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Racing, 8 yr old boy, Slalom and GS advice Wanted.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi my son, 8, 52in(132cm) and 62lbs, 124cmSL(110/65/91), 21.5-TechnRPro60 boots.
Next year equip? Stay at one event ski size, try a size up? Try a GS ski?
Next size up on SL ski is 131(110/65/91)and smallest GS is 132(98/65/87).
*I prefer to err slightly on the side of softer and shorter. Boots- He can NOT flex a 70.
What does he need most attention with skiing?http://youtu.be/kPH48NoP6pw Video of GS turn in slow mo shows him in back seat, but he typically is more forward than that (age appropriate atleast). -10,25mph winds on Franks Falline.
Thank you all for taking time to provide feedback. I am NOT a racer, learning as I go.
Enjoy great spring coverage all!
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
A better video from behind
post #3 of 6

Hi Dad.  Mini You is looking pretty good.  Funny you should mention that he can't bend the 70 boot.  I read your post after watching the videos, and the first thing I thought when watching was, "looks like he may not be able to bend that boot".  Could be the boot, could be his technique, but it looks like he's struggling to bend his current boot.  So, don't go stiffer next year.

 

And don't go longer on the skis next year either, unless he has a big growth spurt over the summer.  He knows how to use his edges, he's showing some nice carving skills in his GS turns, but his slalom turns he's keeping them flat and skidding/twisting his skis to turn.  Longer skis will make that harder to sort out.  

 

The gates are adding to the challenge of learning to carve his slalom turns.  He should not be outside hand clearing at this point.  Because he is not yet  putting his skis up on edge and carving, he is not moving inside the gate enough to require outside hand clearing, and it's causing him to rotate his upper body to reach for the gate with his outside hand, which is causing him to skid even more.  For the time being he should be inside hand clearing, not worrying about getting his body inside the gate, and putting all his focus on putting his skis up on edge and making them carve, shedding the skidding.  

 

As I said, his GS turns are better.  He's arcing his GS turns, even when in gates.  Things to work on there are using too much counter, letting his outside hip and ski fall back too far, ending up with too much inside tip lead.  It's called scissoring, and it often leads to leaning and falling onto the inside ski.  You can see that happening to him through the bottom half of his turns. Have him try to drive his outside hand/arm forward as he makes his turns, and drive his outside shoulder forward, out and down.  Then pull his inside foot back a bit as he's turning.  That will help keep his outside ski and hip from falling back, and create the angulation needed to keep him from leaning in and falling on his inside ski.   

post #4 of 6

Doing a lot of gates totally interferes with his learning fundamental technique and while he may show some short term improvement, it will hold him back in the long run, as it teaches him shortcuts.

 

Tall SL gates at his age? Read this and take it to heart http://www.youcanski.com/en/coaching/slalom.htm youth sports is a business and I can guess there are a lot of coaches just looking to make a quick buck...

 

Don't get me wrong - he skis very well for 8 but as a racer, there is a good way to ski and a bunch of other ways to ski. He needs to learn the good way. The more time he spends skiing in one of the other ways, the harder it will be to erase those bad habits and teach him proper technique.

 

For instance, he shuffles to edge the skis. Bad. He survives in full gates. Bad...

 

Good luck

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ha Thank you,
You are very correct in my opinion. I read this in January when I saw the first slalom training practice. It was amazing that in just one practice so much could go wrong. What I observed were kids that were balanced, had counter, were beginning to increase edge angle, starting to arc out, etc.
were now over rotating to reach in for the gate to "crossblock", skidding turns, LEANING in, etc. It was disastrous.
I immediately went home and did a little homework and found this article. Also that there has been much discussion in the USSA world of using stubbies only for little racers, for this very reason. I am surprised that it has not come to that yet. So I immediately told my son that he was NOT to crossblock and why. Before practice I said please tell any coach that your dad said that you were to just run the gate over and keep hands up front. I must say that at the SMS camp., they emphasized the kids' pole planting, edge angle, arcing out, angulation, and ankle angle. They did not teach the kids to crossblock. So when he does crossblock, it is because he needs to feel it for himself. Very typical, if you have boys that when you say don't touch the plate it's hot, the very first thing they do is touch the plate. I'm hoping to educate him so that he realizes that inside clearing feels better. I have faith. Or even better, just ski through it, my boys play hockey and even goalie they certainly have enough padding to just let the gate hit them.

Now as a non racer I always snickered when I saw junior racers ski. I could tell a kid who has grown up racing from a mile away. Very rigid gorilla like turns, lacking fluidity.
My opinion has changed. What I didn't realize is that a really good junior racer does have fluidity and everything else. They have the skills necessary to generate the high edge angle needed to rip the steeps and the aggressiveness and footwork to ski the bumps. With my kids we didn't see a gate until last year. I have seen a shift in their style, but with a lot of good things happening - Diversity I think is key. Even if it means hanging in the park.

We ski 85% freeskiing. And most of that is in the glades, side trails, bumps and jumps and jumps and jumps. 10% drills, and 5% gates. And did I mention jumps.

The emphasis on the benefits to freeskiing is clear, but if you don't get them in gates, it will not be obvious what skills are needed to work on. I know some readers may be saying, what about fun, isn't that what it's all about?

Well, absolutely. It's fun as a family to go on adventures together to new mountains, it's fun to ski fast, it's fun to hit jumps. It's fun to ski Mad River Glen on a powder day, but without the practice and hardwork, skiing Creamery at 7 and 8 just wouldn't be possible.

Now razie, when you say he survives in gates, I get it! I agree. As I watch him ski slalom, I see the worst skiing he has done, and awkward movements galore. So, what I did is try to ski the course myself. Holy moly, I couldn't even finish!! I tip my hat to all the racers I ever ignorantly criticized. That being said, like Razie said, there's a good way and a bad way.
#1, Stop cross blocking. Agreed.
#2, refer to number 1. And good things will happen.
#3, freeski
When you say he shuffles to edge, do you mean he's scissoring, letting the inside ski lead too much? I'm not familiar with shuffling to edge.
Thanks for the feedback and reminder about cross blocking.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mass Ski Dad View Post

Ha Thank you,
You are very correct in my opinion. I read this in January when I saw the first slalom training practice. It was amazing that in just one practice so much could go wrong. What I observed were kids that were balanced, had counter, were beginning to increase edge angle, starting to arc out, etc.
were now over rotating to reach in for the gate to "crossblock", skidding turns, LEANING in, etc. It was disastrous.
I immediately went home and did a little homework and found this article. Also that there has been much discussion in the USSA world of using stubbies only for little racers, for this very reason. I am surprised that it has not come to that yet. So I immediately told my son that he was NOT to crossblock and why. Before practice I said please tell any coach that your dad said that you were to just run the gate over and keep hands up front. I must say that at the SMS camp., they emphasized the kids' pole planting, edge angle, arcing out, angulation, and ankle angle. They did not teach the kids to crossblock. So when he does crossblock, it is because he needs to feel it for himself. Very typical, if you have boys that when you say don't touch the plate it's hot, the very first thing they do is touch the plate. I'm hoping to educate him so that he realizes that inside clearing feels better. I have faith. Or even better, just ski through it, my boys play hockey and even goalie they certainly have enough padding to just let the gate hit them.

Now as a non racer I always snickered when I saw junior racers ski. I could tell a kid who has grown up racing from a mile away. Very rigid gorilla like turns, lacking fluidity.
My opinion has changed. What I didn't realize is that a really good junior racer does have fluidity and everything else. They have the skills necessary to generate the high edge angle needed to rip the steeps and the aggressiveness and footwork to ski the bumps. With my kids we didn't see a gate until last year. I have seen a shift in their style, but with a lot of good things happening - Diversity I think is key. Even if it means hanging in the park.

We ski 85% freeskiing. And most of that is in the glades, side trails, bumps and jumps and jumps and jumps. 10% drills, and 5% gates. And did I mention jumps.

The emphasis on the benefits to freeskiing is clear, but if you don't get them in gates, it will not be obvious what skills are needed to work on. I know some readers may be saying, what about fun, isn't that what it's all about?

Well, absolutely. It's fun as a family to go on adventures together to new mountains, it's fun to ski fast, it's fun to hit jumps. It's fun to ski Mad River Glen on a powder day, but without the practice and hardwork, skiing Creamery at 7 and 8 just wouldn't be possible.

Now razie, when you say he survives in gates, I get it! I agree. As I watch him ski slalom, I see the worst skiing he has done, and awkward movements galore. So, what I did is try to ski the course myself. Holy moly, I couldn't even finish!! I tip my hat to all the racers I ever ignorantly criticized. That being said, like Razie said, there's a good way and a bad way.
#1, Stop cross blocking. Agreed.
#2, refer to number 1. And good things will happen.
#3, freeski
When you say he shuffles to edge, do you mean he's scissoring, letting the inside ski lead too much? I'm not familiar with shuffling to edge.
Thanks for the feedback and reminder about cross blocking.

yes - it's very hard to keep them from cross blocking as soon as you put up full gates that's all they care about - stubies are very importatn you will see a huge difference when skiing stubies instead and they are great for skill development. you can do a lot in stubbies.

 

what you see there is the difference between a good ski racer, one that managed to develop skills (either talent or better coach/club) versus an average one that spent too much time in gates and was coached "in a group" - many are stuck with all sorts of yes, gorrila turns and such. it's a shame that it happens.

 

85% freeski is appropriate. terrain variation is bery important if you can get it. lacking terrain variation is the only good reason to justfiy gates and environments.

 

he should do stubbies more than full gates. full gates at an angle, no crossblocking yes. tons of freeski in glades are GREAT. also technical freeski - where he works on specifics, not just glide down a groomer :)

 

yes. he is shuffling to edge the skis. this was taught for a while - my oldest had it 

 

compare this

 

with blue jacket here:

 

 

it's not as easy to explain I guess - it is subtle, there are good and bad turns in both videos. The ski will shuffle the question is where and how.

 

to try to understand, do this:

 

stand up

flex your knees some

keep your feet matched, i.e. side by side in a natural narrow stance

now tip them to the left as much as you can - it will be quite a bit.

now stand up and flex again

shuffle the left foot forward one foot length

now try to tip the feet again - the range of tipping is much reduced and take a lot more effort and drags the upper body with it plus you're already a little back and a little out of balance.

 

that's the issue with shuffling to turn.

 

cheers


Edited by razie - 4/6/15 at 9:16am
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