Yesterday’s video in reality didn’t show much improvement for Timothy but this was partly due to the challenging terrain and snow where it was filmed. While Timmothy was definitely better centred over his skis and more relaxed and bending at the hips, he had very little control of rotation, rhythm, use of poles, anticipation, angulation etc. He was told this straight away today and that his current level of effort would be unlikely to bring results. Rodion – his elder brother – was always truly excellent with instruction – genuinely giving his best efforts and getting corresponding results. Timothy appears to have his own agenda – but it seems to be partly guided by fear/anxiety and over-controlling.
Todays skiing began with me asking Timothy to ski very close behind me – to turn where I turn. This is so that he is forced to follow my line and not turn where it is easiest for him – a bit similar to the way a slalom course imposes constraints on the skier. He didn’t get it at all and within two relatively slow turns he was distanced – as is usual for him. I asked him to engage his brain and stay close – there being no reason at all why he couldn’t if he tried and put aside his own agenda for a while. Of course he then did manage to ski right on my tail. Later, when on steep, icy ground I let him fall behind because the issue was more technical and due to his fears and I could watch him then from a distance too and analyse what was likely to help him most.
After our warm up run we skied the Face de Bellevarde while the snow was still in good condition. Timothy struggled with the steepness but we focused on applying the principles that we had worked on yesterday – fronts of the skis, fronts of the boots, hip pulled back to stop rotation, create angulation (increased edging) and anticipation plus prepare for a pole plant and motion over the downhill ski. The type of turns we were doing were braking, pivoted turns designed to slow down and remain safe. I’d expected to see Timothy struggle here but this is the sort of situation he needs to stimulate change.
Arriving at the top of the Solaise sector it was time to structure the training better. Timothy appeared to be more receptive and responsive when pushed so that was encouraging. He didn’t appear to be discouraged by the earlier criticisms and seemed to try harder. It takes a while when properly training someone to get inside their head and read exactly what they are doing. There are many aspects to skiing, not just physical actions. Actions are driven by emotion, instinct and self preservation as well as ego (trying to look good) – but all that counts is correctly learned appropriate skills. There is an infinite number of ways to mess up skiing – but a very narrow path of “getting it right”. We had now reached a stage where I knew the main areas to focus on with Timmothy and how he would respond so it was clear how things should proceed with appropriate exercises.
– using the adductors, insides of the feet and separating the edges of the feet from the edges of the skis. Skating across flat ground the insides of the feet correspond to the inside edges of the skis. Skating across a steep slope the uphill ski goes on its outside edge – but with the aid of the shaft of the ski boot the foot remains on its inside/downhill edge. On the final skate you stand up on the uphill ski and then let the centre of mas fall downhill into a turn – starting from the uphill edge of the uphill ski – but the foot on its downhill edge. Once this was achieved we then started to get the turn to start by coming over the downhill ski with the centre of mass – both from a traverse or from the end of a turn. The body has to come up out of the existing turn – standing on the downhill ski (inside edge of foot) – centre of mass moving over the lower ski. This is quite a scary move compared with standing on the uphill ski – but the point of the exercise is to clarify the differences. The timing of the second exercise is still “skating” – coming up out of the turn. If you hold back instead and go onto the uphill ski then this delays the turn start – but if you use the energy of the existing turn to come up and out over the downhill ski you are very quickly and securely into the next turn. This move is always scary but it always works. Timothy was able to work on this but had a strong tendency to delay his turn with a slight traverse and so lose the energy, momentum, rhythm and ability to get over that downhill ski with confidence.
We used bumps to practice the pivot and to work on flexing/compressing to come over the downhill ski – using the bump and pole support. Leg timing needs to be reversed in this way in bumps or else you become airborne due to the bump if you try to come “up” and over the ski.
The video is of linked short swings. Timothy is trying to jump downhill (to get perpendiculqr to the skis as they swing into the fall line). Failure to get over that downhill ski is one of the main reasons for ending up on the back of the skis and the body being stuck vertical – instead of perpendicular to the slope during the turn. Short swings are the opposite from bumps with all the energy comming from the legs (not from a bump and so jumping is necessary). There are many ways to do short swings but we did not have time to go into that. All I wanted was to see control of rotation, angulation, anticipation, solid pole use and expecially a bouncing rhythm. Timothy failed to use his left pole so struggled. He also killed his bounce – just the same as he kills the energy in his longer turns. He did however manage to jump downhill and significantly improved his efficiency from his previous efforts. Victor didn’t have enough angulation and was not braking enough with the action – the skis running too fast forwards and the pole use being weak and late – as if in a slalom turn – so his speed control was limited. Short swings are to exaggerate the braking action and this is the only time (other than bumps) where heavy pressure goes on the poles.