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Slow Speed MA request

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

 Ok, so this is me skiing after being out for a year (probably about the 10th hour back on the snow).  Left leg is still very tender from getting the rod pulled, and won't take much pressure,  you will see very tentative movements in relation to that.  This is as aggressively as I am allowed to ski for a few more weeks, so help me out!  I want to use the opportunity to get better. A few things that have already been identified:

1) need more upper and lower body separation (I will be working on that with some release drills). Torso is following the legs around too much

2) still have an A-frame stance at the end of the turn: need to roll down the hill (this is at least in part to being extremely tentative due to pain and risk (mostly mental) of re-fracture.

3) weight is slightly back at the end of the turn: I could be up "on my femurs" better (thanks Wade!)

4) pole plant, in conjunction with 1), should be more down the hill

5) need to work on more aggressive release and tipping of the new inside ski

6) cross-under/relaxation movements are not really present

 

At least I think my pole plants have become more consistent and rhythmic, and the up-movement from last February's video is at least somewhat reduced. Big thanks to Max_501 for shooting this for me!  

 

 


Edited by dawgcatching - 2/24/2009 at 06:20 am
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

 

post #3 of 17

How about a more compact pole swing where you do little more than twitch your wrist to tap the pole on the snow downhill from your feet as a timing cue?  This is both quicker and doesn't upset the upper body position.

 

Look at the start of your turns.  If you can round-out the start more with earlier inside edge engagement you won't need the sweeper skid at the bottom.

 

Lots of up in the transition.  Try for a much more lateral diagonal motion of the body across the skis.  Or do retraction turns where your momentum from the last turn provides the force to move the body laterally across the skis.

post #4 of 17
Quote:

Lots of up in the transition. 


 

Especially when planting the right pole.  See if it doesn't go away with some speed. A little patience and some faith in the skis's desire to turn will pay off.

post #5 of 17

Dawg,

 

There is a lot of good things here to work on.  I want to mention some things that you may wish to work on.

 

You are not letting the body move downhill during the transition.  The pressure is late which is slowing you down a lot and severely checking your speed.  The pressure is late because the release is late. Since the release is late, there is no momentum left to link the turns without effort -- hence the up move.  By not using the energy of the previous turn,  each turn is more like a first turn -- again hence the up move to unweight.  You are pressuring hard when you ought to be releasing.  An earlier edge will allow you to pressure earlier and release earlier, smoothing the flow of the upper body down hill.

 

The banking/late inclination is essentially leaning uphill, bracing against the outside ski.  Using angulation will allow the ski to slice under you as you release the body to move downhill.  Focus on keepin the zipper of the jacket upright, especially after turn apex.

 

It is a common goal to ensure that the skis point in the direction you want to move on turn completion before you release.  Instead,  make the goal to aim the  upper body to float across the skis to the apex of the new turn, using the momentum of the previous turn.  ie, flex to release the upper body downhill. While flexing, allow the skis to complete their turn.  Right now, you are following the skis, and not paying attention to the path of the upper body.  If you get this down, it will literally transform your skiing.

 

Good luck.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.  Don't forget that my left leg is very sore and I still have holes that aren't healed in the tibia, so I am being very conservative not to re-fracture it.  That is much of the hesitation you see, to some extent the lack of flow down the fall line (I don't want to get stuck on the inside ski when it happens to be the left leg), and the reason I can't add more speed at this time.  This is the slowest I have skied since I was learning at the age of 10, but it beats sitting at home.  

post #7 of 17

Believe me, I totally get your hesitation.  It will take some time to feel confident about ripping the hill.

Be careful out there!   Maybe skiing right now is not the best idea?

 

Anyway, an earlier and more aggressive flexion move should reduce the amount of pressure that your leg has to manage.

 

In the meanwhile, there are a lot of slow speed drills that you can do so you don't have to risk learning defensive movement patterns.  I'm sure you know them, and that many can be done in garlands.  It's a nice and safe way to get the leg working again without the worry of overpressuring it.

 

post #8 of 17

Do you have any support/wraps on that leg? I've seen Dawg ski this is not even close to his level and I understand why. Take it easy and get strong this Summer.

post #9 of 17

Since you were fortunate enough to ski with your photographer, I'd ask him for feedback.  He has a great eye for MA and an intuitive understanding of skiing.  Having skied with you, he's also more likely to take the nature of your current physical limitations into account correctly in his MA.

 

I've seen video of myself when recovering from a mauling by an out of control snowboarder and a medical time-out, and it neither feels nor looks good when everything isn't working fully.  My one suggestion would be to ski even slower to focus on refined balance and precise mechanics which should pay off handsomely when you're again physically able to ski in your preferred mode.  Also, once you're back to normal, get a fellow pro (or your photographer) to take a look at your alignment to see what changes may be needed to accommodate the way your body healed.

 

Best wishes for a full recovery and many more years of rippin sking

post #10 of 17

dawgcatching,

 

I do like your overall skiing in the video.  There are a lot of very good things going on there.  The list of items you re working in your post is a bit long.  Some of the items you listed are not that bad looking on the video.  My advise is to work on a smooth transition and from there, flexing your ankles.  The added action towards the end of the turn (by pushing the tail of the ski out) is what is putting you in a poor position to enter the next turn.

 

I know you are not used to skiing slowly like this, but don't try to get the same feel out of your skis at the end of the turn as you are used to feeling at higher speeds.

 

RW

post #11 of 17

dawgcatching, great to see you back on the snow.

post #12 of 17

Welcome back Dawg!

 

Stupid question: Have you had your alignment rechecked since the surgery? It looks like you could raise the outside of the right boot a little higher, but my concern is that the real problem is that the left leg is now shorter. Do you know the duct tape trick?

 

I love the way these turns illustrate the concept of directional control of the skis. I agree with Ron that your list is too long for a list of things to work on, but believe that items 3-6 are more symptoms of 1 and 2 (i.e. you won't be able to fix them until 1 & 2 are addressed).

 

In the mean time there are a few habits developing you should keep an eye on:

- lifting only the the left inside ski

- stemming at the bottom of the turn

- absorbing with hip flex

 

We all know where that lifting idea comes from. If you're going to do it, do it symmetrically. In the first few clips, you're only stemming your right leg, but we see the left leg doing it in the next to last clip (skiing away from the camera). Make an effort to control speed through turn shape (finish the turn more) instead.

 

 

This is such a cool pic because it tells so so much. See all the snow spray? This is the stem that I was talking about. There's too much braking going on at the end of the turn. This is going to cause the kind of problems seen in the next two pics. In the mean time, notice that there is upper/lower body separation relative to the right leg but not the left. This is the kind of "counter" that we want to see (if your left leg was aligned with the right). The only problem is that in this position your right leg is blocking your cm from flowing inside the new turn. From here, the only way to get inside the new turn is to go up and then over.

 

This is what happens when the brakes go on too hard: excess knee flex and the butt goes behind the knees. Note though that the toes, knees and nose are still aligned. That's good balance, We'd rather not have to be doing this, but if we must at least we're doing it well.

 

This is what often happens when the brain detects a back seat problem - throw the head forward. Excess hip flex is a sign of not enough ankle flex. You could use a little more ankle flex, but the focus should be on moving the hips forward instead of the head forward. Try this drill at home. From a standing position, shift your weight to your heels by moving to a semi seated position. Note how you'll "fall" backwards as if you were actually going to sit in a chair unless you also lean your upper body forward. Now try various ways to recover from this position. You can rock your head down (and your butt goes further behind). You can extend your legs and move your head forward (this is what is happening above). You can also slide your hips forward. In this case your knees should bend down a little more and you may get an odd out of balance to the back feeling with your upper body. If so, play with increased knee and ankle flex to get forward to too far forward. This is the kind of movement we want to see to release into the new turn.

 

 

This one shows why I'm worried about alignment. You've got your right leg tipped a lot more than the left but the edge angles are about the same. BTW - this is nice upper/lower body separation with respect to angulation. Notice though that the right ski is behind the inside ski. At this point in the turn (in the fall line) we want to see the tips even. The obvious solution: try pulling the inside ski back before you get to this point may work for you. But my suspicion is that this is a result of aggressively leaning laterally into the new turn to develop edge angles instead of a "fore-agonal" movement. Try it at home. Lean sideways against a wall with your legs straight (use your hand for support). Advance your inside hip forward with a little knee flex. Oops - that's rotary the wrong way - we don't want that. But remember where the spot where the hip is. Now back up to leaning against the wall and this time move your belly button over the spot where your hip was. That's moving both hips fore-agonally into the new turn. It's taking the kind of movement described under the previous pic from a recovery move into an offensive move. Looking at the pic above, this different movement would have your hips rotated about 20 degrees more into the new turn and cause your outside foot to be advanced. This fore-agonal movement is also the secret behind early edge engagement above the fall line because it directly starts tipping the skis instead of the up and over movement.

 

A little wordy - but I hope it helps you put a plan together.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

 

Welcome back Dawg!

 

Stupid question: Have you had your alignment rechecked since the surgery? It looks like you could raise the outside of the right boot a little higher, but my concern is that the real problem is that the left leg is now shorter. Do you know the duct tape trick?

 

I love the way these turns illustrate the concept of directional control of the skis. I agree with Ron that your list is too long for a list of things to work on, but believe that items 3-6 are more symptoms of 1 and 2 (i.e. you won't be able to fix them until 1 & 2 are addressed).

 

In the mean time there are a few habits developing you should keep an eye on:

- lifting only the the left inside ski

- stemming at the bottom of the turn

- absorbing with hip flex

 

We all know where that lifting idea comes from. If you're going to do it, do it symmetrically. In the first few clips, you're only stemming your right leg, but we see the left leg doing it in the next to last clip (skiing away from the camera). Make an effort to control speed through turn shape (finish the turn more) instead.

 

 

This is such a cool pic because it tells so so much. See all the snow spray? This is the stem that I was talking about. There's too much braking going on at the end of the turn. This is going to cause the kind of problems seen in the next two pics. In the mean time, notice that there is upper/lower body separation relative to the right leg but not the left. This is the kind of "counter" that we want to see (if your left leg was aligned with the right). The only problem is that in this position your right leg is blocking your cm from flowing inside the new turn. From here, the only way to get inside the new turn is to go up and then over.

 

This is what happens when the brakes go on too hard: excess knee flex and the butt goes behind the knees. Note though that the toes, knees and nose are still aligned. That's good balance, We'd rather not have to be doing this, but if we must at least we're doing it well.

 

This is what often happens when the brain detects a back seat problem - throw the head forward. Excess hip flex is a sign of not enough ankle flex. You could use a little more ankle flex, but the focus should be on moving the hips forward instead of the head forward. Try this drill at home. From a standing position, shift your weight to your heels by moving to a semi seated position. Note how you'll "fall" backwards as if you were actually going to sit in a chair unless you also lean your upper body forward. Now try various ways to recover from this position. You can rock your head down (and your butt goes further behind). You can extend your legs and move your head forward (this is what is happening above). You can also slide your hips forward. In this case your knees should bend down a little more and you may get an odd out of balance to the back feeling with your upper body. If so, play with increased knee and ankle flex to get forward to too far forward. This is the kind of movement we want to see to release into the new turn.

 

 

This one shows why I'm worried about alignment. You've got your right leg tipped a lot more than the left but the edge angles are about the same. BTW - this is nice upper/lower body separation with respect to angulation. Notice though that the right ski is behind the inside ski. At this point in the turn (in the fall line) we want to see the tips even. The obvious solution: try pulling the inside ski back before you get to this point may work for you. But my suspicion is that this is a result of aggressively leaning laterally into the new turn to develop edge angles instead of a "fore-agonal" movement. Try it at home. Lean sideways against a wall with your legs straight (use your hand for support). Advance your inside hip forward with a little knee flex. Oops - that's rotary the wrong way - we don't want that. But remember where the spot where the hip is. Now back up to leaning against the wall and this time move your belly button over the spot where your hip was. That's moving both hips fore-agonally into the new turn. It's taking the kind of movement described under the previous pic from a recovery move into an offensive move. Looking at the pic above, this different movement would have your hips rotated about 20 degrees more into the new turn and cause your outside foot to be advanced. This fore-agonal movement is also the secret behind early edge engagement above the fall line because it directly starts tipping the skis instead of the up and over movement.

 

A little wordy - but I hope it helps you put a plan together.

Hey, thanks for the in-depth analysis.  Good eye: you are the 1st person (besides the guy who makes my running orthotics) that one leg is shorter than the other, by nearly 1cm (which has been the case for all of my life, doesn't seem to have changed much since the broken leg)  I just had some old boots installed with a 6mm lifter on the left leg, will be skiing them tomorrow.  That may be why you see A-framing on the right leg: it is longer and my hips are never square. Plus, the fact that my left leg is tentative and I am not comfortable relaxing onto it yet to initiate.  But, it is getting slowly better, hopefully I will at least be pain free in a month.  

 

Regarding the flexing of the ankles: again, at least partially due to surgery.  The break (and all of the screws that were just removed) were just above the ankle, so my strength is still only around 60% of what it should be in the ankle joint. I am working on it, but that joint doesn't come back as quickly as, say, quad or hamstring strength. So, it is rather tough for me to "flex" the left boot.  But, I understand exactly what you are saying: I will work on it, not trying to drop the hips to absorb, but move the hips forward by flexing the ankles/knees as much as possible.  I know the fore-agonal movement well, I was working on it before I got hurt. Thanks for pointing out that I had largely forgotten it.  Again, tentative movements that hopefully will diminish as I heal up, but I don't want to develop bad habits.

 

Question: at the end of the turn, it isn't so much of a "pull the knees to the chest" move (which puts you into a seated chair position it seems) but a flexing of the knees and ankles, "pulling up the toes" at the end of the turn, correct?  I can work on this from standing releases, which is likely a good place to start.  

 

Hopefully that alignment issue gets fixed. I ski in a permanent A-frame due to poor alignment, even though (without that 6mm lifter even) I am dead flat on the boot board. But, that only tells you if you are in the middle of your boots, not if you have level hips and feet that track straight.  

 

 

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

Question: at the end of the turn, it isn't so much of a "pull the knees to the chest" move (which puts you into a seated chair position it seems) but a flexing of the knees and ankles, "pulling up the toes" at the end of the turn, correct?  I can work on this from standing releases, which is likely a good place to start.  

There are different ways to do turn initiation. If we're talking cross over or cross under, then "long leg, short leg" is the shortest description of what needs to happen. The long leg needs to become the short leg and vice versa.  For the (new inside) leg getting short, pulling up the toes may be an effective cue for assisting ankle flex to support the movement. You may find that lifting the inside big toe works better than lifting all toes. There are dozens of different cues that can help. What works best for you will depend on your learning style and where you're at with your skill growth/physical condition. Personally, that toe up focus does not work for me at all. Right now, for me, adding extension of the new outside ankle to leg extension is what made my transitions smoother. The 3 key factors are alignment (the hips and shoulder have to be facing inside of the new turn), the hips staying the same height off the snow (through simultaneous flex and extend) and diagonally forward movement of the center of mass (this can work either my moving the hips or by having the skis "cut off" a straight line motion of the cm).

 

Being stuck in my home office all day and doing lots of conference calls, I get to play around with at home drills. You can feel things a lot better in tennis shoes or bare feet than in ski boots. Two common classes of drills I do are:

- sitting in an office chair and turning in the chair while keeping the feet fixed to feel lateral ankle tipping movements (yes the boot restricts these movement, but you can still use these movements to pressure the boot)

- standing arm's length from a wall or door frame and experimenting with different foot versus hip positions  versus lateral or forward movement to see the effect on edge angle.

Doing this kind of experimentation can help you answer your own questions and speed up your progress.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

 

Question: at the end of the turn, it isn't so much of a "pull the knees to the chest" move (which puts you into a seated chair position it seems) but a flexing of the knees and ankles, "pulling up the toes" at the end of the turn, correct?  I can work on this from standing releases, which is likely a good place to start.  

There are different ways to do turn initiation. If we're talking cross over or cross under, then "long leg, short leg" is the shortest description of what needs to happen. The long leg needs to become the short leg and vice versa.  For the (new inside) leg getting short, pulling up the toes may be an effective cue for assisting ankle flex to support the movement. You may find that lifting the inside big toe works better than lifting all toes. There are dozens of different cues that can help. What works best for you will depend on your learning style and where you're at with your skill growth/physical condition. Personally, that toe up focus does not work for me at all. Right now, for me, adding extension of the new outside ankle to leg extension is what made my transitions smoother. The 3 key factors are alignment (the hips and shoulder have to be facing inside of the new turn), the hips staying the same height off the snow (through simultaneous flex and extend) and diagonally forward movement of the center of mass (this can work either my moving the hips or by having the skis "cut off" a straight line motion of the cm).

 

Being stuck in my home office all day and doing lots of conference calls, I get to play around with at home drills. You can feel things a lot better in tennis shoes or bare feet than in ski boots. Two common classes of drills I do are:

- sitting in an office chair and turning in the chair while keeping the feet fixed to feel lateral ankle tipping movements (yes the boot restricts these movement, but you can still use these movements to pressure the boot)

- standing arm's length from a wall or door frame and experimenting with different foot versus hip positions  versus lateral or forward movement to see the effect on edge angle.

Doing this kind of experimentation can help you answer your own questions and speed up your progress.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  One thing I noticed today when I got more aggressive in relaxing/bending the ankles and really rolling the COM down the hill was that if I really was aggressive in tipping the skis throughout the turn and didn't release early enough, I got in the backseat pretty quickly.  Also, the lift-the-toes seemed to have the effect of flattening the skis to aid in the transition.  Should I pull the feet back, or is that too aggressive of a movement?

 

On another note, for down-unweighting, am I just flexing ankles/knees and compressing, or do my hips compress as well?  It seems like you were saying no to the butt being lowered (back seat) but am wondering how I am going to get my legs parallel to the ground without flexing the hip.  I am not really working on that move, due to limited range of motion and lack of dynamic ability right now.  

 

I tried the boots with the 5mm lifter, and was much more neutral on the snow. I think I could go up maybe to 7-8mm and get completely flat. Felt much more equal when turning either left or right.  Overall, felt much more fluid today, really trying to remain countered a bit more and roll down the hill.

post #17 of 17

A couple of thoughts:

  pull the inside foot back (i think this relates to the stem seen in some still shots)

 

At this speed and with that much turn finish, its very easy for the uphill hip to fall back near the uphill tail.  Then, to get inside the new turn, a big move up and over the skis is what usually happens next.

 

So, less finish for the amount of speed you have.  But that may not be your intent.

 

 

Same turn shape, same finish:  Lessen the edge angle sooner and progressively in the bottom of the turn, allowing the skis to flatten both sooner and less dramatically.  This also allow the long leg / short leg to set up smoothly and the hips to flow across the feet smoothly

 

For me i try to think of less heel push in the bottom of the turn, and more steering of a flat(er) ski.

 

 

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