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Mental triggers to stay out of the back seat - Page 2

post #31 of 63

OK--one more over the top solution

A coach once (not more than half in jest) suggested putting tacks in the heels of my ski boots. When he said that would keep me forward, my impression was that he was speaking from experience.

If you are having huge difficulty changing your ingrained habit, you can tape something uncomfortable (not a tack--say, a pebble, or a short stack of pennies) to the underside of your heel. Then ski a moderate slope, staying completely forward the whole time. When you've got that down, go to a steeper slope and repeat.

You will get immediate, modestly unpleasant feedback every single time you pressure the heel. And your calf muscles will cramp very quickly if you try to hold your heels up without getting forward.

Just don't keep the pebbles in long enough to bruise and don't put anything in there big enough or pointy enough to damage you if you have to throw on the brakes.

I haven't tried this yet, but I have certainly thought about it, and if I can't get my new found skills of staying forward on moderate slopes to carry over to the steeps, I do plan to employ this technique. (But then, I'm just a teensy fanatical.)

SfDean.
post #32 of 63
Tell her to stand up straight.

http://thestache.tripod.com/id15.html
post #33 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus View Post
I agree to have the alignment checked, but a VERY simple technique is to bounce (with the whole body, equally distributed between the ankles, knees, and waist) while turning, it is basically impossible to bounce while on the heels and remember to go SLOW. Afterall, as the saying goes, Speed really does hide all flaws.
There is a lot of good advice in this post, but I especially like this one. Another version of this is to traverse the hill a lot while walking/sliding on skis.

I suspect your wife has simply learned to ski in the back seat and has become totally habituated to it. If she is a level 6-7 skier then she has had a lot of successful experiences with this kind of balance. She wouldn't be the first! The hills are filled with intermediate skiers who are never in the center if their feet. Perhaps she is quite comfortable with it. Does SHE really want to change this; is it your idea for her to take all those lessons or hers? If she really wants to change this it can be done but she will have to really want it, and to be prepared to spend considerable time on shallow terrain. It may also take an industrial strength approach to get it happening-see the Big E's suggestion above. Good luck.

cdnguy
post #34 of 63
sfdean, skiing in the back seat is not a heel thing, it is a hip thing.

....Ott
post #35 of 63
don't rule out mechanical/balance/alignment totally.

You have not told us what skis/bindings she's on. Some of the bindings have a pretty good ramp angle which is like putting heel lifts in or on your boots. Just as drastic an affect.

Also if you can flex your boots in the shop, it doesn't mean the boots are not too stiff. Once you take those boots out on the slope and introduce them to the cold they get way stiffer.. Booster straps can make the flex more progressive too. Instead of hitting a very stiff boot shell and being thrown into the back seat you might be able to flex the boot better as the energy builds.

As far as the hips? Less forward lean sometimes equals knees farther back and less flexed, moving the hips forward and a more upright body position to stay in balance. This also gives more leverage to flex the boots. (counter intuitive but for some it works.)

DC
post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
sfdean, skiing in the back seat is not a heel thing, it is a hip thing.

....Ott
I know, but when I get forward I am on the balls of my feet and my toes. You can stay in the back seat and keep your heels up, but only if you use your calf muscles (it's a calf extension) and those calf muscles fatigue very quickly. (Although it's possible that a woman used to wearing heels might have a different fatigue profile.)
post #37 of 63
Skiing with full foot contact is less fatiguing and allows better balance than ball/toes or heel bias. Today's boot pretty much limit what the foot inside the boot can do, like rolling the ankles as often described, etc. , The attempt of rolling the ankles, for instance, does not actually distort the boot but rather sets up a muscle sequence that affects the rest of the body.

Neither is a very soft boot helpful since any action of the shin on the boot will not be transferred to the ski in a significant way until the limit of travel the boot allows is reached. Ramp angle can be significant factors of where the center mass comes down on the foot, and cannot be corrected by the foot inside the boot.

....Ott
post #38 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
Skiing with full foot contact is less fatiguing and allows better balance than ball/toes or heel bias. ....Ott

All true, Ott, but I'm a racer, and I do balance training most of the months of the year. So for me, it's ball/toes. Racers generally get more forward than recreational skiers to bend the shovel of the ski at turn initiation so that they can carve a tighter turn through greater bend (reverse camber) of the ski.

And I'm working on staying off my heels, except occasionally at the end of the turn when I really want to finish it to get accross the hill.
post #39 of 63
sfdean,

As far as back seat goes, I happen to be an expert in he subject .

Over-pressure on the balls will put you back. Most rec skiers push away from / lean back up the hill. This is done with considerable ball of foot pressure. Telling someone to feel ball of foot pressure only tells them they are correct.

Back seat is a relationship between the CM and BoS. A simple way to show back seat, is to ask the skier to ski a very shallow slope towards you with their eyes closed, and ask them to be balanced..... what CAN happen is they will move the hips forward, since their eyes are no longer telling them they should push away from the fall-line. There is no guarantee that this will work. However, the upshot of this is that if the skier is pushing away from the fall-line, their ball of foot pressure will be reduced when moving the hips forward...

Same tricks like dorsiflexion. Raise the toes, and the hips move forwards, and where is the pressure? On the heel, right where you put the penny....

The ultimate balance point happens to be just slightly ahead of the ankle. Look at your own foot, and flex dorsiflex. There is a spot that does NOT move. That's where you center the pressure, so that your fore and aft adjustments can be initiated by flexion/dorsiflexion of the ankle....
post #40 of 63
vaskier,

My intention was not to suggest an "exercise" for your wife in the traditional sense ... rather the point was for her to feel the skier stance by using the exercise ball as a means of support -- a skiing "lab" off the slopes, if you will.

I'd also like to chime in (and I know it's been discussed in numerous other threads and can be searched) that your skeleton stacks from the ankle up -- therefore making what's under the ankle a critical balance point.

Weighting or pressuring a part of the ski (in this case the tail) is a wonderfully effective technique, and it has nothing to do with being in the "backseat". I totally agree with the comment about the "hips not the feet" ... if you're bent over/in the back seat, you're inhibiting the important movements that come out of the hip joint.

my two cents,
kiersten
post #41 of 63
big e -- we were posting simultaneously, and "great minds think alike".



kk
post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Over-pressure on the balls will put you back. Most rec skiers push away from / lean back up the hill. This is done with considerable ball of foot pressure. Telling someone to feel ball of foot pressure only tells them they are correct.

Back seat is a relationship between the CM and BoS.
Yeah, I get that now. I see your point--a skier can certainly lean away backward and pressure the balls of the feet in a kind of hockey stop to hockey stop fear skid-skiing, all while firmly in the back seat. (Or, heck, practically climbed out onto the trunk, behind the rear axel.)

I take it BoS=base of support? Different things work for different people. When I get my hands way forward but do it through pulling my elbows forward (thus pulling my hips forward, not just bending at the waist and dropping my posterior back) and I'm up on my toes/balls of my feet, I am way forward in an athletic stance with flexed ankles and forward hips, pushing the shovel. (Pulled forward right out of my defective heel binding several times last week just from turning. Have since replaced the binding.) I almost feel like I'm about to go forward over the tips of the skis. By contrast, when I stop being forward and it all comes apart in steep sections of the gates, I'm on my heels.

So for me, ball/toes combined with elbows forward in the athletic position means forward, but when I'm pressuring my heels (except to finish a hard cranker turn, staying with it) that's a big cue that I'm back again.

You're right, back seat vs. being forward is mostly about the relationship between hips and feet (and is, by definition, ALL about the relationship between the center of mass and your base of support.) But how various of us skiers "get" how to move that center of mass forward (pull the feet back works for some, press the tips of the skis into the snow for others, pull your elbows forward in an athletic stance works for me) is different.
post #43 of 63
Thread Starter 
This is the wife again...

Thanks for the all of the additional input.

I DO WANT TO GET OUT OF THE BACK SEAT! And, although he's usually wrong about important things in life , I agree with my hubby that being more forward on my skis would reduce my thigh agony and make this great sport even more enjoyable.

As far as my equipment... The past few years I've skied on Dynastar Outland 7Ls, but my awesome husband bought me some Vokl Queens for Xmas which I really liked in a couple of demos last year. The bindings on the Dynastars are cheap Solomans. The boots are Lange 80s. I know, I know... you're going to say "that's a stiff boot and that's your problem." But, I also have a very flexible pair of Nordica F6w (55 flex). The result is the same in any boot and on any ski I've tried:

I can link turns in parallel on groomed mid-Atlantic black runs; they're not railroad turns, but they're not totally skidded either. I also can get down most any bump run in the mid-Atlantic (no zipper lines here), but can usually only make about a dozen turns before the thighs give out. I climb farthest into the backseat on icey steep slopes and in deep powder: I'm probably just trying not to pitch over forward. I feel like I'm in control driving from the backseat, knowing full well that my control would increase with a more forward center of mass, and most importantly, my thigh pain would dissipate.

I agree with the person who said that I've gotten pretty good driving from the back seat, which makes it more difficult to change.
post #44 of 63
This sounds more and more like at root an equipment issue, possibly a combo of (for your frame) excessive ramp and forward lean, leading to a host of ills including bad movement patterns following. Race510 has a series of article posted here recently and on his website http://www.lous.ca/ that would be a very worthwhile read. Ideally a bootfitting should involve a trip to the slopes after the initial fit, then going back to the bootftiter the same day for tweaks and later as needed.
post #45 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKIER View Post
I can link turns in parallel on groomed mid-Atlantic black runs; they're not railroad turns, but they're not totally skidded either. I also can get down most any bump run in the mid-Atlantic (no zipper lines here), but can usually only make about a dozen turns before the thighs give out. I climb farthest into the backseat on icey steep slopes and in deep powder: I'm probably just trying not to pitch over forward. I feel like I'm in control driving from the backseat, knowing full well that my control would increase with a more forward center of mass, and most importantly, my thigh pain would dissipate.

I agree with the person who said that I've gotten pretty good driving from the back seat, which makes it more difficult to change.
I'm sorry to say that there is no simple mental trigger that'll help you.

You'll need to do my wedge drill all day long until you 'get it'. Make sure you NEVER allow yourself to go parallel, and stay on easy trails. You will eventually 'get it'.

Thoughts for the drill: "Open the hip". "Settle."
post #46 of 63

....

EDITED...as usual...
Quote:
Originally Posted by VASKIER View Post
.......(snipped)...I agree with my hubby that being more forward on my skis would reduce my thigh agony and make this great sport even more enjoyable.
..(snipped)..The boots are Lange 80s. I know, I know... you're going to say "that's a stiff boot and that's your problem." But, I also have a very flexible pair of Nordica F6w (55 flex). The result is the same in any boot and on any ski I've tried:

I can link turns in parallel on groomed mid-Atlantic black runs; they're not railroad turns, but they're not totally skidded either. I also can get down most any bump run in the mid-Atlantic (no zipper lines here), but can usually only make about a dozen turns before the thighs give out. I climb farthest into the backseat on icey steep slopes and in deep powder: I'm probably just trying not to pitch over forward. I feel like I'm in control driving from the backseat, knowing full well that my control would increase with a more forward center of mass, and most importantly, my thigh pain would dissipate.....
Hi VASKIER,
just a few basic guesses...others will probably add more in-depth ones...
As Ott mentioned, the hips are pretty significant in forming that stacked-skeletal alignment, but can be influenced by something below your hips...

In any case, at sometime...the back of your bootcuff is being pressured..that's a given!

1) Boots' forward lean is too great(amplified with a shell-size that's too big).
2) Bindings' ramp is too great.
3) Any heel-lift may be too high.
(Combination...of any of the above three...)

Sticking to lesser pitched trails will help you find out if the problem is solely from equipment or your stance on the steeps.
How is everything on lesser pitched terrain?
I don't know zip about the Lange boot, but I bet it does have some significant forward-lean...whatever its stiffness.
*Get in the boot shell, find out where your balanced stance lies and again, as Ott mentioned, a lot has to do with where your hips are in conjunction with the rest of your skeleton. Attaining more of a stacked skeletal stance is often the key.
Pretty simplified, and Yes, dumbed down...but a starting level for an analysis.
post #47 of 63
Try this,
No skis, just boots on a hard flat surface. (at home on the kitchen floor is fine)
buckle up as you normally would. Then just stand in your boots Flat onthe ground, flexed a little at the ankles and knees and have your husband look at your profile.

Then place a pencil under the toe of your boot and do the same drill. Does this move your hips up and forward some in relation to your toes/arch

Take out the spoiler in your boots and try all the above again and see what happens.

If it seems to get you standing right over your feet better (especially your hips) then get yourself into a boot shop.

This is where we have to say, "I didn't tell you to do this" but if you can get some shims, See if putting some spacers under your toes will help you ski more upright.

I just did this to my Cousin and sure enough he stood up much more when skiing. He was skiing in a Lange at the time. This season he will be switching to a boot that has much less forward lean and is much softer..
post #48 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ott Gangl View Post
Think of it this way: it's all about the ski tips, they are the ones that make a turn happen by digging the into the snow when the ski is edged. The ski doesn't have to be edged a whole lot, just enough to keep from slipping sideways.

Especially as you get on steeper slopes, it is the digging in of the ski tips that make the turn happen. By pushing you hip bones toward the ski tips just a couple of inches it will make it happen.

As to feelings, you need to realize that it is you, your body, that is moving down the slope and you are dragging the skis behind you because they are attached to you feet. If you want to go this way or that way, just go there with you body and the skis will be there, they have followed you.

If you ski in balance over your skis you are skiing, if you are in the back seat, you are being skied.

....Ott
I really like this. I also like Big E's suggestion about a long day working it slowly. However, that can also be done without the pain of the snowplow. Staying on very green, standing tall, working the ankles, without any accelerative threat from steeper slopes--this can install the proper software.

Another thought is that she might do an awareness check. What is the exact moment of the move down/back, and what precedes it? If you can find that moment and begin to mark that exact moment with a cue for a different move, you can substitute an up/forward/over move in the place of the sit and muscle. It's a question of timing.

I sense here what I call a threshold cue. In this case the ski (perhaps) begins to accelerate as the edge begins to release. This cues her to drop into her muscles to control the accelerating ski. What might happen if she were to notice this moment and CHOOSE a movement of the femurs to the vertical alignment at precisely that moment? This installs a new cue at the threshold that can open up a whole constellation of more balanced movement patterns.

Consider this to be very much a choice. She does not "get" in the back seat by any accident. She chooses it as the ski accelerates.

Know the choices you make. Know when they happen. Choose something else.

A tough, but rewarding and loads-of-fun challenge for you for your Christmas present.

Be patient, and enjoy the process of this change. It will seem slow and then happen very suddenly.
post #49 of 63
I've been reading this thread with interest, and I have a question:

How do you know if you're still in the backseat when you don't think you're there?

I just saw myself on video and what I thought I was doing, skiing fairly comfortably and well, was not at all what I was seeing on film. I look the same as I always have.....riding a pretty much flat parallel ski. I don't feel like that is what I'm doing though. The two are not jiving.

I'm in the backseat and don't know it. Is it possible not to know what the front seat feels like?

I need lessons. Will work on that.
post #50 of 63
First, I think most people are much more critical of themselves in video than others would be.

It is true that subjective feelings of performance are very hard to match up with what's happening, which is why video and other types of feedback can be so important, inlcuding the specific cues discussed already as to shin pressure, etc. Also grooving a new reference position and new motor patterns is a process rather than an epiphany for many people.
post #51 of 63
[quote=Bonni;622301]
How do you know if you're still in the backseat when you don't think you're there?

I just saw myself on video and what I thought I was doing, skiing fairly comfortably and well, was not at all what I was seeing on film. I look the same as I always have.....riding a pretty much flat parallel ski. I don't feel like that is what I'm doing though. The two are not jiving.

I'm in the backseat and don't know it. Is it possible not to know what the front seat feels like?

quote]

This is fairly common and you're right: the video will tell the story. It will help you "experience" what it's like to be in the back seat. It doesn't always offer an alternative, though. I guess the way to experience the front seat is to stop and just stand up normally. Then gently let the shins settle against the front of the boots. Then gently tip the boots so that the soles of your feet are no longer near the snow.

Can you reproduce this going slowly across the hill? Or going slowly down a gentle slope? Or do you feel something change when you get in motion? Look for that change. That's you going to the back seat, usually by dropping your hips. Change back. Go from one place to the other while coasting and feel the difference.

Rebuild the new stance in tiny increments of speed and pitch. Realize that with each increment, the ski accelerates more and you have to be more aggressive in the standing up. The standing up becomes a standing "out"--away from the hill--bit by bit. Finally there will be no sense of up--just tipping out and forward.

This is an issue worth many miles of practice on easy terrain. Mix it with Big E's idea of doing it for long periods in a wedge so you can feel the "pain" difference.

But TACKLE this. It's an important distinction to make.

Sorry I missed visiting with you more in Stowe. I didn't know you were leaving!
post #52 of 63
"Get forward", is enough for me, but I'm kind of simple.

Working from memory here, "Move to the front of the bus", is good if your an intermediate on longish super-g skis
post #53 of 63
Thanks, Weems, I'll do that whenever we get on snow again.

What should be simple (and evidently is to most people ) is difficult for me because when you've skied a certain way for a lot of years, it's hard to break the bad habit and feel awkward while I 'get' the new move.

What ends up happening is the new move gets mutated into a new/old move that is still counterproductive. Now the new/old mutant move is ingrained, because I just saw it on video, and the sinking feeling is that I've gotten better, but not the way I wanted to.

Sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhilirating. That's skiing!:

We couldn't really afford the $1k+ it would have cost for us to attend for the weekend, but a ski day we can do. It was good to see you again.

You look Mahvelous!:
post #54 of 63
Bonni, if you just want to know and have the feeling of being forward, neutral or in the back seat do the following:

In a gentle traverse lift one ski about three inches off the snow.

If the tip of the ski comes up you are in the back seat.
If you can lift the whole ski off he snow you are neutral.
If you can only lift the tail of the ski and the tip remains on the snow, you are forward.

If you find you are in the back seat, or even neutral and you wish to be forward, push your bellybutton three inches toward the tips of your skis and stay there, Check yourself again by lifting one ski and your ski tip should stay on the snow and only your ski tail should come off the snow.

The secret of getting and staying forward is that it is a rocking forward move WITHOUT changing you body posture and when you do get forward do NOT counterweight by sticking out your behind.

If yo have a problem of how to get you weight forward, stand flatfooted in a neutral position on you skis and boots with your hand and poles hanging by your side, in your living room if you chose, NOW, do not change anything in your body position while doing what I ask, do not compensate by seeking balance in any way JUST LIFT YOUR ARMS FORWARD TO SHOULDER HEIGHT WITHOUT BENDING THEM, the weight of your arm will rock you forward and when you are forward try to lift one ski three inches off the floor and the tip will stay down and the tail will lift up. Slowly bend you arms into skiing position, elbows just ahead of your hips, lower arms parallel to the floor.

Now you now what you should feel and where you should be while skiing. Just to remind yourself where your weight is when you are skiing do the slight ski lifting and make sure only the tail of the ski comes up, if not, rearrange yourself.

....Ott
post #55 of 63
She may lack confidence in the bindings. It's just like why people fear flying in an airplane; they don't know what makes it fly?

The bindings .... we used to do a demo (pre lawyer days), where I would hold my poles extended away from me and just lean far forward in the bindings .... kinda' used to freak some folks out waiting for a loud pop and me doing a face plant, but it showed that bindings do the job quite well. Many have a notion that pressure in the heel piece will toss them like a catapult.

The other big question is, does she know what good skiing is about well within her comfort zone? Has she ever had a lesson by a good instructor who can teach her to stay out ahead of the skis? The other current expression of this is "skiing into the future" ..... if your CM is "in the future", you are not in the back seat. Once she can get the feeling on some easy runs it is a matter of progression to the steeps .... but it's the same darned thing.

Mental ..... begin each day with a few runs that program your skiing for the rest of the day. Easy trails but with correct technique each turn. Most of the old Austrian guys did this as religion .... their early "school runs" ...
post #56 of 63
Vaskier/wife - what are the hands/arms doing? IMHO, both need to be relaxed, forward and down, out in front of the navel. Imagine the hands leading/steering you down the hill. Just a thought ;-)
post #57 of 63
IMHO skiing in the "backseat" has one sole basis......over-terrained
post #58 of 63
Thread Starter 
My wife and I really appreciate all of the wonderful advice! Many, many things to give a whirl.

"Over-terrained"... I think that's absolutely right. My 11-yr-old son is a rapidly improving level 7-8 skier, and I'm level 8-ish (and my wife is level 6-7). I've been skiing 20+ yrs, and my wife and son started at about the same time. As my son has improved, my wife has really wanted to hang with the guys (and we want to hang with her). Most of the time in the past 2 years, we've ended up compromising. My son and I ski things a bit easier and my wife skis a bit more difficult stuff than if we were all alone.

One of the great things about skiing is that it's something we can all do together. We do split up during lessons and occasionally on the slope, but part of the big joy of it all is spending quality time together.

It seems pretty clear that my wife needs to back off several notches to get herself in a comfort zone that allows her to re-orient her vertical alignment and establish some positive habits. She'll be able to get going on this "journey" mid-week with a likely trip to Elk Mtn in NE Pennsylvania, if there's snow. My son will be able to use the opportunity of little snow and mom on the easy groomers to work on skiing switch on his new twin tip Dynastar Troubled Youths.

****

Someone commented about hand position, and noted that a forward hand position is key. I definitely agree as long as the whole body comes forward. Fortunately/unfortunately, "hands forward" is one of the mantras that my wife picked up in her lessons and she does it religiously. BUT... picture someone with little bend in the elbows, arms held forward and close to horizontal, with the butt back behind the heels. This posture doesn't come out on the flats; only on very steep pitches, icy bumps, and deep powder. On gentler terrain, she is much more forward. But, the control that this position provides hasn't organically sunk in.

I wonder whether one of the may compounding reasons is that since she tends to always have a bit of skid in her turns, she feels that being back allows her to throw the tails around easier?? So, I'm wondering if getting a better RR turn (and discovering more of the control provided by tip pressure) will also help with the backseat thing??

Seems like it's a pretty convoluted problem that she needs to take baby steps to deal with. A BIG key in all of this is to not kill the joy of skiing for her!

Happy Holidays all! We're off to Xmas eve service.

Cheers
post #59 of 63
Remember that once you start to move forwards, outside ski dominance is key. The road to the backseat passes through inclination city.....
post #60 of 63
Thank you, Ott! Although on flatter ground, the tail comes up first. I'm sure at steeper pitches, it would not. No snow, can't try it out, grrrr.
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