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Balance defined - Page 2  

post #31 of 83
Bode,
Good skiing is the ability to perform at high levels (well beyond just "not falling down") in a wide range of balance states. Aspiring to only performing well in premium states is a dead end strategy.
post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
This quote baffles me:



I just cannot understand it. Doesn't it mean that if I'm at a 100/0 weight distribution, I am not in balance, because the leg that bears no weight cannot have a positive effect on any of the skills?
The quote is a well thought out addendum to a previous document(my personal favorite) "Efficeint Movements in Skiing, Visual Cues".
It is a reference to the fact that Level III candidates may be asked to perform the following skiing tasks; skiing on one ski (left and right on the same ski),White Pass turns (Bob B has some nice discriptions, his encyclopedia is quite a worthwile investment), Charleston Turns, Ruel Christys (for you old schoolers), 4x4x4, pure carving on the outside edge. All of these tasks are 'outside' the box when it comes to pressure controll scenario and edging applications. Sorry I can't go into task discriptions, those are 'trade secrets' (Buy Bob's Book!!!!)
post #33 of 83
Yes, balance while skiing is "Not Falling Down" but only in the most simplistic terms. Balancing as we are refering to it is the all encompasing skill that works in conjunction with movements in all planes of motion that effect the pressure of the skis on the snow, the angle of the skis edges on the snow and the ability to reorient the direction of the skis on the snow. It's the blending of these four skills (Balance, Pressure controll movements, Edge controll movements and Rotary Movements) that create the total motion and flow people universally recognize as 'Good Skiing". If you need further definitions, buy Bob's book.
post #34 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogonjon View Post
Yes, balance while skiing is "Not Falling Down" but only in the most simplistic terms. Balancing as we are refering to it is the all encompasing skill that works in conjunction with movements in all planes of motion that effect the pressure of the skis on the snow, the angle of the skis edges on the snow and the ability to reorient the direction of the skis on the snow. It's the blending of these four skills (Balance, Pressure controll movements, Edge controll movements and Rotary Movements) that create the total motion and flow people universally recognize as 'Good Skiing". If you need further definitions, buy Bob's book.
And as Rick points out, the best skiers can blend their skills whenever their balance vector is within the base of support, regardless of it's location in the Base of Support, yet new skiers, could adopt a stance that would appear perfect, yet be unable to move.

The definition relates balance to the ability to affect other skills.

That is wrong -- as is the path of "functional balance" I was suggesting. Once again functional balance makes the functionality dependent on the skills of the individual.
post #35 of 83
Yes, base of support is a good thing when we think of it as our feet. Trouble is we have these things on our feet that are much longer than our feet. I see skiers everyday back on their heels and on the toilet who cannot make a positive effect when they need to or chose to. They do not understand where the optimal base of support lies. Are they balanced? In a pure physics sense, yes. Are they effectively balanced for optimal skiing? I would say no. Where does our BoS lie? What are ways to tell when we get there? How we stand over and consequently work our skis separates the good versatile skiers from the not as good and less versatile skiers. Not to mention our ability to bring flow and efficiency of movement to our skiing.

Tis a sad day when we spend so much energy trying to find nothing of value in a simple sentence that contains a valuable insight. :
post #36 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Yes, base of support is a good thing when we think of it as our feet. Trouble is we have these things on our feet that are much longer than our feet. I see skiers everyday back on their heels and on the toilet who cannot make a positive effect when they need to or chose to. They do not understand where the optimal base of support lies. Are they balanced? In a pure physics sense, yes. Are they effectively balanced for optimal skiing? I would say no. Where does our BoS lie? What are ways to tell when we get there? How we stand over and consequently work our skis separates the good versatile skiers from the not as good and less versatile skiers. Not to mention our ability to bring flow and efficiency of movement to our skiing.
Isn't it our job to teach that?

It sure isn't the job of a definition of a physical quantity to tell us how.

Is the definition of balance simply as a relationship between CM, force and BOS meaningful?

You bet -- it ties together the key ingredients to skiing -- the CM, the forces that act on it, the skis and poles that make up the platform that we ski on. How we manage that relationship is what we teach. We teach how to intentionally lose balance, EG. OLR/ILE/Flex to release etc.... and how to restore it. Which is why you need to have a clear simple definition of balance based on a physical reality.

Balance is nothing more than a state of equilibrium. There are many positions of the CM above the BoS what would qualify, and I would argue that the ability for a skier to perform in the widest range of those positions is what constitutes true versatility.(Rick)

Restriction of that position to a "home base" is where one starts to teach skiing, but you can't stop there! You cannot restrict the definition to allow for ONLY this "home base" -- that's how you get folks that refuse to flex to release -- it will put them on the toilet for a brief moment, and that's to be avoided, because by some strange definition flexing makes them "out of balance"!

Relating the CM, the forces that act on it and the base of support is far from a meaningless definition.
post #37 of 83
Yes it is BigE, but I don't see anything in this sentence that is disagreement with how you and Rick are defining balance. In fact I don't read it as a definition of balance at all, but as one way to self determine if effective balancing is happening. A way towards internal awareness and self feedback.

I find myself thinking back to conversations with DavidM and Tristan Roberts caution, written in his book "the mechanics of posture and human locomotion", concerning the dangers of school room physics, with respect to human movements, and the pitfalls that simplified physics can bring to bear on our understanding of posture and human movement in dynamic situations.

Beyond defining balance we need to find a way towards internal understanding, individual to ourselves. A mental and physical understanding on how balance might be assessed specific to skiing. Within our individual movements, and more importantly in my opinion, how it might be expressed and assessed through the effectiveness of our movements.

It is no easy task to putout a simple sentence to help bring clarity to this concept of balance and dynamic movement with respect to self feedback. If it were really an easy concept, then how to balance over our skis wouldn't be so elusive to so many skiers.
post #38 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
Yes it is BigE, but I don't see anything in this sentence that is disagreement with how you and Rick are defining balance. In fact I don't read it as a definition of balance at all, but as one way to self determine if effective balancing is happening. A way towards internal awareness and self feedback.
Actually, what is being spoken about is not about internal cues -- the cues are external. An observer can see whether or not the skier being examined is balanced in such a way that the concept will hold.

I don't know about you RicB, but if my arms are windmilling to keep me up, I won't need any definition to tell me I'm struggling.

What I disagree with is that the concept is skier dependent, and tells me that both one footed skiing and carving is not skiing in balance, which restricts my movement options.

The definition relating CM,force and BOS does allow that.
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
Bode,
Good skiing is the ability to perform at high levels (well beyond just "not falling down") in a wide range of balance states. Aspiring to only performing well in premium states is a dead end strategy.
If you substitute "have a positive, selective effect" for "perform at high levels" you are closer to the definition from the first post than to BigE's less demanding "as long as you don't fall down."
A slightly different but better definition that I heard a few years ago was:
The skier is in balance when they can use any of the skills to have a positive, selective effect on their movement down the hill.
The problem with it that confuses people is that it doesn't seem to allow for the common situation where the skier commits to a particular arc and then needs to ride that out to its conclusion. Somewhere n that arc there is a point where you can't have much effect, but if you are in balance you ride through that point, but you need to know where it's going before you start it. Think of catching air in a downhill. One guy hits it perfectly, the next guy is a little off and ends up rolling down the windows and crashing. They are both on the same trajectory, but the first guy is in balance, and the second guy is out of balance. That doesn't contradict the definition, unless you think you need to apply it literally in every millisecond.

BK
post #40 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post

Balance is nothing more than a state of equilibrium.
That just begs the question, it doesn't help you understand anything. How do you define "equilibrium."
But you and I agree that that there are many positions that qualify for good balance. The skilled skier has more of them available because of his superior balance skills, as you noted. If I'm skiiing next to Ted Ligety, we could both be in identical positions, and he would be in balance, by I would be out of balance because I don't have the strength or skill to "have a positive, selective effect" on my skiing.
By your definition, we are equally in balance. In my view, he has better balance skills than me.

BTW when you use the word "vector" outside of an engineering school, you lose about 90% of the students, and half the instructors.

BK
post #41 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
That just begs the question, it doesn't help you understand anything. How do you define "equilibrium."
But you and I agree that that there are many positions that qualify for good balance. The skilled skier has more of them available because of his superior balance skills, as you noted. If I'm skiiing next to Ted Ligety, we could both be in identical positions, and he would be in balance, by Iwould be out of balance because I don't have the strength or skill to "have a positive, selective effect" on my skiing.
By your definition, we are equally in balance. In my view, he has better balance skills than me.
I believe you've just proved Rick's point! The definition confuses balance with balance skills.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
BTW when you use the word "vector" outside of an engineering school, you lose about 90% of the students, and half the instructors.
I know, and that's too bad -- instructors really need to know that sort of thing to really understand the foundations of skiing.
post #42 of 83

huh?

[quote=BigE;767398]balance vector is within the base of support, regardless of it's location in the Base of Support,
??????? Let's talk about something real like Dynamic Counterbary.
post #43 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
I believe you've just proved Rick's point! The definition confuses balance with balance skills.



I know, and that's too bad -- instructors really need to know that sort of thing (vectors) to really understand the foundations of skiing.
That's what makes this place Gaperski.

BK
post #44 of 83
Thread Starter 
Sorry.

I'm guessing "balance vector" is the problem.

The balance vector is the result of adding together all the forces acting on the skier. The centrifugal force in a turn acts to pull the skier out of the turn. Gravity to pull them down. Snow friction to push the skiis back. Air / wind resistance to push on the body. When you add all of these together, you get a net force, acting on the center of mass (CM), pulling the CM in a particular direction.

You can draw this force as an arrow, with a tail at the CM and head pointing directly in the direction this net force is pulling.

The Base of Support is the entire area between all points touching the snow that support the skier.

If you orient the base of support so that this balance vector is pointing into it you will stay upright. It does not matter where in the base of support the net force is pulling the CM (ie, the balance vector points). It matters only that this balance vector is pointing somewhere into the base of support.

You can look at all the force as vectors, and add them up, by putting the tail of one to the head of another, like a chain.

This might help: -- the money shot --


which is http://www.ronlemaster.com/images/20...ce-width-A.jpg

The green arrow is the resultant of the yellow and blue arrows; it is the balance vector. For simplicity, it ignores snow friction and air resistance. It points into the base of support -- directly to the inside edge of the outside ski.

That shows Herman's weight to be over a very dominant outside ski.

If the green arrow went between the legs, the balance point would be between the feet, and you'd see both skis decambering. In this photo, it looks like weight is just starting to be applied on the inside ski, as it's nearly straight. Perhaps the green arrow is not in exactly the right place, but, close enough.

If the green arrow pointed further to the outside, he'd rise up, the edge angles would diminish and the turn would straighten. That alone could reduce the centrifugal force (represented by the blue arrow) so that the balance vector continued to point into the base of support, and he'd continue skiing.

If it continued to point outside, he'd continue to rise and go right over.....he would not be in balance.

He'd have to re-orient the base of support so that the balance vector points into it again, or fall.
post #45 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Actually, what is being spoken about is not about internal cues -- the cues are external. An observer can see whether or not the skier being examined is balanced in such a way that the concept will hold.

I don't know about you RicB, but if my arms are windmilling to keep me up, I won't need any definition to tell me I'm struggling.

What I disagree with is that the concept is skier dependent, and tells me that both one footed skiing and carving is not skiing in balance, which restricts my movement options.

The definition relating CM,force and BOS does allow that.
That would be true only if you insist on an external view. It doesn't take any help for anyone to understand that they are out of balance if they are having to windmill their arms of course. Unfortunately there are many more subtle forms of mild out of balance that have a not so subtle effect on a skiers effectiveness with their movements/skills.

BigE I just don't get those movement restrictions from this statement. In fact quite the opposite for me. And so it goes.
post #46 of 83
which brings us back to this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post
As long as a skier is operating with their balance point somewhere within their base of support they are "in balance". As long as they can continue to ski in that state, the forces will remain in equilibrium (heluvaskier), and they will continue to be in balance. If they haven't developed the skills to perform with their balance point located at a particular point within their base of support, their balance point may move outside of the base of support, at which time they will become out of balance.
As pointed out already, there are many things happening throughout a ski turn to effect the balance point and it is constantly changing over time. The mark of an expert skier is the ability to manage all of these forces that potentially may upset balance, in the most effective way possible without compromising ski performance or turn trajectory choice; and while also minimizing as much as possible the need to use muscles of the body to correct for balance point changes.

Someone mentioned earlier when one racer launches a jump and lands on their heels it takes them a while to recover while the other guy flows through it likes its nothing. The guy on his heels had to use LOTS of muscles to recover from his temporary loss of balance. This same concept can be taken from that extreme situation all the way down to very fine, minute actions that happen as we progress through turns and the balance point changes for whatever reason.

Every little muscle movement that we use to either recover from imbalance, or to pro actively prevent imbalance from happening because our senses are telling us that we're about to be out of balance if we don't do something now...those muscle actions detract from the "efficiency" aspect. Some of them are not preventable. It does require some muscle use to ski well.

But starting at a very fine level of detail, one mark of expert skiing is the ability to avoid over-use of muscles due to inefficient balance management. At the end of a ski day, I am typically much less sore than my intermediate ski friends after having skied much more aggresively the entire time; and I'm not exactly in great shape either. I just maintain balance more effectively and efficiently then they do.

Another potentially ineffective way to maintain balance is by allowing the ski performance or ski turn trajectory to be compromised. This could be an alternative to brute strength methods mentioned above or used in combination with brute muscle force to get balance back under control or to keep it under control to begin with.

And its all happening dynamically, in a continuum.
post #47 of 83
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
BigE I just don't get those movement restrictions from this statement. In fact quite the opposite for me. And so it goes.
Well, you want to be in balance, which means positive selective effect with any skill, any leg, any time. 0/100 is immediately disqualified as a balanced state. So you should avoid skiing that way. That is the restriction.
post #48 of 83
Thread Starter 
Nice post BTS.

The term used to define the sense of balance is call equilibrioception -- it's one of the senses. Not one of the five classic senses, but it is categorized as a unique sense. So is sense of pain, heat and limb position (proprioception).

Equilibrioception uses the inner ear to determine balance, but some sources say it also uses changes in the pressure on the soles of the feet to determine how the external forces are acting.

This is why people react so favourably to the instruction to "feel the snow through the soles of your feet". It improves their balance skills because their sense of balance is improved.

It has absolutley nothing to do with skiing skills.
post #49 of 83
I consider myself to be in balance when I am able to control the forces acting on me well enough that their sum coincides with the magnitude and direction that I reasonably desire it to be. Thus I am still in balance when I am adjusting my position with my cm accelerating in a direction outside of my base of support, so long as that is consistent with my intent.
post #50 of 83
Thread Starter 
Ghost,

some may prefer to say that you are "in control", as opposed to "in balance". Being "in control" says that you are able to apply chosen skills, but perhaps not all of them at any time. Being 'In Balance' does not.

Balance has two forms, static and dynamic. Static is obvious - you are not moving and the platform you are standing on is not moving. Dynamic balance is something that has been polluted by some to require that moments of "imbalance" are included. Nothing is further from the truth. That beginner in the wedge, moving down the bunny is in a state of dynamic balance, yet their balance point never strays from between their feet. Here is the definition, simple and to the point.:
dynamic balance
Balance maintained either on a moving surface or while the body is moving.

"dynamic balance." The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science . Oxford University Press, 1998, 2006, 2007.

If you focus on balance, "transition" becomes a very interesting time, because you can ski so that your balance vector does not point into the base of support during this time. (BTW:That is what I understand many call "dynamic skiing" again, far different from "dynamic balance".)

I believe there is simply not enough time spent on becoming aware of how one's movements alter their balance point as they link turns.

IMO, transition is a moment to savour, not to rush through. You will become a far better skier if you can sense the changes in balance that help move your CM from turn to turn.

That's way different and more useful that knowing whether or not you can exert a positive, selective effect by any leg on any skill at any time.
post #51 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Well, you want to be in balance, which means positive selective effect with any skill, any leg, any time. 0/100 is immediately disqualified as a balanced state. So you should avoid skiing that way. That is the restriction.
Are you saying that you cannot have positive effect on your skiing with your unweighted foot or leg BigE? I know you know better than that.
post #52 of 83
Thread Starter 
Not a positive effect with ANY skill. Certain skills yes, but not any skill.
post #53 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
Not a positive effect with ANY skill. Certain skills yes, but not any skill.
So I'm curious, which one do you feel would be unavailable in your 0/100 situation?
post #54 of 83
Thread Starter 
Situation: inside ski lifted, outside ski edge locked. Upper body countered.

Edging the 0% ski.

Rotation of an edge-locked 100% weighted ski.

Rotation so as to pivot the 0% ski.

Lateral Pressure control. Given that 0/100 is the way to ski that point in the turn then adding to the 0% side at that moment would be not be a positive effect.

Balance is not about whether or not you can apply any skill at any time for a positive effect. Scroll down to the Oxford press entry on the following page, and further to the following oxford sports science entry:

"balance
1. The ability to maintain a stable and specific orientation in relation to the immediate environment. Static balance refers to the ability to hold a stationary position; dynamic stability is the ability to maintain equilibrium while moving. Balance is maintained by multiple reflexes involving the eyes, semi-circular canals, and other structures in the ear, pressure receptors in the skin (particularly on the soles of the feet), and muscle proprioceptors. Good balance is a feature of successful performance in many sports, especially those such as gymnastics, which require sudden changes in movement."

Here's where to find both references.

http://www.answers.com/balance?cat=biz-fin

Good luck to all those teaching the 2005 concepts notions. I can imagine the mess that will happen as instructors nationwide put those dreadful notions into their own words.

Goodnight.

I'm already repeating things. I can say no more about this topic.
post #55 of 83
Intuitively, you can be in balance and still be out of control, e.g. unable to avoid a collision. Being in control while out of balance is a lot harder to manage. Using proprioception alone to walk when you have a middle ear infection might qualify.

I think a high diver is still in "balance" when he is doing a back flip. Using the term equilibrium in the definition of balance does not help my understanding.
post #56 of 83
Thread Starter 
I can't help you if you choose to reject the Oxford definitions. Sorry you think that a body disconnected from the earth is "in balance". Perhaps studying other materials would help.

Good luck. I'm going to unsubcribe from this thread now.
post #57 of 83
Quote:
Edging the 0% ski.
So are you saying that tipping the unweighted ski will have no effect on your turn? For me it can.

Quote:
Rotation of an edge-locked 100% weighted ski.
Well pivoting of an edge locked ski would usually be considered a less than desirable effect in your given situation, but if you did want to pivot the edge locked ski there are options at your disposal for either leg if your balancing effectively at the time. In another vein you can use femur rotation on either or both legs. even small amount can have a positive effect.

Quote:
Rotation so as to pivot the 0% ski.
My guess is that you are already doing this to a degree if your inside ski, with no pressure on it, continues to turn with the outside ski. Mirroring the movements of the weighted ski, foot, and leg, with the unweighted ski, foot, and leg has improved my one ski turns, whether they were skidded or edge locked one ski turns. I practice one ski edge locked turns once in while on easy terrain, so I'm speaking from personal experience.

Quote:
Lateral Pressure control. Given that 0/100 is the way to ski that point in the turn then adding to the 0% side at that moment would be not be a positive effect.
I'm not so sure that 0/100 is the way to ski an edge locked turn. If and when it does happen, and if you are balancing effectively, then you still have the option to add pressure to the 0 weighted ski 1,2,5,10,15% ect. And you can also make pressure control movements as in increasing flexion on the unweighted inside leg helping to effect lateral balance (angulation) in the rest of the body which would be felt in the pelvis and core through the muscles recruited.

BigE For me this has been a conversation strictly about the balance and not a conversation about the entire concepts, which I have not studied. We have discussed the balance concept in our clinics some.

Quote:
I'm already repeating things. I can say no more about this topic.
I agree with this.
post #58 of 83
Thread Starter 
ARGGH! RicB stop!

The point is that this 0/100 is the optimal weight distribution for that turn at that time. Application of any skill that alters the skill blend at that moment will not be positive -- it will only make that turn sub-optimal. Choose any distribution you want in a turn that is being performed expertly with a particular skill blend. The same words apply. Rotation? No. I need that precise turn radius at that moment and it cannot be unlocked. The blend cannot be made better. Change Pressure lateral or fore/aft pressures? Same response. Edging? Same response.

Absolutely none of that has a darn thing to do with whether or not I am in "balance".

I understand the concept probably arose from the notion that you can better control your skills when you are in balance than when you are out of balance.

Unfortunately, it then tries to equate control of skill with balance itself.

That's a huge error.

And now I'm leaving this thread. I mean it!

See you around RicB.
post #59 of 83
Well I'll stop after this one thought, I promise. Nothing in this statement says that you have make any move different that you are already doing. If what you are doing is already optimal then keep on keeping on. But if adjustments need to happen or a skier changes their mind as the turn evolves, then as you say a skier in balance has the options available to them.
post #60 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
I can't help you if you choose to reject the Oxford definitions. Sorry you think that a body disconnected from the earth is "in balance". Perhaps studying other materials would help.

Good luck. I'm going to unsubcribe from this thread now.
No appology needed . If you think an Olympic diver scoring a 9.9 is not "in balance" I guess we will have to agree to disagree (when you get back).
My compact oxford has about 17 definitions of balance. When taken as a whole combining the meaning for "to counter poise one thing by another" in reference to two separate qualities with the physical meanings, we can balance the forces acting on all the parts of our bodies to achieve the intention, even if the desired intention is not equal forces on all sides. The act of obtaining equilibrium is too limiting. To me that is only a subset of balancing. You may prefer to call the other unbalancing. Fair enough. I distinguish between an uncontrolled unbalancing and a controlled use of balancing skills to created a desired state.
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