or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Dorsiflexion "Muscle" Question
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Dorsiflexion "Muscle" Question

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
I've got big dorsiflexion problems.

In a clinic this weekend, the leader mentioned that he really has to "work" the back of his lower leg to achieve proper ankle activity. He even used the phrase "feel the burn".

Now, I already feel plenty of "burn" from working the muscles in the front of my ankle and top of my foot - but that still ain't doing the trick for me! I'm thinking maybe I need to enlist a little help from the rear....

Some questions for you:

How hard do you "work" to get your ankles to do what they need to?

What part of this work occurs in the muscles in the back of the leg - calves, hamstrings, and even gluts?

If you think I might be onto something here, do you have any practical ideas on how to "smarten up" these muscles?

(Note: I know bootfitting is a factor here. If you have any interest in that piece of this, go to my post in the Gear area -
http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...7;t=000533;p=4 Warning - it ain't pretty!)

Apologies if this has already been covered here. If so, could you steer me to that thread(s).

Thanks.

[ January 28, 2004, 07:20 PM: Message edited by: Downwardly Mobile ]
post #2 of 48
Downwardly Mobile, I am interested in your clinician's perspective on dorsiflexion. Functional ankle tension is a great foundation for good skiing so I am quite curious about his remarks particularly on "feeling the burn" and how he "has to work the muscles of the back of his lower leg".
Before I respond more at length, can you contact him and get more details? If so, ask him exactly what muscles he's talking about when he "feels the burn", what he does to activate them, why he does so and when. In what context were his remarks made, and what was he trying to achieve in your clinic? If you find some answers please report back.
Also, please be more specific about what you're doing and why it isn't doing the trick for you. What are you trying to achieve, and what's not happening? I can't get to your post from your link, relative to bootfitting.
post #3 of 48
Downwardly Mobile when it comes to dorsiflexion everyones ankles are different. What one skier can demonstate another cannot do simply because of the differences in ankle flexability. This can be very frustrating in clinics.

If you're calves and achillies tendons are burning you are over flexing pure and simple. You cannot do this with just dorsiflexion. Over flexing usually requires being on the ball of the foot and applying heavy pressure to the tongues of the boots or boots that are not stiff enough to stabilize you're ankles. You either have a technique problem or a boot fit problem pure and simple.

In you're case it sounds like you are truely dorsiflexing by you're description. If you are in balance you are doing pretty good. If are trying a movement pattern that requires more ankle than what you have, you need a different blending of the same movement patterns to achieve the same thing.

Care should be taken here. You can damage the calf muscle or the achillies tendons and decrease you're useful range. Simple stretching exercises can maximize the range that you already have. You should not hurt after skiing.
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:
You should not hurt after skiing.[/QB]
I've taught 26 out of the last 27 days. I can't find a part of me that doesn't hurt!
post #5 of 48
Quote:
I've taught 26 out of the last 27 days. I can't find a part of me that doesn't hurt!
Rusty that has nothing to do with overflexing that has to do with ARC. (Age Related Complex)
post #6 of 48
Thread Starter 
Vera, thanks for letting me know my bootfitting link was no good. Sorry, I think I have fixed it now. If it is still wonky, look under the (Epicski.com) Consumer Gear Reviews forum, thread titled "Expert Boot Advice Given By Jeff, Boot Fixation", near the bottom of page 4.

I will try to contact the clinician. Probably should have done that in the first place. He's notoriously busy. Thought I might get a faster answer from you guys!

Thanks for your reply.
post #7 of 48
Since I've been skiing in Rondennay boots most of the time lately, I've noticed that my calf muscles are sometimes sore. I figure it's because they keep me from falling on my nose at times when I over dorsiflex.

[ January 28, 2004, 09:11 PM: Message edited by: SLATZ ]
post #8 of 48
I concur with Pierre - that's what prompted me to ask for more info from you and the clinician.
Let us know what you find out, as well as what you think and have been told you're missing now in performance. What is some recurring feedback you get from people you trust about your movement patterns (besides ankle issues) and stance/balance (if you're comfortable sharing this)?
As well, have you been evaluated for fore-aft alignment, particularly range of motion in your ankles as it affects dorsiflexion capability? With a boot you suspect to be a half size large, you may be unduly compromised as well by a heel lift which helped the fit but could be shifting your balance unduly (also exacerbating that metatarsal pain you described). With the profile you described in your link my suspicions are piqued and this info will help me to respond more accurately.

[ January 28, 2004, 09:37 PM: Message edited by: vera ]
post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vera:
I concur with Pierre - that's what prompted me to ask for more info from you and the clinician.
Let us know what you find out, as well as what you think and have been told you're missing now in performance. What is some recurring feedback you get from people you trust about your movement patterns (besides ankle issues) and stance/balance (if you're comfortable sharing this)?
As well, have you been evaluated for fore-aft alignment, particularly range of motion in your ankles as it affects dorsiflexion capability? With a boot you suspect to be a half size large, you may be unduly compromised as well by a heel lift which helped the fit but could be shifting your balance unduly (also exacerbating that metatarsal pain you described). With the profile you described in your link my suspicions are piqued and this info will help me to respond more accurately.
Am in the process of getting in touch with my clinician. The best I can paraphrase him is to tell you that he introduced dorsiflexion very early in the clinic as a major "fundamental" that we should focus on. I believe he used the usual terms like "drive the knee forward into the boot cuff" to describe what he wanted us to do. It was probably in response to my whining, "but how?!", that he mentioned the "feel the burn in the back of the calf" thing. I don't think it was something he planned to talk about -just popped out. He did talk to me on the lift in some depth about it being a subtle, but persistent move, and how difficult it was for him to understand it at first, way back when.

He wasn't saying that it made him sore, just that a certain amount of focused activity, some "work", was required.

The clinic was PSIA "Skiing Development", day 2. Please note - he also emphasized the blending of the forward shin move with the lateral shin move. (I feel pretty comfortable with lateral, so I didn't mention it in my first post.) He added some cool upper body stuff, which I loved, as the day went on, but foot/lower leg stuff was kind of the foundation of the whole thing, if I understood correctly.

While waiting to hear back from him, I thought it might be fun : to give you some direct quotes from my Level 3 exam, March, 2003. I failed all three days on skiing.

Day #1
"Need to work on your skiing to create the proper blend of skills. At times you were not able to create the angles which create the edges. Work on the separation of the upper and lower body to create the angles. Your CM has a tendency to go up, instead of into, the turn."

On the Balance/Stance scale between Forward and Back,he scored me as "slightly back."

Day #2
"Develop a balanced stance that is neither too far forward or back but rather, centered. Learn to release the new inside ski, extend the center of mass into the direction of travel. Your edging movements at the finish of the turn are smooth & roll both skis to edge. Make sure the hip moves relative to the outside ski throughout initiation/control & finish of the turn."

On the Balance/Stance Scale, she scored me as "way too far forward"!

Examiner Day #3
"You need to move the CM to the front of your ski via the hip moving in front of the feet. You have some good moves but not quite dynamic enough for level III."

On the Balance Scale, another "slightly back".

I think the variation in scores on balance/stance may suggest that I'm struggling with different fore/aft "experiments" to get things lined up. Or, it may suggest (blasphemy!) some inconsistencies between PSIA examiners.

In response to some of the angulation, edging critique, I must say, in my defense, that I'm purposefully trying to eliminate a tendency toward park and ride type hanging onto my edges and the examiners may have been observing me going too far toward a flatter ski in my efforts to find that "sweet spot" between base and edge. I (think I) can create lots of angles with lateral motion if I try. Where I am stuck is blending the lateral with the forward.

OK, so that's it for how I look from the outside. Now, from my "inside" point of view, I can say that I am trying with all my heart to let my CM flow into the new turn, but still missing the mark frequently, (hence my initial post about which muscles might be enlisted to achieve this.)

It feels like at initiation my CM is moving in the right direction, but shortly thereafer, I start fighting to stay ahead. Through the turn finish, I can feel the dreaded "butt drop". In bumps, its even worse and turns into butt drop followed by an ugly "waist collapsing" thing.

I consciously try to create a smooth, gradual ankle flexion, but what happens instead is that my shin levers forward in the boot, gapping in back and then pretty much slams to a halt against the cuff front. The cuff itself hardly moves. And then my pressure management choices become, let the skis wash out, or let some other part of my body give - see above. I must find another choice or I'm switching to snowboarding permanently!

(Digression: At the risk of launching another incredibly lengthy subject, I should mention that some emotional/attitudinal factors are probably involved here. The fact that I am always fighting a fair amount of fear, combined with my propensity for constant ruminating is probably also (maybe even primarily) hampering my CM flow. Because of group demands, time consraints, etc. these touchy-feely things are usually beyond the scope of most clinics I've attended thus far. I am looking forward to an upcoming women's clinic in about 10 days, hoping to get opportunity to at least address the anxiety thing.

Maybe you guys can give me tips on how to get that critical voice in my head to shut up sometimes. Am I out on a limb here stating that epicski is somewhat of a magnet for us "thinkers" out there? Actually, I'm hopeful that maybe, just maybe, "better" boots might get me to that blissed-out state of flow that will reduce the need for so much thinking!)

And, in pursuit of that, I am pleased to announce I started the process of shopping/bootfitting tonight. It's my very first time. What a beautiful thing!

The bootfitter checked my ankle flexibility and did find it less than ideal, but not terrible. I'm not sure what else goes into fore/aft assessment. If you know anything I can read about it, that would be awesome. She does suggest a heel lift, to offset my lack of ankle joint flexibility, used in combination with some special, pocket creating orthotic material (also used with diabetic type orthotics) under the metatarsals the take the pressure off.

As I'm sitting here typing this at 5:00 am , it becomes apparent I am pretty obsessed (possessed!?) with finding the boot with the ideal fit and forward flex for me. In the past, because of fears of "throwing money away", being "too busy or tired" or "going from the frying pan into the fire", I have not been aggressive enough in my boot consumerism. NO MORE!

A few days ago, I started contacting our local retailers. Lord help them! So far, as per usual, there seem to be no higher end boots in my size in the whole city to try on Or maybe they just tell me this on the phone to keep me out of their shops!

Last time I was in the boot market, when confronted with this depleted inventory situation, I just said "oh well", made my best guess, and ordered proform sight unseen. (Also at that time, there were no "real" bootfitters in town. I did get custom footbeds, but nothing beyond that.)

What do you think of this solution to the problem of inventory shortage? - I have decided to badger everyone I know whose feet are relatively close in size to mine to let me ski their boots (and skis.) This may just make me more confused, but it sure is fun and interesting!

I skied a boot tonight that I could bend so much I felt like I could telemark, but my heel didn't lift, if you can imaging that feeling! Even though it may have had "too much" flex, I still liked it better than my Tecnicas! Everything felt "smoother" and, perhaps even more interestingly, I noticed my anxiety level dropping, directly in proportion to the decreased incidence of "shin bang" I felt.

OK, I think that's enough already. I'm sorry to be so wordy. I really hope this makes some sense. I love skiing and ski instruction, but feel so frustrated that I am seriously considering switching to boarding or tele. Thanks for listening.

One last thought - If it would help, I might be able to attach a video in the next few days?

Really appreciate your time and knowlege!!!!!!!!!!

[ January 29, 2004, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Downwardly Mobile ]
post #10 of 48
From you're recent post my guesses were correct about you're problem. I can only guess who the clinician was. Once you're boot fit problem is solved you should be in good standing.

Driving into the cuff of the boot is not really dorsiflexion, its usually planterflexion. Oversize boots and low ankle flexion will make it nearly impossible to get the hips forward properly. Instead it will give you a straight back in comparison to you're lower leg and place you slightly back.

Once you get the boot issue resolved you should be able to dorsiflex (lift the top of the foot towards the shin) and open (extend) the knee in the last third of the turn (light pressure on the cuff). This will move you're hips forward and allow you to seek a neutral for smooth turn initiations. You do not need a lot of athleticism to ski very powerful and dynamic.

Can you make the Seven Springs (Allegany Mountain gathering) the third weeked in Feb?

For some reason I cannot delete or edit that single line post and do not know how it got there. :

[ January 29, 2004, 04:26 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #11 of 48
Good stuff here, but is dorsiflexion the upward or downward movement of the foot. I understood it to be the opposite of depressing the gas pedal. Am I on the right track?
post #12 of 48
Rusty, can't comment on Pierre's ARC, but if your Achilles tendons are aching, in my experience you aren't stretching them sufficiently.

I'm kind of an Achilles nut since blowing out one in '95 and having it reattached surgically. In therapy after six months of casts and braces, I learned that proper stretching of those tendons takes multiple minutes, not the 20 seconds most folks apply to stretching their hamstrings and Achilles. My daily routine is to warm the tendons and calves up with a series of toe rises on something like a 2 X 4 with the heels getting an inch or more lower than the balls of the feet, followed by ten minutes of standing on a 30-degree ramp. The therapist told me, and I've found, that if I stretch the Achilles long enough, I can feel the heels settling as the tendons become "plasticized", and afterward, I can grasp a tendon between thumb and forefinger and actually wiggle it sideways by at least the thickness of the tendon. They tighten up fairly soon after that, but remain flexible and, most important to me, pain free. Before I severed the tendon, I frequently had sore Achilles. I think they had been made hard by my use for a couple years of a NordicTrack exercise device.

Regarding ARC, I have skied every day this month except one (including teaching about half those days), and I have no particular aches and pains. I'd guess I'm at least a few years older. I've been drawing Social Security for a couple years now. Can't ski today because I have to shovel off a couple roofs.

[ January 29, 2004, 05:22 AM: Message edited by: Kneale Brownson ]
post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by thebuzard:
Good stuff here, but is dorsiflexion the upward or downward movement of the foot. I understood it to be the opposite of depressing the gas pedal. Am I on the right track?
Yes

Regarding my aches and pains I was half joking. We haven't seen snow in a week and what I'm teaching on is harder than jet age plastic.
post #14 of 48
Jet age plastic sounds like Midwestern Powder to me.

It's not ice until you can see your reflection in it.
post #15 of 48
DownwardlyMobile wrote:

"consciously try to create a smooth, gradual ankle flexion, but what happens instead is that my shin levers forward in the boot gapping in back) and then pretty much slams to a halt against the cuff front. The cuff itself hardly moves. And then my pressure management choices become, let the skis wash out, or let some other part of my body give - see above. I must have another choice or I'm switching to snowboarding permanently!"

Something I learned from watching Bob Barnes yank on the extra booster straps he uses to tighten the tops of his boots around his admittedly thin legs: You should have no gaps.

If you have gaps, you have to move a ways before you contact the boot and begin to influence how it affects your ski. Not good for "flow".

I always thought you were OK if you could put a finger alongside your leg in the cuff. Now I understand why Bob says ski boots should be made of cement.

Regarding pressuring the cuff, I really believe you don't need to mangle the boot to be effective. I rarely feel more pressure on the cuff around my leg than I can generate by raising the toes in the boots while letting the feet dangle on the chairlift. Where I feel pressures are on the edges of my feet.
post #16 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Pierre:

Driving into the cuff of the boot is not really dorsiflexion, its usually planterflexion.
Maybe it's lack of sleep, but I don't understand this statement. I thought that plantarflexion was an opening of the ankle joint, which, in my poor addled brain, would cause the shin to be levered away from the toes, toward the rear of the boot?

Actually, don't even go out of your way(s) to help me out on this! I'm hoping that fixing my boot situation will eliminate the need for "burning" (pun intended) questions like this one.

I'd really prefer to get a response to my bootfitting questions post (no responses yet) on the gear forum. Please forgive me for posting that link again:

http://www.epicski.com/cgi-bin/ultim...7;t=000533;p=4

Warning, only serious "Boot-y" lovers : will be interested!

Right now I think I'd better take a nap. Thanks, y'all!
post #17 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by vera:
Downwardly Mobile, I am interested in your clinician's perspective on dorsiflexion. Functional ankle tension is a great foundation for good skiing so I am quite curious about his remarks particularly on "feeling the burn" and how he "has to work the muscles of the back of his lower leg".
Before I respond more at length, can you contact him and get more details? If so, ask him exactly what muscles he's talking about when he "feels the burn", what he does to activate them, why he does so and when. In what context were his remarks made, and what was he trying to achieve in your clinic? If you find some answers please report back.
Also, please be more specific about what you're doing and why it isn't doing the trick for you. What are you trying to achieve, and what's not happening? I can't get to your post from your link, relative to bootfitting.
Ran into the clinician in the lodge this morning. He stripped down (below the knee ) and showed me the (very small) movement he is talking about and the specific muscle he was talking about. He didn't name the muscle. My best guess is that it's the soleus, particularly, the long part of it that connects to the heel. See link - http://www.courses.vcu.edu/DANC291-0...e_gastroc.jpg.

My use of the word "dorsiflexion" was inadequate to describe what he was doing (although the ankle joint does seem to close a tad as one of several end results.)

Standing barefoot in a neutral, relaxed but slightly flexed stance, he demonstrated the move. What I saw was:

1) The soleus(?) muscle did indeed visibly bulge.

2) The knee seemed to move slightly forward and inward.

I didn't really see his heel move, but when I tried to mimic what he was doing, I felt the outside of my heel lighten and I believe he said he felt the same thing. (I also felt a tiny new muscle on the rear bottom outside of my foot that I never felt before - fun!)

In answer to the "feel the burn" lingo question, he explained by saying that he practiced this thing so intently when he first discovered it, that he was a slightly sore the next day. It does not makes him sore in his everyday skiing.

That's all we had time to talk about today before duty called.

Originally, back in the clinic, my understanding of his intent was to use this movement as a "little engine that could" method of efficient turn ititiation (of the new outside ski.) It puts you on the new edge, as well as triggering what I will call a "functional tension chain" up the leg that helps put/keep the CM where it needs to go.

And that relates to your last question, Vera, about what I hope to get out of this thing. You can read about my situation to your heart's content and then some in my post from yesterday, which includes my Level III examiner written comments.

For the record, I actually feel that my turn finish is the most pressing (no pun intended) of my problems, and probably is setting me up for failure at initiation, even with nifty tricks like this one but... let's save that for another day. )

Hope this is of some interest to someone besides me.

Thanks for your patience as I struggle to get this stuff!

[ January 30, 2004, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: Downwardly Mobile ]
post #18 of 48
Oh its of interest. I am going to go play with it.
post #19 of 48
After doing some feeling and reading I think what you're clinican is doing the same movement as me but describing it wrong. At first when I did what I thought was the movement from you're description, I thought that I could feel muscles in the back of the leg working. Upon reading I can only conclude that the muscles that would move the new outside knee forward and inward are the tibialis anterior muscles and that is muscles to dorsiflex the ankles on the front of the legs.

the buzard may have been confused above because pushing on the fronts of the boots by squashing down will in a sense dorsiflex the ankle but will not fire the tibialis anterior muscles. Instead the squashing down is almost always accompanied by a weight shift to the ball of the foot (planter flexion).

Only by using the tibialis anterior muscles can you keep your balance and weight centered over you're feet and extend the upper legs to move the hips forward at the same time. If you're usable range of ankle motion is all used up by being in the wrong boots, you cannot use the tibialis anterior muscles and have little control over forward movements. The results is static movement in the direction of the new turn. Usable range of ankle motion is the measurement of range that you can move the ankle using the tibialis anterior muscles. You can squat using you're weight and dorsiflex the ankle farther than you can using the tibialis anterior muscles to dorsiflex, but forget true balance and dynamic motion if this is you're modus of operation.

[ January 30, 2004, 08:52 PM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #20 of 48
Yep, I concur with Pierre on the above, Downwardly Mobile, relative to his accuracy on the muscles fired to dorsiflex as well as the boot issue. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
Stay tuned.
post #21 of 48
Thread Starter 
I agree that the tibialis anterior is our friend. [img]smile.gif[/img] But, I still am confused about the "unsung heroes" at the posterior. I think I overwork the anterior type muscles and was looking for a little relief through enlisting help from the rear....

(I have a feeling that the short answer here may be, "it's a blend ." (That's often the answer I get to my questions about complicated stuff.) Am I just asking too much in seeking a recipe for this elusive blend?

(Amusing Aside: If you are on the boderline of sanity like myself, and are familiar with the song "Baby Got Back", may I take the liberty of directing you to a truly brilliant version of it at http://barrierislandgraphics.com/for...Got%20Back.mp3
Excellent theme song for this frustrated white girl trying to get her booty to behave - as relates to CM in the turn of course. )

OK, Back to business -

1) Are you saying I was wrong in identifying that bulging muscle along the outside rear of the leg as "soleus"?

2) Or, are you saying that that bulge is sort of a "red herring" - just a byproduct of something way more important?

3) And, is there a better way to say "functional tension chain "? Does this term even mean anything to anyone but me?
Jargon can sometimes be bad. But bad jargon is always really bad!

You guys rock.
post #22 of 48
Quote:
1) Are you saying I was wrong in identifying that bulging muscle along the outside rear of the leg as "soleus"?

2) Or, are you saying that that bulge is sort of a "red herring" - just a byproduct of something way more important?

3) And, is there a better way to say "functional tension chain "? Does this term even mean anything to anyone but me?
Jargon can sometimes be bad. But bad jargon is always really bad!
No, you probably got the indentification right. The soleus is used to stablize the foot and assist in planterflexion. The anterior tibialis is used to dorsiflex the foot. To move forward the tibialis anteriors are used. To engage the tips of the skis once forward, especially the new outside ski, the soleus is used to stabilize the foot and prevent hanging on the boot tongues. During the early edge engagement I am using both the anterior and inner posterior muscles. I am still extending but want to engage the inside edges. As soon as I feel those edges engaged and working I begin to relax the anterior tibialis muscles. The extensors may also be involved but now you are kinda above my head. All skiers use the posterior muscles of the lower leg but few engage the anterior muscles to get forward.

When I gets above my head I will call the whole mess "Functional Tension Chain". How's that.
post #23 of 48
Thread Starter 
Master chef Pierre wrote:

To engage the tips of the skis once forward, especially the new outside ski, the soleus is used to stabilize the foot and prevent hanging on the boot tongues. During the early edge engagement I am using both the anterior and inner posterior muscles. I am still extending but want to engage the inside edges. As soon as I feel those edges engaged and working I begin to relax the anterior tibialis muscles.

Pierre, [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] ,
thanks for the recipe!!!!!!!!!

You may be singlehandedly pulling me back from the brink of insanity, and much more importantly, maybe even back from those boot tongues a little.

Really 'preciate it.
post #24 of 48
Good thread and good information, but seems some are getting way confused on dorsiflexion and plantarflexion and what they really are. Dorsiflexion is merely pulling your toes and fore-foot up off the ground when your foot is flat on the floor, and conversely, plantarflexion is pointing your toes and fore-foot down.-Hence, planterflexion and dorsiflexion is merely taking your foot and waving it back and forth in the air-My point is, this is a very poor way of explaining the motion of the ankle. In all the years I instructed (and now being a doctor) one simple phrase was drilled into my head that we all know--Keep it simple!!! For some reason it seems people relate much easier to their joints than muscle groups. I know an educated person(which most of you really seem to be on this thread)knows "dorsiflexion of the foot" -in a sense is- bending the ankle foreward, but most people can very easily screw that up since the word ANKLE was not addressed-- and the foot should be sitting comfy in a nice orthotic footbed, not flopping up and down like a fish. In my opinion, dorsiflexion and plantarflexion are very poor terms for use in skiing unless trying to describe something to be felt at a very high level of skiing by people talking to people who know exactly what they are talking about. It would be far better to simply say "bending your ankle foreward" (which will put pressure on the tongue of your boot) and "bending your ankle backward" (which will put pressure on the back of your boot) well as "bending your ankle to the inside" (which will load the side of your boot). Blend these simple phrases and you can better describe your issues of "balance" and "edging" well as working in projecting the CM to the next turn. All the wonderful muscles mentioned in previous posts are used in the motions of the ankle joint, but I know for a fact most people --including very educated ones, can't differentiate the contraction of their soleus versus their gastro's versus their tibialis anterior! See,in my opinion, the ankle is the most wonderful joint in skiing. The whole kinetic chain starts from there cause it's where we are connected to the snow! Do this simple exercise: Stand up tall and straighten all your joints, all the way up to the top of your spine---now bend your ankles foreward--ALL YOUR JOINTS MAGICALLY BEND IN THE RIGHT PROPORTIONS FOR AN ATHLETIC,BALANCED AGGRESSIVE STANCE. It's amazing how easy it is to let the hip go to the inside of the turn when you laterally bend your ankle! I remember hearing a clinician preaching "bend your knees, get your weight foreward"-no wonder some are so screwed up, bending your knees drops your butt and parks it in backseat! Or another good one was "drive your knees foreward"--all that did was the same thing! See, bending your ankle foreward loads the shin into the front of the boot and ALLOWS the knee to do its wonderful job(driving foreward) and letting the HIP do its wonderful job, harnessing the large muscle groups of the midsection(including upper legs) well as building great angles! But, before anything does anything correctly--one must address the ankle joint. Dump the confusing, inaccurate terms of dorsiflexion and plantarflexion in regard to ankle movement and magically your clouds will clear.

P.S. Being in a boot that is too big(very, very common and often goes ignored) is a WAY bad thing of which all the band-aids in the world won't fix and will be a major issue in regard to balance-stance. Going back to the old Centerline days--how can you expect to ski a "perfect turn" if your foot is never in a "perfect spot"? I have seen some very good skiers become very, very, very good skiers just by finally getting into boots that worked. Best of luck, and like I said--great thread!
post #25 of 48
Thread Starter 
Insideedge, thanks for your input. You are very right about the inadequacy/inaccuracy of many of these terms. I'm really struggling with my skiing (on the verge of giving up), as well as with my abilities to make sense of all the information I've been exposed to.

Here's a phrase that I was going to make my signature line, but I like it so much I decided not to because I didn't want to get tired of seeing it:

"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."
--Shurangama Sutra

I find this somehow consoling as I try to figure this stuff out. It captures that "so close but yet so far"-ness dilemma of trying to describe skiing in words.

Also, I'm glad you reinforced the imporance of boot fit as I am now in the process of working with a real live bootfitter for the very first time! Yahoo!!!!!!!!!

Isn't it sad how so many of the secrets of really satisfying skiing lie hidden (dormant)inside the boot and that most "normal" folks (present company excepted, of course [img]tongue.gif[/img] ) just don't have the time or resources to really explore that?

So here's hoping you'll soon have to put up with less of my awkward ramblings. I will soon be in a state of boot-induced inner peace! But don't worry, I'll still send postcards...
post #26 of 48
insideedge welcome to Epicski and cyberskiing. The problem with totally simple explanations is that they work great on snow with feedback to prevent unwanted movement. Cyberskiing is totally different. When you are trying to convey movement patterns that are not naturally done in everyday life but are powerful in skiing, you need to convey enough words. Anyone reading these forums has at their fingertips the resource to quickly pull up a pertainent web site on a search and gain a fair understanding of the discussion.

Simply telling someone to bend the ankles in cyperski will result in the usual squat down by sinking into the boots or hanging on the tongue of the boots by leaning forward. Both of these will load the tongue of the boots and drive the knee forward. Neither will result in really efficient skiing. Why? Both pressure the ski inefficiently and prevent proper movement of the hip into the turn.

Likewise I can laterally bend my ankles in two different ways. I can use the lower leg muscles that bend the ankle by tipping the ski further up on edge or I can move the CM laterally across the skis. Again a move more like the squat or hanging (banking in different directions). Which move will a person do on the hill after learning in cyberski without feedback.

I am not comfortable the terms driving the knee forward into the turn or increasing pressure on the tongue of the boots. Lets use a scale of 1 to 10. One being light contact and 10 practically lifting the heel up in the boots with lots of pressure. I pressure the fronts of my boots at about 1-2 all the time except the middle third of the turn where the pressure can build to 3 or maybe 4 in high load turns. How do you bend the ankle to achieve a tongue pressure of 1-2 throughout the turn finish, transition and initiation phase? How do you get a student to fine tune the shin pressure?

There are movement patterns in skiing that are not natural to other sports or everyday life that must be taught. That is very difficult to do in cyberski as most peoples minds are set in natural mode when reading for understanding. They will try to assimilate the information according to natural feelings they have had before instead of open the mind to something totally new. Most skiers will stand up in front of their computers and try feeling what you are saying. Describing muscle groups involved, may set off a lightbulb when done in front of the computer, that may otherwise be dismissed.

The end result is that this forum has gotten much more wordy and technical as it has matured over the years. Good or bad. Teaching in cyberski is much harder than on snow as there is very limited ability to point and show.
post #27 of 48
Pierre...good response and an accurate picture of those of us that use this forum as a learning tool. I agree that to someone just stopping by for a look that some of the instructional posts might appear wordy and overly technical, but over time I've learned that they need to be in order to provide a clear picture of the poster's viewpoints. It's not like the instructors here have the luxury of standing beside me on the snow in order to make a point with a visual example.

As to the technical terms, there are easy ways for a reader to acclimate themselves with the terms used here on a regular basis. Some readers here are often critical of technical terms and instructor "jargon". Speaking for myself, I look at learning and understanding these terms as part of learning and enhancing my overall knowledge of the sport. Would you regularly use these terms at the resort with skiers that pop in once a year when they take their annual ski vacation? I doubt it, but those aren't the folks that usually frequent this forum.

Finally, to those of you that find the responses here wordy and sometimes confusing. Do what I do when I don't understand something here that I deem important. Ask a question or ask for clarification. Most, if not all, of the folks here that take the time to write of an indepth post for our benefit will gladly expand or clarify for your benefit.

Keep up the good work guys, and I agree...good thread.
post #28 of 48
Thread Starter 
Coach 13, well (and concisely ) said!

You remind me that the very best ski teachers are those who know the most efficient and effective "communication" strategy for the particular teaching goal.

It's very easy to say "a picture is worth a 1000 words" (a million?!), but when we're talking about what's happening inside a ski boot, even those little micro spycams can't get that particular picture!

Going inside the lodge and "getting naked" footwise is probably the best way to communicate about what's going on in the boot, if you're really serious about it. But if you're far away from the lodge (unfortunately, you're never far away from the lodge where I work : ), you MUST use words to communicate about what's going on in the boot! As stated by others here, extensive talking, (or sharing lower leg nudity,) is not for everyone, but I think it doesn't hurt to try a little more of this type of thing type of thing, even with "casual" skiers. And sometimes students may appear "casual" or even bored, but when you scratch the surface and, you often find a suprising passion (and willingness to stretch their minds) about skiing on the part of the student. I look at every student as a potential ski addict who needs to get hooked up with a dealer... [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] (guess who?)

In my own teaching, I strive to express things to students both verbally and visually, just to make sure I give group members who may not get it one way a second chance. That's pretty basic I think, but something I've just started realizing is the very cool synergy between the visual and the verbal. By that, I mean that students often need verbal coaching on exactly what they should be looking at - "watch my knee, watch my ski tip, etc." You can do the most beautiful demo in the world, but a novice skier might not be able to digest it unless you help them cut it up into visual "bite size pieces".

In a private lesson, where you can get them talking one on one a lot more, it's awesome (from my point of view) to ask them questions like "how did that feel?", "why do you think it felt that way?", "how do you want it to feel?" and then share your own "feeling" related experiences. I find this very powerful with many students because for one thing it makes them feel valued, but even moreso, because it teaches them (and reminds me) that we all go to all this trouble with skiing in the pursuit of a pretty damn blissful set of feelings.

If you've read this far, I'm probably "preaching to the choir." So, if anyone's still out there, here's a question, choir: Is there a sort of mean-spirited anti-verbal, anti-feelings bias in our culture (American) that is a factor here? Example: That old saying "those who can't do, teach"? It makes me sad.

The reason I ask this is not because I pretend to understand anything about "culture". Rather, I am trying to deal with my own feelings of frustration in my ski school. (There, I've said it!)

I feel so lucky to have this forum. I've been carrying this stuff around in my head for years (without anyone in my ski school to really talk to) and now can finally process some of it and get on with skiing.

Oh, no!, maybe I am just a closet "doer"? I do remember hearing somewhere that the reason Jack Kerouac started writing was because he got injured and couldn't play football anymore...

Any comments? And feel free to let me know if I'm getting too wierd! I feel like I'm out on a limb with a lot of this stuff.
post #29 of 48
Thanks Coach and Downwardly mobile for the feed back. I hope that insideedge does not think that I jumped all over em. A yopper doctor ski instructor likely has a lot to offer to Epicski.

Epicski has a particular flavor in words. I wish a lot of times that I could just have the person I am typing to for five minutes, for a visual demo. I would save that 1000 words and technical mumbo jumbo. Out on the snow "use the tibialis anterior muscles to dorsiflex" translates into "tighten the muscles along the shin to close the ankle like this". I have a visual to see if the response is correct. The on snow terms don't have the same meaning here.

I am on my way to ski with the D team this morning.

[ February 02, 2004, 04:24 AM: Message edited by: Pierre ]
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally posted by Downwardly Mobile:
If you've read this far, I'm probably "preaching to the choir." So, if anyone's still out there, here's a question, choir: Is there a sort of mean-spirited anti-verbal, anti-feelings bias in our culture (American) that is a factor here? Example: That old saying "those who can't do, teach"? It makes me sad.

The reason I ask this is not because I pretend to understand anything about "culture". Rather, I am trying to deal with my own feelings of frustration in my ski school. (There, I've said it!)

I feel so lucky to have this forum. I've been carrying this stuff around in my head for years (without anyone in my ski school to really talk to) and now can finally process some of it and get on with skiing.

Any comments? And feel free to let me know if I'm getting too wierd! I feel like I'm out on a limb with a lot of this stuff.
Downwardly Mobile

This kind of gets us off the topic of a pretty informative subject and may well should be it's own thread. But, since you're the originator of this thread, I'll follow your lead and give you my views.

To answer your first question, I believe that yes, our culture does carry a bias towards teaching that you describe and you hear your exact quote time and time again. Having said that, I believe this comes from the fact that in our country teachers at most levels are certainly not the highest compensated people in their fields. As you know, we are predominately a $$ driven society. Using myself (a CPA), as an example, there is no way that I could even approach what I can earn, by teaching Accounting or Business classes. I think some short sighted individuals mistake the choice of some to teach, as a lack of ability in a particular field. I agree, that's disappointing, and coupled with the lack of compensation, the lack of appreciation and respect serves to drive many bright people from the teaching field.

I'm not so sure that this bias, however, carries over to ski instruction or other "out of classroom" instruction. Many of you would be much better at accessing that than me. I think that one parallel that runs deep with all good teachers, coaches, and instructors, is their passion, knowledge, and overwelming desire to pass this knowledge and passion on to their students. I think this holds true in all fields, and I think it can be seen here on a daily basis. You've seen it with Pierre in this thread and you can see it with many others here as well.

As to whether you're getting weird on us, I don't know your normal personality well enough to notice a difference. [img]smile.gif[/img] But I don't think so. You have questions, you ask them, and you post discussion points regarding the same. If you're thinking and trying, then you're probably learning. Well done in my eyes.

As to finding this forum, I'll echo your feelings. I know of no one place, either on or off line, where so many play a role in the culmination of so much useful information, on the subject of skiing. That's why I'm here.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Dorsiflexion "Muscle" Question