Sunday, August 16, 2015

Gross could be the best slalom skier in 2016

It always looks easy when the top 5 slalom skiers do it, they have all the tools. 

Gross demonstrates all the right movements and he uses the exact movements we coach and teach in PMTS Racer Development.

In particular his upper body and hips are perfectly positioned or counter acted to the falline. His flexing and retraction release are also timed right. His inside foot tipping is a perfect "Phantom Move", from the PMTS manual.

His boot change has made a huge difference as well. 
Congratulations to Gross and the Italians for changing his boots.

This is where most of his competition has a wider, lower stance.

Notice how he opened his pole tap arm, and held his counter acting. 
This is also typical of Hirscher and Neureuther as well.
He shows perfect counter acting, open lower arm and shoulder balance is already transferred.
Perfect early angle, without pressure, inside ski is active with tipping and it's pulled back. Perfect slalom.
Now the question is how do you learn this way of skiing. This is the PMTS way of skiing and it's easy to understand and train this method.

If you don't think boots and their set up make a difference, look at this comparison. Night and Day.
Notice the clear difference in his skiing a few years ago in a Fischer Boot. I commented frequently on this Blog, (look back to the posts) that the boot set up was wrong for him. He is much more knock-kneed here. He still had great technique, but the boots were a liability. Now on Tecnica Boots, above in the red suit; he has a totally different stance, more upright, straighter leg, and much more powerful.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The art of learning to "Block" in slalom.

With "PMTS Racer Development",  we have a specific build up for how to "Block" or Clear a gate.
 This is the gate exercise that shows the results from using the "Girardelli Block".
Strengthening the upper body for proper blocking, develops balance, angles and a solid arc, without disrupting the craving. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fenninger uses Counter Acting and Relaxation to power up her GS.

Click on the link below, to see slow motion of Fenninger increasing her hip and shoulder counter acting through the arc. Notice how she also advanced the inside arm and shoulder. These are conscious movements most racers, don't learn, and mostly do the opposite, by rotating and squaring up through the arc.                                      


Key other movements:

-Relaxing the inside leg and bending it to keep building the angles on the outside ski.
-Increasing the tipping angles of the inside ski into the turn.
-Keep the inside ski back, accelerating the outside carving ski.

As a ski coach you have to know who to build the fundamentals to achieve this technique. This is modern world cup ski technique and without the ability to use these movements, in this era, you are severely handicapped in your development.

These are all World Cup movements I write about in my Book, coach at my camps, and show in my videos, "The Essentials of Skiing".

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why drive and own Porsche 911s?


Below you see two 911 Porsches. They are totally different however they have the same basic shape and design. By their design, I mean they are similar with both having a rear mounted engine, hanging out over the back axel, and both have rather small, by great sports car standards, engine displacement. Versions of both cars have won major races in their class. The GT3 is considered a Super car.

The Silver 911 is an 1982 911 SC, which by all accounts saved Porsche from going extinct.
The basic shape and look of the 911 SC started with the US DOT mandating crash proof bumpers in 1974 and this shape has endured, and is almost indistinguishable from a 1989 911 Carrera. This is the longest runner design and body style of any Porsche era.

Driving a Porsche and in some instances; and even just riding in one brings out the enthusiast in people. My first ride in a Porsche was when I was 12 years old, the car was a 1962 356B coupe.  I'll never forget it and it was what convinced me. When the 911 came out in 1964, I had to have one,  the 6 cylinder version, the greatest Porsches were yet to come.

The experience: There is no car that drives, gives the driver feedback and control like a 911.

Porsches get better with good modifications and balance. A balanced car is a joy to drive. By balance I mean everything fits, the handling, the cornering, the power, the control and feedback from the car all have to match.

A Porsche as an investment:

 I have never lost either buying or selling a Porsche. If you buy right, and the right models, you can consider your fun car an investment. How to invest in 911 Porsches. Porsche either by design or luck has always made special models or add on models to the regular Porsche line, you can by. In the 70s and 80s it was the 930 turbo, in the mid 2000s it was the GT3 or GT2. These cars all appreciate. Even good 911 SC models which ran from 1978 to 1983 are appreciating and becoming appreciated for their durability and fun nature. A well sorted 911 SC  has thrilling handling, good power, and is a joy to drive.

There is more to be found in a 911 SC. 

Making and keeping a Porsche 911 SC handling and performing like a modern sports car is in the details. With the correct suspension modifications and parts available today, you can turn your 911 SC into a real modern age performer. In my Sliver 1982 SC for example, there are significant modifications and they are balanced to produce a high performer in handling and power.

List: Body and suspension. 

First the least expensive way to improve an SC to modern standards is take the weight out. There are numerous ways you can do this. Light seats and wheels, removing air conditioning bumpers and rear seats for a start. This amounts to about 200 pounds bringing the car down to about 2550lbs. This silver SC is now about 2500 ponds, it still can go down to 2400, without breaking the bank. This involves a fiber glass engine lid, and rear bumper all coming off teh impotent end of the car where the weight is.

The next step is lowering the car as low as it goes, but keeping, the 16 inch, Turbo 9" and and 8" inch wheels. This not only gives the car a mean look but performance value is also obvious. Adding upgraded shocks and sway bars rounds out the suspension. I didn't go for stiffer torsion bars, because it's not necessary and makes the ride too harsh.
Now you have a very light, quick, agile, beautifully handling Porsche that is 34 years old. And more fun to drive than modern cars like a BRZ or a 370Z. Running the wider tires and low profiles make for a huge corning difference and a more neural handling car.

More on finding and making the perfect Porsche happen for you: coming! The engine and gear box are next.

The Engine: 

The 911 SC started in 1978 and ran until 1983. It has a 3.0 liter engine with CIS (continuous injection system) that delivers the fuel. The cars put out depending on year and where it came from between 178 to 185 hp. This car has upgrades: like 964 cams, MSD ignition, and a performance SSI exhaust system, the output on the dyno is slightly over 200hp. Now you have a great sound and it really revs up quickly due to the light car and modifications.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A superior technique yields superior results!

Compare the turns, the skis and the legs; to the skiers in the previous post of PSIA Demo Team skiing. The difference is night and day. I'd rather be in the day and enlightened.
                                                                    By Harb Ski Systems

I would be ashamed if involved in a national system that produced this skiing.

Since the PSIA Demo Team has shown that they and their coaches don't know how to do "Movement Analysis", on their own skiing, this should help them see skiing in a clearer light.

According to "PSIA", and the Demo Team this is the best they can offer. It is the culmination of their ski technique showing their prowess  as skiers and their technique. 

 According to PSIA this is good skiing. According to anyone else's standards this is intermediate skiing. Notice there is no balance shown or angles developed, yes knee "A" frame is all you see, the rest of the body is vertical. There is something seriously wrong  with a system that doesn't support putting the skis on edge.
 Even according to PSIA standards: An intermediate skier is one who still has a wedge entry and doesn't yet ski parallel.
 So here is the Demo Team skiing together and training.  These are Wedge Christie turns not parallel turns of expert skiers. (Don't be confused, they were not trying to Demonstrate Wedge Christie turns in these runs.)
 Stem finish to the turn.
 Two stems,  both skis in different directions.
 A stem at the top of the turn.
 A down stem at the bottom of the turn.
Their are enough photos here to demonstrate these are not one time or fluke occurrences, this is happening in every turn.

My question is; if you can't make parallel turns, or ski parallel, with your best skiers, using  your own technique, how can you teach others to make parallel turns?

Remember this is what USSA has endorsed to use with your junior racers and their coaching.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Perfecting your skiing movements during the summer! Kaz gets it right!

                      Kaz is the Far West Region 14 and under overall champion. 

Kaz is one of the California group of great little skiers I've been coaching for the last 7 years. 
We have been doing racing summer camps at Mt Hood for the last 4 summers, and this group will be there again this summer in July.

One of the key transformations for Kaz this season was upgrading his boots to a 115 flex last all. Many coaches think this is too stiff, well if you know how to use the right movements to keep your feet under you, there is no boot too stiff. There is no excuse, a coach needs to know how it works to get kids forward over their skis, and it's not by putting them in soft kiddie boots.
You will notice how his feet are behind his hips, his inside foot is back lined up with his outside boot. This is not a coincidence and it's mandatory for top level skiing. These are learned movements. And not done by moving your hips forward or extending your hips up and forward. Feet back is one of the key elements we work on constantly with the PMTS Racing Development Techniques at Harb Ski systems. We have unique ways to achieve this most important aspect of skiing, so rarely done correctly.
                                                               Podium Man

                              Kaz with his winning GS form, not Hirscher yet, but well on the way..

Our Training philosophy:

Our camps are private, and not offered to the public. They are offered by special request and for invited athletes. We are not one of the mass-production camps that stays at Mt Hood for the whole summer. We are interested in working with highly-motivated athletes who want the best coaching and educational experience. Our involvement with attending athletes is usually long-term: once they experience PMTS race training, they want to continue with that program and level of coaching. We provide a technical skiing base and technical understanding of skiing that the athletes will carry with them as they evolve as skiers and racers. This is not just a week's ski camp experience; it's an education for their lives in skiing. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marcel Hirscher, about to set a new World Cup Ski record.

Marcel Hirscher closes in on FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup overall title

Is this the turning point in Marcel Hirscher career? Is it time to focus on Super G and GS, and leave slalom behind. What are the advantages and disadvantages? GS and Super G skis are similar. GS is great training for Super G and vice versa. Slalom is the outlier in alpine ski racing. Skis are totally different and the turns are tight and results unpredictable. Slalom requires the most training to hold a top 3 finishing position. 
It makes sense from an energy expenditure stand point to use Super G as the second event to GS; if you are going for your 5th straight overall world cup title in a row (next season). It's one run and no practice on that run needed, you are in and out. Easy points?? If you can ski like Hirscher, yes.
It will be interesting. My feelings are that Hirscher likes the slalom turns, and he likes the athletic requirements of slalom. It would be a loss to ski racing not having him in top form for slalom. He also may see leaving slalom as a copout for achieving his historical overall wold cup legacy. I'm sure he wants to do it his way, win slaloms and GS. But what is the smartest way to do it. Stenmark was able to do it, but he didn't win 4 World Cup overall titles in a row. Hirscher has not yet, but at this writing, the odds are definitely in his favor. He can always, from time to time run a Super G to get insurance points. Either way, it will be very interesting to watch history in the making.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Foot and ski boot alignment isn't an accessary you can "afford" to ignore.

         Boots and Alignment, how they affects your skiing.

"Penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind when spending on ski racing!"

Parents spend an amazing amount of money on ski racing,  for suits, wax, tuning, camps, travel,  and of course coaching, just to name a few.

What would happen if you were to find that your coach can't make any changes in your skiing, if your boot alignment is off?

What would you do if you knew that going to another camp wasn't going to make a difference in your skiing ability?

What if you knew that waxing and brushing your skis didn't add speed to your race runs?

Without complete optimization of your ski boots, foot positioning, cuff adjustments and sole canting the above examples are true. None of the improvement you think you will achieve for the above list will occur without a perfect boot set up. Sure some minor changes can be realized, but will they last?

A complete alignment program has a huge impact on a skiers ability to move on skis. It's the tires that make the difference in a snow storm, well it's the boots that make the difference in a ski racer.

Few coaches have the training to see what needs to be done. Few coaches recognize the difference between technique and alignment problems. Although identifying alignment can be learned, trained and can be applied by coaches who have the training, few do.

How can I make these bold statements? I see the results of bad alignment every day in my ski shop and alignment center. I see racers from all over the country from numerous different programs. And those are the smart parents and coaches that bring their racers in to see us. In almost every case there are big improvements that are achieved. Most racers have less then optimal set ups, even on the world cup.

Very few skiers are perfectly aligned and set up in ski boots. Even Mikaela Shiffrin had to change her boots this season after the newer versions were damaging her results.
Five of the best Italian ski instructors. Can you pick which 3 have really poor alignment?

What is involved with proper optimization of a skier's set up?

First comes boot selection, no one's feet, legs and joints are the same. Even in the same family offspring have different needs for boot set up. Different boots by every company have different strengths and weaknesses.

Boot fit has a huge impact on skiing performance. Boot fit has to be modified in conjunction with needs for a footbed and proper hold or boot fit.

A proper bio-mechanical assessment of the foot and ankle determines whether a footbed will assist in edging and ski tipping movements. All of the lower body movements in skiing are directly attributable to boot fit and boot matching. The skier's ankle and leg must be aligned to achieve every possible performance advantage.

There are many footbeds that do not achieve proper alignment, some may make it worst.

Poor alignment, like this "A" frame can be caused by an aggressive cuff or a foot problem or boot sole misalignment. It is imperative that a qualified boot technician does all the measurements properly. Through measuring and on snow testing, good technicians and coaches can work together.

Cuff adjustments are crucial in modern ski boots. They wrap around the leg above the ankle and have influence on developing edge angles. Mostly the cuffs are set up too strong against the leg, as in Mikaela's case with her boots early this season. An aggressive cuff gives the immediate feel of a strong edge, but it doesn't allow for better ski and arc development.

Sole canting is the final touch. this may seem very straight forward for many boot fitters, but it is not. There are many factors influencing the final canting of the sole. Mostly the final position is arrived at by a combination of understanding, boot design, shin curve, and leg length.

With a proper biomechanical assessment more than 15 measurements of each foot are required beginning with bare feet and then in boots.

Determining and fine tuning balance with sole canting.

After all the indoor assessments and measuring are complete, the bottom line is still determined by the skier's movements on snow. In our system, we are fortunate to ski with more than 90% of the skiers we do a complete alignment assessment for in the ski shop

The others send us video after there assessment. From video we can determine the fine tuning.

In summary, you can spend many more dollars chasing points, summer camps in South America and on a fancy race programs, and never get it right, because the equipment is wrong. Not much can or will lower the points until the racer or skier can move their bodies without equipment restrictions that can't be corrected by training, technique or coaching.