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Race Start/Skate

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to improve my recreational racing time. It seems that a better start would help. While I'm learning to do a better kick start (and there have been good discussions on that in previous threads) it seems that some good skating will really do wonders for me. My question is after the start, it is difficult to get onto an edge to push off before the first gate, so are there any suggestions for getting an early edge to skate? Should I try to skoot the hip in or just focus on a quick foot/ankle roll? Also is a multiple half skate on one side more efficient than alternating skating steps, side to side?
post #2 of 6
These are good questions. You probabably already know that a poor kick start is much slower than no kick start at all, so I think you are smart to focus elsewhere in the interm.

The first thing about a good race start is pure animal psychology. There can be no doubts, fears - its focused aggression. Explode out of the start!

As far as the skating, unless the first gate has been put in a bizarre location by the course-setter - there is usually always advantage to one or two powerful pushes.

The trick here is to push hard and fast onto a totally flat ski (or as flat as possible considering the line you must take). Also people have a tendacy to slightly 'overpush' - the last tiny bit of their extension acting to slow them down because it is no longer thrusting but just hanging out there.

In addition, something that seems small but when racing for 100ths of seconds can be big. When you pull a ski back into parallel after pushing off of it - you want to present as small of a wind cross-section as possible. If you pull it back around with the topskin really pointing in your direction of travel you've somewhat decreased your aerodynamics.

Also, once you have given one or two strong skates - you usually will be already traveling at a velocity which exceeds your explosive leg velocity . . . ie you'll be slowing yourself down by trying to skate anymore. Get as aerodynamic as possible for the situation/turns coming up and tear the course up!

~Todd M.
post #3 of 6
I agree with Todd. Additionally, you must anticipate the rythmn of the course and where your first turn starts vis a vis the rise line. No point in accelerating to a jammed first turn and be late all the way down.
Also, many people tend to look at their feet while skating...bad idea.
I tend (if the courses are set by the book) to give two single outside pumps in slalom, and one double and a single in gs...don't know why, always have...usually works...more sets me up than speeds me up.
SG and DH the starts differ greatly as do the tactics...are you heading into a glide or turn section. Anyway, aero usually must happen quickly after a quick explosive coupla pumps, better to dial in the stance and head...you'll go fast enough for what you may lose below.
A quick "juice" of the tails can break the suck while giving a slight jet before gate 1.
In all skating...hang on to the grips!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Todd and Robin,
Thanks for your help. The new thread on "edging" actually builds on what you have said. The concept of centering, or pulling the outside ski into parallel after the skate, as Todd described it, probably explains why I've had problems getting the new inside ski on its outside edge.
post #5 of 6
Anytime! Pleasure to talk about racing, we don't discuss it much here and its still a very dear subject to my heart! Nothing else has bashed up my body as badly, nothing else has brought such highs!
post #6 of 6
I agree with the other guys. However. Back in the days when I was racing and coaching at Robin's area (1978-82), I had the kids (J IV & V) work on getting the start accurate. Kick back and out. I did this by hooking the start wand to a battery and bell. Instant feedback! Many racers trip the wand before they get their skis out of the gate. A bad kick will usually trip the wand before you get the skis back and up. Here is where you can pick up 4 or 5 10ths. But, it takes a lot of practice to get it right consistantly. I think a good accurate start is far more important than one or two pumps before the first gate. And watch out for the infamous pop-pop. The double eject!

RH <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rick H (edited July 16, 2001).]</FONT>
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