I am much more along Chads thinking. I no longer teach feet up and its all about the feet. I now teach the idea of dynamic balance through a center of mass outward in a 360 degree sphere approach. I teach that the center of mass is the center of balance instead of the feet being the balance platform because the ski/snow platform is not 100% reliable for balance. The best example of and unreliable ski/snow platform is skiing moguls.
I believe in choosing the path for the center of mass and aligning body parts around that path's direction of flow. This approach builds an awareness of dynamic balance and dynamic skiing from day one. I teach how to default a simultaneous edge change where the skier does not even have to think about it to do it.
The feet up approach is quite natural as we walk from a feet up, feet are the balance platform approach. This works fine with friction under the feet but put that person on an icy surface with little friction under their feet and watch them walk such as across a smooth ice rink. The feet up approach tends to re-enforce the idea of creating some kind of friction under the skiers foot every time they sense the ski/snow platform to be unreliable. From the center of mass approach the skier tends to seek flow instead of friction because friction interrupts the flow of the center of mass.
I don't mean to imply that don't teach how to stop and use friction under the skis. Skiing is way more than any idea or technique. I just want to instill a good core of skills around dynamic balance as a means of fast tracking the learning process. I also teach how to use the feet so in that sense I do works some feet up as well.
I think there is room for either perspective, it actually enhance the self learning to play with the movement from either direction for proprioceptive benefits. The more you feel your preferences the more you can adjust. The more variation you can use the more dynamic the potential when you need it spontaneously.
I understand the idea with starting with the foot, the sensory capacity is huge in the brain relative to the trunk. Why stop there though, learn from the feet up to feel the body, learn how to direct the body to allow the feet/ankles to be the fine motor tuner they are.
This only works if you consider that nothing happens in sequence, the whole person is active, allowing some motion, limiting others.
Chad, for the sake of this discussion (just bear with me--as Bob likes to remind us, "question everything!") imagine for a moment what happens bio-mechanically when we lead femoral rotation by tipping with the ankle "first" (talking about inversion of the foot and abduction of the femur here. I realize that it will produce an essentially instantaneous corresponding rotation of the hip joint) as opposed to ignoring the ankle and leading tipping at the hip. What happens to the foot, in regards to its rotation? This is quite germaine to the discussion, IMO.
Thanks for the thoughts Zenny,
If the muscle that are connected in the development of that synergy for that movement are not impeded by excessive muscle effort(tone) they will unite all the joints of the lower limb. Simultaneously.
Hi Chad, I've suggested that readers refer to Muscles Testing and Function ( Second Ed. 1971,pages 26 and 27) for the correct terminology. Sorry for the dated reference but it's been a while since I graduated from school. If you look at the wrist, we call wrist extension when the finger nails move towards the back of the arm and wrist flexion when the palm moves towards the ventral side of the arm. It's the same with the feet. When the toe nails move towards the shin it is extension and when the bottom of the feet move away from the shin it is called flexion. Human movements are defined from a position called anatomical position. That is, a person standing erect with arms at the side and the palms facing forward. When we are in this position, the palms face forward but the soles of the feet face downward or almost backward if you let the feet hang. That's why we have the commonly used terms of dorsi flexion and plantar flexion . The only reason I brought this up in the first place is because we attempt to describe human motion which is extremely difficult using proper terminology. When the terminology is misused, the confusion grows. YM (aka Dr. Steve)
It gets overly complex sometimes YM:)
I agree, when you consider the lifting of the toes is done by extensor muscles and the curling or toes into the floor/boot is done by the flexors it is logical to follow it to the next joint. Calling it flexion in both directions generates the problem. Fortunately, we know where the plantar and dorsal surfaces are on the anatomical model, flexion toward either. It is so murky it is always worth going over.
Ok. Long story short, when we begin tipping into the new turn by leading with the LTE of the (soon to be) new inside foot in addition to it inverting it also rotates inwardly (and doriflexes/closes a bit???--now I'm confused yogaman ) while at essentially the same time the knee moves outward as the femur rotates in the socket. This is great because basically what this means is that when focusing n tipping LTE first the foot rotates such that it aligns itself with the femur. This creates a situation in which we can continue to guide the outside ski through the resulting arc with the inside (because it is totally free to keep on tipping). The inside is the brain and the outside is the brawn!
Conversely, if we lead tipping at the hip joint and do nothing at the ankle it will cause the foot to rotate outwardly such that the foot and femur are no longer aligned. Add excessive inside weight bias and you stop or at least greatly halt any further tipping ROM of the inside. In this scenario all you can do to "get low" is to manually drop the hip down. The result is sometimes/often? rotation around the foot as opposed to the femur head:
Look at the inside femur/foot relationship again with this in mind...it is why when LF said that hip dumping "reduces or eliminates the skier's ability to continually manipulate the radius of the turn" I agreed. And it is also good food for thought, (before we hit the slopes, which is hopefully soon!!!) I think.
I agree Zenny
The outside is better position to transmit the force through the skeleton, the inside requires more joint angulation and lengthening/shortening of the associated tissues. The stability the skeleton is given by pressure from the outside leg (more direct stacking alignment) is what generates the mobility for the inside leg and trunk to flex/fold together. I think when you begin to connect the relationship between opposing hips and shoulders it begins to show the spinal dynamics needed for that relationship. The spinal mobility is only important as it positions the sockets of the hip in the pelvis. This movement and its control allows for more force distribution. More distribution= more access to the needed joint control in the legs.
Mountains are white again. Q you should make a run for Big Rock in Mars Hill Maine. Some nice grassy runs with a foot+ of snow will sure beat writing about skiing. :)