Your concerns are based on an idea as presented in the kinetic chain theory. The simple version being that "Movements originating in the feet and moving up through the body". This mantra has led to so much confusion about how we move while skiing. The idea of the feet leading the movements implies that the rest of the body lags behind the feet. If you think about it for a minute that also means the rest of the body waits to participate in balancing activities. This disconnect can be seen in all the skiers who never move their body to help stay balanced over their skis. Which results in them never really achieving a balanced stance either, IMO this is because they take the Kinetic Chain idea too literally and they forget another important idea.
That idea is that the entire body needs to participate in balancing activities simultaneously. So even though a movement may feel like it originates in the feet, any change in our base of support requires the rest of the body to respond to achieve balance. Think of the hips, legs and feet (and the ground) as forming a parallelogram. They're connected and when one part of it moves the rest of it moves simultaneously. Contemporary skiing uses a lot more balancing from the whole body because we seldom use the stepping or sequential edge change movements of the past.
The polar opposite of this is what happens in the hip circle (hula) drill. By moving the other end of the parallelogram, the legs articulate simultaneously to adjust our stance. Ironically, it also quiets down the leg movements which produces the clean arcs you experienced. This is because we aren't trying to add extraneous movement from the lower legs. As you probably also noticed this doesn't produce complete turns, just a cleaner turn entry. Adding leg moves to shape the turn after getting the body moved into the new turn is another piece of the drill but the main focus right now is to introduce a wider range of motion in the hips /core. .
It also works a bit of the good turn, bad turn type of drill in that we move through a wide range of body positions and we need to figure out on the fly how to remain upright. By the way falling wasn't an intended outcome of the drill. I'm sorry I didn't warn you that falling might happen if you move too far outside your base of support. Play with the idea of making your turn entry while allowing the hips to move towards the apex of the new turn and I think you will discover that getting the hips and the body more aligned over the skis will allow you to stay balanced through the transition from the apex of one turn to the apex of the next turn.
BTW thank you for being a willing participant in the hula drill. I designed it a few years ago after a clinic with Tom Hazard. I use it a lot with students when they're not allowing their pelvis to move enough to contribute to creating a balanced stance. The basis is in how the feet and core move during a turn.I'm sure the dual paths concept isn't new to you Paul. The feet and the body don't follow the same path down the hill. The feet travel a wider, and rounder path and as such they are actually moving faster than the core. They have to since they are covering more ground during the same time frame. Getting the two paths integrated so we can remain standing is a challenge. IMO not allowing the core to move and actively participate in this balancing act upsets this interplay. Much like a duet where one singer is out of sync (too early/late) the whole piece suffers from a lack of synchronicity.
Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/19/2009 at 05:32 pm
Edited by justanotherskipro - 2/19/2009 at 05:35 pm