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Kid's racing technique

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Harry jr. does pretty well in Super G and GS races, but he has a serious flaw which I have trouble getting him out of. He tends to drop his inside hand back toward his waist and let his weight onto his heels as he exits a gate. This causes a short tail skid. I can see that the tail skid is his way of setting up high for the next gate, but it is slowing him down.

When I'm skiing with him, I keep reminding him to "punch his inside hand down the hill", but I've had little luck on getting him off that skid without making him late on the next gate. His regular coaches aren't worried about it, they feel he will grow out of it. I plan to ski with him 12-18 days before coaching starts for the season, and I thought this might be a good time to get him to hold the carve through the end of the turn. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 10

Along with technique advice that you may get from other folks here who are more race oriented than myself, you may also look into skis with a little more sidecut, if he is not able to carve a clean line around the bottom of the gate.

But I will suggest one piece of technique advice. It could be that he is setting up late for the current gate, or not turning quite high enough, and that the hand drop is a result of other actions, not the cause. But not seeing Jr ski, there is no way to tell.

Trying to think of other causes of a hand drop.... Could he be banking too much (leaning in with the upper torso) and getting too much weight on the inside ski? This could force the skis to lose their arc, and skid. As a result, the hand drops for stability. If so, try and get him to touch the gate with his hip, while not letting him wrap his head and shoulders around the gate. At the point his hip hits the gate, it should be on the downhill side of the pole.

If nothing else, look at the hand drop as the possible result of something, not the cause. See if you can figure out what is causing the hand drop. If here were in perfect balance, that hand probably would not do that.

I'm sure you'll get more advice, but I hope this helps.

post #3 of 10
Odd as this may sound, it may also be possible that he is trying to emulate an imaage he saw somewhere. There are a suprising number of photographic images out there which represent incorrect form as good technique. This might account for his stubborn refusal to give it up. If this really is the case then he probably will outgrow it.

Just a thought! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #4 of 10
Take it from a coach.

Rule #1 Let the coaches do the coaching!
Rule #2 When in doubt, refer to Rule #1!

Not to say parents aren't important in developing skiers. Actually they are more important to the kids than the coaches are. That is why it's important to follow the above 'rule.'

Your job is to keep skiing fun and be supportive.

If you want to have an effect upon his skiing just do what you want him to yourself without any discussion or reference to it. If you exaggerate it slightly he will soon copy dad. Sons are like that even in their rebellious stages (when they just do the copying out of sight!)
post #5 of 10
Is Harry Junior getting good ankle flex in his boots or are his boots too stiff?
post #6 of 10
I'm not a race coach or a racer, but how about setting up a course of knee-highs and having him run the course straddling the gates? I'd think that his skidding at the exit would be incompatible with that course setup.
post #7 of 10
Harry: Take note if he does this free skiing. A few years ago I picked up the same quirk. If his free time incorporates this flaw, it will be impossible to get rid of it in the gates.
post #8 of 10
Right on that yuki.

If it's there free skiing check the alignment. Very possibly over edged(most all kids are in the new boots).

Check Nord and Roto's posts.

If it's only in the gates, it's probably tactics.

My rant:
The worst thing we say to kids is,"turn early". They take it literally and start their turn sooner. That is, before the rise line. Or another way of saying it, they don't finish their turns.
Every kid below 15 or 16 that I ask, "what does it mean to turn early?" gives the same answer,"start the turn sooner". WRONG! We could say,"finish your turn to the rise line, start the new turn on the rise line above the gate and arrive at the gate with some "direction" across the hill to the next gate". They would only be more confused.
The challenge is, to get that message across without so many words(use none if possible). "Turn early" gives the wrong idea to young kids.
I've been fighting this battle for over 20 years. The solution to being "late in the line"(too low below the gate)is to wait longer (until the rise line) before you "turn in" to the panel.
That's my rant. Thanks for listening.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the good advice.

When race season starts, I do stay out of coaching. I try to avoid the soccer-mom syndrome, where the parent never gets involved with the kid until the day of the game, then yells all kinds of suggestions at the kids. The reality is that I spend more than twice as many days on the snow with him as the coaches do. Unfortunately, our coaching program doesn't even start until January, and the first race of the season is two weeks later. I work on his freeskiing skills, and let the coaches work on his racing.

There's little worry about him not having fun out there. He starts wishing it would snow by the 4th of July each year. Most of our freeskiing time I lay off the instruction, now that he has a solid base of skills. He wants, however, to win races, and I would prefer that he be in good condition for the start of the season, instead of having to relearn it all in January.

I've seen him do the same thing freeskiing, usually when he's on steeper terrain and he's trying to "chop" his turns short. It is less frequent there than during GS races.

He'll be on new boots this year. Due to his foot shape, he doesn't fit the Lange or Rossi race boots, so he's in Beasts, which are softer. I'll watch him on those as the season gets under way and see if the change has any effect.

Slatz, I think your descriptions fits the situation well. His idea of starting early is to chop the first turn off then turn sharply down the hill.
post #10 of 10
I have the same thoughts about turn early as SLATZ. Turning too early often creates the 'late' problem becasue the turn will take the skier into the gate/pole itself and they have to lay off/skid to avoid hitting it...after which it is near to impossible to get back on the carve, plus a whole host of defensive body positioning/movements and balance/flow probs as the skier tries to miss the gate/get back on line.

Obviously I can't say if this is related to Jr. but it could be.

I can see what you are saying about Jr's time on the snow vs. coaching time. I have no doubt he enjoys skiing as fun. The trick is (as a parent) to keep from pressuring the kid to win too much/race too much that he gets burned out on racing by the time he's a teen. There is suffucient pressure of all kinds from the situation of racing itself without parents adding more. I have seen quite a number of promising young athletes rebel by quitting racing mostly because it had been taken over (unwittingly) by their parents. I know you want to help Jr. but if Jr. really wants to win that bad and he has appropriate competetive spirit he will make the journey.

It sounds great that you are so involved and Jr. loves it I'm sure.

I will reiterate that one of the best ways to teach(as a parent) is simply to model (do) what you are trying to teach your offspring. Especially with father/son, son will copy dad readily, and without being asked to or told to either.
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