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The Rhythm Method

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
This makes absolutely no sense and it's starting to really annoy me.:
As someone who taught aerobics and step for longer than I'd care to admit, rhythmicity usually works well for me in skiing. Mike_M uses rhythm when teaching bumps, and I find it helpful.

BUT.....

When I try to apply rhythm to pole touches, I become rhythmically challenged. No matter what I do, I am always "late for the dance. " It's sort of like a play=off on those old tee-shirts. I start my turn, then it's like, "what is it, OH, I forgot my pole touch."

I 've tried singing to myself and experimenting with different rhythms and tempos. Nothing works!:

Any words of wisdom, aside from "let it be?"
post #2 of 26
I was taught to pole plant by an instructor who simply had me traverse bouncing up & down (very long traverse)..... we then added the pole plants in - so the timing became the same as walking & swinging your hands- could be worth a try....

Another of his tricks was to have me ski short turns synchronised with him - so I timed the pole swing & plant with what I was watching ahead of me - but by then I was VERY comfortable doing the same without the poles at all & hands on knees/hips... so I COULD ignore my feet

Last trick (longer radius turns) is to KEEP THE DAMN POLE TIPS MOVING... if they are already swinging they will be there to plant - often before you thought you were ready.... so now you have to make sure you are ready to be at pole plant when pole is (ie start releasing earlier)
post #3 of 26
Throw the damn things away for one week. Ski often, and don't think about them.

What will this do? Nothing. But you won't be worried about your poles anymore.
post #4 of 26
LM,

Bonni has a good idea. If you don't mind carrying them around as a crutch, fine. But you won't need them to tip your ski. What you will find is, your upper body position on your skis will improve. your balance on the skis will improve. Your arm position will improve. And you will find that you really don't need them except in lift lines. Then pull yourself along by the ropes like a snowboarder!

Rick H
post #5 of 26
All good suggestions here, LM, but I have to wonder if there isn't more to it that this. I haven't seen you ski, so couldn't tell you, but do you think that some of your upper-body may be out-of-sync (more than just your hands trying to touch your poles or time your pole swing)?
post #6 of 26
What song are you using?
post #7 of 26
The only way my pole touches work is if the pole swing begins when my skis enter the fall line. Poles are swinging while you're turning In rapid short-radius turns, pole swings are going pretty fast. In long radius turns, the pole swing takes a relatively long time.

I haven't watched you ski in a long time now, but it sounds like you're trying to complete a turn, throw out a really fast pole touch and then start turning. That would be way too much for anybody to co-ordinate. Start that swing as soon as you're in the fall-line, but the swing doesn't stop until you've started your new turn. If conditions are "right", the pole touch is the start of the new turn.

There are long discussions in the forum archives concerning whether or not pole touches are necessary or crutches. I belong to the school of thought that says they really aren't necessary except in short turns and bumps.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF
I belong to the school of thought that says they really aren't necessary except in short turns and bumps.
I'd say you don't need them there either. I skiied half of last season with my arm in a cast and no poles. If anything it was good for my bump skiing.
post #9 of 26
I would not think they are NECESSARY - however they have their uses....

personally I ski better most f the time without the damn things... just starting to see small improvemnt with them sometimes - but they ARE useful for man reasons...

Kevin - try starting the pole swing when the other pole is planted - much better - fall line too late
post #10 of 26
LM, have Mark give you a good spanking in bed.
post #11 of 26
LM, hopefully this makes a little sense, and maybe it has already been hit upon. You can't put rythm to ski turns when doing longer radius turns. The turn will be completed when the ski completes it, so your pole touches have to be in tune with what your skies are doing, not the beat in your head.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZGskier
LM, hopefully this makes a little sense, and maybe it has already been hit upon. You can't put rythm to ski turns when doing longer radius turns. The turn will be completed when the ski completes it, so your pole touches have to be in tune with what your skies are doing, not the beat in your head.
Yes definitely makes sense! I have less trouble when I use it with faster, short radius turns, Thanks!
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Yes definitely makes sense! I have less trouble when I use it with faster, short radius turns, Thanks!
well LM, i think it easier for all of us to move rhythmicly faster. It's hard to slow our movements down and still maintain flow and rhythm. In this respect it is good practice to slow our movments and work on keeping the slow movements rhythmic, with flow.

If you ski without poles you will find yourself making some hand and arm movements, and the whether you are skiing short or long turns, you should find yourself keeping rhythm with the hands and arms. Not big movements but movement with flow. This is the movement that the poles need amplify. Think of them as an extension of the hands and not something external to the body. Later, RicB.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
It's hard to slow our movements down and still maintain flow and rhythm.
Reminds me of a saying my grandmammy was fond of: If ya cain't sing purty, sing LOUD!
post #15 of 26
LM,

I feel your pain. When I took my level II many years ago, we had a young lady pull this out as an exercise. It was AWFUL! We were all so BORED! Not that it was a bad thing to do, but it was just presented poorly. Our task (as a group) was formulate a progression to take a wedge christy skier to parallel. We sat around as a group at lunch and everyone gave input to what they were going to do. I didn't like any of it. People kept asking me "what are you going to do?", and I kept putting them off. I just said, "I'll go last and think of something." When we loaded the chair for the last ride of the day, I still didn't know what I was going to do. Somebody introduced the pole touch, somebody else talked about rhythm and somewhere in the mix was patience turns (to a count). I was dying and so were most of the other folks in the group. Finally we came to the final two pitches of the resort and the examiner looked at me and said "Lonnie, do you have something for us?" A light bulb went off in my head. "Sure", I replied, "Synchronized Skiing" I paired off everybody into groups, and talked about watching the pole swing of the other person and timing our movements to theirs etc, etc. Everybody's faces lit up, we were actually going to ski for a while. We ended up on the last pitch above the resort. We were one of the last groups on the hill and we could see all the other groups clustered around at the bottom of the hill debriefing. I took control again and said "If we can do this in pairs, we can do it as one big group." We formed up in a diamond formation with one examiner in front and one in back and started skiing down in perfect unison. It was amazing. All of the groups at the bottom of the hill stopped what they were doing and looked up at us. When we got to the bottom, the group was STOKED! Everyone in our group was cheering and slapping high fives. Needless to say, I scored big on the teaching aspect of the exam....

I guess my point in the story is that even the best exercise if presented poorly won't do us much good. We've gotta know the when's and where's to make things really work. What I didn't really wasn't much different mechanically than what my group mates did. I just presented in a more defined and fun way. The result, we all had a great run (one of the best of my life actually!)
post #16 of 26
Pole plants or touches can be very difficult to learn. This is due, in part, to the natural tendency to concentrate on the touch itself, and not on the movements required to complete the touch. Much like a new dance step, the series of steps do not resemble a dance until it “flows”. In skiing the position and timing of the pole touch varies with speed, turn radius, terrain, and snow conditions. A lot more variables than your standard waltz!



In order to get more of a feel for the “flow” try this exercise. On easy terrain (for you) hold your poles by the thumb and forefinger only, so that the pole can swing as a pendulum. Make some medium radius turns being careful to complete the turn. Observe, without making a pole touch, how the end of the outside pole travels throughout the turn, and especially at the completion of the turn. At the completion the skier is slowing down, while the pole’s momentum is carrying the end of the pole forward. At the apex of this travel is where the pole should touch. After feeling how the pole travels or “flows” for several turns, allow the pole to touch as you start your new turn. Once you have the feeling use a standard, but light grip and soft wrist to direct the pole through this motion on a path that is more parallel to the skis. Repeat this same experiment with different radius turns to get the flow in various turns.



With a little practice you will be dancing in no time.
post #17 of 26
LM,

One tip I use is "Rise, Touch, Turn". It's a gross over simplfication, but it's a start.

A tip I got from Vic Gerdin was "Swing the pole to match your turn." As you finish your turn make the pole swing a continous motion matching the turn. This fits KevinF's tip. This really helps you develop a good rhythm. This is also a great tip for helping instructors pass exams. It's a subtle way to make your skiing look better.

Vic also talked about the pole touch having different purposes for short radius turns (e.g. stabilizing, blocking) and long turns (e.g. timing, cross over). A tip I got from Brian Whatley this year was to use a bit more counter when doing ski exercises without poles to assist the lower body unwinding that you need in turns. Hmm - I guess this means that the pole touch facilitates uncountering during the turn.

Make sure you are initiating pole touches with the wrist. Starting with the poles horizontal and the thumb on top of the pole, move the wrist so the pinky finger goes forward and the thumb comes up and back in order to reach the pole to vertical and then reaching out for the touch. Your elbow should come forward a little bit, but not a lot. Unless you're in the bumps make it a pole touch instead of a pole plant. After the touch bring the pole back by pushing the thumb back down to horizontal. Limiting arm and shoulder movement involvement in the pole touch can help your rhythm.
post #18 of 26
LM, I've come to view pole touches as a part of moving the torso into the turn. I like to grip the pole against the palm of my hand with my fingers and time my REACH for the pole plant with the point I'm passing through NEUTRAL between turns. The reach gets me moving toward inside the next turn. I time the touch to the moment of engagement of the new edges. One caveat: As you know, I'm short and sufficiently round of torso that I don't bend much sideways, so my reach is with an upright torso that gets my hips inside. You are much more flexible (and enviably slender) so you want to avoid tipping the shoulders with the reach. You also want to avoid swinging your pole tip out. That's the reason for palming the pole. I like to let my outside pole tip swing forward gradually with the radius of the turn until just before I flatten my skis on the snow in neutral. Then I reach and simultaneously touch/go on the new edges.
post #19 of 26
I'm with the "short turns, bumps and trees" only school of thought. Skied a bunch of runs last time just holding them with one hand and didn't really have any trouble. The plants just come naturally when I actually need them.
post #20 of 26
LM,

Keep the poles moving in the bumps. Have you skied bumps with BB? He has you shouting Pole! Pole! Pole! as you ski through the bumps. Somehow this helps you get everything synchronized. I sometimes do this by myself when I am feeling discombobulated in the bumps. People might think its weird, but it works.

Jim
post #21 of 26

Pole Touch

Try this!

UP / TOUCH / TIP / TURN
Rise up,extend /Touch the pole tip/ Tip the inside foot,lil' toe / Turn, joy

Happy Holidays

Stacy
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the interesting feedback. Now I need to take it all in!:

JimL, I have not yet skied bumps with Bob Barnes, but it was his former roomate who got me addicted to them. Some times he thinks I now ski bumps better than I ski groomed, and on a groomed run, he sometimes tells me to imagine I'm skiing over a bump.
Go figure!

Lonnie {Didn't realize that was you! How cool is that?} the synchronized skiing thing only works for me with some people. The same thing happens with the "ski in my tracks" thing. I can follow some instructors, others I can't.

I'm currently working with two different instructors, each has their specific strengths. My instructor from last week really, really, wants me to start adding pole touches, because we are starting to ski more steeper terrain.

This Sunday, I'll work with instructor # 2. Sometimes, just hearing things worded a different way by a different person is helpful. I guess that happens on the forum, too. people say similar things, but something one specific person says "clicks."

Thanks again, everyone.
post #23 of 26
And here I thought the Rythm Method was a form of birth control. Who knew?!?!?!
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Lonnie {Didn't realize that was you! How cool is that?} the synchronized skiing thing only works for me with some people. The same thing happens with the "ski in my tracks" thing. I can follow some instructors, others I can't.
Lisa,

Yeah, I think I'm "undercover" here! (I really should re-register.....) Anyway, the synchro thing is kinda tricky. You've really got to have somebody that makes a consistant turn. It's also tough because you have to constantly adjust your turn shape to match the other persons. It's refining movemments. With that being said, I had good success doing this with a student yesterday in the powder. We we're working on powder 8's. It was a lot of fun for both of us.

Take care,
L
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update: As suspected, it was actually easier to get it right on bump runs! Go figure!:

Today's instructor used visuals, vis a vis, literally following the direction of the pole with your eyes. My problems:

I tend to keep my poles too far away from my body.

I sometimes tend to point them upward. {To which my instructor comments "Ya' wanna' go up in the sky?" Then I have to stop laughing so I can get my rhythm back}

When I get nervous, I use the wrong pole!:

It was better by the end of the day.

Some images:
Swing low sweet chariot.
Let you pole be your pilot.
post #26 of 26
LM, when you are skiing bumps, you are in effect doing "follow my tracks". Unless you are doing a nutty line.
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