Monday, October 24, 2016

Alex–Groundhog Day

This is the third time Alex has come out training after having been coached on plastic slopes in the UK. Each time on returning to snow his skiing has been reduced to  a shockingly dangerous, dismal and clueless mess. He returns here completely empty headed despite being a competent learner. Ask him what he learns in the UK and it goes no further than “make a banana shape”! This time – if we get Alex back to a reasonable performance level it has to be the last time this huge step backwards is allowed to happen. No more banana brained, senseless skiing on plastic – intelligent exercises only now when there is nothing but 50m of plastic to ski on. Forget the poles if necessary – refuse to go into them unless every move is related to the body and connects with an intelligent purpose.


Scene one in the video shows Alex slowing down his skiing – so that at least he can stay in control. The entire first half of the turn is missed with the skis being pushed out sideways – this being a “rush” to get the skis beneath him and the body rotating to get the skis around. We had worked through this in detail in July and gone way beyond this huge fundamental problem – but all of that was entirely forgotten. This means that absolutely nothing that we had worked on has been reinforced or repeated on plastic since – yet all of it can be. There is a very detailed blog report on every training session – all of this is available. If Alex wants to ski to a genuinely good level then he has to choose between filling his head with Pokeman and TV junk or realising that he has a phenomenal opportunity that is slipping away from him in the meantime. On a similar note – today on the mountain, due to not having a lunch break, I offered him some natural foods to eat – the sort of real food that athletes and growing children require. He said he didn’t like nuts (organic Brazil nuts – for selenium), he didn’t want cheese (organic raw unpasteurised cheese – rich in vitamin K2, probiotics and healthy fats and protein) unless it was cheddar. Didn’t want chocolate unless it was mostly sugar and wouldn’t eat natural meats (prepared by fermentation) despite never even tasting them. Junk in means junk out – and that’s Alex’s choice.

Sea of clouds in the photo filling the distant Aosta valley descending from Mont Blanc.

We went through an entire repeat of July’s exercises for pivoting on the outside ski. I don’t really want to re-write the whole lot because it annoys me to do so. Refer to July’s blog please. Amazingly Alex could not do it initially – exactly the same as in July. Why was this not practised on plastic? This is something that does work on plastic so at least try it. Pivoting allows coordination and awareness to grow while completely controlling speed. This is the true basis for skiing fast safely. The relationship between the skis (edges) feet/body/muscles and centre of mass are all developed in safety and with time to think about it. All skiing should be about what you feel in your body – not about what is going on around you – who is watching – who is fastest – who is an idiot. The same skills apply to carving and high speed skiing and the same focus is needed.

After pivoting we worked for a while on skating through the turns – particularly skating into the turn from the uphill leg. The slope was a bit steep for this exercise so I went straight for another approach – asking Alex to stand uphill from me and lean against me downhill from him extending his uphill leg to push his body first over the gap between us and then hard against me. This is how to commit to a turn. Amazingly Alex asked if he would not fall over. He’s been told since he was about 6 years old that he has to do this and that he won’t fall over – but it still hasn’t sunk in. This is why he misses the entire first half of each turn. When drilled with exercises he gets it – but then when drilled in idiotic plastic skiing everything vanished again. UNDERSTAND this Alex and you might be able to hold on to it. Going into a turn means standing on that uphill leg – the stronger the better – then more you force your centre of mass downhill the better. There is a gap – a transition – to cover before the ski engages but it will not let you down if you commit – just like I didn’t let you fall when you shoulder charged downhill against me. The longer the turning radius of your ski the bigger the transition gap before there is feedback. Just move – just do it – be active – be strong on that outside leg. The leg extends but not to shoot you upwards – to shoot your centre of mass downwards. In tight turns face downhill so that you are skating into this. You got a few turns in the final video scene where the skis were coming to life – where you were starting to work the skis – to push your body and use your legs. Until now you have just been flopping over into the turn and expecting everything to happen. It doesn’t.

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