Everyone was waiting in Tignes this morning at 8:45 am for the first lift. Rodion was anxious to make the most of his last day of coaching with the understanding that there was quite a lot to work on.
My feeling was the it was more important to consolidate things today than find new things to work on. I always work within the given time frame (in this case four days) - covering as much as possible and then leaving some time for revision and practice.
Timothy had made a lot of progress and was now happy to work on his "one ski pivots" and one ski skiing. He could ski with a close or a wide stance, carve cleanly when on a wide piste. Body management issues are a bit too complex for him to deal with yet. He has a tendency to let his left arm fall behind his body when turning on the right leg, but I suspect this is just a form of laziness that he is still small enough to get away with. He was instructed to pull back his right hip when turning to the left to help to stop this issue - but I'm not sure that this was really the problem. When he skied with his ski poles held in front of his body there was no sign of the problem.
Rodion developed a clearer picture in his mind and body of the need to control his pelvis and use the core muscles. When he focused on this in the slalom he didn't fall over, but as soon as he took his mind off it he fell - the postural issues returning and losing him the support of his outside leg. Even in the photo below there isn't really enough separation of the hips and shoulders. It wasn't really possible to work on advancing technique when this more fundamental issue required so much focus. It's a hard thing to learn and coordinate and very easy to forget or confuse.
Before slalom we had worked at coordination of the hips in pivoting - which is even harder to get right as the skis turn completely across the fall line and seriously pull the hip around with them in the wrong direction. At least in slalom the skis never turn anything like that amount - but the forces involved make strong use of the core muscles extremely important. It's a major error to have the core completely relaxed and inactive instead.
We did some work with this in bumps too - with the addition of "anticipation" - using the compression on the bump to brig the body over early into the next turn. Rodion was not compressing and not anticipating, though he was probably using his hips correctly. This shows that until he masters the hips and core then he can't really focus on anything else - and it also shows up why he is late in his turns in slalom due to lack of anticipation.
Rodion is unlikely to grow much more so he will get used to the bigger body and next time we will be able to sort out the technicalities of skiing at this level.
We covered the use of the hips, core and spine - up to the rib cage - in movement for running too. Running makes the action extremely natural and helps to develop awareness. Rodion is now clear about how to control the pelvic tilt during running and skiing and how to feel the appropriate muscular tension.
Victor was quietly working away on his own skiing in the background and letting me focus on the boys. There were clear changes in his carving efficiency and next time he will have to get back into the slalom himself because I'm sure he will find it interesting!