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What's This ?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I recently visited a Ski School and hanging in the locker room was a banner which displayed something called,

"The Simplified Mechanics of Skiing".

As it turns out, this is the centerpiece of their Instructors Personal Development Plan (PDP).

It reads
1--If you're not in balance, nothing else matters
2--Skiing is fundamentally an outside ski sport
3--Move to engage the tip
4--Everything else is a detail

An explaination of this concept can be found at http://www.HVKsportslab.com/SimplifiedMechanics.pdf

What are your thoughts on this folks ?

(Please indicate if you read the material at the link provided in your response)
post #2 of 37
It is hard to find any disagreement other than the statement that we should teach to outcomes rather than teaching movements. It is movements that make these fundmentals happen in skiers. A skier can have good outcome at times with poor movement patterns, and can have good movement patterns without having a good outcome. I'd much rather see a skier find rough positive movement patterns that can then be refined giving the side effect of good outcomes.

Let the outcome develope as the movements refine. Dynamic balance is maintaned through continually choreographed movements. Like I said above though, I find little else to disagree with. How do you see it Uncle? Later, RicB.
post #3 of 37
Non-instructor (who read the entire link) response:

Very, very interesting.

Seems like logical, intuitive advice and I particularly like the emphasis on three different kinds of balance. I also agree completely (with a few caveats for certain special situations) with the assertion that skiing is primarily about the downhill ski.

And more than anything, I think the concept that "move to engage the tips" makes more sense than almost anything else as one improves their skiing skills.

Just as an aside, when Si was here a couple of weeks ago he was asking me what keys or movements I think about when skiing. Not being much into the mechanics of ski technique, I told him the *only* thing I actively think about is trying to make sure the actual shovels of the skis are involved in every turn. When I'm skiing the very best Im capable of, I can FEEL the tip(s) engage the snow and help pull me through the turn. When I can't feel the tips, something isn't working so well and I need to get back over the skis. (Back in balance, come to think of it.)

Anyway, I thought it all made a great deal of sense. It did leave me wondering *HOW* the proponents of this credo would accomplish some of these things with students who are struggling. Perhaps that's another part of this ski school's training program?

Thanks for the link - I found it very useful.

Bob
post #4 of 37
IMHO, it is poorly written. There are huge gaps between the presentation of an idea and the application of an idea. In addition to contradictory thought patterns their points are 'supported' by what NOT to do without mention of what TO do. This is supposedly covered by the fact that they are PRINCIPLES...Yet, they use negative MOVEMENT PATTERNS to substantiate their PRINCIPLES.

'teach a movement pattern if you must...............' (arrogant, uniformative, drivel)
Then, the main focus of the conclussion is based on MOVEMENT PATTERNS........

'assess your students deficiencies' .....what about their strengths????


The pseudo-spiritual approach is inherently flawed. 'teaching the art of skiing instead of series of complex mechanical movements.' Once again superfluous language with no real identity......
Try it.........you cannnot 'will' people to ski. Communication has to begin somewhere. Granted the ultimate goal would be to combine all of the movement patterns simultaneously with constant reverence and expression......but there has to be a developmental stage.
Not withstanding that 'art' is truly an individual interpretation.......
Nowhere does the description take into account the students objectives.

Balance seems to be their ultimate axiom.....granted 'dynamic balance' would be a good start......My first suggestion would be to introduce a PRINCIPLE with a DYNAMICALLY BALANCED presentation.
post #5 of 37
I agree with their premise that a skier's performance of the skiing skills entirely depends on whether he or she is balanced.
post #6 of 37

Over Simplification

In any simplification like this something is lost. I see a dichotomy between 1 and 2. In order to be proficient in terms of balance (more specifically "lateral" balance) it seems to me that a skier needs to be able to readily move their base of support from outside ski to inside and back. This makes me question the premise that skiing basically relies on the outside ski. Additionally, this premise (#2) also reflects to me a focus on groomed/hard pack skiing. Again, from my perspective, that is extrememly limiting and certainly contrary to my own preferences which lead me to ski the groomed mostly when off-piste conditions are very poor.

Hearing this from someone I was working with would certainly raise some questions for me.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si
In any simplification like this something is lost. I see a dichotomy between 1 and 2. In order to be proficient in terms of balance (more specifically "lateral" balance) it seems to me that a skier needs to be able to readily move their base of support from outside ski to inside and back. This makes me question the premise that skiing basically relies on the outside ski. Additionally, this premise (#2) also reflects to me a focus on groomed/hard pack skiing. Again, from my perspective, that is extrememly limiting and certainly contrary to my own preferences which lead me to ski the groomed mostly when off-piste conditions are very poor.

Hearing this from someone I was working with would certainly raise some questions for me.
Hmmmm, Si.

Methinks we disagree.

There's obviously a zillion different ways this can be interpreted, and without the rest of the context it's kind of difficult to draw conclusions. We don't have any idea, for example, how all these principles are supposed to be applied to skiers of different skill levels, to different skiing conditions, etc.

Still, 1 & 2 don't seem contradictory at all to me.

Just take, at face value, the #1 statement "If you're not in balance, nothing else matters".

What could be more true?

If I'm out of balance, I'm likely only partially in control (at best), and I'm almost certainly not using the full design of the ski to make the turn. Get me balanced over a turning ski (or skis) and everything starts falling into place.

And in my opinion, #2 is absolutely true. If most of one's weight - DURING THE WEIGHTED PORTION OF THE TURN - is on the outside ski, then skiing is fundamentally an outside-ski sport.

You'll perhaps argue that in powder or crud, you're skiing with mostly equal weight on both skis. Ah, but allow me to retort. Good powder on a consistent slope is easy and can be skied almost any old way. Instead, let's say you're skiing along in powder and an unseen obstacle suddenly appears. You're in the initial phase of a turn and the only way to avoid that obstacle is instantly cut in half the radius of the turn you were going to make. In that panic situation, are you going to make a two-ski, evenly-weighted turn or are you going to whale on the downhill ski to tighten the arc? I would argue that 99 out of 100 good skiers would honk on the downhill ski.

Need more convincing? Look at photos of World Cup racers doing DH, SG, or GS turns (even slalom, for that matter). Despite all the modern ski technique rhetoric about weighting both skis, which of their skis leaves the track in the vast majority of the turns? Skiing is *fundamentally* an outside ski sport.

In conclusion, my interpretation of #1 and #2 is that we need to be balanced over the turning ski. Your observation about being able to balance forward and back and from ski to ski is certainly true, but where and why does the need for that arise? - typically *only* when we've gotten *out* of balance over the turning ski for some reason. We're moving weight around to compensate for the fact that we've lost our balance from where it should have been and now we're trying to recover.

I don't know. To me, all four of these "principles" seem clear and concise and I think they ring very true.

Bob
post #8 of 37
This is an interesting program. I've met the founders and sat through the program earlier this year. Jim Vigani was/is a PSIA-E DCL who teaches at Windham. He is also a forensic investigator = technical background. Joan Heaton is a Level 2 instructor also at Windham and is the educator and organizational expert of the team. PSIA old-timers may recognize her name because I think she was the one who defined the learning styles (thinker, feeler, doer, watcher).

The following are my personal interpretations/impressions of this training:

They don't care at all about how you engage the tips first. The balance point they mandate is under the balls of the feet -- not the whole foot and not the arch. Balancing on the balls of the feet is the only position that allows the knees to open and the hips to come forward, and closing the ankle only makes the hips settle back. From the balls of the feet, drive the shins, knees, hips and everything else forcefully forward over the tips of the skis. The individual movements aren't to be examined or refined. The outcome, tip engagement, is the sole focus and any movements used to achieve that are valid.

They were having everyone do runs of "thumpers" and similar exercises to isolate the outside ski. That was their take on lateral balance --> you can balance over your outside ski.

There is no discussion, period. Unfortunately, Jim Vigani has "seen the light" and believes his way is the one true path. He admits he was an accomplished technical learner and teacher until his epiphany whence he was freed from those dark, paralyzing forces. Now, he eschews all those who ask why. I don't have any personal experience with Harald Harb's philosophies and break with PSIA , but from what I've read (his books and epicski discussions), there are haunting parallels. Vigani also has little use for PSIA -- insight from a couple of who's-who friends in PSIA-E and USSA, they've dismissed him as ridiculous and just looking to capitalize on those discontent with the system.

I'm disappointed that Joan follows him so devotedly. For saying that there is only one "way", it seems she's invalidating all of her previous research and beliefs.
post #9 of 37
Bob I'm impressed. Of your posts I've see, that is the longest one I've ever seen you make in the instructional forum. I guess you really disagreed with my post :

Well, I don't think there is anything in particular I disagree with in your response. Premise #1 about balance is not something I will argue about. It is the basis from which good ski movements are produced. Additionally, I wouldn't argue with what you are saying of the utility of a heavily weighted outside ski.

However, I think that perhaps our differences here are coming from the lack of specifity for a definition of balance. Skiing balance is a dynamic thing that requires contstant "micro" adjustments and corrections. It requires movements in recognition and anticipation of the future. In the extreme it involves regaining balance having lost it.

As I think about a developing skier I think that one who is satisfied with a heavily wieghted outside ski will be able to produce very reasonable looking turns on relatively good conditions but will be limited in their attemps to ski in more difficult snow conditions and tougher terrain. I think I'm repeating myself here but in order to be able to develop good lateral balancing skills a skier has to work to develop the ability to shift load from outside to inside and back. I just don't see any other way. If a skier is satisfied with skiing only using a heavily weighted outside ski they are just not going to develop the necessary skills.

I actually think this is true even when limiting the discussion to the groomed. As I have worked to improve my alignment I now find myself able to play with my "weighting" much more readily, to an extent I have not been previously able to achieve, especially at higher speeds on the groomed. Varying the weighting between my skis from 100% outside weighting to 100% inside weighting is teaching me a lot about ski movements and their effects. It also seems to me that what I am learning will have important consequences in the off piste. Even before these more recent experiences, I know I would have still said that I don't find this to be a "detail" as opposed to a fundamental concept and skill that needs to be actively pursued even in relatively early stages (but not the earliest necessarily) of development.

At least that's how I see it from where I'm standing/skiing. Maybe I just haven't come far enough.
post #10 of 37
Only after reading the article do I have to agree with it. It gets skiers off to a great start. However, as regards point number 4, the devil is in the details.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallLine
They don't care at all about how you engage the tips first. The balance point they mandate is under the balls of the feet -- not the whole foot and not the arch. Balancing on the balls of the feet is the only position that allows the knees to open and the hips to come forward, and closing the ankle only makes the hips settle back. From the balls of the feet, drive the shins, knees, hips and everything else forcefully forward over the tips of the skis. The individual movements aren't to be examined or refined. The outcome, tip engagement, is the sole focus and any movements used to achieve that are valid.
I simply cannot agree with this. As a telemark skier I ski very dynamic alpine turns and I can tell you that this advice is a recipe for disaster. If it were not then someones heel lifting and them balancing on the ball of their feet should not matter-- but it does. The only way this will work is to hang on the tongues of the boots. This was written by someone who skis with their bindings mounted to far to the rear. Mount them forward, work on fore and aft with the boots and forget the big drive. I don't like plowing snow with my nose.


I have other problems with their description of balance issues. Lateral balance and vertical balance are largely enhanced by learned skills but chronic fore and aft balance problems are almost always equipment related. Fore aft balance is very equipment sensitive because humans have a very narrow range of fore and aft balance and the ski boot manufacturers make boots that fit very few skiers within their range.

I agree that balance is everything. The tips cannot be engaged consitently without proper fore and aft balance. I also agree with putting some fun into teaching.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Si
As I think about a developing skier I think that one who is satisfied with a heavily wieghted outside ski will be able to produce very reasonable looking turns on relatively good conditions but will be limited in their attemps to ski in more difficult snow conditions and tougher terrain. I think I'm repeating myself here but in order to be able to develop good lateral balancing skills a skier has to work to develop the ability to shift load from outside to inside and back. I just don't see any other way. If a skier is satisfied with skiing only using a heavily weighted outside ski they are just not going to develop the necessary skills.
Si,

I think you make some very valid points. A very good skier has the ability to do things that aren't "normal". Things that aren't optimum, but because of previously developed skills, they can make these things work. But just because we have the ability to do this, doesn't mean it's the best way to do things. I think statement 2 might be better worded as "Skiing is primarily an outside ski sport." I'm just not sure about the use of "fundamentally".

I directly asked this question of our examiner (Lexy) in my clinic last week at Jackson. It was a very interesting discussion and the answer in a nut shell broke down this way. A transfer of weight to the outside ski in most conditions is still appropriate. Now the degree of this transfer can be debated, but it still happens. It happens for many reasons, bio-mechanics, gravitional forces, centrifugal force etc. The answer validated my simple view of this that the inside leg is there to help manage these forces, adding or removing pressure from the outside leg as needed as the turn develops.

So the ability to change the weight distribution between the feet is definitely something a skied needs in their toolbox, but we still "primarily" ski on the outside one....

Good discussion here.
post #13 of 37
Reading this thread and "manifesto" prompts some questions:

1) Does "dynamic" balance allow for use of the skills, or does use of the skills create it? Do we ski in and out of balance or are we always in balance?

2) Why does "weight" or "balance" on the "controlling" outside foot dictate that "skiing is fundamentally an outside ski sport"? If rotary, edging and pressuring outcomes for both skis (in contemporary skiing) are primarily engendered by inside ski use, how does statement no. 2 further accurate understanding? And who gets to say which ski is in charge here?

3) How do you theorize about and teach appropriate mechanics toward a "solid foundation of skiing skills" with inaccurate knowledge of biomechanics (as evidenced by statements like "balancing from the ball of the foot is the only position that allows the knees to open and the hips to come forward", and "closing the ankle makes the hips settle back"? What do the terms mechanics, movements and skills mean and has the author explained and used them accurately?

4) Are statements 1-4 of the manifesto based on fact or personal beliefs?

Read the ingredients carefully before you drink the Koolaid.
post #14 of 37
I read the link and I perfectly agree with it, Bob Peters and others posting in favor of the information in the link.

I think it is a great one. Im specialized in teaching 3-8 y old firstime kidds and adult tourists that never seen snow befoere and it all comes down to this:

1. Balance
Outcome is "confidense" wich in turn will make skiing possible. Confidense to stand upright and move aournd without falling. On every level this is of major importancel. Same applies to riding a bicykle, running, walking standing.... It is of such importance almost everyone teaching at our school over looks it. They take it for granted.

2. Pressuere controll
Outcome is ability to controll the pressure underneath the skis and to wedge and make wedge turns and eventually skidded parallell turns and carved ones. Its all about shifting weight from one ski to another, almost allways onto the outside ski. On every level.

3. Engage tips
Outcome is the ability to turn. In skidded turns you need to be "overstearing" and in in carved ones you need to be adding pressure to tips and in both cases it happens by engaging the tips of your skiis.

4. Everyghing else is detail
Its true, since you need to first focus on fundamentals before moveing on to high school stuff. There is nothing wrong with brakining everything down into smallest movement on some level but if we are in balance and we can turn in a proper way by shifting our weight and thuss controll upper and lower body separation everything else is pritty much detail. For instance a pole plant is an indication of weight shifting (2). Tightning a carved or scarved turn is a result of bringing your CM (hipps) quickly further away from edgeholding skis thuss adding pressure to outside ski (2).

I always focus on student balance first. They need to be able to controll their muscels and their fore aft balance and if they cannot do it properly bringing their hands down to their knees will solve the problem in 99% of the cases (no ski ploses). Sideways they will learn to balance by controlling the pressure underneath their skiis and by counterweighting with their upper body. When I teach them to turn I point out that they have to lean forward and engage tipps of skiis. Thats all there is really to it in a ski-school environment in 90% of all cases. Two girls age 4-7 learned to wedge in less than 10 min. last weekend. They both had good balance. That I found out early on by doing usual warm up exersises.
post #15 of 37
Vera, how do you see these answers?

1) Is it a real leap to say that dynamic balance allows the most effective use of our skills?

2) If we are balanced dynamicly to our outside ski then doesn’t this mean that we use our inside ski only to influence the outcome of this relationship to the outside ski? Isn't this statement simply recognizing the primary relationship?

3) This is not far from something presented to us in a clinic by one of our division’s best examiners. That to "fully extend" (open) the joints above the ankle, the ball of the foot becomes the main pressure point out of nessecity. This is because of the reality of the ski boot and the bodies need to stay balanced.

4) My guess would be a little bit of both. Can we have one without the other? Later ,RicB.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre
I simply cannot agree with this. As a telemark skier I ski very dynamic alpine turns and I can tell you that this advice is a recipe for disaster. If it were not then someones heel lifting and them balancing on the ball of their feet should not matter-- but it does. The only way this will work is to hang on the tongues of the boots. This was written by someone who skis with their bindings mounted to far to the rear. Mount them forward, work on fore and aft with the boots and forget the big drive. I don't like plowing snow with my nose.
When I brought their advise back into my own skiing, this is exactly what happened. I was frustrated because I've spent a lot of time trying to get off my toes (it's ingrained for me to be en pointe) and I found myself right back on the fronts of the boots. I completely lost my heel even though I thought is was locked firmly in my Dobies. Variable conditions tossed me forward and my tails were washing out.

Possibly a couple good things to come out of it were I really was introduced to hooking up the tips of the skis. I was surprised at the amount of speed control that came from driving them into the snow. Removing the heel from the equation also illustrated clearly how to ski from the toes. Not on the toes, but using them to change direction. Don't know if I'm expressing that correctly -- it took any possible heel-push or pivot around the heel out of the turns. I also felt the extreme of hips over or in front of the feet.

So now I have a couple of new tools. I had to drastically back off the forward thrust because it killed my calves and really wasn't a strong, balanced position. And I had to put my inside ski back on the snow. I think as long as a skier has enough perspective to see the good and bad in this program -- not to take it as the only way to ski, there are some merits. I believe it was Rick in another thread that talked about breaking racers of extremes by introducing extremes at the other end. That kind of applies to this and I could see it helping some students as long as it was presented as an extreme and not the way we ski every day.
post #17 of 37
I have been reading the posts regarding the “Simplified Mechanics of Skiing” with great interest. As the author of the “Simplified Mechanics of Skiing” and a long time ski teacher and trainer, I welcome your feedback as we continue to develop this concept.



I am a current DCL in the Eastern Division of PSIA and have been a member of PSIA since 1976. I have the highest regard for the organization and the untiring efforts of the educational staff to educate the members. While we may disagree on some issues, I prefer passionate conflict to negative apathy in our search of a better way, after all that is what growth and change is all about. It is not my intention that anyone mistake a disagreement as non-support for the organization. As the Technical Director of the Windham Mountain Snow Sports School, I encourage all our staff to join PSIA and to follow the PSIA certification path.



I wrote the Simplified Mechanics in an effort to focus a skier’s attention on what I feel are the most fundamental issues that would improve a person’s skiing. It is not, nor is it intended to be the complete treatise on skiing mechanics. It is simply a training tool that attempts to put first things first: the ability to balance fore aft, laterally, and vertically. The premise is that if you cannot “feel” when you are in balance, or what it means to be in balance, performing a learned movement has little real effect on your skiing in varied situations



Being in dynamic balance while skiing (according to PSIA’s definition and I agree) is: being in that state when you can affect the other 3 skills (pressure, edging, and rotary) when you want, where you want, and to the degree that you want. To the degree to which can’t affect the other skills, you are out of balance.



The purpose of Principle No: 3, “Move to Engage the Tips” is to help develop fore-aft balancing skills and to help a skier feel if and when he/she is in the back seat. It simply implies that whatever movements you are making should result in the tips of the skis being involved in the turn. It does not say or imply that you must constantly “plow” the tips of the skis into the snow; but to keep the tips involved. However, learning to plow the tips is often a good training task to explore what can be done with the front of the ski. Then, if for some reason you want to plow the tips, you can. It becomes your choice. It’s all about options.



We do promote balancing on the ball of the foot as your “home” spot for balancing. We found that by learning to balance there, it becomes easy to move you balance point further back when you want. Balancing on the ball of the foot does not mean or imply “hanging on the tongue of your boot” or “standing on your toes”. It simply implies that you move your home balance point further forward. You can try this in your street shoes. First balance through your arch and then simply move your balance point to the ball of your foot. Your hips will move forward, and you will probably stand a little taller.



The purpose of Principle No: 2, “Skiing is Fundamentally an Outside Ski Sport” is to help develop lateral balancing skills. It does not say or imply that you “ski all the time with a heavily weighted outside ski.” The premise is that you need to learn to balance effectively on your outside ski before you can think about using your inside ski effectively. As noted in the Simplified Mechanics, the outside ski is generally the controlling ski of a turn, while the inside ski compliments and augments the turn. In my experience, if a skier never learns to balance effectively on the outside ski, the inside ski becomes a crutch, not a tool being used for a specific purpose. Consider this, If by some stroke of magic one of your skis disappeared when you started a turn, would you want to keep your inside ski or your outside ski? Most people want to keep their outside ski.



Regarding the teaching of movements, we have found that by focusing our teaching on balancing, together with appropriate tactics, effective movements evolve. We use a task approach to our teaching and try to let the task be the teacher, not our words or some technical description. Does everybody respond? Of course not, but our experience in our HVK Sports Lab “Feeling the Difference” workshops has been very positive and those who participate have generally been thrilled at the simplicity of the approach, the positive change in their skiing, and the freedom that learning to balance gives them.



Jim Vigani
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Vigani

The purpose of Principle No: 2, “Skiing is Fundamentally an Outside Ski Sport” is to help develop lateral balancing skills. It does not say or imply that you “ski all the time with a heavily weighted outside ski.” The premise is that you need to learn to balance effectively on your outside ski before you can think about using your inside ski effectively. As noted in the Simplified Mechanics, the outside ski is generally the controlling ski of a turn, while the inside ski compliments and augments the turn. In my experience, if a skier never learns to balance effectively on the outside ski, the inside ski becomes a crutch, not a tool being used for a specific purpose. Consider this, If by some stroke of magic one of your skis disappeared when you started a turn, would you want to keep your inside ski or your outside ski? Most people want to keep their outside ski.


Jim Vigani
Welcome Jim,

It's great that you have joined us here at Epic and responded to this thread about some of your ideas.

To follow up on my comments I wanted to respond that my doubts about premise 2 related to it being equally applicable across a broad range of skier abilities. I don't have much disagreement that learning to balance on the outside ski first is important in the early develompent of skiing skills. Once achieved to some reasonable level, however, it is time to move on to further develop lateral balancing skills that go beyond a focus on the outside ski.

The other comment I would offer is perhaps a semantic disagreeement as I could say almost the opposite in terms of inside and outside ski roles. That is, the inside ski is most important in controlling the turn and the outside ski follows and compliments.

BTW, this comes from a non-insturctor type who likes to spend the vast majority of his time off-piste.

Again, welcome and I hope you will continue to offer your point of view on this and other topics.
post #19 of 37
Jim,

Thanks for the level headed response.

I agree with most of what was stated, when we understand that we are talking about the basics here, and manking some generalizations.

The only thing I don't agree with is balancing on the ball of the foot. It was figuring out that I needed to get off the ball of my foot and onto a flat foot that finally allowed me to get balanced. If you move to the ball of your foot and stand taller as you just described, you are hinging forward at the waist, opening the ankle joint and over flexing the calf muscles, which when you ski over changes in snow conditions, will push you into the back seat.

If, on the other hand, you relax the ankle, stand on a flat foot and lower your CM, it will allow you to control the ski with your whole foot, use the boot as a lever to pressure the ski tip, allow you quicker and easier fore/aft corrections, not requiring "pitching" forward to move forward, and also lowers the CM/CG which inherently gives better balance. Also, using the whole foot allows for more power- Have you ever done leg presses? Do you lift only with the balls of your feet or with the whole foot?
post #20 of 37
Jim, welcome to EpicSki! I hope you'll check in once in a while (at least!) and contribute to conversations here. Your input is and will be very valuable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
The only thing I don't agree with is balancing on the ball of the foot. It was figuring out that I needed to get off the ball of my foot and onto a flat foot that finally allowed me to get balanced. If you move to the ball of your foot and stand taller as you just described, you are hinging forward at the waist, opening the ankle joint and over flexing the calf muscles, which when you ski over changes in snow conditions, will push you into the back seat.

If, on the other hand, you relax the ankle, stand on a flat foot and lower your CM, it will allow you to control the ski with your whole foot, use the boot as a lever to pressure the ski tip, allow you quicker and easier fore/aft corrections, not requiring "pitching" forward to move forward, and also lowers the CM/CG which inherently gives better balance. Also, using the whole foot allows for more power- Have you ever done leg presses? Do you lift only with the balls of your feet or with the whole foot?
From my own limited study, I agree with you, JohnH. I am right now working on moving my "connection point" back to my heel so that I dorsiflex the ankle joint instead of levering my foot up using the ball as a fulcrum. This is a major change, and has to do with where my balance is and how I pressure the front of the boot (whether as a result of a lever from the ball or flex in the ankle). I now balance across my arch (natural balance point of the foot) and make sure that my heel is the connection point for my foot. This is not a habit, yet, but has made a big difference.
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Jim, welcome to EpicSki! I hope you'll check in once in a while (at least!) and contribute to conversations here. Your input is and will be very valuable.

From my own limited study, I agree with you, JohnH. I am right now working on moving my "connection point" back to my heel so that I dorsiflex the ankle joint instead of levering my foot up using the ball as a fulcrum. This is a major change, and has to do with where my balance is and how I pressure the front of the boot (whether as a result of a lever from the ball or flex in the ankle). I now balance across my arch (natural balance point of the foot) and make sure that my heel is the connection point for my foot. This is not a habit, yet, but has made a big difference.
Steve, the only thing I didn't mention in my original post, is to make sure you have enough of that dorsi-flexion. If not, it will lead to what looks like a serious alignment issue as the knees will roll inward as you try to contact the front of the boot. Obviously, heel lifts would be in order in this case.
post #22 of 37
This is an excellent piece and makes a lot of sense. It is also very much in keeping with the natural approach to sport, movement, artistic expression and pedagogy that has been building for the last 30 years. One of the best popular books in this vein is W. Timothy Gallwey's "The Inner Game of Tennis." Numerous other coaches and disciplines stress this sort of thing, from Freeman in track and field, to Fred Hatfield in strength and conditoning, to several people in ballet and modern dance--real movement experts--like Sweigard, Dodd and Eric Franklin. There is also the "Swim Like a Fish" movement in Olympic swimming, that has had great success. Aslo, Kristen Linklater has had vast influence in acting with "Freeing the Natural Voice." One of the main points that all these folks hold in common is that there is no one proper form, no one proper technique, that coaching, teaching and training need to be individualized. If there is a flaw with all the instructional advice given at this fabulous website, people miss the main point for all the details. Although, the enthusiasm and support here are trmendous. This piece is right on.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
Steve, the only thing I didn't mention in my original post, is to make sure you have enough of that dorsi-flexion. If not, it will lead to what looks like a serious alignment issue as the knees will roll inward as you try to contact the front of the boot. Obviously, heel lifts would be in order in this case.
I can't use heel lifts! I already have a toe lift to try to get me better balanced. With heel lifts, I'd be biting chunks out of my tips too frequently!

When you say, "Have enough" do you mean whether or not I can dorsiflex sufficiently (physical limitation)? Or whether or not I am dorsiflexing enough in my skiing (skill application)?
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Vigani
Being in dynamic balance while skiing (according to PSIA’s definition and I agree) is: being in that state when you can affect the other 3 skills (pressure, edging, and rotary) when you want, where you want, and to the degree that you want. To the degree to which can’t affect the other skills, you are out of balance.



The purpose of Principle No: 3, “Move to Engage the Tips” is to help develop fore-aft balancing skills and to help a skier feel if and when he/she is in the back seat. It simply implies that whatever movements you are making should result in the tips of the skis being involved in the turn. It does not say or imply that you must constantly “plow” the tips of the skis into the snow; but to keep the tips involved. However, learning to plow the tips is often a good training task to explore what can be done with the front of the ski. Then, if for some reason you want to plow the tips, you can. It becomes your choice. It’s all about options.
I agree with everything you have here.

Quote:
We do promote balancing on the ball of the foot as your “home” spot for balancing. We found that by learning to balance there, it becomes easy to move you balance point further back when you want. Balancing on the ball of the foot does not mean or imply “hanging on the tongue of your boot” or “standing on your toes”. It simply implies that you move your home balance point further forward. You can try this in your street shoes. First balance through your arch and then simply move your balance point to the ball of your foot. Your hips will move forward, and you will probably stand a little taller.
I do not agree with this and I will tell you why. Although it is ok and even desireable to transfer to the ball of the feet at turn initiation, staying on the balls of the feet after the turn initiation is a guarantee that you will not stay in the front seat. There is a human reflex that when humans sense pressure increases under the ball of their feet they planter flex in response. This is not something that you have control over. As the pressure in the turn builds the skier who is balanced on the balls of the feet will planter flex all the way to the back seat at the end of the turn and require a big movement back up front.

We do have control through dosiflexion to reduce the pressure under the ball of our foot and transfer balance to our heels. When we do this our reflex response is to move the hips forward.

Rock onto the ball of the foot to start the turn but start actively dosiflexing by the fall line or end up park and ride in the last part of the turn. This is not as important if you don't finish the turn well. This is why most advanced skiers don't finish their turns.

Quote:
[Regarding the teaching of movements, we have found that by focusing our teaching on balancing, together with appropriate tactics, effective movements evolve. We use a task approach to our teaching and try to let the task be the teacher, not our words or some technical description. Does everybody respond? Of course not, but our experience in our HVK Sports Lab “Feeling the Difference” workshops has been very positive and those who participate have generally been thrilled at the simplicity of the approach, the positive change in their skiing, and the freedom that learning to balance gives them.



Jim Vigani
I agree that its an outside ski sport and a do agree with a holistic task type approach if it is done right but it takes a very good teacher to pull it off.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Vigani
I have been reading the posts regarding the “Simplified Mechanics of Skiing” with great interest. As the author of the “Simplified Mechanics of Skiing” and a long time ski teacher and trainer, I welcome your feedback as we continue to develop this concept.



I am a current DCL in the Eastern Division of PSIA and have been a member of PSIA since 1976. I have the highest regard for the organization and the untiring efforts of the educational staff to educate the members. While we may disagree on some issues, I prefer passionate conflict to negative apathy in our search of a better way, after all that is what growth and change is all about. It is not my intention that anyone mistake a disagreement as non-support for the organization. As the Technical Director of the Windham Mountain Snow Sports School, I encourage all our staff to join PSIA and to follow the PSIA certification path.



I wrote the Simplified Mechanics in an effort to focus a skier’s attention on what I feel are the most fundamental issues that would improve a person’s skiing. It is not, nor is it intended to be the complete treatise on skiing mechanics. It is simply a training tool that attempts to put first things first: the ability to balance fore aft, laterally, and vertically. The premise is that if you cannot “feel” when you are in balance, or what it means to be in balance, performing a learned movement has little real effect on your skiing in varied situations



Being in dynamic balance while skiing (according to PSIA’s definition and I agree) is: being in that state when you can affect the other 3 skills (pressure, edging, and rotary) when you want, where you want, and to the degree that you want. To the degree to which can’t affect the other skills, you are out of balance.



The purpose of Principle No: 3, “Move to Engage the Tips” is to help develop fore-aft balancing skills and to help a skier feel if and when he/she is in the back seat. It simply implies that whatever movements you are making should result in the tips of the skis being involved in the turn. It does not say or imply that you must constantly “plow” the tips of the skis into the snow; but to keep the tips involved. However, learning to plow the tips is often a good training task to explore what can be done with the front of the ski. Then, if for some reason you want to plow the tips, you can. It becomes your choice. It’s all about options.



We do promote balancing on the ball of the foot as your “home” spot for balancing. We found that by learning to balance there, it becomes easy to move you balance point further back when you want. Balancing on the ball of the foot does not mean or imply “hanging on the tongue of your boot” or “standing on your toes”. It simply implies that you move your home balance point further forward. You can try this in your street shoes. First balance through your arch and then simply move your balance point to the ball of your foot. Your hips will move forward, and you will probably stand a little taller.



The purpose of Principle No: 2, “Skiing is Fundamentally an Outside Ski Sport” is to help develop lateral balancing skills. It does not say or imply that you “ski all the time with a heavily weighted outside ski.” The premise is that you need to learn to balance effectively on your outside ski before you can think about using your inside ski effectively. As noted in the Simplified Mechanics, the outside ski is generally the controlling ski of a turn, while the inside ski compliments and augments the turn. In my experience, if a skier never learns to balance effectively on the outside ski, the inside ski becomes a crutch, not a tool being used for a specific purpose. Consider this, If by some stroke of magic one of your skis disappeared when you started a turn, would you want to keep your inside ski or your outside ski? Most people want to keep their outside ski.



Regarding the teaching of movements, we have found that by focusing our teaching on balancing, together with appropriate tactics, effective movements evolve. We use a task approach to our teaching and try to let the task be the teacher, not our words or some technical description. Does everybody respond? Of course not, but our experience in our HVK Sports Lab “Feeling the Difference” workshops has been very positive and those who participate have generally been thrilled at the simplicity of the approach, the positive change in their skiing, and the freedom that learning to balance gives them.



Jim Vigani
Jim,
IMO. Your language and its presentation in your post.....succinct conveyance of thought.....is what should be found when one clicks on the provided link.
Your 'Principles' deserve to be shared and understood, whether one agrees with them or not.
Clear presentation can greatly facilitate understanding.

Glad you could join the choas!
post #26 of 37

What a bunch of crapp....

When and why did mr Vigianis principles all of a sudden become EXCELLENT??? I thaught it was all wrong! According to most posts before well mannered and smart mr Vigiani came live right here!!! Common guys, flame him and his principles!!!
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6
When and why did mr Vigianis principles all of a sudden become EXCELLENT??? I thaught it was all wrong! According to most posts before well mannered and smart mr Vigiani came live right here!!! Common guys, flame him and his principles!!!
I have not changed positions nor do I think Mr. Vigianis is way out of line. On the contrary, I think an approach that very simple and zeros in on these things if highly observant and right on the money. I just have a disagreement about how we balance in our feet.

I de get the feeling that you are trying to poke fun but new people to the forum may not know that or think you are making fun of them.
post #28 of 37
Pierre - I stand corrected... sorry if I offended someone.
post #29 of 37
We have had great success by training people to balance on the balls of their feet as their “HOME” spot. In discussions with associates including race coaches and trainers, who’s skiing we admire, most (not all) are in agreement with the concept. In any event, if a skier is in reasonably good balance, he /she will out of necessity move their balance point in response to what the ski/s are doing compared to what is wanted. The sensations occurring inside an individual’s boots are very personal and are very dependant on boot alignment, boot stiffness, and a person’s body type and build. However, if someone would rather feel they are balancing through the arch, that’s okay, as long as the outcomes are what are wanted. In keeping with our HVK Sports Lab philosophy, it doesn’t really matter where a person feels he/she is balancing on the foot as long as he/she can associate that feeling with the desired outcome.



With regard to the outside ski issue, we firmly believe that a person needs to learn to balance on the outside ski first. This builds the foundation for effective inside ski use. In that regard, I rarely meet a good skier who can’t balance easily just on the outside ski if they want. Once we train someone to balance reasonably well on the outside ski, then we work on training them to balance on the inside ski. In fact, we train a lot by skiing on one ski with the other ski just brushing the snow. It is a super task for discovering where your inside foot needs to be so you can move when and where you want. When you learn to balance on either ski just think of the options you have, and, it is all about options.
post #30 of 37
Jim,

In the interest in keeping it really simple, if you were to pick two key skills, from the PSIA list, which would they be?

Balance is one for sure.....

The other?

(For the record, I'd pick pressure control.)

Cheers!
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