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Favorite telemark drills for weighting the rear leg?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
this is my first year coaching telemark skiing with a team of 11-14 year olds. they are all strong alpine skiers looking to try something new. i come from a strong USSA racing and coaching background. i was supposed to attend a PSIA telemark clinic the other week, but it was canceled due to lack of snow...

i've introduced the kids to their tele gear and they are all able to make good parallel turns on their tele gear. i am now introducing them to a good telemark stance... and a few of them can link "fake-a-mark" turns where their weight is primarily on their lead foot, and their rear bent foot is kind of dangling behind them.

looking at the PSIA Nordic Tech Manual, i am trying to figure out some appropriate drills and exercises to working on with the team this weekend. just wondering if any Tele instructors had some favorites to work on? we've done "1000 tele's"... but i was reading about "boot scrape" and "experiment with range" (where you have the students rock back and forth from foot to foot in a tele position.) i was just wondering if there are other balance oriented drills to get them comfortable with the tele position, that i am not thinking about.

overall these kids will be charging in no time, but i want to make sure i give them a solid foundation before we move to more advanced stuff. good thing is that i have them all season!
post #2 of 8
I attended a clinic on this, but I forgot pretty much all the exercises. Sorry, I'll take notes next time.

You are correct that emphasis on weighting and carving with the inside ski is the most important thing to stress when teaching alpine skiers to telemark. If these kids are alpine racers, they probably have done all the one-footed drills, but doing the same drills on telemark gear will add a new dimension.

Focusing on pulling the inside ski back will help. Typically outside ski dominant alpine skiers will stride forward on the outside ski. By focusing on pulling the inside ski back, you can avoid that, and get more weight on the inside ski. Ideally the telemark should develop with both the inside ski moving back and the outside ski moving forward relative to the skier's center of mass, but is also important to be able to make a turn by only pulling back the inside ski, tight turns in trees for example.

The only drill I can think of is a telemark Charleston. I think there was a progression leading up to it which I've forgotten. Charleston is an old school variation of wedeln, where the turn is made on the inside ski and the outside ski is held off the snow. It looks like the dance called Charleston from the twenties when done at a wedeln tempo. We did it at more of a waltz tempo. The drill was to carve turns made on the inside ski while switching leads. You pull the weighted ski back while moving the other ski forward and holding it off the snow. It's really difficult, because you are on the little toe edge and the ball of your foot, the heel is off the ski. Of course, the clinician didn't point out this fact. If he had said, "Hey, this is something really difficult", we (the students) would not have come close to performing the task.

I'm a recreational skier with no experience teaching telemark or coaching racers so take my advice with a grain of salt. I guess you are coaching these kids to race? Sounds like a fun job. Enjoy!
post #3 of 8
I'll second emphasizing changing the lead by pulling the new inside ski back rather then striding the new outside ski forward. A simple drill on the flats is to moon walk, ie a sliding stride backwards across a flat. Have them tap or pick up the lead ski while straight running in the tele stance, then try it between turns. Until you're really good at it, it is next to impossible to pick up the lead ski while flexed on the rear ski (ie the Charleston) so trying too hard to make them hold the lead ski up all the way through the turn will probably reinforce the feeling of skiing parallel on the inside ski rather then working the inside leg in a flexed range of motion.

Just for fun you could have them make turns while picking up the heel on the lead ski. Keeps the lead from drifting too far forward, while working a more even weight distribution

Introducing a monomark can be a good thing as well. Pick a lead and stay with it the whole run--no lead change allowed. Once they're comfortable with that (it's somewhat like snowboarding) Have them try making turns in the monomark by only edging and/or rotating the rear ski. Its particularly easy to see if they're weighting the back foot when they are only allowed to steer the back foot on gentle terrain. Look to make sure you are seeing active moves with the rear ski. That the rear tip is moving closer to or farther from the lead ski while emphasizing steering moves. Look for not only the ski rolling over but the whole edge engaging on the rear ski when emphasizing edging, hopefully on both the big and little toe sides.
post #4 of 8
Yeah, that tele charleston is kind of wack. He only showed it to us because there were some advanced telemarkers in the group. After I posted that, I remembered that I learned the tele charleston in a different clinic, not the level one/teaching clinic.

I think the progression included picking up for a brief moment and putting back down the outside ski several times through a turn. I think that's what you mean by tapping. Lifting/tapping in a straight run first makes sense too. Moonwalk sounds cool. Your monomark progression also sounds very good. Excellent post!
post #5 of 8
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
I guess you are coaching these kids to race? Sounds like a fun job. Enjoy!
Nevermind, I asked you this before. Sorry. I forgot about the other thread where you wrote about the telemark freeride program you are coaching.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
well today we were supposed to have our kids show up to coach, but all of mine were still in school.... so the other tele freeride coach and i grabbed one of the 3 PSIA Level 3 tele instructors and forced him into doing an impromptu clinic. actually the other coach and the instructor are good friends going way back so it was just cool to hang and talk tele for 3 hours.

i explained some of the issues i was starting to work on with my athletes and both the instructor and other coach had several great drills including the tele charleston to help focus on. they also had several others which i hadn't thought about which they liked which emphasized getting the hips in the right position in relation to your knees and feet.

one thing we worked on for fun was teleing switch. i finally started getting it on my 2nd run. in any case, lots of things to practice.

fortunately i have a great situation where i have the same 6-7 kids for the whole season so i'll be able to experiment with lots of drills, exercises etc. should be fun!
post #7 of 8

i was just wondering if there are other balance oriented drills to get them comfortable with the tele position,
A very easy and fun drill on flat terrain is picking a lead ski, going streight and using the back foot to "stear the boat" by slightly tipping it from one side, to flat to the other side. This causes slight variations off the fall line. Do it with each foot being the back foot. From there, have them add more shape to the variations by guiding with the knee. This focus will force them to balance on the rear foot and use it to activally guide into the turns with it.

post #8 of 8

getting centered

Here's some stuff for you..
Given the age group, stick with the high energy excercise lines, and vary their intensity...
On V. low angle terrain, do the tele "shuffle" thru out the entire turn shape[s]. Vary the shuffle displacement as well as frequency. "Game" it,,use some cones or brushes. Poles/no poles. Up the angle a bit, no cones.
Keep it moving, moving...Soon as you see the first signs of boredom, break it off immediately [pole poking, drifting off, chatter, etc].
Then this,,,"All turns to the trees are parallel,,all turns towards the pipes are tele". Light blue terrain, in the fall line,,rapid fire.... Reverse the order.
now go tele cruise on some dark green terrain,,,,watch the results.
Now, back to blue terrain and the mono-mark,,,left side right side,,poles/no poles. Watch for first signs of fatigue,,break it off and do easy mileage/low intensity. Move to blue terain and play with v easy natural features.... and lots of smileage from here on out.
Good luck, have fun
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