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balancing in the boot question

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
A question for the bears. I'm an advanced skier spending most of my time off the groomed, in the steeps etc. I have always been taught to pressure the tongue of the boot through the turn. I noticed something and wondering if you more experienced people could shed some light.

As I drive through the toungue of the boot (an older Solomon Equipe Racing 9.1 boot) I am noticing the pressure on the bottom of my feet shift from the balls of my feet to back under the heel. As I understand it I should feel pressure through the balls of my feet. Which is opposite what happens when I pressure the tongue. When I pressure through the balls of my feet, my shin releases pressure on the tongue. What is happening here as it seems I am feeling opposing forces? I thought ball of the feet pressure and pressing the shins into the tongue go together.

Any thoughts? thanks in advance.
post #2 of 22
One way I can replicate what you describe is to be "counterbalanced" by my back side.

In other words, pressure the toungues AND shift back onto the heels seems to require leaving my body behind me??

Thats not to well described! Thats one reason I stay out of the tecnical descriptions business.
post #3 of 22
Basically you have a very stiff boot that you cannot handle easily. some suggestions:

1) Do not pressure with the balls of your feet. That OPENS UP the ankle and that is one way to fall in the back seat and find yourself pressuring with your heels.

2) Do just the opposite and lift the toes while pressuring with your shins. That will keep you shins engaged on the tongue. Eventually you won't have to lift your toes, but it is an excellent way to avoid your problem.
post #4 of 22
Plantarflexion: Opening the ankle. Distance between toes and shin increases.

Dorsiflexion: Closing the ankle. Distance between toes and shin decreases.

Less toe pressure when you are mashing the tongue is the result of dorsiflexion. Less shin pressure when you are pressing the ball is a result of plantarflexion.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the replies.

Big E: I understand your definitions but you can you elaborate and how to apply them?

Tomb: Interesting input, and funny you mention lifting up my toes. I told my instructor I was doing this and he told me this was wrong. That I should mildly grab the footbed with my toes while engaging the shins. When I attempted this my ball of the foot pressure would decrease. To me it was easier to do as you suggested. When I tried his way I felt off balance. Why is that? Would a softer flexing boot assist me in my goal of pressure under the ball of the foot and shin together?
post #6 of 22
team ftb you have it right. Now think about where those movments to create those pressures would be most useful in your turns? Some more thoughts on this from your perspective may be more useful than any ramblings I may say before you have thought it through.
post #7 of 22
What is happening with your hips and shoulders when these things are happening?
post #8 of 22
team ftb: I told my instructor I was doing this [lift toes] and he told me this was wrong.

It is not wrong, but it is meant as an exercise to get you to stop pressing/grabbing with your toes. In my opinion your feet should just relax, and exert as little pressure as possible. Flex the ankle (lifting up toes can help here) and use the shin for pressure purposes.

team ftb: When I tried his way I felt off balance. Why is that?

Because pressing with your toes opens up the ankle (BigE explained the plantarflexion effect). You are literally pushing yourself in the back seat. Mind you, pressing with toes or balls of feet works for many, but they keep the ankles rigid. Not the right approach to fluid skiing, IMHO.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Pierre: Lead me a bit here on what you would like me to discuss specifically, from my perspective. I'll start with this..I was always striving for pressure on the balls of my feet and fronts of my shins through the turns. The only way I can accomplish this is via curling my toes up. I feel that when I drive the tongue aggressively, it levers me off the ball of my feet onto the heel.

BigE: According to the instructors comments he was impressed with my upper/lower separation and liked how my downhill shoulder was angulated, and lower than my uphill shoulder. I do however bend forward from the waist too much and need to extend more between turns.

Tomb: thanks for the explanation. What should be done to correct this issue?
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb
Pierre: Lead me a bit here on what you would like me to discuss specifically, from my perspective. I'll start with this..I was always striving for pressure on the balls of my feet and fronts of my shins through the turns. The only way I can accomplish this is via curling my toes up. I feel that when I drive the tongue aggressively, it levers me off the ball of my feet onto the heel.
My man Tom B has the lead right here
Quote:
Because pressing with your toes opens up the ankle (BigE explained the plantarflexion effect). You are literally pushing yourself in the back seat. Mind you, pressing with toes or balls of feet works for many, but they keep the ankles rigid. Not the right approach to fluid skiing, IMHO.
Think how would I move into the front seat and do decent parallel turns if I were on telemark gear?
post #11 of 22
So when you bend at the waist and your shoulders go forwards, what do you think is happening to your hips?
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Bige: Ahhh haaaa, I see says the blind man. Light goes off in my head. Thank you.

Pierre: I'm thinking move my hips forward whilst staying balanced over my skiis.

So it is beginning to look like I need to straighten up and either move my hips forward or bring my feet back? Is this correct?

What are some of the ways you gents get your students to accomplish this desired trait? Also does the stiff nature of my boots add to this dilemma?
post #13 of 22
team, what happens when you dorsiflex your ankle and straighten you knee? (You can try this on dryland, but have something to hold onto!)
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
team, what happens when you dorsiflex your ankle and straighten you knee? (You can try this on dryland, but have something to hold onto!)
team, Steve is onto it here. This is not a natural move done in walking so most skiers cannot do it without some trial and error. Develop the ability to do this without boots on at home first. Its the key to the front seat without leveraging or pressuring the balls of the feet right into the back seat.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Steve and Pierre,

Tell me if I understand you correctly. I am to dorsiflex (bend my ankles so my knee gets closer to my toes). Then do you want me to straighten my knees at the same time I dorsiflex, or after I have dorsiflexed? Also am I to straighten the knee until it is locked or teminate the exercise before full lock is reached?

You'd all laugh if you saw me next to the computer doing this exercise .
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb
Steve and Pierre,

Tell me if I understand you correctly. I am to dorsiflex (bend my ankles so my knee gets closer to my toes). Then do you want me to straighten my knees at the same time I dorsiflex, or after I have dorsiflexed? Also am I to straighten the knee until it is locked or teminate the exercise before full lock is reached?

You'd all laugh if you saw me next to the computer doing this exercise .
No I would not laugh. I know what to expect.

Its all one motion, the problem is you are flexing the lower leg and extending the upper leg and that is not easy to learn in one nice easy fluid motion. No knees locked. It moves the hips up over the feet without leveraging the tongues or pushing on the ball of the foot into the back seat.

After a while it becomes natural and you can do it with light pressure under tha ball of the foot in addition to flexing the ankle and extending the knee.

Most advanced skiers either flex or extend the legs, some even flex one leg and extend the other but for really high level skiing you need to learn not only upper and lower body separation, but separation between each leg and joints in the same leg. Once you get to that level, the adjustments to stance, edging and balance are truely dynamic and you are able to easily equalize the pressure between each ski. The only thing left is then the gas pedal.
post #17 of 22
Team,
I think you have it figured out. You were contacting the tongue of the boot before by bending your knees forward, or leaning on the boot tongue. This was placing you on the balls of your feet. dorsi flection of the ankle will tend to hold your heel down and lightly contact the tongue of the boot with your shins. From there you have the ability to open your ankles up to pivot, or press the front of your foot down to pressure the tips of the skis. Either way, you need to be balanced over the middle of your skis and not leaning forward into the tongues or leaning back into the back of the boot.
Hope this makes sence to you.

RW
post #18 of 22
I'll argue that you don't want your weight on the ball of your foot. Other threads here discuss using your skeleton and being balanced. If you put all of your weight or pressure the ball of your foot -- how's your balance? Can you stand on one foot with a relaxed knee if you're on the ball of your foot? Ok -- you can -- but it's a lot harder than standing nice and flat and balancing over the ankle joint. To futher the point -- if your ski is tipped on edge and you're balancing on the edge and guiding the ski -- where's the pressure?

The next thing to think about is where do you want to be pressuring your ski and/or how do you want to pressure it. The tip, or shovel, is considered the "slow part" of the ski (you'll read about this in other threads, also) whereas the tail is considered the "fast part" of the ski. Why is the slow slow? It's softer. And the fast fast? It's stiffer. I'm sure you'll agree that in funky conditions and when you're skiing fast -- stiffer is better. (right ladies? LOL)

BTW skiing the tail, doesn't mean you're in the backseat.

Perhaps try experimenting with all these ideas -- moving your "weight" or pressure around in your foot and see how the ski responds. Be careful, though. StuC once talked to me about "suprising" my skis and the negative consequences.

good luck,
kiersten
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
When moving they way you recommend I notice how much farther forward the hips are placed. My previous motion has me bending at the knees pressuring the cuffs but with my hips behind my feet. D'oh!!!!

An obvious fix now that I undertsnad what was going on. Pierre, BigE, SSH, and Ron thanks so much for your input . Such an elementary mistake goes unnoticed without some reflection. I feel like a switch has been turned on now and can see my way through the fog. Now to translate this to the snow. Awesome, thanks so much.

What visuals to you give to students to encourage this desired stance?
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb
What visuals to you give to students to encourage this desired stance?
Start out in straight runs and traverses, then arcs back uphill, then arc back uphill but go over the top and into a new turn before you stop.
post #21 of 22
It might help to think "open the hip".

Good luck!
post #22 of 22
Quote:
So it is beginning to look like I need to straighten up and either move my hips forward or bring my feet back? Is this correct?
Bring the inside foot way back. This gives more ability to angulate. Drop your hips toward the hill for more angulation of the skis while you bring your shoulders down hill as you describe for balance. You want the inside ski back, but the inside hip forward...it sounds contradictory, but it works. Extend the outside leg to pressure the ski during the turn and retract the inside leg as needed for angulation. To turn, transfer weight to the little toe edge of the uphill ski, retract the old outside leg to release the old turn, and bring your hips across skis to put them on the other edges to engage those edges for the next turn. Look at the photos where the racers have their hips downhill of the skis as they begin a turn.

These racers are skiing to the extreme, but we all want the same ski elements in our skiing every turn.
http://www.zoom-agence.fr/galerie_ph...msl/index.html


Ken
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