Yury had not so far had any direct input. He was the strongest skier of the two families and to help him progress he would need more individual attention so I was glad that he was getting the opportunity this afternoon.
Despite claiming not to be a “fast thinker” Yury tends to let his thoughts run ahead of him and he “second guesses” everything. Fortunately he has obviously also learned to listen very well too. I think that having been a lawyer/accountant confronting Russian mobsters then those qualities are probably the only reason he is still alive. (I noticed the same intelligence in little Eden)
Yury wanted to show me his skiing – as it was before he tried to change anything. I already knew exactly what it was like but wanted to film it anyway – and to humour him to start the session off. The video below is a “before and after” example – with me filming from behind for the ”before” part. Yury will be able to perceive the differences when he looks at the video because he now clearly understands them. “Understanding” is more than an intellectual issue – it involves recognising something with several senses – and in skiing that principally means both feeling and seeing the differences. The intellectual part however is vitally important towards clear understanding and without it you can’t visually perceive (see) the difference – you can only see that something indefinable has changed.
Yuri asked me to describe his skiing “before” changing anything. The problem here is that I don’t like risking demolishing someone’s self belief – even if that belief is mostly based upon delusion. However I told Yury straight that basically everything was wrong with his skiing. His was using no dynamics, missing the entire first half of his turns, had no angulation or control and was wearing out his legs and body rapidly. That’s just a framework of the situation without going into any detail. In fact, though it’s not so clear in the video, when I watched Yury ski just before filming his centre of mass was going in the wrong direction completely, relative to his skis, so it’s no wonder his legs were tired out as this would destroy most people. It’s also really bad for the back and all the joints. Sports education training and practice should always support good health – but misguided education universally nearly always results in the opposite.
Yuri listened very well and did a fantastic job of changing his entire perception of skiing. This is truly not an easy thing to do. I had to go into some depth with explanations and it was the clear explanations that helped Yury to see things differently. Most people just accept the exercises and give the impression of “getting it” – but Yury really got it! Perhaps being a motorbike rider helps in this process.
There’s not really a lot to write about the dynamics here – I used my standard protocol and Yuri responded appropriately. There is a fixed page for this here: http://skiinstruction.blogspot.fr/p/dynamics.html which will be improved upon in the future.
I emphasised the end of the turn dynamics for Yuri – because this is the key to “effortless” flowing skiing. By “effortless” I mean “not fighting yourself and the laws of physics”.
We also started to work on body management…
In the photo Yury is learning to push his foot forwards through the turn and generate hip flexion in the process – creating strong angulation and flexibility. He is actually combining this with pulling the hip actively backwards in the opposite direction to protect his spine – in his case a bulging L4/L5 disc being a problem. Disc degeneration is actually a nutritional problem but it is aggravated by poor postural mechanics. There is nothing more aggressive for the lower back than skiing without the awareness of how to protect yourself. The outside ski actually pulls the leg and hip around in front of the upper body just as the pressure load is maximised – but to protect the back the hip needs to go in the opposite direction. This protective measure has to be learned to compensate for this unnatural aspect of skiing.
When Yury skied down the short section for the second part of the video he commented that he felt no strain on his legs and he felt grip even from the start of the turn. This is absolutely correct – it is what happens when the dynamics are right. The session had achieved its goal and Yury could now understand the list of criticism I handed out at the start, with the assertion that he was wearing himself out by fighting against himself and the laws of nature. I think that Yury can look forward to better skiing in the future and not having to worry so much about strengthening his already strong legs for the job.