I have just one more brief thought to ad. I am sensing a degree of unbridled athletic enthusiasm in your current approach. Your inner being alter ego racer x is trying to come out and you must try diligently to avoid getting in it’s way. You are starting to recognize new and more advanced movement patterns and you are tossing around some good ideas. That you may just be making a little bit of a mess of yourself where you are right now should be expected and you will get past this stage. The biggest issues I see are back seat driving and not balanced on the outside ski. Soon to follow, a new set of arms and shoulder carriage with rotary awareness will be in due course order. It is my opinion that these three adjustments would advance you considerably beyond your present ability. Keep in mind that the first two have been long and hard earned corrections for many a skier. Honestly, you will look back a decade from now and feel like you do when reminiscing of the clothes and haircut you sported in high school. And yes, I do imagine I could be addressing anyone from a HS freshman to a triple PHD to a prison GED. From what little I can tell, you seem to have quite a few more years left on the vertical odometer and are not presently in county, state or federal custody.
I assure you that I can say all this while liking what I see in terms of a highly suspected promising level of both technical and athletic potential. If you really want to jack your skiing, I mean - want it bad, due to the presently precariously precocious nature of the movement patterns suspected and settled into at a certain level of achievement as speculated, I would highly recommend a full technical immersion including a steadfast neurological quarantine of all currently present motor stimuli reinforcements. Ski related only of course. You can keep your girlfriend. To transition successfully and most quickly from where you are technically fastened and habitually anchored with a pathology of commonly flawed motor patterns to where you would like to be is going to require a cessation, surrender and ultimately complete abandonment of entire movement patterns in order to create a ”clean” path of development for new ones.This means no racing, no skiing with friends, no X box Super G, no imaginary staircase slalom, and whatever else it is that you may be doing while wearing skis. Again, you can keep your girlfriend. The actual immersion itself will be drills. Lots of drills, Lots of sets of drills. Lots of series of sets of drills. Lots of brackets of series of sets of drills. Additionally, for good measure, more drills. It may sound extreme but because it is what many should be at least shooting for. Of course, the likelihood of full complicity from anyone who’s rent isn’t paid by their national ski team admin is low. Immersion is a learning method, known for its linguistic use, by which the subject learns new movements through taking full and immediate ownership of the new move while exacting a resilient abstention of the move it replaces. The actual environment you would be immersing into is that of an uncompromised self imposed schedule of drills and nothing else.
Another way to view the immersion learning, also as an effective method of change, is to compare it to a more commonly facilitated method of change, the evolutionary method of change. Choosing to improve through the gradual and incremental means of a tip here, a drill there, a lesson on vacation, gates on beer night and a questionable movement analysis on epic from an anonymous participant who thinks he’s the Devil is facilitating the evolutionary method of change that, while good for biz, you may need more than one lifetime to cultivate through fruition. Your/our options for cleaning things up seem to be residing in the choice between an occasional sponge bath from a one armed blind nurse or a full immersion into a bottomless body of water. Now, while it may be granted there are a few things I could think of doing with that nurse, we are here to talk about skiing. (and that nurse isn’t going anywhere fast)
Again, organizing a plan of development that takes into account the deeply ingrained motor patterns that are present and their removal will be a key factor. If the goal is to simply “replace” old movement patterns for new better ones such as through piecemeal, such as switching out Legos or sections of Legos in a Lego built castle will not get anyone very far. The changes that need to be made are of a systemic nature and therefore need to be addressed as such. Think of ski technique as a system of cogs, all turning in different directions and leverages and all functioning in different capacities but yet all are dependent upon one precise chronological sequence to achieve a highly efficient harmoniously mechanical outcome. When one cog is off the effects the entire system. If you want a good visual of the complexities of high end skiing, just take off the back of any analog watch and have a look.
As a fortress of questionable defense, entire walls of the Lego castle will need to come down. Because the “surface” movements we see that need correction are supported by a base of foundational skills likely as skewed (balance, etc.), it is at this foundation where you may need to backup your program to before taking on a new direction going forward. This “reverse” aspect of development is very difficult for experienced skiers to commit to and will require a clear vision, a sustained leap of faith, a staunch commitment, a modicum of sacrifice (girlfriend gone by now), a certain level of emotional resilience and, for some, a miraculous fortitude. Those having particular difficulty with this aspect of change might Google “change mastery” and employ some helpful rationale. Among a host of external inhibitors such as friends reactions etc., there will be internal ego born inhibitors that will be faced and ultimately conquered along the way.
While proven to be a difficult prospect for any experienced skier, this can represent an even larger problem for ski instructors having the need but wishing to continue teaching in a biomechanically colorful and technically diverse environment of concept stew during this process. The aftermath quagmire of mixed signals coursing through synapses will result in rampant conscious and subconscious motor pattern confusion that can complicate things to a degree that can be difficult to recover from. In a manner of speaking and to some degree, exposing one’s motor absorption capacity to a career of ski instructing may constitute employment based acceptance of a minimum level of the aforementioned quagmire. To the dismay of some, the more advanced a skier is in ability, the longer and more arduous this process can be. Of course there will be movement patterns and learning opportunities that will be partly amenable to a more seclusionary focus and, as well, I am only speaking in more general terms than some may interpret.
The idea of systemic movement integration suggests that the changes that need to be made will have immediate effect on adjacent and overlapping movements in the kinetic chain both above and below that of the primarily target area of change. Systemic movement integration also represents the immediate effect on what happens immediately before and after in the chronological chain of turn phases. How do we achieve systemic change? We apply the equally systemic approach of drilling that not only addresses the key target of change but also its integration with bordering elements. To map systemic change accordingly, we might look at the integration of two previously mentioned methods of mapping ski technique,the kinetic chain and the turn phase chain, and their intersection with the five basic hard skill fundamentals of edging, pressure control, rotary, extension/flexion and angulation/inclination. ((I do not include balance and am considering it a “soft” skill that is a key element to all of the five “hard” kills that is both challenged and improved with every drill. You may find that almost every issue present in the video and thread has been categorically seeded with a lack of balance)) Once a drill plan is drawn out from this matrix of skill mapping and tweaked in regards to a skier’s strengths, weaknesses and interests, there is no need to intellectually commandeer the process other than to assure that the drills are being conducted correctly. In a manner of thinking, it is often said that we are simply attempting to groove preselected networks of neural pathways deeper than and over that of the flawed movement patterns that likely came into place without much intent at all.
A good drill is designed for a specific outcome related to a focus of improvement. Most drills are simply a mix of two elements, movement amplification and a challenge of balance both of which are simply meant to neurally resonate along a pre-chosen network of movement patterns. They are ultimately ingrained into regular technique at much lower amplitudes so as to reside amongst the balance of integrated movement patterns in a much less obvious manner. This is a process of natural absorption that can disallow too much intellectual manipulation over the process other than the use of cues. Along the way, drills are better directed with one or a set of cues typically and originally established by a “correct form cue” each drill should include. The development path of the cue should be expected to follow its natural dissipative course from conscious on through semiconscious, subconscious and unconscious as the movement pattern itself follows its natural course of blending. Ultimately, we want our consciousness used only for the pleasant endorphin inducing reception of outcome based sensation rather than that of a heavily onerous set of fully conscious input requirements we can sometimes take unto ourselves like a backpack full of rocks. A drill can be seen as a mechanism to employ a conscious control over subconscious development of emerging movement patterns that will, eventually and ultimately, develop in autonomic perpetuity without one’s intent to steer the course and are more often left to flutter like a butterfly with the aimless wander of the unpurposeful skier.