Today Liz decided to join James. Describing her experience of being sporty all her life but never really getting on well with skiing I knew exactly what was going on already and didn’t have to ask any questions. There was no great surprise either when she turned out to ski with very similar movements to those used by james prior to his progress yesterday. Liz had been taught a comprehensive pattern of movement that is completely unnatural and cannot be related to her other sports – or anything else for that matter. Being a good student and learning skiing later in life the accurate application of inappropriate movements was not only making sking a struggle but it was very unkind to the body – joints and muscles.
The overall situation was fine though because James needed to go over all the material again to help it sink in properly. The subjects and exercises we covered were effectively the same as yesterday so for basic explanations and links regarding Dynamics and Pivot please refer to yesterday’s post.
- Video Scene 1 – James using dynamics but trying to brake instead of using the “line” of the turn to control speed. Also stuck in the backs of the ski boots (Which we checked are the correct size)
- Video Scene 2 – Liz skiing with the Centre of Mass moving in the wrong direction – stemming and unstable. This is very tiring and stressful on the legs – a constant battle against the “system”
- Video Scenes 3 and 4 – short turns pulling the skis inwards towards the turn centre
- Video Scenes 5 and 6 – James braking far too much but Liz improved with dynamics – pulling inwards - even on steep terrain
Complex things is nature are always “holistic” and skiing is no different. What this means is that you don’t have to be prefect but it will still work. Just getting a degree of change in the right direction will improve your skiing so it’s always important to be working towards the right goals with the right information. Occasionally a single change can make a quantum shift but most development is progressive.
Liz has no significant issue with posture or perpendicularity but James gets jammed in the backs of his ski boots and this is a huge limiting factor for him. James will need some attention on this matter tomorrow. Dynamics naturally improves perpendicularity but when it is steep James is over-defensive – though more use of dynamics will eventually change all of this. If anything Liz is too much on the fronts of her ski boots and the fronts of her feet.
(Ths is a straight copy from one of yesterday’s posts – the lesson being practically identical)
- Stand on the heel (front of the heel below the ankle)
- Do not allow weght to come onto the ball of the foot when bending
- Bend at the knee and hip only – ankle stiffens by reflex
- Roll the foot onto its inside edge by using the subtaler joint
- Engage the adductor muscles on the upper leg
- Use the following formula when skiing (outside leg in the turn) – heel/edge of foot – adductors – centre of mass
- Always pulling inwards towards the turn centre (centrifugal force being an illusion – drive everything inwards)
Comparisons were made with the weak, collapsing ankle when weight is forward on the foot – resulting in leaning on the boot and the knee twisting inwards. When support is correct the anterior tibialis (shin) muscles are contracted and the ankle becomes strong – the shin making contact with the front of the boot.
Rolling the foot onto its edge causes the forefoot to turn away from the direction of the turn – not into the turn. In contrast twisting the foot into the turn forces the foot onto its outside edge – preventing the ski from functioning.
Centre of Mass
Liz really connected with dynamics after it was explained in terms of how the Centre of Mass is directed and how this is what the skis respond to. Liz’s dynamics are still compromised on steeper terrain by a strong tendency to stem the left ski when turning to the right (also on the other side). This is something to work on tomorrow.
Pivot – Short Turns
We went through the basic pivot as we did yesterday but then applied it to short turns. In the video clip of this the important thing is that both James and Liz are actively working on pulling the skis inwards and not pushing the tails out. The turns may not look terribly elegant but james did quite well and although Liz still had her stemming there was a strong degree of success.
Skating straight down the hill – when speed builds up the skis provide a countervailing “lifting” force which prolongs each stride and begins to make an arc – so that falling in between the skis eventually doesn’t require any stepping as the skating morphs into skiing. This exercise was our brief introduction to the skating elements of skiing and when Liz tried it she felt that she had not succeeded but in contrast I noticed that her timing was actually correct and “Down/Up”. This natural timing corresponds with the “inverse pendulum” effect of dynamics – as the body topples down into each turn and back up out of it. Fortunately efforts of others to get Liz to use Up/Down timing has not worked and her instinct had overcome this fundamental error which is actually taught by ski schools.
I demonstrated standard ski school Up/Down timing and natural skating Down/Up timing so that the difference could be seen and Liz recognised the issue clearly and that she actually used the right timing naturally.
James is doing fine but it’s useful to remind him as well as everyone else that skiing progresses best when each action of the body is focused on “mindfully”. Attention is best kept towards the inside of the body because this builds awareness and a strong connection with the body – generating calmness and a better capacity to deal with everything outside of the body. This approach requires good information and practise at visualisation (which with the right information is spontaneous). Mindfullness is not hard – it just requires practise. When the mind wanders just come back to some element of movement or the Centre of Mass.