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Pulling Feet Back for Extension

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
My wife and I took a lesson last week from an instructor. He had us pull our feet back at the turn initiation to extend our legs (especially the new outside leg) and get forward onto the balls of our feet. When I got the timing right along with the tipping of the skis and my body moving downhill I had some strong turns. However, I do not recall seeing this movement pattern discussed in this forum. Did I just miss this or am I missing something else? Is this a techinque to be used in all conditions? If not, when would it not be used?
post #2 of 28
I was skiing with two PSIA examiner yesterday and they were talking about this movement as well. To be done correctly, the center of mass must be directed toward the next turn as the ski are pulled back. We worked on it a good part of the day, in the steep, in long and short radius turns and even in the bumps. They were practicing it for the demo team trial. Your instructor was right. My take on it is that this movement is much stronger than an ankle dorsi-flexion to pressure an early edge because it use the glute and the hamstring which are bigger more powerfull muscle group than tibialis anterior. However, I am sure that this movement has been discussed here in a previous thread.
post #3 of 28
It's a good techique for the bumps. It's also good for everyday skiing. I'm working on it myself so that I apply more even edge pressure through the turns rather than mostly at the bottom half of the turn. I think of it as throwing myself down the hill and letting my skis follow me.

I've been working on 3 types of turns:

Turning and pushing snow down the hill (late edge set)

Turning and pushing snow across the hill

Turning and pushing snow up the hill (requires the movement you describe). This is a great tactic for skiing ice, edging is done in the upper part of the turn rather than the middle or lower part.
post #4 of 28
Snowonder until the end of last year I would have said that this is very good technique and indeed this technique is very effective. You will find much on this subject in the archives and many posts by me advocating this technique. To make a long story short, a tornado in the form of a D team member came along and turned my trailer upside down. It took me all summer to right it and understand what changes he was advocating.
Quote:
I was skiing with two PSIA examiner yesterday and they were talking about this movement as well. To be done correctly, the center of mass must be directed toward the next turn as the ski are pulled back. We worked on it a good part of the day, in the steep, in long and short radius turns and even in the bumps. They were practicing it for the demo team trial. Your instructor was right. My take on it is that this movement is much stronger than an ankle dorsi-flexion to pressure an early edge because it use the glute and the hamstring which are bigger more powerfull muscle group than tibialis anterior.
Quote:
It's a good techique for the bumps. It's also good for everyday skiing. I'm working on it myself so that I apply more even edge pressure through the turns rather than mostly at the bottom half of the turn. I think of it as throwing myself down the hill and letting my skis follow me.
Using the hamstring muscles and the gluts to extend while guiding the inside ski into the turn introduces rotation of the hips countering into the inside of the new turn for the top third or so. As TM has said, its like throwing oneself down the hill and letting the skis follow. You are on an early edge but you are banking the top third of the turn. At turn initiation your new inside ski is back, from this position you cannot angulate.

Second, because of the position of the hips in the turn, you're new outside ski will edge before you're new inside ski unless you pressure the ball of you're foot as you say and introduce a lot of steering of the inside ski. You will feel the resultant torque in the knee and while you are on the balls of you're feet, you cannot effectively angulate.

The result of all of this is fairly clean early edge lines at the top of the turn and heavy edging in the fall line. I thought this was as good as it gets.

What I have sense realized from looking at force diagrams, is that throughout the middle half of our turns, centrifugal force and gravity do not line up and there is a forward component to the resultant force. All we have to do is sink into it, resist it and we stay forward. Towards the end of our turns gravity and centrifugal force line up to give us a very strong lateral force directed down the hill. We now have very little forward force to resist against. If we don't extend or we are still driving through the tongues with our shins we will fall into the back seat.

As stated, at the end of our turns we have a large lateral component to work with and little forward component. What we need to do is use movement patterns to generate a forward component and just give in to the lateral force. This moves us diagonally. The most efficient technqiue would generate a forward component into the old turn with the least amount of energy and forget movement patterns that move laterally. We don't need to use movement patterns that move us laterally we already have a lateral force. We just simply have to relax certain muscle and give into or use that lateral force.

What I am doing now is dorsiflexing the old inside ankle and extending the old inside leg from the knee up. This gives a very forward extention into the finish of the old turn. I relax the old outside leg and give into the lateral force. I roll up to neutral with my ski tips equal, I am forward and the pressure is over the whole foot and not just on the ball of my foot. That is nolo's barefoot feel. Now I am in a position to continue rolling my hips, dorsiflex the new inside ankle and flex the upper leg (shorten the new inside leg). I allow my hips to drop to the inside with angulation right from the turn initiation.

With use of countering the upper body over the skis at the top of the turn (gorrila type move), I am able to move way inside yet have the skis arc around much earlier in the turn. If I have not generated enough forward component I cannot steer the skis into a tight arc because I am back. Then I feel stuck on the inside ski. I am now not depending on banking the top of the turn.

The result is wicked angulation even on telemark skis and two tracks that are carved or scarved evenly from the top of the turn to the end of the turn will little notice of heavy edging in the fall line. I see two tracks at the fall line even in short radius turns. That is how them D team members get so low on easy terrain at slow speeds.

Steeps are no different, you have a large lateral downhill component of force and little or no forward component. Use a dorsiflex of the ankle and upper leg extension of the uphill ski. This is almost a straight forward extension but the center of mass is moving diagonally into the turn. I can bring angulation into the picture quick and have even edging from just above the fall line through the end of the turn. No floaty feeing here just rock solid edges. Works the same in moguls.

Best of all these movement patterns can be introduced at every level of skiing and if understood make a huge and profound difference right away. Its far easier to perfect the blending than pulling back the foot and banking. You're two PSIA examiners can forget the D team.

Just my two cents worth. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #5 of 28
Olle Larson wrote an article in Ski Racing about this about 5 or 6 years ago. Ron LeMaster talks about it in a publication he wrote called The Nuts and Bolts of Skiing. It's been discussed in one form or another quite a bit. It's a concept, not what really happens. Somewhere I have a video of Michael von Gruenigen where his feet appear to stay back as his body contiues down the hill. It's the most obvious example I've seen of it. Race coaches have been talking about it for several years. The best description I can come up with is that it involves repositioning your feet in relation to your center of mass(which has inertia keeping it constant)
I know that Rusty has a different preception of it because he has stated that "pulling the feet back" doesn't work for him, yet he is still forward on his skis(he must be, he's Level III) It's all in how you relate the message to the student. The net result is being on the front of the ski. I was at a PSIA clinic about 4 years ago where they were trying to explain it but hadn't quite figured it out yet. Two years ago when I did my Ed Credit there was no mention(the examiner was on a different "trip")

[ January 13, 2004, 07:31 AM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #6 of 28
I am having difficulty with this technique (other than emphasizing early edge engagement). Why would you pull anything back if you are in the right position to start with?

But I must say that I find it effective in bumps, where at the top of the bumps the hips can be somewhat behind the ankles as you reach the top of the bump.
post #7 of 28
Tom
That was the question my examiner asked me in my coaches exam. "Does the foot really go back?" The answer is no, it just doesn't go down the hill as fast in relation to the CM. This gets you forward on the skis.(I passed the exam)
post #8 of 28
Isn't Pierre's dorsiflexion doing the same thing - holding the foot back and letting the core move into the new turn??

Pierre - great explanation!!!

This fits with the movement dicusssed a few weeks ago - extending the old inside leg at turn initiation. I found that this must be done with dorsiflexion.

When I see good skiers - it almost looks as though they are pulling their feet from behind them in the middle of the turn.
post #9 of 28
Pierre adds the "how" to the "what" [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ January 13, 2004, 09:49 PM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Frenchie,

Just curious where were you skiing? Were the examiners from your hill?
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by SnoWonder:
and get forward onto the balls of our feet.
If an instructor on our ski area were heard saying this, they would be taken to the wood shed for a severe flogging. We have been emphasing to our students to feel the whole foot, and to balance on the whole foot. When you are balanced on the whole foot, turning the skis becomes easier. Try this the next time you are on the snow. On flat terrain with your skis flat, lean forward on to the balls of your feet and try to turn one ski with your foot only, no upperbody rotation allowed! Watch what happens to your ski. Then try the same by leaning back on to your heels. What happens to your skis then? Then go back and forth until you feel even pressure on the bottom of your whole foot. What happens next? Your skis should be easier to turn much like a propeller on an airplane turns easier, when it is balanced on the propeller shaft. Your skis are like the propeller, and your legs are similar to the shaft of the propeller. I believe you will find turning your skis will require less effort, when you are balanced on your whole foot, rather than on the ball or heel.

Any other opinions out there about this?
post #12 of 28
Well, well, when I skied with those 2 guys they never mentioned extending on the ball of the foot. They mentioned pulling the feet back as you extend your new inside leg. I just don't want to put in their mouth words they never said. I will ask them their thought on it next weekend.

On the other hand, in 2001 at the PSIA West ski convention at Mammoth, there were some Canadian demo team members that were talking a great deal about moving on the ball of the foot during the initiation of the turn and relaxing the ankle to move more toward the heel during the control and completion phases of the turn. We should ask ski professor if this is still current thinking. They were probably all mistaken as there is only one way to ski and some of our members have enlightened us with the absolute truth and knowledge. I wonder why those guys do not make a video and book of their method of skiing and make their contribution to posterity.
post #13 of 28
Frenchie you did not mention the ball of the foot part in you're discription of what they said and for that reason I hesitated infering the examiners said it. You went on to describe you're understanding of what they said and my take on it is that you would move towards the ball of the foot. My mistake for infering that they actually said it.

There is certainly more than one way to ski and you need not be cynical of what I said. My post was intended as debate not a put down. Pulling back the feet and moving into the turn is still very high level skiing. I certainly would not say that I skied poorly last year.

Keep in mind that the description that I gave was for a cross over turn. The same mechanics apply to a cross under turn but it looks different and some of the movement patterns are altered. Cross under turns using doriflexion look like the feet are being pulled back.

The only reason that I jumped on this thread is because of you're comment here.
Quote:
My take on it is that this movement is much stronger than an ankle dorsi-flexion to pressure an early edge because it use the glute and the hamstring which are bigger more powerfull muscle group than tibialis anterior.
I no longer believe this statement. Dorsiflexion is not used to pressure an early edge. Dorsiflexion is used to move you forward over you're skis in the most efficient manner. If I can accomplish the same thing more fluidly and in better balance with the anterior tibialis muscles, then bigger more powerful muscles are introducing an inefficiency. Dorsiflexing allows a skier to be much more fluid and square to the skis at crossover. The edging comes from the fact that you are in a better anatomical position to apply new edges. Better anatomical position translates to "easier to perfect".
post #14 of 28
Need to look at the reason the instructor told you to pull your foot back? Many skiers allow the inside leg to lead too much thus putting it well in front of the hips and the skier out of balance. I will often ask skiers to hold the inside leg back with dorsiflex of the inside ankle. If it is a real problem or they are unable to hold the ankle in a strong position and continue to allow it to straigten then I may tell them to pull the foot back at turn initiation. All of this to get them in a better position at the start of the turn.

More often I will give them activities of pulling the outside ski thru the turn so it catches up with the inside ski. This does a couple things. 1. Keeps the ski moving forward along the line of travel and not push to a skid. 2. Because the ski is moving on its edge it holds better. 3. Give a smooth transition from turn to turn. 4. Helps achieve a nuetral at turn transition where the skier is balanced and the feet are under the hips.

There are many ways to skin a cat. Some are more beneficial than others but if you don't have a knife you need to teach them another way. Just be clear in what you want for a result and that what you are giving them may only be a step in the process. Often people intereptation of something is far different than the intention or the the desired outcome. That is when you need to find the words, activity and sesation awareness for that student that will help them reach thier desired outcome.

I think Peire's description was outstanding and something I try to incorporate in my skiing more than pulling my foot back but just as he said in was an evolution for him and I can see why a coach may ask someone to pull the foot back. I have done it myself but I will ussually try to coach dorsiflex of the inside ankle as you ski the outside leg thru the turn as my first option.

Skiing is exploration of movement and sometimes you need it all. It takes gross movement to get to refinement so keep exploring a wide range of movement options. GOOD LUCK
post #15 of 28
I'm with TomB and Jimbo. Our equipment allows us so many options when our stance is centered and stacked... Why would we want to "get forward" on our skis? My staff is slowly realizing that I see all that goes on at my paltry little teaching area. There have been many days in my short tenure here where I have taken teachers to the proverbial "woodshed" for a good flogging when they use words like "push on the tongues of your boots" or "get forward" or (my favorite) "push your heels out"!! Our students have been responding so well to a centered stance and properly taught skill sets... it just blows me away when a veteran instructor makes it so difficult and then asks me "Oh. You heard that? I was just trying to blah blah blah...."

Oh well. Can't change Dogma in a day. I guess I'll just ahve to keep chiseling away and be patient.

Spag :

PS. Oh yeah... Would an action such as "pulling the foot/feet back" be considered a TECHNIQUE or a TACTIC? (tricky subject!)

PPS. Pierre. Great descriptions. You state that you are "dorsifexing the old inside ankle and extending the old inside leg from the knee up". CLOSING the ankle while OPENING the knee and hip? Am I reading that right? Those two movements seem counter-productive, taken at face value. I might be a little confused there, but I can't go try it out on the snow just yet. (I'm on Injured Reserve right now with two broken ribs. I can't ski for another week at least.) That should be interesting to try out!

[ January 14, 2004, 07:26 AM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #16 of 28
The term "getting forward" is not very accurate for what is being described here. Getting forward in relation to what? Shoulders? Hips? Sheez, I've seen Level III's pulling their feet back so far and so much at the fall line entry (to extend forward) it looks like they're taking off from the lip of a nordic jump, with legs extended straight and a total disconnection from the feet...then they have to wait 'til the bottom of the turn for everything to re-center, and of course the top of the turn has no edge/turn shape accuracy....(read mushy turn entry) Yuk....

Moving the feet at turn transition is a wonderful skill. The amount of movement of the feet for-aft to re-center the body is inches (even less!). It is an accurate, disciplined skill. It is not a "gross" movement in any way.

Stand on a flat and slide your feet fore and aft. Now smaller. Smaller still. Notice how little movement it takes of the feet to change our perceived center. You're a helluva lot better skier than me if you can move your entire body mass to the sweet spot on your feet every turn. Me? My feet are not in a bucket. They need to move at turn transition in order for me to be playful on the snow. I put my feet where needed, (split second) then rock on! Every turn , except when I'm lazy.....

Pierre is on track in his discussion of the tibialis anterior muscle in dorsiflexion. When skiing, this IS the most active muscle of our bodies throughout a ski turn - it's always firing to assist us in our balancing. Yet, we very seldom utilize it consciously. By keeping our ankle flexion through turn transition with the T-A, a quicker, more accurate placement of the feet can be achieved. This is a great muscle to explore in another epicski thread: "functional tensioning"

Moving our feet at turn transition (edge change) can and should be used for our re-centering. It's fun to play with, and the amount of movement necessary is precise - to re-center. The movement is imperceptible in a good skier - if you can see it, it ain't it. It's Great to play with in all types of snow and conditions. It'll do wonders for your short turns.

Which is easier: Moving a 100 lb rock or a 10 lb stone?

Put 'em where you need 'em and go!
post #17 of 28
Spag: PS. Oh yeah... Would an action such as "pulling the foot/feet back" be considered a TECHNIQUE or a TACTIC? (tricky subject!)

Tactic. After all, it is a corrective movement. As Whygimf aptly said: if you can see that movement, you already screwed up. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Notorious Spag:
PPS. Pierre. Great descriptions. You state that you are "dorsifexing the old inside ankle and extending the old inside leg from the knee up". CLOSING the ankle while OPENING the knee and hip? Am I reading that right? Those two movements seem counter-productive, taken at face value. I might be a little confused there, but I can't go try it out on the snow just yet. (I'm on Injured Reserve right now with two broken ribs. I can't ski for another week at least.) That should be interesting to try out!
Exactly. This other post by Pierre may help you as it did me. In context, these two fit together to explain it. When I did this move last weekend, I was delighted with the simple power produced as a result.
post #19 of 28
ssh said:
Quote:
When I did this move last weekend, I was delighted with the simple power produced as a result.
To you and everyone else. You make the sinking feeling severe doubts and confusion of completely taking apart my skiing and really digging deep for understanding over the last 8 months worth every doubtful minute. I love that term "Simple power" because that is exactly what I feel.

Since being back on snow I have taken these movement back into wedge turns and introduced them to lower level skiers. These movements along with left tip to go left and right tip to go right seem to produce near centerline turns and big smiles in a hurry. They are especially productive at the intermediate level. Older skiers notice a big reduction in muscle use right away.

Other instructors have said that my own skiing has changed dramatically from last year to this year. They say that it looks far more athletic yet I am freezing to death on the slopes because I am skiing fast and not generating enough heat. I worked with tiny tots for an hour to day to warm up. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Todo I think you're post was outstanding because even though we may have more efficient stuff in our bag of tricks its always best to have more and be able to recognize when to pull it out of the closet. Not everyone responds the same.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by ssh:
This other post by Pierre[/url] may help you as it did me. In context, these two fit together to explain it. When I did this move last weekend, I was delighted with the simple power produced as a result.[/qb]
ssh

Ditto that for me too.

Pierre

I'll have to say your efforts over the last 8 months that you reference have been worth it...at least from where I sit. I think many here will agree with me that you've posted some really good and helpful posts here recently. I probably shouldn't speak for everyone, but they've definitely helped me. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] Thanks!!

[ January 14, 2004, 08:41 PM: Message edited by: Coach13 ]
post #21 of 28
Thanks ssh!! The post you sent me to sheds a little more light. Soon as these bones knit I'll check it out. It looks a bit like something I'm already working on, with some differences. Pierre's interpretation might be the piece I'm missing. I guess I'll find out in a while!

Cheers,
Spag :

Oh, and yes. TACTIC.

[ January 14, 2004, 08:50 PM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #22 of 28
OOps! Double-post.

[ January 14, 2004, 08:49 PM: Message edited by: Notorious Spag ]
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
Since being back on snow I have taken these movement back into wedge turns and introduced them to lower level skiers. These movements along with left tip to go left and right tip to go right seem to produce near centerline turns and big smiles in a hurry. They are especially productive at the intermediate level. Older skiers notice a big reduction in muscle use right away.
OK, so how do you do this introduction? Do you have them make the move statically on skis? How do you help them make it in wedge turns?
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally posted by SLATZ:
I know that Rusty has a different preception of it because he has stated that "pulling the feet back" doesn't work for him, yet he is still forward on his skis(he must be, he's Level III)
Getting balanced on my skis involved getting my upper body aligned. I was okay from the waist down. I was horrible two years ago from the waist up. I like to ski in the classic canadian upper body position. I think it looks cool and I like the way the skis perform. By the way....the epitome of this position is Harald Harb. I can't believe I said that! :

It's really strange. I was playing with this today. When I try to pull my inside foot back it just doesn't move much.

I was teaching a group of legit level 7's this afternoon.....good skiers. I have a new toy in my video camera. One of the skiers has way to much tip lead. Every turn is begun by pushing her inside foot forward as opposed to tipping, turning, or turping (my new word for the bio-mechanics of a scarved turn). I think I finally captured on film, in slow-moe, one reason her foot scoots forward during the turn completion. She lowers her pelvis in a sort of hard edge set at the end of every turn. It looks like as her rear end lowers she has no option other than to push her foot forward. It's almost squeezed out from under her.

The remedy is clearly inside foot tipping as opposed to pressure via the hard edge set.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
OK, so how do you do this introduction? Do you have them make the move statically on skis? How do you help them make it in wedge turns?
Yes I start out statically on flat terrain and get them to be able to keep over the whole foot and extend by opening the knee. They are looking for pressure over the whole foot and slight contact on the front of the shins. I next have them do this in a gliding wedge then extend and flex in a gliding wedge.

My next introduction is extend and tip the right ski to go right and the left ski to go left using the foot to flatten the ski. Once the tip is happening I tell them to guide the right tip to go right and left tip to go left. Its a sequence. extend foward tip the right ski to go right and the left ski to go left guide left tip to go left and right tip to go right. Extend tip guide, tune into the whole foot, ski mo miles, slow line fast.

I spend a great deal of time getting them to understand how to extend using a combination of lifting the top of their feet towards their shins and opening up the knee. The get it much faster if they have never skied or are a kid.

At the intermediate level the first comment is "Oh that's different than anything I have every heard before" followed by "I think I like this way better, I feel more in control".

[ January 15, 2004, 05:27 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
To All,

Here is the rest of the story. The instructor we had was a Level III, an instructor trainer and examiner, member of regional demo team and very nearly a memo of the national demo team. He developed the progression, I think, to accomplish a cople of things. He knew we were both recreational racers, and that we wanted to get better in moguls, particularly on steeper slopes. I have a tendency to get back and stay flexed and my wife was not starting her carve early enough in the turn. So I think his progression was pretty well conceived. He wanted me to get on stronger/straighter leg and stay forward and he wanted my wife to start the turn tipping or falling downhill for edge engagement. We later took this into the bumps, where we pulled back the feet on the top of the moguls to get the tips to dive down and maintain snow contact.

After reading some of the other posts referenced here, am I correct that dorsiflexion accomplishes much the same thing as pulling the feet back? There are some subtle nuances as to which is more positive or efficient or which creates fewer negative impacts I would guess. Once you're moving on snow, you don't really pull your feet back, but rather pull your body forward. I will also play with Fastman's leg extension turn. This could be useful in a race course especially when it is steeper.

Thanks for the input. I always enjoy Pierre's posts since he comes from the engineering perspective. I don't always understand and thus appreciate them fully, but I try. Thanks again.
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Another note. I had placed a heel lift in the boot to see if it helped with a fit issue. I had been wondering if it was affecting my fore/aft balance. On a chair lift ride the instrucotr asked about my boots and surmised that I had something in there. He then took it out because he thought that it was causing some problems. He liked the way I skied without the heel lift better. I was able to get an appointment with the boot fitter to get the problem resolved without the heel lift. Too bad more instructors aren't able to address equipment issues of the students. It was easier in our case being a day-long private.
post #28 of 28
Last year I also had an instructor spot my heel lifts and tell me to take them out. He also thought it improved my skiing to not have them.
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