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Bad habits that never die

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Who else still hangs on to a bad habit from their old terminal intermediate days? I'm an old upper body rotation z turner. My turns are now round and have edge, but my tendency is still to lead with my shoulder, especially when I'm in an uncomfortable terrain situation.

The only excercise I've found to work on getting rid of it is one footed skiing. The one foot technique with the other ski still lightly on the ground. But, I can still only rid myself of it temporarily. Does anyone have other suggestions for me?

BTW... after reading Got to ask? thread, I will state that I'm an advanced skier, definitely no expert. I've been taking lessons/ coaching for 25 yrs, but seriously working on it for only about the last 10.
post #2 of 29
backseat issues, still.
post #3 of 29
Hey bum, have you tried javelin turns?

While turning lift the inside ski and cross it's tip over the front of your outside ski. Done properly your skis will be at about a 60 degree angle to each other. Doing these forces your hips into a countered position (facing to the outside of the turn) and encourages the upper body to follow suit (the antithesis of what your doing now) not allowing it to turn the skis with rotation.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by ryan:
backseat issues, still.
Yeah I need to work on that also as I blew out a knee last year from getting thrown in the back seat at Cannon on a steep soft slope.

Can't wait to go tackle that trail again.
post #5 of 29
Sounds like what the PSIA guys kept trying to fix on my left footed turns.(some of the same exercises too)
Witherall said in How the Racers Ski, and I've found it very true, "whenever someone has a problem they can't fix, no matter what they try, it's equipment related".
I'll bet if you check your alignment your knee will be over the center or outside of your boot seam.
I saw myself ski on video. On my right foot it was great, on the left I rotated my shoulder and threw my hip out. I failed two exams because of that(all the exercises didn't work because that was what I had to do to balance on that foot) The right foot was 2 degrees negative(inside) The left was slightly positive(outside) Shaving the boot 2 degrees fixed it. The same examiners passed me the next time.

I know everyone nowdays says you should be neutral like the WC guys but look at the legs on those guys. For mere mortals, 1 to 2 degrees negative(inside) is the best. (it hasn't changed in 25 years and every summer it proves itself again)

Check out The Athletic Skier by Warren Witherall and Dave Everard.
post #6 of 29
EasternSkiBum: The best advice I can offer is to get one of the top ski instructor/coaches in the country to observe you, and then to spend between two and four days working intensively, all day, with you and a few others at your exact same level. You would, at the end of this personalized coaching experience, have an excellent chance to rid yourself of your bad habits forever.

In other words, sign up for the Epic Ski Eastern Tuneup in December (details coming soon) and/or the Epic Ski Academy in Utah!

Normally, you probably couldn't get to ski with any of the coaches who will be there (most are booked well ahead of time by private clients at their home mouintains) and you'll be able to do it for a fraction of the cost!

To anyone who wants to improve, there is NO better, or more effective, or less expensive, way to do it anywhere that I'm aware of. (Plus everyone involved is good people and you'll have FUN!!)

Hope to see you there!
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for some input guys. Yes, I've done Javelin turns. I will tell you that my alignment is good, and yes I have a very nuetral stance. I don't turn using upper body rotation anymore, I merely cross over with the shoulder ahead, instead of the hip leading. Oh yeah, I take 5 days of coaching almost every Dec. with some of the best instructors in the East.

My main gripe is I've never been completely able to rid myself of the darn remnant of poor technique. Just venting here... sorry guys. Don't flame me to bad.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by mike_m:
EasternSkiBum: The best advice I can offer is to get one of the top ski instructor/coaches in the country to observe you, and then to spend between two and four days working intensively, all day, with you and a few others at your exact same level. You would, at the end of this personalized coaching experience, have an excellent chance to rid yourself of your bad habits forever.

In other words, sign up for the Epic Ski Eastern Tuneup in December (details coming soon) and/or the Epic Ski Academy in Utah!

Normally, you probably couldn't get to ski with any of the coaches who will be there (most are booked well ahead of time by private clients at their home mouintains) and you'll be able to do it for a fraction of the cost!

To anyone who wants to improve, there is NO better, or more effective, or less expensive, way to do it anywhere that I'm aware of. (Plus everyone involved is good people and you'll have FUN!!)

Hope to see you there!
I second the motion of the esteemed gentleman from Summit Co! ESA/ESET are NOT TO MISS events ... put'em on the calendar.

Mike, are you coming east in Dec.???
post #9 of 29
CGEIB: I hope too. Depends on finances and ski school scheduling. Of course if Laurie is there wearing her NEW, WARM, ONE-PIECE SKI SUIT, that might just tip the scales!

EASTERNSKIBUM: I understand your frustration, but I reiterate my suggestion: Perhaps it's time to get some new eyes on your skiing and some new keys to unlock the door. Try our guys! It will likely produce better results than tips online from folks who haven't seen you ski.

Good luck!

[ August 22, 2003, 06:26 AM: Message edited by: mike_m ]
post #10 of 29
I don't really get what you are talking about. At the transition of turn in the crossover, there is a moment where the shoulder is more to the inside of the turn than the hip. The hips and knees has to go to a neutral position before to angulate to the other side. During that time the shoulder is more to the inside of the turn. Then you continue to angulate and the hip is gradually getting to be the most inside point. If you dont angulate then it is possible that you are banking your turn. Another possibility is that you are initiating movement at the shoulder while nothing is happening at the hip and knee, kind of a delay instead of a simultaneous movement.

But as far as I am concerned and I even double check in books like Skiing and the Art of Carving, The Athletic skier and CSIA skiing and teaching methods book (2000) and there is a clear point at the transition where the shoulder is more to the inside of the new turn than the hip. You can look at photograph from those book or look here at look at sequence 3 and 4 of the photograph.

All this cannot be seen nor taught on the Internet so going to the Epic ski Academy seems to be a good idea. If the dates don't suit you, there is also NASTC that offer some good seminar but they can be costly.

[ August 22, 2003, 10:44 AM: Message edited by: Frenchie ]
post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by Frenchie:
[QB] Another possibility is that you are initiating movement at the shoulder while nothing is happening at the hip and knee, kind of a delay instead of a simultaneous movement.

Hit the nail on the head, except these days it's more prouncounced on steep terrain (ie.. the fear factor cause), almost unnoticeable on easy stuff.

The reason I brought up the topic is because I figured everyone has some "residual" bad habit from their early days no matter how much it's evolved. Just thought it would be fun to hear about some of them.

PS.. I do take PSIA Pro Jam (formerly ITC)almost every year, and passed my L2 cert 2 seasons ago. Yes.. I'm a weekender
post #12 of 29
Bad habits?
You think "z turning" is bad, one of my worst was chewing tabacco. Skoal & Coppenhagen, mmmm. After bout a year my gums started turning grey, and I was getting huge blisters inside my mouth on a daily basis that would occasionally pop and leak. There were always ample half-filled spit bottles strewn around the house. At parties i'd have a bottle of beer in one hand and an empty for spit in the other - when I got drunk i'd occasionally forget which was which nd invariably swig out of the wrong bottle. Really turned the women on...
Ahhh, the good old days!
post #13 of 29
ESB--

A great discussion starter! We've all got those habits, and they can block our improvement, leading to great frustration.

To your specific issue of "leading with my shoulder," we might be able to help with a little more specific information. As Frenchie says, it is normal and not incorrect for one shoulder to lead the other, switching in the transition. And the shoulders will be more to the inside of the turn than the hips or the feet, as well. If you mean "lead with my shoulders" (plural), then I assume that you mean you turn your shoulders/torso into the turn first, before turning your feet and skis. Is that what you mean? Without more information to go on, I'll take a shot--but be warned it could end up way off target!

You have said that you don't turn with upper body rotation "anymore," but it sounds like this may actually be what you are describing, or at least a remnant of that old rotation habit. You can lead into the turn with your shoulders by twisting (rotating) your shoulders first, or by tipping your shoulders first, or both. Leading into the turn with the upper body (shoulders) will cause rotation, whether you intend it or not. That rotation will tend to pull your tails out into a skid, and it affects your alignment--causing you to become too square or rotated, which in turn interferes with your edging movements by pulling your hips out over your skis.

Keep in mind that without actually watching you, I'm only guessing here, based on your description. But if it sounds like you, and you really want to eliminate the habit, here are some thoughts.

First, I suggest that your "one-footed turns" (and Javelin turns, which are a specific variant of one-footed turns) may well be making the problem worse, rather than better. Here's why:

In most turns--all but "pure-carved" turns--some amount of rotary torque (twisting) input from the skier takes place to help redirect the skis. Plus, most of us developed our first habits on old straighter skis that usually needed more twisting than today's deep sidecut skis do to accomplish the same thing, so we even tend to overdo this twisting. On top of that, since most skiers (at least subconsciously) seek a braking effect from their "turns," the need for twisting the skis into a skid becomes even stronger. In short, for better or worse, your movements very likely stem from a need to twist your skis into the turn.

So you could eliminate the upper body rotation by eliminating the need for twisting the ski that causes it--but that is not a realistic solution. The need exists, so you need an ALTERNATIVE movement pattern to REPLACE the shoulder rotation.

The most intuitive, and arguably most powerful, way to twist skis is to pull them around with upper body rotation--twist the shoulders forcefully into the turn, then yank the skis around, in a "1-2" action. The old Arlberg Technique, that at least influenced how many of us learned to ski, was entirely based on upper body rotation. Hence--the habit you are struggling with. You, and about 90% of the rest of the skiers on the hill, whether they know it or not!

You need to develop more Independent Leg Steering. Perhaps the single defining movement of modern skiing is turning the feet and legs in the hip sockets, beneath and independently of the upper body.

It's the move you make when you lift one ski up and turn it, using only your leg. This might suggest that "Javelin Turns" should be a great way to develop the skill--but no! Try it: stand up, lift one foot, and turn it left and right. Easy, eh? You can turn it with no involvement of your upper body whatsoever. BUT--now try turning the foot you're still standing on. To turn that one weighted foot, your upper body comes back into play--either rotating first as described above, or counter-rotating like doing "The Twist." (Or you could grab onto a table or something and turn your foot against it.) It may be subtle--just your arms moving a little bit--but your upper body MUST be involved when you try to twist the one foot your're standing on. To exaggerate the effect, try turning the foot very slowly (as you would when steering a smooth ski turn).

Now put your foot back down. Notice that you can still twist it, even if you put a fair amount of weight on it, with enough force from your leg. And--you can also twist the OTHER foot, in the same way! As long as both feet remain on the ground, with a little separation between them, you can twist either one or both at the same time, without involving your upper body. Weight does not need to be 50:50, but there has to be enough weight on each foot to "anchor" it to the ground, while you twist the other one against it.

So--assuming the need for some twisting--those one-footed exercises actually prevent the one movement you need to develop to substitute for that "shoulder first" rotation. With one foot in the air, the more you need to twist the other foot, the more you NEED to use your upper body. The habit, in this case, is not one you can eliminate, and it is not "bad"--it is the only way to do it!

As is so often the case, the best strategy for eliminating a "bad habit" is to ignore it, and to focus instead on the movement that will substitute for it. Independent Leg Steering--develop this skill, and I'll bet the problem will vanish. More importantly, you will greatly improve your ability to carve clean turns, and to steer your skis precisely throughout your turns.

How do you do it? There, I cannot highly enough recommend a lesson from a competent instructor! First, I repeat that I'm only making an educated guess about your needs in the first place. And second, a good instructor will work with YOU, to find the best exercises, focus, terrain, words, and such that will work for you. A good instructor will give you feedback, to make sure you are actually doing the movements you think you are. Remember that improvement is CHANGE, and change feels, well, "different." The new moves will probably NOT feel right to you, at first, so an instructor who can give accurate feedback is essential.

Then you'll need to practice! A word on that--make sure you practice where you do NOT need the new movements. To change your fundamental movements, practice hardest on the easiest terrain. Then TEST your new skills on the harder stuff. Practice without distractions so you can focus on doing the new movements right. Otherwise, you are sure to just practice mistakes, and further ingrain your habits.

I'll join the others in recommending the EpicSki Fall Tuneup workshop in December at Stowe. This two-day clinic will bring some of the top instructors around to work with you. It will focus on fundamentals that you can continue to work with all season. And it happens early in the season, when habits are most easily broken and new movements most easily incorporated to replace the bad. Learn the details in the EpicSki Academy Planning forum. This is going to be a great event!

Meanwhile, if I've guessed wrong about your needs, let me know with some more details. Even better would be a photo or two, or (best) a short video clip. And let fly with any other questions!

Think snow--it won't be long now!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes

PS--Where is Liberty Mountain? I assume that the Maritime Republic of Eastport means Eastport, Maine. As a long-displaced, but still often homesick Mainer, this caught my eye!

[ August 22, 2003, 03:54 PM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
...PS--Where is Liberty Mountain? I assume that the Maritime Republic of Eastport means Eastport, Maine. As a long-displaced, but still often homesick Mainer, this caught my eye!
Bob - It's good to see you back and in your usual fine form. Have you finally emerged from your writing marathon?

FWIW, I'm pretty sure he means Ski Liberty (www.skiliberty.com). It's just N of the MD-PA line, maybe 20 mi N of Frederick, MD and SE of Gettysburg, PA. I think his ref to "Eastport" is to a historic area/peninsula near Annapolis, MD.

Tom / PM
post #15 of 29
Hi Tom--

Thanks for the welcome back. Unfortunately, no, I'm still working hard on the book, and it is not where I would like it to be. And there are a few other projects as well (EpicSki Academy projects East and West, in particular). I just needed a break from that stuff, and I've missed the gang around here (not that I haven't been lurking a fair amount).

Eastport, MD, eh? That sounds more like it, because I'm not aware of a Liberty Mountain in Maine, or any ski areas very close to Eastport. Eastport, Maine is famous as one of three places in Maine that all claim to be the first to see the sun rise on the east coast. (The other two are Cadillac Mountain, and Mt. Katahdin. Eastport is the easternmost town in the state. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the coast, but somewhat west of Eastport. And Mt. Katahdin is the highest point in the state, but considerably inland. It seems that there ought to be a way to figure out definitively which sees the sun first, but it's a lot more fun listening to the various sides argue their cases. Kind of like EpicSki, now and then! And yes, they all know that some island on the tip of the Aleutian chain is actually the first place in the US to see the light of a new day--they just don't like to admit it....)



Best regards,
Bob

[ August 23, 2003, 08:06 AM: Message edited by: Bob Barnes/Colorado ]
post #16 of 29
> ...It seems that there ought to be a way to figure out definitively which sees the sun first...

No way, Jose!

However, FWIW, I just did complete a little skiing calculation you might be interested in: Any guess as to how much change there is in the toe-heel distance in a non-system binding when the ski is flexed say 5 cm? Assume something like 5 cm of lift from the ski center-line to the boot sole. I'm obviously trying to see if the new "free-flex integrated system" bindings work as advertised. Don't worry about replying - I plant to start a thread on this when I do some measurements and am sure of my results.

Tom / PM
post #17 of 29
That will be interesting, Tom. There is certainly a lot of advertising hype surrounding the new systems. It will be good to see what the actual facts are. Of course, the one thing that many people seem to overlook is the fact that, while the binding interface surely does affect the way a ski flexes, I've got to think that ski engineers have taken that effect into consideration in designing skis for a very long time. That could explain why some very good skiers have preferred the feel of the "traditional" Elan M12 to that of the new and otherwise identical "integrated" M12. I look forward to the thread!
post #18 of 29
My worst habit (at least while on the ski slopes) is my brain talking me out of stuff, and focusing on the mistakes. (and since you normally end up doing what you're focused on, it really doesn't help)

S
post #19 of 29
>> ...It seems that there ought to be a way to figure out definitively which sees the sun first...

>No way, Jose!

Of course, I couldn't stop thinking about this and when I woke up, I remembered the relevant formula:

Distance to the visual horizon R = SQRT(2┬ĚRearth┬Ěh)

So plugging in some numbers you get:

height..horizon distance
50 m....25.3 km
100 m...35.7 km
200 m...50.5 km
500 m...79.9 km
1 km...112.9 km
2 km...159.7 km

So, if you know the approx E-W distances between Cadillac Mtn, Eastport and Katahdin, and their h's, it will be easy to tell where the sun really hits first (ie, whichever location's eastern horizon is the most east). OTOH, if it is a near tie, N-S location differences might break it (ie, the sun rises earliest in the north in the peak of summer).

Tom / PM

[ August 23, 2003, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: PhysicsMan ]
post #20 of 29
Habits?

1) Still chew with my mouth open sometimes.
2) Brush my teeth with a cross-wise motion rather than vertically.
3) Leave my shoes in the middle of the floor.
and worst of all...
4) Sometimes when skiing I'll straighten my spine so that the little curve in my lower back is too pronounced, and my chest ends up sticking out. I don't know where I picked that one up but it used to be a real problem. Not quite so much anymore. Real easy to get in the back seat in the bumps. I HATE when that happens!

God! (smack) I'm so STUPID! (smack)

Spag :
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Notorious Spag:

4) Sometimes when skiing I'll straighten my spine so that the little curve in my lower back is too pronounced, and my chest ends up sticking out. I don't know where I picked that one up but it used to be a real problem.
Were you taught by a lady who liked you?



S
post #22 of 29
[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input Bob... I'll definitely have to analyze it from that angle. The strangest thing happened with that 1 foot skiing though. Somebody in my group actually commented that I all of the sudden got rid of the upper body stuff when I was working on the excercise. I reiterate it's one foot with the other on the ground, not lifted. I feel it was because I was so focused on initiating at the foot (lower leg) level.

PhysicsMan is right about Ski Liberty (actually became Liberty Mtn. Resort about 2 seasons ago), it's just the new name never caught on. It's a marketing thing to try and enhance the conference facilities, etc...

The Maritime Republic of Eastport is an annexed part of Annapolis, Md. Just over the creek from downtown. Liberty is 85 mi. away.
post #24 of 29
Hi ESB--

It's quite possible that the one-footed exercises had some beneficial effects. It probably made you concentrate more on everything, and heightened your awareness of balance, foot movements, and everything else. It may well have smoothed out your upper body movements too, because you just can't horse things around as much when you're standing on one foot. One-footed skiing can be a great exercise for many things.

But as I described, it causes potentially serious problems with the "rotary skill," forcing you to use your upper body instead of just your feet and legs, and eliminating the possibility of steering smoothly throughout the turn. So now, take the awareness, balance, and discipline you've gained from the one-footed exercises, and focus on developing that independent leg steering, and you're on the way to a real breakthrough!

Your body may have actually discovered this already, too, because you say you have found it easier to do the one-footed skiing when you maintain light contact with the inside ski. That's often all it takes!

Every exercise has something wrong with it...otherwise it would be SKIING! That's one of my favorite statements, and it is a real truism. Exercises are NOT skiing. They isolate something, exaggerate something, leave something out, or at the very least, focus on specific movements that are appropriate only for a very limited range of conditions, speed, turn shape, and intent. Skiing is not about a particular set of movements--it is about SKILL, versatility, and the ability to react and adapt to all sorts of situations and intents. So, while on one hand every exercise has something "wrong" with it, on the other hand, every exercise can be helpful, too. There are bad habits, as you know, but there are no bad movements (as long as they don't hurt you), and certainly no "bad skills." The critical thing is to match the exercise to the specific need or skill you are trying to develop.

To summarize a few points on eliminating bad habits (and developing great ones):
</font>
  • Find a good instructor (be picky) to help you CLEARLY identify the movements of concern, and to sort out critical cause & effect relationships.</font>
  • With the instructor's help, learn some specific exercises or focuses that will, with practice, develop the desired changes.</font>
  • Before practicing on your own, make sure you are able to do the new movements consistently and accurately. Again, an instructor's eye and accurate feedback are critical.</font>
  • PRACTICE! Develop good practice habits, and differentiate real, focused practice from actual skiing. Practice new movements on "boring" terrain, where you can focus without distraction on the movements only. Do focused sets of 25-50 repetitions at a time, then take a break and ski for fun. It will take many of these 25-50-rep sets before you will really own the new movements, but don't try to do them all at once. As Arcmeister says, "never waste a flat"--cat tracks, green runs, and so on are the perfect opportunities for a little focused practice, without sacrificing precious time away from the fun stuff.</font>
  • Finally--don't practice mistakes, at least not without knowing it. Don't make the prime error of believing that "practice makes perfect." Only PERFECT practice makes perfect. You will get good at whatever you practice, and many skiers demonstrate just that: they are very good at very bad skiing! That only goes so far, before the problems surface and you find that further improvement just doesn't happen, until you make some fundamental changes in those deeply ingrained bad habits--and THAT can be painful and frustrating.</font>
Good luck with all this!
Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
First, I suggest that your "one-footed turns" (and Javelin turns, which are a specific variant of one-footed turns) may well be making the problem worse, rather than better. Here's why:
If I had contradicted the efficacy of javelin turns I'd have been accused of a personal attack
post #26 of 29
If I post anything here people will think I am strange.
post #27 of 29
I will try to bring it back to skiing. I do let my left hand drop sometime and I though I was rid of this habit when it reappeared last year when I hurt my back for a few days. I even added a funny reaching movement to it. I had to work a few weeks to get back to normal. Go figure out. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #28 of 29
In other words, sign up for the Epic Ski Eastern Tuneup in December (details coming soon) and/or the Epic Ski Academy in Utah!

Where do I go for information on the eastern event?

thanks!!
post #29 of 29
Kieli,
HERE!

S
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