Sunday, November 4, 2018

Analysis of Boot alignment cannot be done properly without movement understanding.

Determining how to evaluate and change bow-legged skiing!

Skiing October 30th, 2018
Looking at this photo you might think everything is progressing well? However, if you look further at different frames of the same turn it's amazing how everything changes. 

After you read the whole article come back and compare this photo below to the others in the Yellow jacket. This photo is from last season where my alignment was set to my satisfaction.

(below photo) If we look at this frame which is slightly before, higher in the arc, than the one above, you can begin to tell there is something amiss. The outside ski isn't rolling over onto the edge, the knee looks bowed out. My hip angle is out of proportion with my lower body angles.

(below) This is same turn or arc, but it isn't finished to my satisfaction yet, I'm already bailing out of the turn, too early. "Why?" Again, what is obvious is the knee angle and the space between the knees. Also from a movement standpoint, this release is forced and too early.

Now compare this photo, to the one above, whcih was taken only 2 days before. The skis are still arcing, angled and still in the arc, the finish is balanced.

Now let's look at the process of identifying alignment in a scientific and measurable way. The photo (above) with the Black Jacket is from 2 days before and with no boot changes. The turn is more rounded at the bottom and still arcing. 

What is happening here and why are there such differences between the angle and the quality of the arc?

Let's dig deeper. First, these photos demonstrate how alignment affects your skiing. I'll explain how and where these problems originate and how to evaluate them.

The only difference or changes from the Black jacket day to the yellow jacket day are the skis. I change clothes when doing these tests to make sure I don't confuse one day to the other. 

Without real in-depth investigation, most initial analysis can be misleading. At first look, you could easily think the boot angle is too strong, or the footbed is wrong, the cuff is too close to the leg, or the ski base bevel is too flat? So which is it? 

It's obvious I know what I want from my skiing and for the turn. This is demonstrated by the first photo at the top of the page. I made the corrections and adapted my body for something under my feet that wasn't right,. Every skier will make adaptive movements to try to correct wrong alignment. In most cases the skier doesn't know they are adapting because they are so used to do it. Therefore a complete evaluation must be done if reasonable angles and ski performance is to be acquired. If you compare the top of the turn and the bottom it is obvious something isn't right in this case. 

Some might say, "well you screwed up, you are too far back on your ski, you are not levering or tipping the ski over enough" and so on. Unfortunately while right in this analysis, it's not the cause.

There is nothing wrong with addressing what you might say is a bad turn. This is done by addressing the movement quality of the skier first. In this case, I can eliminate the movement issues because this isn't my normal skiing. I have the advantage of also knowing that this feels terrible and that it hurts my knee. So how does one narrow down the real issue and correct it?

We already eliminated the movement component. Now let's address the boot sole angle or boot canting angle. Indoors this is measured by aligning the knee center to the center of the boot sole at the toe lug of the boot. Since I know this is done and correct based on previous measurements and my boot sole angle wasn't changed; the problem is somewhere else. Sure if you only saw the photos in the yellow jacket it would be reasonable to assume that that boot sole angle was too strong because this type of leg angle is common for skiers with a bow-legged skiing stance.

Ok, now we have eliminated the boot sole canting as the major issue. We can move to the cuff angle or cuff position relative to the distance or gap on either side of the lower leg. Too strong or too much pressure from the cuff can keep the shin looking outside or bowed at the top of the arc. However, when the foot, ankle, and leg try to tip the ski, a strong cuff set up will immediately drive the knee under the body in the loaded phase of the arc. This isn't the case here. Too strong a boot cuff determination can be confusing because at the top of the arc (where the ski is relatively unloaded) it appears totally different from the bottom of the turn, where the ski should be bent. Going back to the angles in the black jacket; everything here is right, and no changes were made to the cuff so we can rule out the cuff as the problem. 

There is one more place in the chain of events that has an influence on alignment and that is the footbed. An over-strong or high arched, rigid footbed can make the knee look outside and bow-legged at the top of the arc. This type of footbed can also make the ski run out or go straight halfway through the arc. So it can't be ruled out, it needs to be investigated. Since I know I don't have a rigid, high arch footbed I can also eliminate that issue. So I've checked all the boxes except one, the ski tune. 

The lesson here is the interrelationship between the indoor measurements and skiing performance. If you don't have a complete protocol for all the areas of measurement and where alignment of the boot and foot can influence skiing, you will struggle setting up a skier properly. The boot sole, boot cuff, foot and ankle positions in the boot have to be measured and optimized consistent with perfect performance. The process needs to be consistent and measurable or you will be all over the map with your alignment results.
On the other side of the equation, the final test and confirmation have to include the on snow skiing tests determining skiing results as I have done here with the photos.

Now to what caused the problems for my left-footed turns. Well first you can't judge by one turn. This same problem has to show up on almost every turn in a run if you want to be certain about your evaluation. 

The conclusion

In this presentation I allowed the least obvious of the alignment influences to take hold so I could demonstrate that you can't leave out anything that might influence your skiing. This particular alignment challenge shown here boils down to skis and ski base preparation. 

How do I know? I know where all the boot angles stand from the indoor measurements. The only thing that changed between the two days was the skis. I know that the skis I used on the first day where everything was very close to being right for my skiing have a 3-degree base bevel. They have a mild side angle tune. The second day I was on a race slalom ski with a 1/2 degree base bevel with very sharp 3-degree edge angles. The solution, or change to make in this case is, flat file the base, take out some of the side edge sharpness and all will be right. 

In the end, you have to consider all the places where alignment can influence your skiing. This is what we do at Harb Ski Sytems, where we have established the protocols that work indoors and on snow. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Link to Weighted release training by Marcel hirscher.

Continued clarification of technical mis-understanding! Forget early pressure!!!

Marcel Hirscher late pressure teechniques to gain time, and reduce friction.

In the photo below Marcel Hirscher shows a typical slalom finish to a turn. Outside ski weighted, retraction of the legs. Yes, no transfer to the new outside ski.

The transition is either light on both skis or more weighted on the old outside ski, in this photo, it's the new inside ski. Notice there is also no extension or attempt to bring the hips forward. 

(below photo) Almost at the gate ready for the blocking position,  the outside ski is still in the air or lifted. 

Early pressure isn't the method used by the top skiers. The transition is used to set up angles not to pressure the ski. Hirscher may not apply this technique for every arc, however, he does practice this movement pattern in training runs on every turn. He trains this way of transitioning because it's faster, and it applies less friction in the upper part third or slow part of the arc.

Unless the skier has a good grasp of how to create counteracting and retraction in a convention release first, this method should not be introduced to juniors.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

What you should know if you want to learn the term what it is to be in the "Zone"!

Feeling it! You may hear that comment when someone is performing well. It's the moment when everything comes together after many days weeks and hours for training. Training your mind to match what your body is trying to accomplish is often the missing link. Rock climbing has taught me more than I could have excepted about combining and learning movements. The brain is not only a conscious problem solver but also a subconscious one. The brain is learning and teaching the body while you are practicing. In climbing when you first come to a grade higher or push yourself to the next level of difficulty, it seems that the climb is almost impossible. You don't see how you can make your body produce the moves necessary to get up the rock wall. Yet after you work on the movements build the strength needed for particular moves, the impossible becomes doable. And after you achieve the next level, your old standard climbs become easy. When that happens you know your brain and your body are in sync. With this comes confidence. Confidence is developed after repeated small successes. This progression happens in many activities and sports, however knowing how it's done can take an athlete a long time to comprehend. You have to be systematic, especially when it comes to skiing. Climbing more or less dictates where you have to move. With skiing, you can move many different ways on any given slope. So you can enjoy the experience even without ever achieving the point of "feeling it". In our courses, we focus on repeatable movement sequences that let mind and body learn together. The idea is to have the subconscious mind become flexible and open. Repeating efficient movements and developing small successes as you ski lays the foundation. As in climbing, there are the obvious setbacks, you fall off, you get frustrated, but you work through it. When you have the two, mind and body working together to design the perfect dance of movements the world opens and the conscious mind relaxes. Arriving at this point is magical and that is when you know the "right" practice has paid off.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Complete Skier's Guide.
The complete skier's Guide from Skiing Techniques to boot set up, fitting and alignment.

This is a sample below. Click on the link directly above to go to the page. On this page you will see an over view to how you can structure your skiing education, improvement and knowledge. Everything you need to become a better skier no matter what level.

Below is an example of the middle structure of this graphic for the "Essentials of Skiing" approach. For this approach you can use the book, DVDs or downloadable videos.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Edge change before direction change.

If you want to carve from turn to turn, change your edges before you turn. Notice the tracks left behind they are purely carved. Here I am about to start the next pure carve. I retracted or bend my legs, changes edges with my lower body. Now I'm ready to get the skis into the snow and create more angles.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Similarity between well trained skiers!

Reilly McGlashan spectacular free skier!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The fundamentals are lacking, because Skills Quest by USSA is a failure.

USSA Development

Skills Quest could be a good idea, if they had the right people dsigning the skills. The US coaching staff has no idea what the world cup skiers are doing differently.
The skier above is doing the best she can. However it's not the way to ski. It's not the way the World Cup skiers ski, it's American coaching. The upper body is leaning inside. All the weight is on the inside of the body, the hips are square. Nobody winning on the world cup is skiing with hips square like this. No one on the world cup who is winning has the feet seperated as is the case here. This is not reversable. Once a young skier adapts this posture and position they are doomed.
       World cup overall champion twice, Anna Fenninger Veith, and she is still a world cup contender.
Does anyone in USSA development know why there is a huge difference between the way these two skiers use balance and technique? I'm sure they don't, because in the first photo, the skier is an example of USSA development skiing. This skiing will never acheive the highest levels of World Cup skiing.