint and not being able to react properly. 

Selective Muscle Use

The key to relaxing and bending at the hip is to first of all be aware that you are bending everywhere but the hip! Alex would lock up his hip and bend at the lower back instead. We did a few static exercises and managed to change this so that Alex was clear about this issue and could bend correctly while still keeping the "support leg" strong. 

In the video Alex is still getting stuck and using a stem - but much less than before. Part of the issue is that he hasn't yet been taught how to move his centre of mass over the skis while actually facing the body downhill. We will start with this tomorrow. 

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