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What Can Recreational Skiers Learn from Racers?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
This is for another one of my writing "assignments." I promise I will let on what all this is about once it becomes finalized. But for now, I need some concrete examples of what a recreational can learn from watching a ski racer. Feel free to be specific, with examples, such as Bode, Janica, etc.

If you are a professional coach, and you would like to be credited, PM me with your real name and where you coach.
Thanks!
post #2 of 20
From Bode (and every other other racer)- Dynamic balance.

A lot of mental stuff- focal points, attitude, line/tactic approach, aggression, positive intent...
post #3 of 20
My last lesson we spent a heap of time working on what I think RIC B would call being grounded.....

The instructor kept refering back to pictures of racers.... he wanted the core activation & then the transfer from feet up of the movements.... He was so into core strength it was not funny.... Also really wanting the feeling of being connected to the ground through the activation of appropriate muscles....

sorry - tired words are struggling .....
post #4 of 20
Disski, in Tai Chi Chuan we call it being rooted, western physiologists call it closed chain movement I think, meaning that our feet are anchoring our body and we are utilizing multiple joints in concert to move, working together to balance and achieve some thing.

Skiing is big time closed chain movement as I see it, and that's what I see when I watch world cup races on OLN. I see the best are anchored at the feet and utilizing their natural alignment to allow their effort to be most effective. Their skis are smoothly kept on the snow, with everything working to absorb shock as they also move with the skis. You see it in their ability to ski through the ruts with less disturbance than the rest and in the way they seem to move more in harmony with the hill and course as opposed to always fighting to maintain their line and speed. They achieve a blending of the external forces with their own forces, recieving to give back, harmonizing both into their intent. Maybe I'm a little carried away here. Later, Ric B.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
My last lesson we spent a heap of time working on what I think RIC B would call being grounded.....

The instructor kept refering back to pictures of racers.... he wanted the core activation & then the transfer from feet up of the movements.... He was so into core strength it was not funny.... Also really wanting the feeling of being connected to the ground through the activation of appropriate muscles....

sorry - tired words are struggling .....
Coming through quite clearly, actually. Thanks!
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB
Disski, in Tai Chi Chuan we call it being rooted, western physiologists call it closed chain movement I think, meaning that our feet are anchoring our body and we are utilizing multiple joints in concert to move, working together to balance and achieve some thing.

Skiing is big time closed chain movement as I see it, and that's what I see when I watch world cup races on OLN. I see the best are anchored at the feet and utilizing their natural alignment to allow their effort to be most effective. Their skis are smoothly kept on the snow, with everything working to absorb shock as they also move with the skis. You see it in their ability to ski through the ruts with less disturbance than the rest and in the way they seem to move more in harmony with the hill and course as opposed to always fighting to maintain their line and speed. They achieve a blending of the external forces with their own forces, recieving to give back, harmonizing both into their intent. Maybe I'm a little carried away here. Later, Ric B.
Thanks - yes that is what he was on about.... sounded more like a fitball class than a SKI lesson.... but it worked well for me.... we were working on skiing cruddy chopped up bumpy stuff....
post #7 of 20
On the stable and activated core, I see this kiinda like the difference between putting water in a water balloon and trying to carry and move it around or putting water in a bladder designed for water and carrying and moving it around. The water in the balloon will want to move in every direction but where we want it to, while the water in the bladder will simply go where we ask it to, without the constant fight to redirect. Later, Ric B.
post #8 of 20
* Efficiency of movement; there is no wasted effort.

* Efficiency of body position; strength is optimized through skeletal alignment and edging power is magnified through proper body orientation.

* Versatility; racers display the importance of expanded technical comfort zones.

* Balance; racers demonstrate ideal balance points, and how to tweak performance through temporary journeys out of the ideal.

* Edge control; they model proper edge application for all to see . This includes rate of application, clean carve initiation, turn shape control through edge angle and how to achieve a wide range of angles, and well executed pivots and feathers.



* They demonstrate what skiing can be in it's highest form.
post #9 of 20
Beyond what others have said here, I think what we can learn from racers is commitment: s/he who hesitates loses the race.
post #10 of 20
They also demonstrate that you cannot be affraid to fall and if you do, get back back up and race another day.
post #11 of 20
Lisamarie,
Here's a concrete example: look at photos and you'll see that good ski-racers almost always keep their eyes level, whatever angles the rest of their bodies are at. This presumably helps them to balance.
post #12 of 20
Rhythm, Tempo and Timing.
post #13 of 20
I think the only thing that can't be transferred from racing too easily is park and pipe skills--like rail riding, and rodeo 7's, and stuff like that.

My belief is that whatever I do to stay current and effective on skis completely originates from what I see on the race course--especially in Giant Slalom. I try to adapt to it with the least amount of adjustment possible, and only am limited by my physical strength, reflexes, and a high speed drift into old age.

Every awareness about the technique I teach, even at the beginner's levels, is ultimately based on my perception of what the racers do. Racing is the lab where skiing is r & d'd.

This has been true for me since at least the mid 60's. It has always worked.
post #14 of 20
Weems,

The other thing that is not easily transferred to the recreational skier from watching racers is a true understanding of the level of dedication and commitment that was required to attain the skills these guys display, or the motivation to devote that same degree of effort.

Despite the marketing hype contained in your new ski week program, I know that you know there are no free lunches in athletic performance.
post #15 of 20
Recreational skiers can learn a ton of things from racers.

My background and bias: I was an advanced/intermediate skier, skiing 15 days a year as an adult, at a plateau, and then my brother and I got into recreational racing. For the last 10 years, I've gotten faster every year, steadily advancing from 36th to 1st ranking in my state for my age category in NASTAR, going from 25th, to 18th to 12th at the NASTAR nationals (recreational division) over the last three years and working my way up from a below class 6 club racer to advance steadily into faster classes of club racing.

I still have a lot to learn from racing (I hope to continue to get faster and to be able to compete at the Masters level in my 50s and 60s.)

Here's some of what I've learned so far:

1. Conditioning skills. I do balance training, strength training, lactate threshold training and plyometrics. Every year, I learn a little better how to get in shape for ski season. (I live at sea level, and ski against people who have a lot more time on the mountain, so I have to be in better shape.)

2. Carving skills. No matter how good you think you are, skiing in the gates makes you better, because of the instant feedback: The stopwatch doesn't lie. Your line in the slalom gates doesn't lie. The closer you get to a pure carved turn, the more speed you carry.

3. Getting forward. A thousand instructors can tell you a thousand times how getting your weight forward early in the turn bends the front shovel of the ski to take advantage of the reverse camber. But not until you get it by trying it in slalom gates on today's short slalom skis does it really hit home. (How you finally get there might be different: "Let the front boot cuff hold you up" "elbows forward, not hands forward" or "pull your inside foot back at turn initiation." But your skiing gets better when you do get it, or when you mostly get it...)

4. Two footed skiing.

5. How to care for your skis and how to understand their interaction with the snow. I sharpen my edges and wax my skis after every day's use, while 97% of recreational skiers (aaiiee!) never wax their skis at all. Along the way, you necessarily learn a lot about gliding and interaction with the snow, just in understanding why you use different waxes for different temperatures and humidities, and that in turn leads you to think a lot about how you have to change your technique in different conditions.

6. A survival bag of tricks. I'm not afraid of ice any more. (For racers, ice is our friend. It holds up well even if you have a high bib number.) And I've learned a lot of things most people don't think about: how to self-arrest on a GS gate when I'm getting late, how to adjust my line to get back on line over the next two turns, how to punch the snow to bounce back up and avoid boot out.

7. Every year getting a little closer to the form of the World Cup skiers, with hips low, and those extreme angles while still making those turns.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Welcome DeanSF! I had finished the article, but that was great content, so I went back and edited it. Weems, I put you in there too, and linked to your Aspen workshop. Snowdog, thanks! I'd quote ya' but I don't know ya'!
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by weems
I think the only thing that can't be transferred from racing too easily is park and pipe skills--like rail riding, and rodeo 7's, and stuff like that.
Something to keep in mind is that mental focus and confidence that racers have. While it is not a physical skill, that same mental focus is needed in newschool as well, as well as the confidence that hitting that jump/rail/dropping that cliff are a good idea and I'm gonna throw my body in all sorts of ways before I attempt to land somewhere (how many of you have had the nerve to hit a large park jump, one where you see nothing but a 15+ foot tall ramp).
post #18 of 20
Since your artcle is done, where can we see it?

John
post #19 of 20

Marketing hype!!!??? I don't do hype!!!

Snowdog. I agree with you and precisely that part of it is incorporated into the Sports Diamondâ„¢ in an area we call Will. We include discussions on commitment and practice and time on task. What we do differently is apply it in such a way that the time spent on the work to improve is happy time rather than a slog across the plateau, because it is mixed in with all the other pieces.
post #20 of 20
I also agree mightily with deansf, and you're right manus, I definitely overlooked that part of newschool--especially since I spent my first morning on rails last week in New Zealand. Man, that is a crash that really hurts.
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