Monday, December 30, 2013

Comparison between Shiffrin and Schild in the same turn.

Schild is already arcing, hips and body lined up with edge.
                                    Shiffrin's weight is on her inside ski, wide stance.

                                             Same Turn above the gate, in transition.
             Schild narrow stance, already released old turn and ski, standing on uphill, little toe edge ski. She is still holding her CA from the previous arc. She has already transferred her balance to the new ski, for the next turn.

Siffrin in the same turn, almost exactly the same place, wide feet,  pushed her new outside ski away to exit the turn. Caught in wide stance with balance between skis.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How does Maries Schild do it? The best slalom skier to have ever lived.

It's easy to say, as they do on Universal Sports telecasts, "she brings it", she has the "energy", she  makes "no mistakes". But there is so much more to it. Those are skiing  clich├ęs  but don't describe how she does it. For a more in-depth look at almost perfect slalom technique of Maries Schild read below:
Upper Body compliments her feet.
Schild's upper body Counter-acting is stronger and her Counter-balance, not only better, but earlier in the arc, than the rest. She has mastered and uses all of the "Essentials of Skiing", in every turn. Most of the field only has some of the Essentials, and rarely use all the Essentials in the same turn.

In the last 30 turns, in the 2nd run, Schild beat the field that ran before her by 1 second to the bottom. She has yet to ski "all out" in two runs. If she does get back to being able to do it, she will begin winning slaloms by more than 1.5 seconds. This is how dominant she was before her injury. She also beat Shiffrin by 1.1 seconds in that run to take the win. 

Lower Body sets it up: Schild has emphatic outside ski retraction and flexing at the release of every turn, in other words, she pulls her leg into a strong flexing action when she releases the ski, and transfers to the other ski, while it is still on the little toe edge and is still that inside ski.

This is so obvious, but few coaches know how she achieves it. This is worth 1/50 of a second on every turn. Schild also has the narrowest stance and holds the inside ski and boot close even in the turn, this allows her to manage her inside ski tipping and pull back. She keeps the inside ski lighter for longer in a turn, than any of the others. The others except for her sister Bernadette, and Zettel, all use the inside ski to lean into. Even Shiffrin, her stance falls away (feet get too wide horizontally) and she ends up on the inside at the falline, this takes much of her rebound energy and edge hold away, out of the release.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher

Since the beginning of it's development, in 1997, my teaching system PMTS, based on world cup racing, and described in my first book, "Anyone can be an Expert Skier", has focused on new techniques. I'm referring to new techniques that have evolved and are used by world cup skiers for the past 17 years or more, but are rarely realized. Every book and video I have produced 8 in total, has developed the focus of inside ski tipping and inside knee flexing. This PMTS movement series with use of the inside of the body, begins at the release of a turn and continues all the way to the end. The Austrians have developed this further in their racers than most other nations.  

Hirscher has more emphasis on inside leg flexing and tipping. He really holds his inside foot back. He holds it longer and stronger than the rest. The angle toward downhill, of the inside leg is incredible. You can only achieve this if your focus for the releasing movements are on tipping of your new inside ski,  foot, and bending of the inside leg. In other words, get it out of the way. 
 Ted is more old school, Big toe edge dominant in this engagement.
Two of the best three GS skiers show differences in movements for turn engagement.

Many will say this is no big deal, as with the slip I mentioned in the previous article, no big deal either,  however, 1/000 of a second is 2 tenths, in a 2 minute, 30seconds two run GS. Add a slip at the bottom of the arc from squaring up, at the release, and you have 4 tenths in a hurry.

Direct comparison, Hirscher to Ligety

Because Ligety and Hirscher have different body types, there will be slight differences in the way they need to release, engage and transition between turns. These are the three areas of ski turns to focus on when comparing skiers. What movements do they use to release, to transition and to engage the skis? Their  upper body to the lower body alignment relationships in these critical parts of  turns however, should stay similar.
It goes without saying that you have to know if this is an anomaly or are these movements more than 40% repeated in a race run. These two comparisons here are consistent with most turns for each skier.
 This is just prior to release or the finish of the arc, note the differences in upper body. Ted is squared up, Hirscher is still counter acted. Ted lost his outside ski.
This is the same turn, same spot, Hirscher knocked his gate down, the camera zoom are slightly different, otherwise it's the same spot on the course.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hirscher uses techniques usually seen by Ligety, He out Ligetyed Mr GS.

A few differences that look minor to many, but added up over a whole race it's 4 tenths of a second.
First thing, in this course, Hirscher's line was tighter, closer to the gates. His arcs were round,
but shorter, shorter than both Ligety and Pinterault.

(above Photo) Hirscher Carving above the gate, what Ted is known for in his best GS races.

Hirscher has this amazing ability and part of technique which neither Pinterault or Ligety use to the same extent, and that is his upper body control and discipline. Hirscher holds his countered relationship to the skis longer after the gate, he actually increases it. This reduces his movements  needed in transition, therefore he can relax and have more time to set up the new arc.


Here you see Pinterault dropping that inside arm behind his hips, his upper body is therefore square to the skis, and he is still pushing off his lower ski, and the upper ski is already flat. In contrast, Hirscher rarely steps over to a new flat outside ski. Hirscher rides the "Little Toe Edge", while it's still at a high edge angle out of the arc. He stays "Counteracted" with his torso to the skis. This rotation doesn't happen in every turn for Pinterault, but it is an often enough occurrence in key turns to have an effect, for the edge engagement for the next turn.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hirscher above the rest at Alta Badia, Why?

After I posted comments on Facebook about the World Cup Giant Slalom at Alta Badia,  it becomes really obvious after reading the responses,  that many viewers have difficulty looking at and seeing what  world cup skiers are really doing. So in an attempt to educate viewers I'm posting World Cup Skiing analysis here.
 Here Hirscher is in the very difficult part of the course where many others made mistakes. He also had a great save here, but he started the turn perfectly.

Look at the key reference points in his skiing that makes him the best skier in the world.
1. Upper body counter acting
2. Inside shoulder forward
3. Inside foot and ski tipped, to the same angle as the outside foot and ski.
4. Upper body is Counter balanced and turned away from the gate.
5. Inside foot it pulled back under his hips and outside knee is touching the inside boot.

Only a few skiers manage this kind of skiing, this is the exception, not the norm. The below photo from  Alta Badia shows the same characteristics.

When analyzing skiing you have to look at what the best skiers are doing differently than the rest and how they are evolving skiing beyond the normal; if you want to stay ahead of the game. Most coaches don't see the next level and don't look deep enough into the biomechanics.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bode Miller using classic PMTS style counter balance.

Bode no longer so wild, more Classic!!!

Bode is on fire, with his upper body and inside arm up, forward and high, this is classic PMTS technique we teach.

He is also is flexing and tipping the inside ski and leg to get angles and keep the ski light. This action of the inside leg moves all his weight (Cg) and balance to the outside ski .

Skiing at this level, is no longer about pushing and driving the outside knee and ski; it's about moving the pressure to the outside ski by creating the angles with the inside leg and inside of the body. Totally opposite of what is being coached.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mikaela Shiffrin has picked up her game from last season. Impressive for someone going from 18 to 19 years old.

The two big factors that Hirscher and Shiff have over the field is inside foot management. Most racers at any level, don't pay attention to this crucial inside foot, boot and leg dynamic. Notice on all the photos on my Blog;  there is one thing represented, and only the best 2 or 3 skiers in the world demonstrate it.

Which is, inside foot and the inside leg leading the movements into and in a turn. Notice that the top skiers don't have to reach to make contact with the snow with the inside hand. They get their angles by performing differently. They create the angles needed with the whole body with inside leg flexing and inside boot tipping. If you dig deeper into this Blog you will see this occurring over and over. 

Shiff has improved in these areas. She keeps the inside foot back and under the outside knee by pulling back on that boot. She tips and bends the inside leg out of the way to allow her body to drop to the inside. This creates huge ski and body angles. Therefore: her upper body doesn't need to lean or rotate. That's another special set of movements she has learned and improved on. She is therefore stronger skeletally, which is bad news for her rivals. 

In slalom this has also improved, so she's even a better slalom skier than last season. She could win the overall this year. Riech is strong in all events like Tina Mase was last year, but she isn't going to win enough points in GS and slalom. If Shiffrin does what she shows now, and continues to build on it,  she will win GS and Slalom races, like Hirscher, to win the overall without speed events.