Wow! I've never been accused of trying to be perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth though. What I have written here is pretty common stuff that has been around for a very long time. Refining your balancing skills allows you to be more centered more often. Those who can do so all of the time put forth the effort to become that good. Give them their due instead of assuming that something cannot be done because you cannot do it.
I couldn't disagree more, balanced skiing is fluid, exciting skiing. Are you able to swich from carving around a turn, to stepping at any point in the turn you want? Are you able to go from terminal velosity long carved turns to short turns at any time? Able to ski any pitch and snow condition effectivally? If not, there is a big balance issue. Once you can get balanced and keep balanced, skiing gets totally fluid, exciting and dynamic.
Lessons that don't force the student to find balance on skis lead to boring, static skiing. Most recreational skiers are so out of balance they can hardly do any effective movements, only try to make corrective movements. Most ski instructors are in better balance, but few understand how to balance on a ever varing pitch or incline as their skis pass the fall line, leaving them out of balance to make the next turn. The sooner they regnigize it, the sooner they can be on the path to balanced skiing (with some coaching). Hopefully some day you will understand what I'm talking about.
a) no motion at all, or
b) motion at a constant speed in a straight line
Imbalanced forces, on the other hand, lead to acceleration, where "acceleration" is anything that is not a constant speed in a straight line. Imbalanced forces are required in order to gain speed, to lose speed, to turn. As skiers, we create and control (perhaps imperfectly) that imbalance. What we, as skiers, regard as "balance" is actually effective, efficient control of imbalance. Difficulties arise when the magnitude of the imbalance becomes too great relative to the available forces, or when a movement executed to control or alter the state of imbalance is out of proportion to the actual requirement.
I stand by my statement: A graceful, elegant, powerful skier is actually managing imbalance beautifully rather than rigidly maintaining balance.
JASP, I don't think I accused you of trying to be perfect, although this very discussion suggests that we are all trying to achieve some sort of "perfection," at least in our own minds. What you say regarding being more centered more often is absolutely true, but I don't think I've ever seen any skier, including D-team members, who are centered by some absolute standard 100% of the time. Instead, they use forces, movement and, yes, imbalance, to adjust and adapt as necessary and to ski to a very high standard indeed.
RW, in my defense, I've been told by some people who should know that my skiing is, shall we say, decent. Nonetheless, I will confess to rarely being satisfied with it. I'll always find things I don't do very well.
I will also contend that the tasks you suggest require effective creation and control of unbalanced forces so that the skier moves most effectively. This does require balance, in some sense, but not the balance of a perfectly balanced cinder block.
In skiing, when we speak of balance, we tend to think of the location of the CoM relative to the base of support (BoS). At any instant in time, there is some optimal relationship between these two. Further, there are some locations of the CoM relative to the BoS that are nearly always grossly ineffective. My concept of balance in skiing is to move toward the optimal relationship between CoM and BoS. Since it's constantly changing, I will constantly be seeking that optimum, but it's unlikely I'll manage to stay exactly there. Fortunately, there's enough compliance in the system so that being reasonably close will generally serve quite well.
Deb Armstrong once posted in EpicSki (May 25, 2006):
|Skiing is so athletic, alive, spontaneous, reactive, calculated…all at he same time. However I ski with guests who insist on stopping when they get out of balance because the “made a mistake”. What I love about skiing the bumps, crud or whatever is the moment of being out of balance and working to bring my body back into balance while continuing the run. Inspirational skiing is not always perfect or in balance at every moment yet that skier maintains the ability to bring it all back together on the fly.|
|It reminds me of a good musician vs. a great musician.
The good musicians can play a piece but a really great musician makes it their own by bending the rules a little.