Both Rodion and Timothy were dealing with the effects of a slight cold today. Rodion would not let that hold him back but Timothy jumped at the opportunity for an easy option especially when that meant avoiding working at pivoting on one ski.
One Ski Pivots and Wide Stance Pivots
After a long carving run to warm up I physically supported Timothy through several one ski pivots in both directions. This was so that he could get a real feel for the efficient pivoting actions and also feel where his body had to go relative to the skis to make this happen. Only a few minutes were necessary so that he would sense things. We all then set about working on wide stance pivots – feet across the hill from each other – body travelling straight down the fall-line. I explained how this develops independent leg action at the hip joints as each leg rotates separately in its joint beneath the stationary pelvis. Everyone managed this but nobody initially managed to use their ski poles. The function of the poles is to get the centre of mass moving out over the downhill ski in a controlled manner – and ensure pressure is present on the fronts of the skis. Timothy predictably had no pole use at all and this fits with his problems with the one ski pivot – and his limits in skiing in general. We later repeated the supported pivots for Timothy so as to reinforce the right feelings. Between the two pivoting exercises both the boys had one slalom run and from the video I could see that Rodion was being blocked by his inside leg – so that would become the subject of Rodion’s later work outside of the poles.
After studying the video over a drinks break Rodion worked on his carving. The aim was to use a closer stance with pressure on the outside edge of the inside ski – but on the inside edge of that foot. At the same time we wanted pressure through the shin against the front of the boot – and pressure beneath the front of the heel – so as to ensure pressure on the fronts of the skis when lowering the centre of mass into the turn and holding it down inside the turn. It became clear that Rodion didn’t really understand how to be aware of the inside edge of his foot. After working on carving for a while we stopped for lunch and had a proper look at the function of the feet. I showed Rodion how to roll the feet onto an edge with the subtaler joints beneath the ankles – and how this works well with pressure just at the front of the heel. The foot and ankle muscles are also activated either by standing up on the balls of the feet or by stretching downwards with the ball of the foot (inside of the foot). The only situation to avoid is lazy feet with the ankle relaxed. The boot is not there to hold people up with collapsed ankles – it’s there to transmit forces between the skis and the skier. When the foot goes on its edge inside the ski boot this hardly affects the edges of the skis due to the rigid shaft of the ski boot running half way up the lower leg. What it does effect is the shape of the body and the action of reflexes. Most postural reflexes are controlled by pressure under the feet.
Next think we worked on was “timing”. The aim is to spread the maximum forces through the turn instead of having them all at the same time right at the end. This is done by seeing the turn in 3D and as a trampoline a the outside of each gate. You are going downhill (facing downhill) but bouncing from side to side on the way down. The turn apex has to be to the side of the gate not beneath it. Reactions have to alter so as to be releasing the turn as soon as the gate is passed. There is no “centrifugal” force sending the skier outwards – only gravity. As long as there is still a high speed carried the skier will reach the next pole before gravity pulls him that far downhill. There is no need to hang on to an existing turn for as long as people imagine – the centrifugal force is an illusion.
When Rodion went back to the slalom after lunch he focused mainly on timing. His result of 23.95 seconds is a significant improvement on his personal best.
Correct inside leg...
Inside leg blocking the body...
One very good reason for avoiding the pistes and skiing off-piste...