Hi Bob -
Sorry I didn't have time in the last couple of days to respond fully to your insightful and thought-provoking posts in this thread. I love getting into these sorts of in-depth discussions with you.> ...One thing we must be careful of is not to confuse discussions of
> technique with discussions of how to TEACH technique. All of your
> concerns about confusing students when introducing these movements
> are valid, but my intent here has merely been to discuss the mechanics...
You are absolutely right. I did intentionally shift the focus a bit away from mechanics and towards teaching. They are indeed quite different things, but both are important, so, taking your lead, I'm going to continue to discuss both, but point out which is which (when I'm not simply responding to points that you raised).> ...First, I can tell you that, while instructors bring it up now and then,
> I've never had students express confusion--or even concern--about
> whether these movements are simultaneous or sequential.
That's good to know. I guess I was extrapolating from my personal interest in such details, and would have thought this issue would come up more often, at least with advanced skiers. I obviously will bow to your much more recent and extensive teaching experience. The last time I taught regularly (outside of family and friends) was in the very early '80's when (according to my daughter) dinosaurs like me still roamed the ski hills on straight sticks.> ...I would much rather see a skier with diverging tips as a result
> of an OVER-active inside ski than one who pushes the tails and
> skids because of too LITTLE inside leg activity.
Phew! I'm glad, because if we ever finally get the chance to ski together, I would hate for you to look down and see all the little nicks on my topsheets near the tails of my skis along the inside edges, and then proceed to beat me up for it.
Obviously, I agree totally with your POV on the need for an active inner leg, erring on the side of too much activity, as well as agreeing with all of your supporting arguments and examples.> ...the distinction between simultaneous and sequential movements
> really DOES matter in "pushoff" turn initiations.
Again, total agreement, especially in heavy deep snow and slop (as you point out).> ...For this reason, your version is not an equivalent exercise. Indeed,
> holding the skis in one place or position is almost the antithesis of
> Thousand Steps! While it may have its place, it is not a viable
> alternative to Thousand Steps, at least for this purpose. Trying to
> "keep the V-angle constant" is indeed a contrast to the focus on
> MOVEMENT that is the essence of Thousand Steps.
Yup, here is where our POV's (on teaching, not mechanics) diverge somewhat. I suspect the reason for the divergence is that you see 1000 Steps as a multipurpose exercise that can simultaneously develop dynamicism in edging, rotary and weighting, whereas I think it would be more effective in teaching to approach this goal from two directions, each with its own distinct exercise, eg, the "Constant V-angle" (or something similar) and the "1000 Steps". In my previous post, I certainly didn't intend to come across as dismissive of the 1000 Steps, it was just that I didn't have time to fully go into how it would fit into teaching.
You have described extremely well the need for dynamicism, and the benefits of the 1000 Steps in achieving this goal, so I won't repeat or attempt to rephrase what you said. We are in total agreement on this as the final desired endpoint. However, I think that this is asking an awful lot of some students. Basically, I feel that by (say) alternating between the "Constant V" exercise and the "1000 Steps", it lets students experience the static aspects of the desired positional end-point (with only few and small L-R weight adjustments needed), and from there, they can move on to discover (through the 1000 Steps exercise) how to introduce the desired and necessary dynamicism that will allow them (through the use of micro L-R weight shifts and micro-rotary inputs) to deal with the inevitable unwanted perturbations from this position by rough snow, momentary out-of-balance moments, etc..
Part of my concern is that I don't feel that the "1000 Steps" lets the student know what he/she should aim for until they actually achieve the goal. This is along the lines of Ant's rant on (poorly executed) guided discovery a couple of weeks ago. In contrast, IMHO, I feel that my "Constant V-angle" exercise on billiard-table smooth snow lets the student: (a) Get their first experience skiing with diverging tips that doesn't result in them doing a face plant between said tips [img]smile.gif[/img] ; and then, (b) Let the student learn how to achieve and adjust the edging of the inside leg and adjust the inward force required to hold the legs at the desired separation (and at various V-angles) without having to simultaneously deal with any L-R weight issues (above what they use in their normal skiing).> ...You also suggested that Thousand Steps involve "unnecessary motion,"
> which I guess is the point we disagree on. If they involve unnecessary
> motion, then they are not happening correctly.
Sorry. I was unclear and overly terse on this. I have absolutely no disagreement with you that a large number of micro-LR-weight shifts and small rotary inputs are indeed necessary (in fact, *central* ) to achieving the desired dynamicism in skiing, and, in particular, the correct execution of the 1000 Steps exercise.
However, as I stated in the previous section, my intent was to suggest dividing up the approach to good robust turns into two parts. In one, the student gets familiar with, and then commits to "muscle memory", the static aspects of the desired goal, and from there, moves on to the more difficult problem of handling the inevitable perturbations (e.g., rough snow, ruts, etc.) via dynamicism. What I was trying to get across with my phrase, "unnecessary motion" was that in the "Constant V" exercise (not the 1000 Steps), any shuffling or stepping means that the either the student hasn't refined his control enough to achieve a stable position, or that the current snow conditions are simply too rough for this exercise at the student's current level of development. Thinking about it a bit more, I think that students could easily start with either exercise and then alternate between the two in their attempt to converge on good turns.> ...We are at a point, Tom, where it would be helpful to be on snow
> to explore this further. ... Trust me on this one--I've done it more
> than a few times! ...
I agree. It would be most useful to take this onto the snow. I totally trust your advice, insights and explanations, and would absolutely love to have you coach me (if you could stand dealing with a blithering old slowpoke). I'll keep you informed if I ever get the chance to get to Colorado or to next season's Bearfest in SLC. (...bad name - reminds me of CB radio days...). Obviously, should you ever get to my neck of the woods, pls. do the same.
Finally, I have not forgotten about the one remaining point of discussion (from earlier in the thread) about whether tails can move to the outside when the tips go to the inside. I need to make up a couple of diagrams and post a link to them to discuss this properly, but unfortunately just discovered that the place where I had some on-line images posted(PhotoPoint) went out of business, so I'm looking around for another place.
More later, and thank you once again for the GREAT discussion, and a heartfelt thanks to AC for providing the forum for it.
Tom / PM[ June 14, 2002, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]