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Strong inside half

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Often when I teach about having a strong inside half my students end up with to much weight on the inside, a little or a lot banked. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 26
Stop teaching about having a strong inside half ..... ?
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by man from oz:
Stop teaching about having a strong inside half ..... ?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you not think that is an important thing to teach?
post #4 of 26
I think the reply was more of a remark than a suggestion.
anyways... Look at the way you are teaching that particular segment, are you showing the students the difference between banking and a strong inside half? Maybe video tape would be helpful.
Drills that focused on outside leg extension and weighting drills will help; inside ski cross over's, pole tip dragging etc.
What type of slope/terrain are you introducing this with, and at what speeds.
post #5 of 26
First you should remember that skiing is suppossed to be fun. Rarely is skiing fun when it becomes overwhelmed by technical jargon, unless you're doing a clinic with instructors.

To give you thoughts however about why your students are riding there inside ski too much, the following things may be occuring:
1)After turn initiation has occurred they may be dropping there inside hand and arm, which will cause them to tip their upper body to the inside of the turn. ie- banking or inclining. 2)After turn initiation they may be not continuing to keep the new inside hand, arm, & shoulder forward, which will maintain the strong inside half. It's not unusual for many skiers to start a turn in a strong inside half position, then loose it by becoming squared up, then try to return to the stronger inside half position with an additional movement.

One sugestion I use is to punch the old outside hand, (new inside hand) through the pole swing and touch movement so as not to drag or drop behind causing the arm & shoulder to tip the upper body to the inside of the turn.

The other area that comes to mind is that they may not be moving across the ski in a diagonal direction, which will also help them set up for the next turn and maintain the stronger inside half, provided they continue to lead with their inside hand, arm, shoulder, and hip. Keep in mind that the inside half is developed by the relationship of whether or not the hips are open in the direction of the new turn and remain that way or whether the hips close as the turn develops-ie become square.

Lastly, have your students pick up their inside ski after turn initiation has occurred. If they can't do this then they're riding this ski to stay upright, therby not maintaining sufficient angulation to set them up for the next turn with weight distributed between each ski based on turn shape, speed, terrain pitch and snow / surface conditions.
Good Luck ****** Whtmt

post #6 of 26
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tibetan Tree Frog:
Often when I teach about having a strong inside half my students end up with to much weight on the inside, a little or a lot banked. Any thoughts?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Define what a strong inside half is please.


post #7 of 26
Try the Sabre exercise (both poles held like sabre's or swords and keep them both on the ground while skiing) or dragging both poles as an exercise (Pole/shoe boxes remind them it's an exercise not the way to ski) and skip the pole plant for a few runs. You can't bank doing this..

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 25, 2002 09:27 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #8 of 26
Refrence rolling the big toe of inside foot up off the snow. Add having them retract/lighten the inside foot as they roll it.

Address shaping the whole body to match shape of the legs.

post #9 of 26
Your students seem to have an overly strong inside half. At the other end of the spectrum is the weak inside half. Often an indicator of a weak inside half is that the inside ski "gets lazy" and ends up next to the downhill ski. Here's a couple of thoughts on how to get it to track independently.

Do a fan progressions, starting in an easy traverse. Have your student think about making the uphill ski make a distinct track in the snow equivalent to the downhill ski.

I've had remarkable results simply by asking the student to "show me a distinct track of the inside ski" as opposed to a smear, then following them down the mountain.

With your student you can ask them to back off so the uphill/inside ski track is lighter than the downhill.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 26, 2002 01:30 PM: Message edited 1 time, by WVSkier ]</font>
post #10 of 26
A strong inside half to me is a result of good movements of edging and steering not a position I coach. Try focusing on how your students are engaging there edges from turn to turn and do some foot steering activity that promote leg rotation from the femurs.

pivot slips
sideslip travers sideslip
foot steering
RR tracks
hop turns
1000 steps (parrell)
post #11 of 26
A strong inside half has nothing to do with strength but has everything to with controlling the inside ski to allow the ski/foot to efficiently roll to the little toe side while moving into the turn; the active shaping of the turn with use of the inside hip and ski. Strength may be a misnomer as it implies weakness somewhere else. Control of the inside half may be more acurate.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 26, 2002 03:58 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Floyd ]</font>
post #12 of 26
I agree, and run into the same mis-interpretation quite often.

Both inside and outside feet/legs/etc have their specific roles. However we might describe any one of their roles does not imply weak, or passive for any other's role.

However because I ski with a focus on my feet, it does allow me to grin bigger with less effort.
post #13 of 26
I am working on this in my own skiing. So to make sure I understand what we are talking about, I am going to sum up what I think is happening in a turn.

As we initiate a turn our feet roll over on to the new edge, the new inside femur opens up or, in other words, moves across the skis into the new turn pulling the outside femur along with it, and the center of mass moves across the skis into the new turn.

As we move through and out of the fall line, the forces of the turn may rock us back slightly (or more than slightly) creating a park and ride situation. To keep from rocking back we need to keep our energy moving into the turn. The ankles need to stay bent and the center of mass needs to be continuing its movement into the old turn until the new turn is initiated. Just like steering should continue even after we come out of the fall line, the center of mass needs to maintain its movement into the turn.

Maintaining that energy throughout the whole turn seems to be as much a thought process as a physical process. Since I started doing tai chi and briefly studied acupuncture(sadly neither one at the moment), I have begun to understand the idea of energetic movement even when there is little or no physical movement. It has certainly improved my horseback riding.

Last season, I had the opportunity to take a 5 day clinic with Mark Wooley. I had just learned about strong inside half and was still very very confused about it (as opposed to just confused about it). He used a pelvic tilt drill (not thrusting the pelvis forward but bringing the new inside half of the pelvis up) to initiate the new turn ... a new way of creating that longleg/shortleg thing. He then combined it with working onthe strong inside half. When I work onthose drills, my skiing improves.


P.S. What level are the students you are teaching the strong inside half to? I have only worked on it as strong inside half with other instructors. I do stuff with center of mass...and I'm still experimenting with it. Just curious.
post #14 of 26
I would be working on strong inside half, although I would never call it that with my students, from the very first day.

Teaching good/proper movements from the start is the goal.


ps, BTW, welcome Susan. Where do you teach?
post #15 of 26
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WVSkier:
I would be working on strong inside half, although I would never call it that with my students, from the very first day.

Teaching good/proper movements from the start is the goal.

Bob --
I think that teaching good/proper movements from the start is a great idea and I (we at the mountain) work on that right from a beginner class. And i have been working on CM stuff with many of my students all up and down the levels of skiers.

However, I think that strong inside half work is often something that has to come later just because it so often takes students so long even to get the beginnings of moving the center of mass as *part* of initiating a turn much less maintaining throughout the turn. (what a long convoluted sentence) Or do I have an incorrect idea of what a strong inside half is?

And I'm also struggling in my own skiing about what helps initiate the new turn: rolling the feet over, doing it from the ankle, opening the femur, moving the CM. The reason I am struggling with this is because I have had different examiners and people coming back from various clinics tell me that the focus for initiating the turn has changed from one part of the lower body to a different part of the lower body and then back to another part. Bob Barnes (WinterPark) had me working on rolling my feet/ankles. Bob Shostek (Elk Mountain, PA) apparantly wants everything to come out of the femur..I haven't actually clinicked with him but many of our instructors here have and they all come back with the femur as the focus. And our new dev team member also pushes using the femur.

I recently asked one of my young students (split class so I was giving each of my students a different focus and set of drills) to stand in the tennis ready position facing straight down hill. We were standing at a flat area near at the end of a hard blue and the slope then dropped gently down again for a short bit before a longish run out to the lift. I suggested he move his bellybutton over one ski and then the other as if he were going to skate but without picking up his ski. Almost immediately his skis were turning in real turns Inot just alittle this way and then a little that way which what has happened with some other students). At the end I asked him whether he had been working on turning the skis (since I didn't want this to be a steering exercises). he said "no, the skis were turning me.". (ten year old boy who had learned to ski at the beginning of the season).


P.S. Bob, I work at Ski Liberty in PA
post #16 of 26
Susan- Tell Shostek he does not know what he is talking about! Just kidding!

I think it is important to understand that many times coaches may have students focus on the movement of certain body parts to achieve and outcome that either they need to incorporate or to enhance other moves. There is no 1 move in skiing. For many people it is easier to feel the femur so it can be a good place to work from. We do need the femur to tip and turn the skis but it needs to start at the feet!

You said there was some confusion. I think you are on the right track. Start at the feet and allow that move to start everything else. Go out and ski moving only your ankles, then try just your femurs, then just your hip until you can find the blend that you need! Play with a range of movements. I work with peoples femurs very often as well because many are unable to control the legs seperate from the hip and it is critical that they do. I also work alot with the use of the tiping and flexing of the ankle for smooth release and movement from turn to turn and proper edging and pressure control. I will also work with the hip as a teeter totter (high hip low hip) to help promote strong inside half, short leg long leg and edging power. In the end you need to blend!
post #17 of 26

Please tell Brian Eardley that Sean O'Neil says hello!
post #18 of 26
In reply to the question of when would you start or introduce any-concept? If it involves fundamental efficient movements, I'd ask why would you ever wait?

I do many things with beginners that usually are not "introduced" till later on. As a result the detour to "later on" never happens, easier skill aquisition starts "now", and the student progresses faster. When an efficient movement is witheld, an inefficient, compensating habit developes in it's place and the student progresses slower, if at all, and then has to re-learn. :

The best way to eliminate inefficient habits: Start efficient ones FIRST, don't provide opportunity for inefficient ones.

An ounce of prevention.......
post #19 of 26

I had Bob Shostek as one of my Level III skiing examiners in January (I passed, by the way). He had the exam portion of the afternoon over in about an hour and a half and then worked with us on a number of things. He had me working on my knees first, not the femur. The image was that of a bungee cord attached to the knee and someone pulling on it.

I've got a lot of respect for Bob. He's an amazing teacher. I also had him for my Level II exam a few years ago. Even in exam situations he gives a lof of feedback and I can honestly say I've learned as much from him in exams as I have in other clinic situations. His reputation for being a hardass is way overblown.

But, I think the beauty of our sport is that there is no right way to teach a concept. Rolling ankles, knee, femur, are just different ways of accomplishing the same thing. As instructors we need to have lots of things in our bag. If rolling the ankles doesn't work, then moving the center of focus to the knee might work.

post #20 of 26
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> But, I think the beauty of our sport is that there is no right way to teach a concept. Rolling ankles, knee, femur, are just different ways of accomplishing the same thing. As instructors we need to have lots of things in our bag. If rolling the ankles doesn't work, then moving the center of focus to the knee might work. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No disrespect to this anyone intended, but just an FYI:

Options are beautiful, but while starting with the a rolling over of the foot and starting with moving the knee may result in the same leg "posture or appearance", biomechanically these are different movements that do not produce the same "effect or input" to the ski.

Let me explain, plain and simple.

The movement of rolling over the foot creates an edging input that results in the ski first changing edges while staying on it’s line. When continously applied, this action engages the kinetic chain which moves the knee/femur with a secondary resultant rotary effect after the ski is on it’s new edge, serving to enhance tip engagement pressure.

Conversely, moving from the knee first creates an initial rotary input to the ski (due to the fact that the only way the knee can move laterally is by rotating the femur), with a secondary, resultant, edging effect after the ski has pivoted when it flattened on the way to it’s new edge.

This is why skiers who roll the inside foot over first can easily scribe an arc with that ski, compared to those who move the knee first and skid it around on it's little toe edge in a diverging relationship to the outside ski. This is because the knee move produces rotary dominance as ski is twisted off its edge and it pivots as soon as it flattens on the snow.

I suppose one can train themselves to change the edge quick enough from the knee to engage it reasonably well, but why would one choose to "perfect" a more complicated and inefficient movement, much less teach it? The knee focus is only reasonably efficient if you intentionally desire to strongly redirect your skis when they flatten in the middle of the edge change. But then do it for that reason alone.

Either the knee or foot focus is surely an option, however, biomechanically these different movements that produce different results (that is why they are different movements, duh!).

While it is human nature I suppose that most people will always teach what they "think" works for themselves anyway, don't we need to really learn how we "actually do ski" before teaching others how we think "they should ski"? In this discovery process I'd suggest we consider to first focus on doing with our feet what we wish our skis to do, and then back that up with complementing secondary support activities as needed. Our body's genius is that biomechanically efficient results usually require only the simplest of movements by an extremity (foot). It is unfortunate for our students that our micro-world of ski teaching is plagued with the complexity of so many inefficient compensating movements (falsely masquerading as options) that at best only band-aid our failure to first ski with, and teach, the simplest and most efficient movements.

post #21 of 26
love your explanation of the idea above. I hear so much talk about knee this and femur that. As you showed, different movements create different results, and beginning all movements with the feet and ankle tend to start a series of good things happening up the kinetic chain. Anyway, I thought I'd once again second your notion.

As far as the strong inside half.
I think there is alot of confusion in this thread in regards to the original question. Once again a phrase gives rise to many different ideas.
A couple of different people have espoused this idea in print as of late. In the Pro. Skier, my friend chris fellows used photos and said a stong inside half was a basic building block of expert skiing. AJ kit and barb sanders also did a piece on the same thing in skiing a few issues back.
In both cases, i understand them to be talking about controlling the inside hip, shoulder, hand by preventing them from overrotating. if we are not, "strong" in these points, the forces and connectedness of the body tend to let the upper body go too far. The highly countered position we've discussed here is the exaggeration of the strong inside half. If you are too active with this idea, extreme counter is the result. If you a not active enough with the inside half you will probably end up overrotated. So, we have to find that balance between the two extremes. The idea of fuctional tension in this area comes to mind. As is so often the case, people end up on the extremes because they can brace against one end of the range of motion, instead of being balanced in between. And balance in all is of course the goal. Anyway, maybe I've followed the confusion with more, or maybe this helps to clear up this idea.
It seems I use this point in my teaching more as a corrective measure than a step forward.
Until the next time. Holiday
post #22 of 26
"strong inside half" is just as bad a bit of nonsensical insider jargon as is the silly Harbism "phantom move."

any time a group must decide something by committee, things always devolve to the point of some buffoonish bit of pseudo-academic, fogged and pompous nomenclature that the committee thinks clever.

my guess is the term "strong inside half" was chosen by committee.

I'd rather see someone make sausage or scrapple.
post #23 of 26

Great explanation, but sometimes telling a student to tip the ankle doesn't work. Then and only then will I talk about the knee. Even though it doesn't bend laterally it is the explanation that helps some activate the inside foot. When trying to "clean up" the process after beginning to have success I usually end up just screwing it up. Sometimes I leave a lesson with them on the wrong thought. I don't like it, but what else can I do?
post #24 of 26
Here is a very effective way to let their own body "tell" them all about rolling the foot and take the concept from an abstract request to a concrete experience.

With them standing across the slope, push down with your fist on top of their uphill ski tip and ask them to gently roll that foot toward the little toe edge. As you feel some torque of the ski trying to edge, ask them to gradually roll the foot even stonger. As they do so, ask if they can feel the larger muscles of the leg fire up in support of the foot's "intent" to keep rolling. If they keep rolling strong/far enough, they should also feel the CM being pulled in the uphill direction and the downhill leg tipping over to the big toe edge. Once they have felt this asking them to focus on rolling the inside foot toward its little toe edge has some tangable context and cause and effect meaning for them. Use it to carve traverse to uphill christies, and fan'em into whole turns. Use it to do transition release garlands or for railroad tracks on flats to do edge to edge transitions. Also use to promote follow-thru of strong inside foot rollin to control turn shape and completion. Simple focus, simple activity, powerful effect and efficient results. Faster learning, happy skiers.

This is the concept of recruitment, or kinetic chain, which is how the body genius responds to our intent to do something with a hand, foot, etc. Small muscles recruit larger and so on as needed. Large muscles that respond to intent to move the knee (abductors) do not recuit the small muscles that invert the foot because there is no "intent" to do, much less a kinetic chain effect in that direction.

I just this evening went thru this process again, this time with a L-III instructor who was befuddled that he couldn't get his inside ski to hook up and slice. His tracks showed it in a micro skid on little toe edge. Thru questioning his focus I found out his "intent" was to cause his knee to move like he saw mine move (but mine moves as effect of foot rollling, not as a cause). We cleared up the accuracy of the intent (focus moved to rolling the foot) and the results were immediate. It is an experiential truism for all levels of skiers. I've used this same process to quantum leap bombproof wedge skiers to a parallel turn entry in a couple of runs, as well as to teach direct parallel to day-1 beginners. I've used it with racers who drag the little toe to get them to twin arcs with a cleaner arc2arc transition.

Maybe worth a try, before bailing to the knee focus which will need to be replaced later anyway.
Nothing to lose, much to gain.
post #25 of 26
I'm not sure which ski you are referring to here:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> With them standing across the slope, push down with your fist on top of their uphill ski tip and ask them to gently roll that foot toward the little toe edge.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

With my fist on their uphill ski and asking them to roll onto the little toe edge aren't they rolling their edges into the hill?

With my fist on their downhill ski and then rolling onto the little toe side would start the kinetic chain moving downhill. This would make more sense for me.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 06, 2002 11:06 AM: Message edited 1 time, by WVSkier ]</font>
post #26 of 26
The version I described is done as the first intro to paying close attention to how their body works. This is also used to show how leading with this inside foot activity throughout the entire turn creates a complimenting responce in the rest of the body to the shaping of the inside leg, from the foot. Once moving the activity is brought around to achieving release in sideslips, release garlands, railroad tracks or fanning uphill christies thru the falline into whole turns.

I've also used a follow-up exploring the full edge change, but only on absolute flat terrain with it starting from strongly rolling to one little toe and changing to the other to experience the muscular rebound avaliable to enhance a quicker edge change.

My initial thought on your suggestion to roll downhill is they can't go beyond flat without tripping them over on a caught downhill edge and be distracted from the point of the exercise, but I could have them balance with their poles. I'll try your suggestion on a slight pitch today an see how is works. Interesting suggestion, the exploration is the fun part.
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