Today’s slalom was still a struggle for Alex due to his unconscious habit of reaching across his body with this hand to hit the slalom pole. We worked by using the stubby poles, with the ski poles held in front of the body and with a lot of focus on the need for a mindful approach – so that gradually Alex could become aware of his habit and combat it by training more appropriate movements of the centre of mass. Part of the problem is just realising there is an unconscious program already at work – and part of it is learning the alternatives and being able to focus on them. Mental discipline is needed because the unconscious process always tries to dominate when emotions (anxiety) are involved. Alex also has a technical issue at the start of each turn – not being proactive enough in moving his centre of mass rapidly down and into the turn. The consequence is that it makes his timing late in the gates and then he has a whole repertoire of compensations to try to cope – which we won’t go into. We worked on this later by using a wide stance to get Alex to find the inside edge of his new outside ski right at the start of the turn. This creates a strong and early sensation of pressure and encourages more proactive dynamics. Alex was told to exaggerate the width of his stance – as if riding a horse. This type of exaggeration is needed to overcome the strength of the unconscious programming and just to achieve an appropriately wide stance. In the video during his wide turns Alex is sure his skis are ridiculously wide apart – but they are just right – and he did manage to grip from the start of the turn.
Mike’s skiing is characterised by a reluctance to complete the exit of his turns on his downhill ski – which makes flowing from one turn to another impossible. This generates compensatory movements such as upper body rotation into the turn – which in turn generates a stack of other problems. There’s no point trying to eliminate those other problems because they will all vanish when he can accept moving over that lower ski at the end of the turn. The visible lifting of the lower ski however was visibly diminished as Mike worked on those turn transitions. In the photographs below the outcome of the problem is very visible when comparing with Alex – who was getting it right with a good turn transition and grip from the start of the turn.
Mike had to back off on his skating as it was contributing to his problem due to always skating his body back up the hill. You can still use this skate but when combined with gravity the direction can be up and out of the existing turn instead of pushing the centre of mass back uphill towards the upper ski.