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Needing some serious slalom help...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Im just here looking for some advice on how to be really really fast in a slalom course. I know how to ski slalom, and my slalom turns are dialed in and are very solid; outside of the course that is. I realize how everything is supposed to work, but i cant seem to transfer those dialed-in energetic turns to a slalom course as much as i would like to. I just cant seem to be as fast as i think i should be (my GS finishes are a solid top ten and im getting faster everytime i race). I'm not sure if it is my line or me jsut suffering from not inspecting the course well enough on race day. At practice im usually neck and neck with our top slalom guy who finished in top 5 today. I dont know what my problem is in races. Any advice would be great. I seem to just suck on race day, and my team and i are a little sick of it, because we could be going to USCSA mideast confrence regionals if we keep placing 4th or higher in GS and slalom. Unfortunately i only get 3 nights of training before the next slalom race and most likely one of them will be GS (the rest of the team wants to work on their GS since they are strong in slalom). If anyone has advice, drills, tips, or new ways of thinking/skiing toss them my way, because i shouldnt be racing slalom as poorly as i have been.
post #2 of 11
It seems to me as if you worry too much about the little things. It sounds like you do not have a technique issue, but a head issue. On race day, I would suggest clearing your mind as much as possible--especially when you are in the starting gate. Try to forget about results, pressure, points, etc etc. None of that will matter once the starter says Go! Focus on skiing a good clean run, and progress from there. No one can be Tomba in a day. Have a goal of getting better and better with each race, but do not put too much pressure on yourself. Take a load off! You are not running for president. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 11
Hi Greg,

Truckman offers you good advice. If you are doing it in training and not in the races than your mental approach to the race situation is most likely the problem. Try to isolate what your mental focus is at training (most likely specific technical or tactical objectives for the run) and take that same focus to the starting gate of the race. Get rid of the race day mental clutter (points, hardware, spectators, team results, etc.) by replacing it with your your training focus. If you do that results will take care of themselves.

One other thing I can suggest that may be helpful. You always want to make the training situation as identical to race day as possible. One way to do that is to set double pole coarses. Just the visual contrast of looking down the slope at a double pole coarse on race day when training always consists of single pole coarses can be enough to throw off your focus and reinforce the idea that race day is different. If your training at KB tell Richard you want to have double pole coarses set, if not every day then at least the last evening of slalom training of the week. As long as you have enough teammates it is not that much more work for your coach, just more gates for you guys to carry while he sets and you can set the outside poles for him. Also on days when single pole coarses are being set always set double pole for the combinations.

Hope this helps Greg. Good luck at the races. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #4 of 11
I agree with the pair of mans above. Sounds like more of a tactical issue than a technical one. Mimicing exactly what goes on race day is going to be most important thing to break the trend and the advice above is good. One thing i would add is to approach your training runs more as a race. Make sure you get a good warm up and inspect the course. Get yourself psyched for the first one and go all out like it was a race. Settling in to a training course and skiing well after a couple of runs isn't the same as making the first one count on race day. If there is a reset do the same thing on the new course and go through your whole race day ritual. Don't worry about the other guys getting more runs, go for quality not quantity. In fact if you usually race on ruts then let the others rut up the training course first before you do your big run. Training on a clean course until it ruts gradually isn't the same as jumping in on a course already full of ruts and chatter marks.
post #5 of 11
Hey Helluvaskier,

Good topic and question. I have the same problem in SL as you, however, this season I've been getting faster and faster each race. I think the reason is the way I inspect and imagine myself going through the race coarse. No longer do I just think about gate to gate execusion I visualize ARC TO ARC . This has made a giant differance in both GS and SL. Forget about the gate and just picture the turn shape you want and how you are going to link them together.

A SL race has so much going on that some times it cane be overwhelming to try and memorize all of it. I would suggest not to memorize it all. Instead memorize it in block chunks like:

Ok, good aggressive start, skate to second gate.

5 good rhythm gates into flush, exit to the left.

Rhythm down headwall into hairpin, exit right.

so on and so forth I think you get the picture. Always making sure to pick out those trouble spots like fall aways and crankers exiting flushes and hairpins.

I hope some of this will be usefull it seems to work for me.
Hey do you have any races at Togg this year. I know we have an all confrence meet I was woundering if your team is attending. Good luck with the rest of the season. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #6 of 11
You may or may not want any advice from me, but these are some things that have worked for me.
You have to trust your instincts.... race day is not the time to be thinking about your technique, line, body position etc. That is what training is for. On race day you have to be on autopilot. Attack the course without cluttering your mind. You should only be thinking about making it to the bottom as fast as possible.
Inspect twice. Only.
Don't memorize the course. Just make note of where the combinations are, or any blind gates, or tricky fallaways. It's going to look different at speed anyway. Look ahead.
Don't get psyched up too early. Talk with your teammates at the start before your run. Not about skiing. Tell jokes. Talk about football. Whatever. When you are 5th in line, begin to focus. Think about 2 things maximum. For me, those 2 things are "look ahead" and "stay forward".
Last, don't watch the guy in front of you.

Might be worth a try....
post #7 of 11
Might come down to an important subject not mentioned, the right kind of wax.
post #8 of 11
I'd listen to U.P. on this one.
Lots of racers tend to pinch the top of the turn just a little. This is common. Work on it in training.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the help guys, i hope i can put it to good use. A lot of people now have told me that its all in my head on race days. I guess ill have to just jump out there and do it...

Cera F, i am racing at the all conference this weekend. I'm pretty excited to see where i stand in GS against the top Clarkson skiers. I'm not so excited to see where i stand in slalom... Hopefully this race will turn out better than last weekend. I'm deffinitly putting my time in this week in training.

I'll report back... I'd like to get a top 20 (in our confrence) in slalom - might be aiming high right off the start but judging from my skiing i should be easily capable of top 10.


post #10 of 11
There are some good articles in the American Ski Coach 1999-2000 Issue 1 and 1999-2000 Issue 2 that you may wish to review.

There are two articles in Issue 1 "Mental Skills in Alpine Ski Racing" and "Mental Skills Training Part I: Goal Setting" and one article in Issue 2 "Mental Skills Training Part II: Arousal Regulation".


The American Ski Coach is published four times a year by USSA's Education Department, featuring insightful articles by key sport coaches, leaders and other professionals.

All of these articles are excerpts from the book Take Your Brain to the Arena: Mental Skills in Alpine Ski Racing which is now retitled as Take Your Brain to the Mountain.


Take Your Brain To The Mountain (book)The mental side of sport performance is critical to any success in athletics. This book is a guide for use by athletes and coaches in the implementation of the mental skill competencies in an overall training plan. The USSA Education Department, the Sport Psychology Division of the USSA Sport Science Department, and the Psychology staff of the U.S. Olympic Committee developed the manual. The 88-page book contains instruction sections, eight self-assessment tests, 33 different exercises, and a step-by-step model for creating a mental skills program. $15.00 each
post #11 of 11
Hi Greg, I can only say that I have a similar problem. I am not even trying for USCSA racing, but I am a fairly strong league racer over in California. When I am freeskiing, everything's fine; I can make good SL turns without thinking twice about it. My teammates learn the technigue from me (or so they say [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] )

When on the course, I don't see the gates; all I see is the ruts made by the racers before me (and I can see two ruts ahead - but not gates), and everytime I survive each rut, I lose a fraction of a second because I keep thinking about it. I know that it's all psychological, I know that ruts are good, that they give me extra speed, but then I lose all my instincts and start stemming, and even forget about pole planting : :

On GS and SuperG, everything is fine (no matter how deep the ruts are there), and I post good times.

As a league racer, I don't get much training aside from 2 or 3 clinics a season and lots of free skiing.

Advice anybody?

[ February 06, 2003, 03:24 PM: Message edited by: AlexG ]
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