Friday, February 19, 2016

Tatyana, Sergei, Maria, Ivan day five

Final day of the Les Arcs holiday and the weather wasn’t fully cooperating. At least the cloud and falling snow meant that half the skiers were missing from the slopes and the snow itself was good quality. Sergei had recovered from the “stomach flu” but this bug usually leaves you weak for a few days so I expected that Sergei wouldn’t have great energy levels for long.

In the video clip everyone has improved since the start of the week.

Ivan has probably improved the most because his skiing is completely different now. He needs some work on posture and angulation – but we never had time to work on this so that’s understandable.

Sergei’s skiing is markedly different too – with good dynamics minus the pushing out that was present before. Next time we need to work on the part of dynamics associated with the turn exit  - but Sergei didn’t have any input regarding this – only Ivan and Maria had some when they were alone with me late afternoon one day. Sergei would probably be able to exploit that information better than anyone else.

Tatyana and Maria both showed far better control of rotation. At this stage neither understood the need for grip through correct use of the feet – so both were still unable to improve much on dynamics. The previous problem with rotation had prevented dynamics and grip from the feet from developing naturally. Now that both know how to control rotation everything would have a better chance to develop and if the feet are understood clearly and made to work intentionally by rolling onto their edges then improvement would be rapid. (Remember Tatyana only skied three days!)


We began with our usual warm up run and then the chairlift up to the ridge above Les Arcs 1600. At this point I decided to explain the use of the pelvis and hip actions that could help Maria and Tatyana control their rotation. Neither of them had managed to gain much control over their rotation for any of the other things they had tried and so it was a good idea to introduce this key aspect of coordination. The subject is covered in the following link: 

Skiing is actually very unnatural – in that the ski pulls the hip around in front of the body in a way that collapses the posture when under load. I had each person hold a pole in front and pull up against my resistance – first with their normal posture – then with the pelvis tilted up (to neutral) and the hip on their supporting leg (downhill) pulled back. Everybody could feel the difference – the first causing a stress on the lower back and the other causing a reflex contraction of the abdomen and protecting the body.

The outside hip needs to be pulled back like this right from the start of the new turn – not when already into it. It needs to be held like that all the way through the turn. This protects the body and facilitates the turn transitions – from one turn to the next. With the hip being pulled back instead of going forwards there is a definite control over rotation – but this is still quite difficult coordination to learn.


With everyone feeling a bit cold today (no sun) the Sergei, Ivan and Maria peeled off to ski faster on the red runs while I had a few runs alone on the blue slopes with Tatyana. This turned to be very useful because we were able to discuss what was happening with Tatyana’s skiing. She complained about her turn to the right being too sharp when following me. This I had already noticed was caused by a marked tendency to stem the left ski – pushing the ski outwards and twisting the foot inwards. For this reason I carefully explained the use of the foot inside the ski boot. We had been through this at the start of the week but nobody understood it. Ivan only understood it yesterday when we took our boots off to look at the feet. I described it this time in terms of the foot rolling over from beneath the ankle joint and feeling a pressure of the inside of the ankle/heel against the inside of the ski boot – with the forefoot turned slightly outwards. Once it was clear that Tatyana understood this we skied with it and the improvement was immediately clear. Unfortunately this was after or video filming and we headed straight back to finish the day after that run so there was no opportunity to film the final improvement.

I explained to Tatyana that to remember which hip to pull back just associate it with pushing the foot forwards on the same leg – hib back and foot forwards. The pulling back of the hip also aligns all the bones and muscles differently and makes it far easier to roll the foot onto the inside edge.

Tatyana herself noticed that the main thing holding Maria back was exactly the same issue – but with both feet. Maria – with her focus necessarily on studies had not had any one-to-one coaching so had missed out of this. Both Tatyana and Ivan had improved mostly with just a small amount of focused individual attention – something not really possible when even in a small group.

Today Ivan had clearly improved from the work we did on the feet – and this is seen in the video clip where he is holding his skis on edge well. The off-piste also got it through to him the fallacy of pushing the skis outwards and jamming the feet together.

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