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Getting those rear ends higher and forward...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
In 10+ years of teaching intermediate and upper intermediate skiers, my greatest and continuing frustration is getting those droopy butts higher and more forward.  This frustration is so great that not only am I willing to throw myself to the wolves here, I also fear that some day I will lose it and just start swinging my poles repeatedly into the hanging tush of a student.   Anyway, here is what I most frequently do, and my views on the utility of each.   Anything any of you can add from your bag of tricks, would be greatly appreciated.

1.  Briefly discuss the natural tendency of bipeds to stay vertical on slopes, the need to adapt away from this when skiing and the relationship between fear/challenges and rearing back -  This makes me feel better, makes intuitive sense to the students and most often does not have any perceptible impact on their stance.

2. Shuffling version of Thousand Steps - for more adept students, make them shuffle their feet fore and aft throughout a series of big turns.  If they can do this, shorten the radius and turn up the volume -  my belief (which I am sure will be subject to intense analytical review) is that you have to be centered to do this.   I have seen this work very well with some higher end students.

3.  The "hold the quarter" between your butt cheeks -  moderately effective and seems to always entertain kids.  Works best if you don't do anything else but this for a half hour or more.

4.  Skiing backward in a wedge -  accompanied by an explanation that the backward wedge works only because your new fore and aft balance engages the front of the ski -  I still use this, but feel it is "forced" and a bit artificial.  Works every once in a while.

This is a pretty limited repertoire, so suggestions would be very welcome.

post #2 of 9
 Have you ever tried the drill (don't know a name for this one) where you clap your hands behind your back at transition? I like that one and variations of it (pass poles from one hand to other behind back).

Also skating. Skating through transition into a White Pass turn would probably work.
post #3 of 9
If you can find a flat runin to a slope appropriate for your student, try skating around in circles in both directions on the flat and then continue skating over the transition into turns on the pitch.  The focus is on keeping the pelvis position ahead of the pushing foot during skating while making turns on the slope.
post #4 of 9
 ski them backwards then ask them to ski forwards as they were skiing backwards.

also under terraining can go along way to get someone not be backseat.
post #5 of 9
A lot of people find hula hoop circles cure this. Mostly because you can't keep the hips camped in the back seat to do the drill. Another benefit is helping them learn to move into the new turn is pretty easy after doing this drill. Same idea as the skating in that the hips get projected into the new turn but without the big diagonal step.
post #6 of 9
Lmandrake, I'm big on the importance of stance and balance, and the following works consistently.  I use it all the time, and I teach it in my DVD instructional series (see link below).  It works for my DVD students, without me even having to be there.

Show them what an Athletic stance is, and help them each assume one while standing still.  Let them experience sliding in a traverse, maintaining that stance.  Explore the contrasts. Ski Short, then ski tall, while still in a traverse.  Show them how flexing the knees drops their hips back and down, and how extending them lets them recover their good stance.  Let them try it and feel the difference.  Do drills that require them to recover from bad stance to good. Follow with half turns, then full turns, maintaining a quality athletic stance, and also experiencing a poor stance. Explain the management tools of fore/aft balance, ankles/knees/hips, and how extending or flexing at each of those joints affects fore/aft balance. Get them acquainted with the bottom of their feet, and dial in their awareness of where pressure is located at any moment.   Show them how to manage that pressure from the ankle, while maintaining a good athletic stance.  Give them various fore/aft balance tasks that require them to move the pressure from turn to turn, and within the course of a single turn.  Have them maintain center balance while varying states of flexion extension.  

Well, that's of course not the entire progression drill by drill, detail by detail, but it should be enough to give you a healthy start.  Take the time to cover this balance and stance stuff in the comprehensive manner I'm describing here.  It will provide your students with skills they will use their whole time in the sport, and will pave the way to high level forms of skiing.   Without them, they will forever be butting heads on roadblocks.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
My thanks to everybody for the input.

What are "hula hoop circles?"
post #8 of 9

Add traverse tip taaping to your list. Most intermediates will need to start this drill on flat ground. Lift one ski off the snow and repeatedly tap the tip of that ski on the snow. In a traverse, start with the uphill ski being lifted and tapped. Then do the downhill ski. Once the downhill ski can be tapped comfortably, you can tap and tip. Then you can start working on tipping to start turn entry.
post #9 of 9
Ever hula hoop? The pelvis moves in a circle to keep the hula hoop spinning around the waist. On an easy slope try to move the pelvis just like you're playing with the hula hoop. The drill helps a student discover balance when the hips are in a variety of positions. It's also like what Rick uses in that it uses a good stance bad stance activity to explore and refine more effective hip movement. It also eliminates the possibility of dropping the hips back and keeping them there. Just be carelful not to over terrain the students during the drill.
Make sense?
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