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how to get 7 year old to do parallel skiing over wedge when he is capable of former.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'd read on the forums here that kids will naturally develop into parallel as they gain speed and go on steeper hills etc. I am not seeing that happen though. My 7 year old can go down blacks and will do parallel turns if I explicitly ask him to, but otherwise he just wedges down. It is kind of inexplicable since I tried to wedge all the way down following him sometimes out of curiosity and it would almost give me cramps. He is able to hockey stop and also do the single foot outside ski only drill so I feel like he should be paralleling all the time.

Is this something I just let him be and give him more time and will develop naturally? Or should I be doing something to encourage it more?

thanks
post #2 of 15

What does he do on easier slopes?  Perhaps the steepness brings out a desire to brake.  Wedging is braking.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
thats a good point, i made a point to observe him this past weekend, and he seems to do a similar thing on greens. He mostly just french fries forward then does a little wedge to slow down a bit. overall he goes pretty slow and just kind of spaces out. If you ask him to, he can do parallel turns pretty OK. I wonder if it is a symptom of short skis? he is like 45lbs on 80cm skis, I noticed his friends same age were using 100cm skis.
post #4 of 15

Put him in a NASTAR course for half a day.  Trying to improve his times will get him running parallel more and wedge less on an intermediate slope with zero nagging or begging.  Just make sure he knows that french fries are faster than pizza.

post #5 of 15
I have three kids and I've noticed my kids make the biggest steps forward when we take two steps back. Sometimes it meant a day of blue/green trails and sometimes it meant that for every black run, we did one or two easy runs. It's frustrating to watch, especially when you know they can do it, but yelling (my wife as the more patient observer has told me) does not work. Be patient, ski what they want to ski and just have fun. I also used these easy runs as a chance to make myself better. Good luck and have fun.
post #6 of 15

Meh. My kid did that for quite a while. I never bugged him about technique. Just kept taking him down the toughest slopes he could handle safely and made sure he was having fun. Eventually, the wedge disappeared. A lot later than I'd assumed it would, but I really don't think it held him back; he's pretty damn good now. Once he was 12 or 13 and skiing parallel on his own, he would start asking for pointers and we'd have technical discussions and do drills, etc. but personally I don't think it's much worth trying to get little kids to worry about technique. As long as they can ski in control and are having fun, I just don't see the big deal about whether their skis are parallel or not. Then again I wasn't trying to raise an Olympian, maybe you are.

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
not even remotely thinking about raising an Olympian or even a non-recreational athlete. it just feels like bouncing back and forth in parallel is a lot more fun than going down in a wedge, and progressing is always part of the fun. otherwise why take lessons right?
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalendae View Post

not even remotely thinking about raising an Olympian or even a non-recreational athlete. it just feels like bouncing back and forth in parallel is a lot more fun than going down in a wedge, and progressing is always part of the fun. otherwise why take lessons right?

I agree but when you are seven I don't think style or efficiency is as big a part of the fun. Just my personal philosophy but I thought by not putting any pressure on the kid and just let him have fun chasing after dad would keep his love of the sport and a focus on proper technique would come later if he was interested. I'm not an expert on youth athletic development by any means, so maybe I just lucked out, but it worked for my kid. I just think making it anything like work for a seven year old could backfire.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalendae View Post

not even remotely thinking about raising an Olympian or even a non-recreational athlete. it just feels like bouncing back and forth in parallel is a lot more fun than going down in a wedge, and progressing is always part of the fun. otherwise why take lessons right?

 

Not sure that reasoning applies to a 7 year old.  My guess he's more concerned about having fun (his definition of fun) than progressing.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
there are lots of extremely happy kids with great technique I see on the trails all the time, even kids whose parents maybe are thinking about racing or even olympics. the groups of kids in race school certainly look to be having a lot of fun when I see them as well. We don't have the resources to do that but I don't think spending time on some drills or techniques once in a while and having fun are mutually exclusive.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalendae View Post

there are lots of extremely happy kids with great technique I see on the trails all the time, even kids whose parents maybe are thinking about racing or even olympics. the groups of kids in race school certainly look to be having a lot of fun when I see them as well. We don't have the resources to do that but I don't think spending time on some drills or techniques once in a while and having fun are mutually exclusive.

100% agree. I didn't mean to say kids can't be taught advanced technique and have fun at the same time if that is what they are into. I just thought I'd share my experience that it's not worth stressing if they aren't doing it on a timetable that we adults expect. They'll catch on. Take it or leave it. Race programs are a great way to support a kid's development but yeah they are pricy. A few lessons might be within your reach and most ski schools have instructors who can introduce drills that are still a lot of fun. 

post #12 of 15

I've taught a lot of kids who have a braking wedge ingrained into their technique. There are several things that seem to help most of the kids, but the more ingrained the wedge, the longer it can take to brake them of the habit (even when they have shown you they are capable of parallel)..

 

1. Turn Shape- get him completing round turns across or even up the hill to control his speed. Call them octopus turns if you think that will resonate with him. (If you draw the shape of the turn, it looks a bit like an octopus's head). Good skiers control their speed with turn shape, not a braking wedge (except in lift lines, etc.)

 

2. Stand Parallel when stopped

 

3. Demo a side slip while asking him if he can ski sideways.

 

4. Tell him a wedge/pizza doesn't work very well in powder or over boxes in the park. Using a wedge in these situations can give instant feedback that a different (more parallel) technique is preferable.

 

You are correct that if he can do an outside ski turn, he is definitely capable of skiing parallel. If he likes outside ski turns, have him continue to do it. Whatever you think will motivate him, run with it.

 

I also like the idea of having him run Nastar. Show him how to carve an uphill arc and explain that carved "racer" turns will help him lower his time. While some students seem to slowly but surely become more parallel over time, I have had some make dramatic improvement once I introduced carving to them. 

 

Keep it fun! 

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalendae View Post

there are lots of extremely happy kids with great technique I see on the trails all the time, even kids whose parents maybe are thinking about racing or even olympics. the groups of kids in race school certainly look to be having a lot of fun when I see them as well. We don't have the resources to do that but I don't think spending time on some drills or techniques once in a while and having fun are mutually exclusive.

 

I agree with you also.  All I was saying is your son may not think spending time on drills and technique is fun...to him they may be mutually exclusive.  Every kid is different.  Best of luck.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
just wanted to report back that the tips helped greatly. You were all right that I had wrongly thought that steeper meant natural progression to parallel. Did all the tips and he is doing parallel now most of the time. Now it is more apparent that he goes back to wedge on the steepest sections. I couldn't find Nastar racing in tahoe but he is completely hooked on epicmix racing at northstar. He was totally stoked when he got a bronze medal (which i think actually just means 3rd quartile in his age group, so like 75th percentile hehe), he's gone from blanking out and cruising slowly to wanting to race everyone all the time.
post #15 of 15

Glad the tips helped. One of the next steps might be to get his skis more on edge. Show him some angulation with upper/lower body separation (C shape reaching down towards the outside ski/reverse airplanes/Schlopy Drill/etc).

 

While mileage will certainly help, doing balance drills/games (hops, tail taps, skating, step turns, 100 steps, etc) on easier terrain might also give him more confidence (and better technique) to ski parallel on the steeper terrain

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › how to get 7 year old to do parallel skiing over wedge when he is capable of former.