Alex had been looking forward to Giant Slalom today but it didn’t quite turn out as he expected. The course was steep and quickly became rutted and Alex from the first run was not thinking about technique at all. It seemed that all Alex could think about was avoiding the poles and slowing himself down by drifting sideways as much as possible – which is a surefire recipe for disaster in a rutted course. We had a few chats about the psychology involved in surmounting difficulties but nothing was able to influence the overall situation much. Alex does have to get over his frustration and and realise that energy wasted on destructive emotions is just a waste. It’s better to remain objective and use your energy to fix the problems instead of throwing tantrums.
Fixing The Problem
Most of the week had been spent just trying to get Alex to recover his previous level of skiing and understanding – which he had forgotten as thoroughly as the Chinese he had been learning for two years! In the process I had taken “angulation” a bit further than before because he is constantly being assaulted with instructions to “make a banana” by other instructors. Bananas are not made – they grow on trees – but we can get close by working on “hip angulation”. However although Alex made progress he was still rotating and this amount of rotation in slalom ruts is pretty much catastrophic. Working on Bumps skiing would help here but there isn’t enough time for that – so working properly on the pivot on plastic will help that too.
The main consideration is racing is “timing” and this means loading up the skis at the apex of the turn. We have also worked on this previously and I gave Alex the analogy of a wall on the outside of each turn – that bounces of slingshots him across to the other side. He has to meanwhile face downhill – effectively skating downhill and being slingshot across the hill – not letting the body be rotated in the process. Loading up the ski later – after the apex is just putting on the brakes and causing great problems in ruts – and rotating slings you straight out of the course. I explained to Alex that if he needs to travel a bit more across the hill then that’s achieved by increasing the angulation – and that’s when the penny dropped for him and he could see the picture. The work on the angulation suddenly made sense to him. I had wanted him to get this mental picture but it is very difficult to communicate – so it’s fantastic that he got it. Immediately his skiing was greatly changed and for the first time ever he was skiing without rotation.