Thursday, April 28, 2016

Haluk - Col Pers

End of Season 2106

Skiing from a strong base but with minimal direct technical input in recent times Haluk has been slowly working away at changing his ingrained skiing habits. The scope for this is of course absolutely endless and it’s something we do at our own pace and pleasure. The great part of it is that it’s always refreshing and rewarding because it really means expanding physical awareness and perception.  There’s no criticism – just the enjoyment of getting better.

General Improvements Observed
  1. Counter rotation of pelvis/hip has greatly reduced body rotation
  2. Outside foot not left behind now
  3. Stance stronger – less leaning on skis boots and collapsing of the ankles
  4. More hip flexion and  range of motion
  5. Smoother dynamics
  6. More accurate timing
  7. Far less addiction to mobile phone (Impressive!)

Points to work on
  1. Develop the postural control further – neutral pelvis and stronger countering of the hip
  2. Separate the shoulders and pelvis more actively
  3. Avoid rotation at the end of the turn
  4. Avoid rotation at the start of the turn
  5. Separate movements of the centre of mass into rotation and  translation in appropriate axes
  6. Avoid the left leg generating torque
  7. Much more flexion at the hip
  8. More awareness of the muscles of the feet, the ankles and lower legs and pressure zones under the feet and against the boots
  9. Still more accurate timing needed
  10. Alternative timing options and adaptions need to be developed
  11. Leg retraction needs to be incorporated
  12. Clearer edge control needed
  13. Better understanding of relation between dynamics and edging
  14. Breathe the air and enjoy just being there – even more –  look at the mountains more and take photographs

We took a moment on the return to Tignes to carry out a brief exercise for the countering of the hips – linking it to postural reflexes. This exercise covers points 1 and 2. There was a clear issue of pelvic tilt involved. If the pelvis is allowed to drop at the front then everything falls apart when the hip is pulled backwards. Hold the pelvis in its natural neutral angle – no abdominal strength needed but perceived as just lightly tilted up at the front if required to overcome the dropping. Then pull back the hip (outside of the turn) but not the shoulders – so that the slight twist of the spine can be felt. The spine twists from the pelvis upwards in this case. To simplify – think of turning the pelvis to face downhill (or outside of the turn). If instead the shoulders are made to face downhill (or even just follow the pelvis) then the spine twists in the wrong sense for the postural muscles to function.

Points 3 and 4 derive naturally from sorting out 1 and 2. There is still too much rotation at the end of each turn – which limits fore/aft control and then encourages a further rotation a the start of the next turn. This is being combined with a rotational torque being applied to the skis (Point 6). The excess rotation at the end of the turn is coming from point 7 – lack of flexion at the hip – which also comes from points 1 and 2. To simplify - at the end of the turn the body is being rotated by the skis and at the start of the turn both the body and the legs are rotating the skis.

Point 5 – is a window into how to change perception of points 1, 2, 3 , 4 , 6 and 7.  The rotation of the centre of mass has to be mostly blocked – allowing only rotation to take place in the hip joints. The body translates an arc made by the skis – it does not rotate through an arc. Impulses relate to translations of the centre of mass with and against gravity – up/down and across the skis.

Point 8 refers to the 33 joints in each foot and 26 bones – then the shin and anterior tibialis. If you can contract the muscles in your foot to make shapes and arches then you can be strong on any part of the foot – otherwise keep pressure centred on the front of the heel just below the ankle joint. Keep the main actions here related to rocking the feet from edge to edge  (not happening on your left foot). Pressure should be maintained against the shin – preferably using “heel-shinning” technique. There must be no leg support from the boot and no torque applied. You can pull the ski laterally inwards but not apply torque. This relates to point 12 where the action of pivoting is weak – which takes us to point 13 where dynamics and rotation, points 3 and 4, combine with point 6 so that there is no subtle edge control. You have to be able to separate out the rotations, planes of motion, eliminate torque and combine this all to produce appropriate edging. Often it’s the choice of edging that comes first and determines the other actions.

Accommodating the current limitations is causing the timing to be late – meaning there is still a tendency to up unweight the start of the turn. This is where points 10 and 11 also come in – with leg retraction being smoother and softer than upwards movement of the body and various combinations of extension/retraction needing to be developed for proper adaptation – instead of being trapped in one single movement pattern that is already miss-timed.  In addition – when the snow is heavy look for the apex (greatest loading) of the turn as you would in a race course – towards the outside of the turn in the fall line –not at the end.

Wind slab – Cornice. Skiing on wind packed snow.

The Col de l’Isèran 27 April 2016

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