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Racing MA: coaches?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that we have quite a few skilled race coaches here that REALLY can delve into the finer points of ski racing technique. I only have one race on video that I own... (others exist, but I don't have them on my computer)

I'm the guy in red. The course is relatively flat, and the snow is hero snow. Hard packed natural snow... This is a good example of the best I'm capable of. As the course gets steeper and turnier, and the snow gets harder, I deteriorate a bit.

I have some ideas of things I see, but I'm really interested in what the truly accomplished coaches see in this skiing, and what I can work on in the upcoming season.


http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...061597742884&q
post #2 of 17
Think Line.

If you go the second run...where I believe you are in the course closest to the camera?....look at where you finish the turn on Gate 4 and then again on 8.

Pretty easy to see that you are finishing late here...the max energy needs to be as you pass the gate...these two are below....but I think you know that.

As for why...it appears it is in your set up...in each case if you look at how you entered the turn for Gate 3 and Gate 7 respectivley you do it from a simple edge to edge roll...nice clean carve...but it seems instead of really working the ski, you just let'em run abit...as such you do not capture enough energy to get you back across the hill...as such you are not far enough across the hill to start the turn when you should on 4 and 8...hence you are now forced to buy some time,buy losing vertical and you end up late.

In each of these cases you can see yourself trying to "scooch" across before 4 and 8 with that double arm wave....you do it again on exit...for the same reason, but these times you lost the expected rebound from being late...you also do it on turn 2 I think...but that is becuase not enough speed yet....hence to me the arm thing is not a issue just a symptom.

Being late on this flat course kills you as now you have no pitch to regain the speed you dumped....as such that old lady (Grandma? )you are racing in the other course is keeping pace...

My advice then is to make sure you let'em run where you can...but crank'em the rest of the time...the trick for you i guess will be learning where this is...
post #3 of 17
Hey UP, that's some pretty good skiing,,, I'm impressed!!

You seem to roll cleanly onto your edge, build and carry energy through the arc, then release it forward. Your transitions looks efficient and balance pretty good.

What you now need to do if you want to amp up your speed to the next level is to try to tighten up your line. The quality of the video is not that great for these old eyes, but it looks to me like you have a tendency to pinch yourself at the gate. Translation; you're getting your feet too close to the turning pole and not leaving yourself room to drop your hip in enough. This limits the amount of edge angle you can employ, and thereby limits the turn radius you can create. Often the repercussion of this is the need to lay off the arc at the apex, then hammer it once past the tipping restrictions the gate imposes. This can cause a lower than optimal turn exit, with too much drag occurring as you come out of the falline.

It also results in the slight knee angulation that's evident as you pass the gate. This is a compensation move to try to get more edge when the hip has no more room to tip inside, but it's a weak position and won't allow you to crank the powerful, big angle arc you need.

The more you can reduce your turn radius the hotter (straighter) you can come into the gate, and the higher you will exit. But to do it you need to leave your body room to create the angle as you pass the gate. At this point, that's really where you need to look to find more speed.

(Images courtesy of Ron LeMaster)

http://ronlemaster.com/images/2004-2005/slides/bode-bc-2004-gs-1d.html

http://ronlemaster.com/images/2004-2005/slides/dane-bc-2004-gs-1-final.html

http://ronlemaster.com/images/2003-2004/slides/maier-pc-gs-2003-1-stance-width-A.html

Hope some of that helps, and good luck this season.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post
Think Line.
..but it seems instead of really working the ski, you just let'em run abit...as such you do not capture enough energy to get you back across the hill...as such you are not far enough across the hill to start the turn when you should on 4 and 8...hence you are now forced to buy some time,buy losing vertical and you end up late.
Agree completely. Obviously, yes, I could see that I was late there and I think you hit the cause exactly. Race skis may have helped a bit in this case. I was on vacation at Jackson Hole and was using Volkl Mantra's. I was VERY impressed with their performance in the course, but still, they aren't race skis.

Quote:
In each of these cases you can see yourself trying to "scooch" across before 4 and 8 with that double arm wave....you do it again on exit..
Yeah, I noticed that too. I've worked on quieting my upper body for a couple years now.

Quote:
as such that old lady (Grandma? )you are racing in the other course is keeping pace...
Grandma usually (always?) beats me. You could probably tell... the dude has done some racing in his day!

Thanks for the response.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Hey UP, that's some pretty good skiing,,, I'm impressed!!
Thanks!

Quote:
it looks to me like you have a tendency to pinch yourself at the gate. Translation; you're getting your feet too close to the turning pole and not leaving yourself room to drop your hip in enough.
Exactly! This is what I have been struggling with. It's a fine line between getting your feet far enough away from the gate to achieve good angles, and simply skiing too wide a line. I barely get any training time anymore, so it's tough to find that balance.
Quote:
Often the repercussion of this is the need to lay off the arc at the apex, then hammer it once past the tipping restrictions the gate imposes. This can cause a lower than optimal turn exit, with too much drag occurring as you come out of the falline.
Yup. You would see more of an example of that from me if it was a tougher course.

Quote:
It also results in the slight knee angulation that's evident as you pass the gate. This is a compensation move to try to get more edge when the hip has no more room to tip inside, but it's a weak position and won't allow you to crank the powerful, big angle arc you need.
OOh... I like that. No one has ever mentioned that to me before, but it makes sense.

Thanks for the comments and the LeMaster montages. Those are perfect examples.
post #6 of 17
Very nice skiing! There are many good things going on, and you have a great platform to improve upon.

As far as I can see, Rick seems to have it pretty much nailed. Room at the gates will help you a lot.

As far as tightening the line, I see a relatively violent crossover in your transitions. Try easing off the old edge excessively slowly, to the point like you feel you're running late. As soon as you're done releasing, you will be near the new gate, coming in somewhat from behind the panel, if looking up the hill, as opposed to more down the fall line. Then, you give your impulse. You can play around and see just how much you can push the line. Timed training will help you see how straight is fast with your current skills.

The key to going deep is the slow release.


Here is a picture (courtesy of Ron Lemaster, but marked up a bit):

http://www.biglines.com/photosv2/200...ines_66830.jpg

I hope this helps, and I would be glad to clarify anything at all...
post #7 of 17
Ok, I have to agree with what has been said. Your (minor) problems are more tactical than technical, and it's going to take a little playing around to find what clicks for you. You've obviously got the tools.

By any chance, are you a flat/small hill racer? The reason I ask this is that I see the same general characteristics on racers from small hills, unless a very talented coaching staff (i.e. Buck Hill) has actively discouraged the development of said habits. Mostly it has to do with line and how the skier inclinates/angulates. Small hill skiers don't usually generate the speed to feel the forces required to really move inside the turn, so they develop a more upright stance and line- it's faster for a lot of skiers on those hills. Developing a wider line at the gate to allow the body to move in can seem counterintuitive, but more often than not it's exactly what they need to do.

Just a random observation.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm a midwesterner. Small hills are pretty much the rule. Interesting observation.... I've never really noticed big technique differences between good small hill racers and good mountain racers.
My personal technique difference is probably more attributed to a lack of coaching for the last 20 years. My "coach" is the buddy I'm skiing against in that video. He's a USSA coach and he gives me some tips from time to time.

(I've skied at Buck Hill, by the way)
post #9 of 17
First thing that hit me was turning into the panel a tad too early. Another way of saying what's already been said. There's not enough "direction" at the gate. Timing makes all the difference.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
By any chance, are you a flat/small hill racer? The reason I ask this is that I see the same general characteristics on racers from small hills, unless a very talented coaching staff (i.e. Buck Hill) has actively discouraged the development of said habits. Mostly it has to do with line and how the skier inclinates/angulates. Small hill skiers don't usually generate the speed to feel the forces required to really move inside the turn, so they develop a more upright stance and line- it's faster for a lot of skiers on those hills. Developing a wider line at the gate to allow the body to move in can seem counterintuitive, but more often than not it's exactly what they need to do.
I resemble that observation. If I had some GS video to post I would, and you'd have an excellent example of what you've just written.
post #11 of 17
I like your skiing UP. I'm no race coach and have only done a wee bit of instructing but am trying to push improve my racing for my top level exams so i'm fairly interested in all this at the mo. Wish I could shift as fast down the mt. let me tell you!

My 2pence worth then: Good movement, esp coming at transition. Your stance is solid and wide allowing the to legs work independently. Because you've got centrality over your skis you're well set up to drive forward and accelerate out of the transition.

Other stuff I see: think your skis are diverging slightly, I suspect if we were to look over your tracks we wouldn't see perfect railway lines. At the apex not too sure if your shins are parallel. The reasons for this I couldn't say for sure, but are probably what the more eagled eyed people here have mentioned already.

In the overall, you look agile with a bit of strength about you. If I had to guess your skiing background and of course I may be wrong here, but I would say you're, aged 26-32 and did a fair bit of skiing before the more modern gear came into play. You've adapted well tho. Best of luck for coming season.

Please just disregard this if you think any of it is dung.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScotsJohn View Post
If I had to guess your skiing background and of course I may be wrong here, but I would say you're, aged 26-32 and did a fair bit of skiing before the more modern gear came into play.
You nailed it pretty close. I'm actually 37, and had 100% of my actual race coaching and experience on straight skis. The end of my "real" competition career was 1992, my last year of college racing. At the time, my SL skis were 203's and my GS's were 207's.

Now I'm strictly a beer league guy. We have a pretty damn competitive beer league, though.
post #13 of 17
Let's see here. Yep, you are getting a bit pinched. I wonder, however, if its those 95 Under Foot Powder skis you're on. Certainly they don't want to get on as big edge, as your real racing tool, to let you "snappage" (as Chad would say) around the course

Don't worry folks, J here already got my real MA somewhere else, though I'm not kidding about the skis. BTW, don't let J fool ya, he races masters in the Mid-West, the kidder!
post #14 of 17
UPRacer--really strong skiing and racing tactics overall--but you already knew that. That is one strong "beer league"! Some good thoughts from others, so I'll just add a couple observations.

I see the "double turn" that Rick mentioned, where you occasionally start the turn too early or too high and have to straighten it out a little to get around the gate, before tightening it up again. That's a common tactical error, especially for racers who grew up on skis that couldn't turn as tightly or engage as early in the turn as today's skis can. I'm sure you recall coaching on the "rule of thirds," and its emphasis on starting a turn as your tips cross the "rise line" directly up the hill from the outside pole of the gate. It's still worth playing with today, although you can often aim lower on the rise line than before, due to the tighter turning capability of skis today. I think that those turns where you pinch the gates a little too close are not the result of trying to cut too tight a line, but of simply starting the turn earlier or higher than you needed to. Either way, it doesn't happen very often, and I think you're aware of the issues already.

There may be a technical cause of this double turn as well, though. It's subtle, and doesn't happen all the time, but it looks like you often held onto the turns too long, rather than releasing them progressively. (I think that this is what D(C) was describing as well.) This causes a harsh, abrupt transition, often with a pronounced "up" movement, followed by a sudden re-engagement in the next turn. When you come back down and hit those edges again, hard and early in the turn, the skis quickly bend and cut a tight radius arc. Then you lose pressure and edge angle, and the arc straightens out--which may be fortunate, because that initial arc was too tight in the first place! So it all works out and you stay in the course. But, because the "delay" forces you to have hit the edges hard and late again to finish the turn, it both slows you down and repeats the cycle. This movement pattern is particularly visible in the third turn, to the left, in your second run, just before you come to that lift tower. There are clearly two distinct spots where you hit the edges hard, causing snow to spray out--one near the top of the turn, and one at the end. Once you've seen it there, look for it in other turns--it happens fairly consistently, if not always as obviously.

Here's another way to look at it. Even in the "old" days, when we needed more up-down motion in turns as a rule so we could float and guide the top half and then engage and carve the second half, it was important to start releasing the turn before it ended. In other words, if you started a turn tall, then flexed through the carving phase, you had to remember to finish the turn tall again, ready to start the next turn. "Get out of it!" I can still hear Phil and Steve Mahre shouting at people in the Mahre Training Center at Keystone. Finish the turn tall, rather than rising to start the next turn. (A better word today would be "neutral," which may or may not be "tall," but it implies whatever stance you will start your next turn with. Strive to finish your turns in neutral.)

Looking at the movements I described above from this perspective, you tend to stay "down" and pressured too long, not releasing the turn until it's almost time to start the next turn. While this error often makes racers start the next turn too late, in your case I see it causing you to really rush the transition, get too far inside too early, and hit the edges too hard and early--which tightens the turn, brings your feet back underneath you, and both technically causes and tactically necessitates the "double turn," as I described.

Any way you look at it, whether it starts as a tactical error that affects your technique, or a technical error that affects your tactics, it is subtle! If your timing is off, it is only off by microseconds. That "up" movement at the start of turns is neither huge nor consistent, and it is generally well-directed into the next turn, rather than "straight up." No need to revamp your whole approach--just play with the subtleties.

One other thing caught my eye. You tend to use more knee angulation with your right leg, in left turns, than with your left leg in right turns. I wonder if there might be a boot canting/alignment issue that you should look at?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #15 of 17
By the way--since there may be both tactical and technical things going on here, I would encourage you to get out of the gates for a few runs and just play with the timing and feel of your movements, and how they affect the shape of your turns. Drive through and out of each turn, striving to finish neutral, and feeling the smooth, easy float through the transition and into the new turn that results. Do this with both "extension" to a tall neutral and transition and "retraction" to a low neutral and transition.

Then start to look for any kind of "targets" on the snow--chunks, pine cones, shadows, snowboarders, whatever--and strive to turn cleanly and smoothly around these as if they were gates. Search for continuous smooth arcs to eliminate the "double turn." Then get back into some real gates and leave that USSA guy in the dust!

Best regards,
Bob
post #16 of 17

What everybody else said...

...plus I would also try to get some training in on longer, more technical courses. It's sometimes difficult to make improvements in dual-format, NASTAR type course by just working on improving what you're doing in that venue (insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results).

Bob Barnes has some good ideas about free skiing stuff that will help, but the importance of line/timing/pressuring at the right time, and so forth, will become real evident if you get into something like a full-length Masters GS...BTW, as some others have noted, fundamentally your skiing and tactics are pretty damn good...
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Bob,
Thanks for the in depth explanations! You really are good at putting concepts into words. I guess you've been at it awhile, eh? As for the alignment, my buddy that runs a ski shop just got a bunch of new boot fitting/alignment equipment and he just planed my bootsoles the other day. I was 1/2* out on one leg and 1* on the other. Not sure if that's a lot or not, but we'll see if it makes a difference.

Skiracer55,
That WAS a longer more technical course!: Remember, I live in Michigan, man! I hope you don't mean attending ski camps in the west or something extreme like that.... If I'm skiing in the west, it's cliffs, Powder and off piste. I ain't gonna be wasting my time in a race course. The only reason we raced Nastar that day was because there was no new snow in the last week:

Gary,
Ok, you're right... I have entered two masters events in my life. One midwest "super G" two years ago, and a GS and Slalom last year; only because the race happened to be held at my home hill. Does that make me a "masters racer???"
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