or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Weems - please tell us about alignment in beginner lessons
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Weems - please tell us about alignment in beginner lessons - Page 2

post #31 of 41
Spoken like an M.D., dp!

I'll see if Clete will pay us a visit. Here's some information about him:

Attended Montana State University on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a bachelors degree in Sports Medicine. He graduated from Northwestern Chiropractic College in 1990 and has been practicing in Bozeman, Montana for nearly 13 years. He is certified as both a Sports Physician and Strength and Conditioning Specialist and serves as Director of Personal Training at the Ridge Athletic Club. Through his private practice at Peak Performance Health & Wellness Clinic in Bozeman, he provides personal exercise prescriptions to local professional, collegiate and high school athletes. His experience and expertise have taken him worldwide as a trainer and speaker, teaching athletes to use functional exercises to improve their biomechanics for better performance.
post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
I also believe that one of the greatest difficulties facing beginners is not just that their boots are sub-optimally adjusted for them, but that they are often HORRENDOUSLY adjusted and fitted! I've tried "rental boots" right off the rack, and have been appalled at what they did to my skiing.
This is one of my biggest concerns (and I'm now crossing thread boundaries and should perhaps create a new one!): Beginners--the very people we would like to have come back and love the sport--get the absoluately worst equipment possible. Boots that don't fit or flex, skis that aren't tuned, bindings that often fail. It's no wonder we struggle growing the sport! :

I flexed a pair of Technica XTs this week for the first time. I was amazed with the smooth nature of the flex (and this from a 32-year skier who has been on so-called "racing boots" for about 15 of those years). Even at that level, the "consumer" boots are not what they could be. Perhaps the focus is on comfort instead of performance in consumer gear, and we could argue the viability of that approach, but rental gear is neither comfortable nor effective in helping people learn to ski and enjoy the process. Why are we doing this as an industry?! :

ssh
post #33 of 41
How can you tell if your boots fit?

How do you feel when you take them off?

Clete was teaching a PSIA clinic called Gravity Rules! Actually, I'm sure he would agree with those of you saying that we want to develop good "quick fixes" so people can get out there and play safely and comfortably right away.

I am suggesting that clients seeking higher performance may not be getting the whole story from the marketplace. As I said, I was taken with the idea that people can improve their structural alignment for skiing through strength and flexibility training. Furthermore, I think structural soundness is probably the key to remaining injury-free, which interests me very much.
post #34 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:
I am suggesting that clients seeking higher performance may not be getting the whole story from the marketplace. As I said, I was taken with the idea that people can improve their structural alignment for skiing through strength and flexibility training. Furthermore, I think structural soundness is probably the key to remaining injury-free, which interests me very much.
I think this is likely true. However, it may very well be well-intentioned ignorance and not malice. If we don't really know what's best, a number of "solutions" may present themselves, but we may not know the "best" answer until considerable study has been invested.

I am a strong proponent of chiropractic, sports medicine, homeopathy, fitness, and a number of other "natural" approaches to effective performance. In fact, the form of chiropractic (network) I most often have is anathema to many chiropractors! My other chiropractor is Doug Terry, best known in skiing circles as the chiropractor for the USST during the 80s/early 90s.

That said, I have also observed that many folks get focused on one aspect and lose track of others. Doug (and you need to get that he's a great friend of mine and I have deep respect for him!) sometimes misses possible issues because of his expertise and focus. When we get so focused on promulgating our own viewpoints, we can often miss the benefit of considering multiple perspectives held in tension.

I will tell you that in my case, getting into a well-fitting pair of boots last week gave me better control without a footbed than my current boots do with one. And, at least according to Jeff Bergeron, my current footbeds do not improve my pronation or knee tracking at all!

FWIW...
ssh

[ November 09, 2003, 03:47 PM: Message edited by: ssh ]
post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally posted by nolo:


I'll see if Clete will pay us a visit. Here's some information about him:

Attended Montana State University on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a bachelors degree in Sports Medicine. He graduated from Northwestern Chiropractic College in 1990 and has been practicing in Bozeman, Montana for nearly 13 years. He is certified as both a Sports Physician and Strength and Conditioning Specialist and serves as Director of Personal Training at the Ridge Athletic Club. Through his private practice at Peak Performance Health & Wellness Clinic in Bozeman, he provides personal exercise prescriptions to local professional, collegiate and high school athletes. His experience and expertise have taken him worldwide as a trainer and speaker, teaching athletes to use functional exercises to improve their biomechanics for better performance.
Way cool!
The pendulum indeed has oscillated to one side in our industry these days, so it will be exciting to see what information lies at the other side of its swing. Like just about everything that involves learning, there's more than one paradox here to be explored more fully and embraced.
Currently my answer lies in the middle in regard to achieving and anchoring efficient biomechanics. For me there's been a continual interplay between external alignment aids and internal movement education through a fascinating, years-long process of experimentation, discovery and training.
So far I've come to believe there's a time and place for these external aids to help developing skiers achieve the sensations and precise movements associated with efficient skiing. These tools seem to drastically help some of our guests who may have limited time or resources to involve themselves in the kind of dialectic I mentioned above, as well as many of us not blessed with ideal musculoskeletal architecture whatever the cause.
Nevertheless it's always healthy to enlarge, if not shatter current belief systems so I hope we can hear from him, as well as others who may have substantive thoughts to contribute on this issue. This discussion should it continue might deserve a shiny new thread. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #36 of 41
Quote:
it's always healthy to enlarge, if not shatter current belief systems
Well said, vera! That was my intent in sharing the information I had been exposed to (and may someday learn). I agree with ssh too that specialists are biased in favor of their specialty, and this must also be taken into account. I think Bob Barnes's suggestion that the best solutions will probably come from a synthesis of technical, orthotic, and structural approaches is right on the mark.
post #37 of 41
A nutritionist said to my wife the other day in a casual conversation, "you want to eat healthy, shop the edges of the store". and I think likewise, if you want expand your learning in new directions, find new ways to approach something, "shop the edges".

Mainstream has an invested interest in the status quo, those pushing the boundaries, if they are pushing in another direction, probably won't be found there.

In fairness to our Gravity Rules clinician, he stated in the begining that he wasn't practicing chiropracty. In fact he stated that chiropracty left him short, as did traditional physical therapy, when it came to his focus of treating and teaching his clients. He was presenting to us his accumulated knowledge and experience he had aquired through his 15 years of effort, through all avenues. Is he the final authority, no, but I think he's way more right than wrong.

What I took away from this is that we as profesionals need to be able to recognize and address the underlying physical dysfunction, and joint alignment issues affecting our students skiing. Then the choice becomes, do we chose the easy quick fix or do we find a long term fix, if it's there and the client is willing, that addresses the underlying physical cause.

I didn't hear Clete say anything that had me thinking, Now wait a minute! It was well presented, well thought out, and we were left with some basic tools to begin apply this to practical situations in our teaching. Every instructor should have the opportunity to hear, see, and feel what we did.
post #38 of 41
Thread Starter 
Well, I was away for a week, and hoped Weems might have replied to this before I got back. Looks like we have gotten pretty far off-topic now, but plenty of interesting stuff here. i do hope Weems will hook on to this thread soon though.
post #39 of 41
Bob B. you made this statement:
Quote:
Orthotics built for runners are not usually appropriate for skiing.
What do you mean by the statement?
post #40 of 41
The Truth is…
Eric Ward
The Foot Foundation
© 2003

In skiing I have heard so many things that attempt to sum up skiing. Only one so far has really gotten my attention and helps bring all the others into focus. I have to give credit where credit is due. This nugget of wisdom comes from a wise young cannibal from NZ. Whare Heke, spoke the truth when he said “Everything in skiing is true, but no one thing is the truth”. This puts everything into perspective. With this rule as the backdrop you can say what ever you want to about the game without giving something more importance than it deserves. So, now with this rule in effect I give you another picture of skiing that was painted very eloquently for me by another wise man of the mountains, describing skiing as a symphony. I see this orchestra with all its instruments having equal importance. If you were to have an orchestra without one section it would be a sound without balance and would be contrived to make up for its missing parts. With this in mind I would like to shine a light towards part of the orchestra that I feel has been missing and by including it to your ensemble your orchestra will make music that you might have thought impossible. The section that has been silent all these years was muscular alignment. Or maybe we could call it stance/balance, instead of simple skeletal alignment.

With most skiers have the percussion section down, and some of the basics of harmony going for them. But even some of the more addicted skiers lack something that the truly talented enjoy with little appreciation for it. The relaxedness of the truly athletic skiers. To be relaxed while producing incredibly powerful movement is something that inspires awe from those that are struggle to attain moments of perfection in any sport. Bodie Miller proves time and time again that you don’t always have to be perfect if you can be a little more relaxed while exploring the outer most limits. Everyone watches these performances with jaws to floor imagining being in those boots during some amazingly athletic recoveries. We would probably all agree that there is certainly an entire orchestra with the volume at 11 inside those boots.
If there is one obvious difference that I see among the gifted skiers it is not basic movement patterns it is in how relaxed the ones that are going the fastest look.
So many times, people can be found in lessons or in a learning situation. There is always the paralysis by analysis factor, but even when out practicing without the prying eyes of the examiners we fail to be relaxed is it because there is a movement that we can not do or could it be simpler than that?

I have been playing with this idea since 1996 when I started working with alignment. I was initially taught the classic alignment dogma, and why, and how it works. I practiced this theory for some time before becoming rather let down by it. It is not that it did not work at all. This is not the case, let’s just say that it failed to meet my expectations. I just never felt like it really fixed all the problems. So I began to question some aspects of the theory. When you don’t believe it is hard to just continue going to church anyway. It may make you a better person, or could just make you bitter.

At the time I had the privilege of working with some very talented people that came to teach at University of Maine at Farmington Ski Industry Program. Prof Gary Brown was teaching a class called “the applied science of ski racing”. Imagine earning college credit for a class like this? We learned more about muscles and anatomy and how it worked for ski racing specifically. Most of what we learned you could go to your grave and never need to repeat. The most important thing that this made me aware of was that, “center of knee mass testing failed to address one entire section of the body. The muscles, and what affect the skeletal positions were having on muscle tension. A huge part of the orchestra was sitting there with their instruments with no music to play. So when I realized this I then became aware that a whole new way of helping people work better with their equipment was at least a possibility.

The next step was to figure out a way to look at skiing through the lens of muscle tension and opposing muscle balance. My hope was that by doing this we could learn how to teach better and how to help
the stiff become more relaxed.

The first big shift in theory, if you time how much pressure is equally distributed you might find as I did that a ski turn is rarely equally weighted. If skiing is done predominantly one foot why do we test alignment while standing on two feet equally weighted?
This was the burning question that begged an answer that never was answered for me. Another thing happened when skis started becoming more shaped. I began to realize that the role of the foot and ankle were becoming much more important than ever before. I found myself actively pronating and supinating to engage the edges instead of pushing and twisting.

The shift toward the internal was another awakening. For ever I was told to never put anything under the foot bed. Like usual in my life I had to figure out for myself why. The result was surprisingly positive.
I became immediately aware that when I put tape on my bindings it did not have nearly as dramatic of an effect for me as when I put some tape on my foot bed. Soon there was the perpetual pile of duct tape fillings in front of my locker at Sugarloaf. I had a pair of Peterson foot beds that were not posted so I began to fill the gaps with layer upon layer of duct tape. I got to the point where I began to layer tape under the ball of my foot and WOW that was when I started to make real changes in how relaxed I could be on my skis. Although at the time I did not understand exactly why.

By the time I was nearing my retirement from Sugarloaf I learned of another part of the symphony that had been ignored by conventional wisdom. The proprioceptive ability of the body, The common thread that connected all of the parts of the band and made sense of it all for me. Just in case you don’t know about this part of your body, it is the body’s personal internet. It is the communication system. It is what lets the body know where it is in space, where is going, and helps make decisions about how to keeps itself moving towards its objective. It connects the brains bones and muscles. It connects both sides of the body. Basically it is why we are able to balance in the first place. This is the key to understanding stance/balance, or alignment in my estimation. This could be compared to the conductor of the orchestra. The conductor with a wave of his magic wand can bring to life incredibly sophisticated sound, as well as the most simple of notes.

What I learned on my winter vacation. If the bones don’t stack well, then the muscles will have to stack them through constant tension. If there is 100 percent muscle available for any movement but 30 percent is always being used just to stack the bones up then you are only able to use the remaining 70 percent if it is not exhausted when you ask it to do its job. And some times you are asking it to relax and it simply can not relax and let the bones collapse there are conflicting messages that in the end result create state of mandatory tension. This is like removing many of the musicians from the orchestra and expecting the music to sound the same.

How does this work in reality. Here comes the ski geek speech. So I often wondered why the best test for alignment was always the one footed straight run. Unquestionably the easiest way to see what is happening to someone’s alignment. Why if we do this one footed straight run outdoors, why would we use a two footed test indoors????

Anyway here we go While attempting this amazing feat, most people would encounter the most basic of human condition the collapse of the foot structure inside the ski boot. This is a normal function of the foot. And something that even custom foot beds do not fix. So there you are, sliding into terminal velocity on one foot and all of a sudden the ski begins to turn and you never asked it to. Upon your second attempt to accomplish this acrobatic move, again feel this collapse inside your boot and again the ski instantly begins turning into a traverse.

Cause and effect: The foot collapsing inside the boot brings the pressure to the big toe side as well as inwardly rotating the leg and Wallah, the ski turns. This might be fun if you were just learning to ski, however if you are an accomplished musician you only want to make noise how and when you would like to. So you should be less than pleased with this outcome. What do you do? Well you could get your boots ground or shim the bindings to adjust your knee. However the cause of the problem is not the knee. It is the foot and ankle collapsing. So how will this solution fix the problem? It will not fix the problem but it might make the problem different. It will feel different when you repeat this after making equipment changes externally but because you did not address the real cause of the problem the chances are very good that the problem will continue at differing levels of success. This was exactly the problem I had with the more historical views. I did see change, but rarely did I see perfection. So how do we achieve it and what is skeletal and muscular perfection?

Another wise thought that was planted into me in school is the following:
“Being average is just one step from failure; to catch excellence you must strive for perfection” “Coach” Tom Reynolds Thanks coach!!!

So I blame coach for all of this, you should too. It is not my fault. If left to my own devices I would have never thought this way.

In my research what I feel The Foot Foundation has done is simply to prove that yes you can in fact create positive change and increase the ability for someone to relax on their skis by properly positioning the foot within the boot.

So what does this all mean well Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. I feel that the perfect fix will be a combination of what ever it takes both internal and external solutions should be explored if needed. Alignment/Balance/Stance… is a war that should be fought on the individual level. Remember “In skiing everything is true, but no one thing is the truth”. This is the case with the conventional wisdom as well as the current thinking. Neither will succeed on in total exclusion of the other.
post #41 of 41
I apologies for the length of this It was just an article that I have been working on. I figured that if I were to answer to these thoughts directly they would be taken as a sales pitch. Hopefully this did not.

By the way most of the people that say negative things about what I am trying to do really don’t understand the motivation behind it and when you compare it to what we have been doing, it makes no sense at all. However Yesterday I attended a lecture given by Jim Lindsay in Vail I am sure that most people would be absolutely floored to know that I don’t disagree with one word that Jim said. Epic ski is testimate to how difficult it is to do that.

I know the roomer mill moves way faster than I can however there are so many miss conceptions about what I do. If anyone would like to know more please ask the questions I will do my best to clear up any misunderstandings.

About the 22 degrees that I supposedly put under a foot bed, I am sorry but that is just not true. I am guilty of being aggressive with posting but the system involves the opinion of the person that will be using the foot bed. I take credit for allowing people freedom to affect their own alignment. This sometimes brands me as a mad man. Well I always said I want this theory to live or die on its own merits. So all we can do now is wait and see.

I measure my success by the feedback and if I had ever gotten feedback that gave me any feelings that this is not working posotivly I would have stopped a long time ago.

Thanks for the props bob. See ya in Breck

www.thefootfoundation.com

[ November 17, 2003, 06:51 PM: Message edited by: mosh ]
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 › Weems - please tell us about alignment in beginner lessons