Originally Posted by Bryan Davis
I was told today by my examiners that rotation is not part of the mechanics skiing. If I am correct that would seem only to leave flexion and extension as ways to affect the skis' interaction with the snow.
I am stumped. If by PSIA standards, steering the skis means that they move toward left and/or right on the surface of the snow beyond that natural directional change from the edge and sidecut then what what muscles do I flex and/or extend to cause this without rotary movement of some part of my body? Further, while I do not have an Alpine Tech Manual at my side, I am under the impression that rotational movement is among the few mechanical movements we can make to affect the skis' performance.
I also learned today there is only one way to fix erroneous use of non-mechanical rotation: movement in the direction of the new turn. That eliminates unwanted rotation. Eliminating unwanted rotation can not affect movement in the direction of the new turn. This too confuses me. If all movements affect the blended skills then isn't changing one is highly likely to alter another. Why would there be only one way to "skin a cat" when it comes to stopping unneeded rotary movements? How can one skill set affect another but the reverse not hold true?
If anyone can elaborate on this I would be grateful.
Judging from your Park City location, it looks as though you are in the Inter-Mountain division of PSIA. That is also my division and I am quite sure that you misunderstood what you were being told. What is your current certification level and what was the nature of the event you were in?
Originally Posted by Bryan Davis
Thank you both for the input. I greatly appreciate it.
I collected my Alpine Technical Manual from my locker today and found under "skiing mechanics": fore/aft, vertical, lateral and rotational movements.
As a note for my understanding, I was told directly that rotational movements relative to the separation of the upper and lower body CANNOT be a mechanical focus for a lesson plan as rotation is not "bio-mechanics". I was further questioned at that point whether I knew or understood what bio-mechanics was. For further elaboration, per my examiners, since rotation cannot be a mechanical focus movement in the direction of the new turn is the preferred way to eliminate unwanted shoulder lead (the agreed upon undesirable movement). Though one thought narrowing stance width would also fix the problem.
I fully believe movement of the CM in the direction of the new turn can affect the ability to turn the skis on the surface. I do not however believe that it alone will stop a habit of upper body leading a turn. Flexion and extension moves to direct the CM have value. I certainly would not tell an instructor they were wrong if they chose to address that in this situation before rotation. I also believe in stepping stones. There are many paths to an outcome. However, since this rotation causes a visible (and feel-able) loss of balance at the apex of the turn in most skiers, to achieve "best result... least amount of time" I think stopping the rotation by replacing it with an already achieved skill (leg/lower leg steering) would best suit a skier in that position. I think adjusting stance width, unless it was grossly wide would be a less effective route than modifying either rotation or flex/extension moves to direct the CM.
The fact that there are two examineers and your bitter tone suggests that you just failed an asessment. What you are saying here doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. My best guess is that you got dinged for not understanding the relationship between the skills and the skills proficiencies. The relevant skills proficiencies here are "rotational movements originate in the lower half" and "pole swing, vision, and hips are oriented to the intended direction of travel". I'm paraphrasing here, you could look them up and they might be a little different, but this is the gist of the proficiencies relating to rotation and directional movements.
"Rotational movements realative to the seperation of the upper and lower body" suggests counter rotation or twisting one part of the body against the other. What they are looking for, I think, is a stable upper body which serves as an anchor for the lower half to rotate under. The lower half means from the femural head down with both femurs rotating independantly. The hips and pelvis are part of the upper body. Independent leg action including rotation is facilitated or inhibited by stance width. This could be why stance width was mentioned.
I personally believe "anticipation" is a specialized form of counter rotation where the "movement" of the upper body against the lower body is cancelled out such that the upper body doesn't apear to rotate. Rather a "functional tension" is created in the skiers mid section at the completion of the old turn which is then released into the initiation of the new turn as rotation of the femurs. The term counter rotation can get you into trouble with some examineers because it doesn't acuratly describe the skill proficiency. Anticipation or a "countered stance" is the more current term. You should be able to quickly and accuratly explain these terms if you choose to use them in an assesment.
Over rotation of the upper body at the end of the turn, which is associated with dropping the inside hand and shoulder, garrentees that the first thing that moves to initiate the next turn will be the upper body rotating back towards the inside of the next turn. This must happen before you can make a directional movement and is what I think you mean by "unwanted shoulder lead". This is rotational movements originating in the upper half and not what they are looking for.
"Moving the CM in the direction of the new turn" can't happen if the upper body is over rotated and the skier lacks upper/lower body seperation. I would be looking to replace the upper body movement with a directional movement of the CM. This seems to be what your examineers are telling you. I "think" I disagree with your comments about "loss of balance at the apex of the turn". I "think" the loss of balance would be more towards the bottom of the turn as pressure builds up too fast at completion because turn initiation with an upper body rotational movement inhibits early edge pressure at the top of the turn. I could be wrong here as I'm not even sure what you mean based on what you said.
What makes a good lesson plan is the drills and progrssions that you select to call out an unwanted movement, replace it with a more effective movement, and then insert that new movement into the students "real" skiing. Of course you need to relate all of this to specific body parts and phases of the turn. You should also know which teaching style you are using and how its best applied to different learning styles. I always try to be sure to get a V an A and a K into each part of a teaching segment. Keep it simple and hold yourself to one skills proficiency. Your time is limited and you need to hit it cleanly and directly. Be prepared to explain how your lesson might change for students of different ages using the CAP model.
Edited by tetonpwdrjunkie - 2/10/13 at 9:49pm