Friday, November 14, 2014

10 to 13 year old ski racers, with superior skiing and mature technical development, Are Fast!

There are some notions and beliefs around US Ski Coaching,  that young racers who ski too well and have learned good technique; are never going to be successful fast racers, because they are over techniqued. 

Sometimes I have to just shake my head in wonder at the belief systems that prevail in skiing.

The notion that good technique makes you a slow skier is not only absurd, but it's an attempt to remove the responsibility of good coaching from the coach's back.  

When proper technique is coached and developed a young racer doesn't have to dwell on his skiing he can relax and ski fast without thinking. The individual and his personality traits bring the fire in the belly on race day. And if you don't have that fire naturally, you probably won't make it whether or not you have good or undeveloped technique.  It's the determination and motivation that makes a skier aggressive and an attacking racer, not diminished in the slightest by his ability to ski well.

 In fact, it's the opposite, the better you ski the more confidence you have to ski fast, not the other way around. Sometimes in the US we have strange ideas about what develops success.
In Austria all the racers learn to ski well and then they develop into champions, and they all  "amazingly" have the same good technique. Are they over techniques? Maybe they are but they are still fast.

Below are three very fast racers with exemplary technique. When taught correctly and without technical overload or jargon, skiers don't slow down to ski well in a course; they rely on the instincts trained into their skiing movements. 

In these photo you see skiers with world cup skiing. Outside ski, skeletal alignment to the forces and excellent balance.

 These skiers developed these basics through exercises skiing outside of gates. This requires focus concentration and discipline. This is often not something everyone has or brings, many skiers have to learn how to focus just as they have to learn different techniques.

(Below photo) This is 10 year old Zack, he's highly focused and loves exercises that he uses to  develop his skiing by training outside of gates.

A highly skilled skier always looks like they have world cup technique, doesn't matter what age.

Sometimes you have a wild and loose skier who needs to be gradually reigned in to develop enough technical ability, yet not lose that free spirited edge. Ever skier and personality is different and coaches need to realize you don't treat all racers the same way. The skier below is a free spirit, yet he now has the ski technique to also stay in the courses while skiing fast and free.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Proper coaching results in excellent racers.

This racer is 13 years old, has been taught "How" to get to this relationship to his skis. This involves using correct movements into and out of the turns to accomplish a photo like this. These are world cup skiing techniques and body movements and angled relationships.  These types of movements are not taught by USSA education to coaches or by coaches using USSA training. This is a totally different system, much like what the Austrians use to create the best skiers in the world.

If what I stated above is the case, what are the key differences from what you see here and what is in USSA Coaches Education. The first glaring difference, if you listen and compare to USSA coaches education, USSA coaches education has no clearly outlined, "descriptions of the movements" or "how" to create the right movements to become top level racers. Yes, sure there are "concepts", but concepts don't teach coaches how to coach or racers how to move their bodies.

Second, there are glaring portions of a ski turn missing from the overall understanding of skiing in USSA coaches education.  For example: the transition, going from one turn to the next, is not described, no movements are appropriated to this most important aspect of skiing. The transition (between gates) in racing, is the part of the turn that has the most body changes, largest body movements and where American skiers most often have trouble, yet no mentions of this phase, in the skiing pyramid, hierarchy, for slalom. Also the transition sets you up for the next turn. If you listen to the  Sasha Rearick, US Head Men's Coach,  in his presentations, there no mention of a transition. No mentions of it's importance, how it's done, what movements are involved or how to set it up.

Another glaring omission, is boot, foot and ski tipping, how to tip a ski on edge, which ski to tip,  how to un-tip the skis and what movements are involved.

Mr. Rearick tells coaches in presentations that he will not tell them "how" to coach, or how to teach, or what to coach, they should use their imaginations. US coaches have been using their imaginations for decades, how is that working? Yet, the US ski team still complains that there are no talents in the development pipeline. How is it that the Head Coach of the Men's US Team after berating the US domestic coaches for not developing enough world cup skiing talents, can end the presentations with no help? He goes on to say he isn't going to tell them how they should coach, so how does he expect to get from domestic programs what he needs on the world cup. Does anyone else see a total disengagement of responsibility from a national team coach as an educator? If he isn't going to educate coaches, why is he presenting?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pure example of missed boot set up. It's not working here either.

The article is a filled with incorrect approaches to boot set up.. The poor and misguiding information is coming out of Ski Racing these days is astounding, sensationalism reporting, without references, or facts. I was there when Warner put his back out in training at Loveland. I had checked his alignment on our stand at our shop numerous times. It was completely due to his "mis- alignment" of his boots, and he wouldn't listen to reason about his over canting. He over canted himself and he got hurt because of it, this was on his Dodge boots. Warner has little understanding of his or anyone else's alignment for that matter.
I don't know why Ski Racing Magazine can't write about proper correct alignment information, it is available. It would be much more helpful if Ski Racing wrote about alignment that is actually relevant to skiers, and at the same time is accurate?????? Perpetuating confusion about alignment doesn't serve the ski industry and can actually hurt people.

Anyone following this advice from Warner's article is putting themselves in serious jeopardy and the possibility of a serious knee injury. Warner should be ashamed of this article and his ignorance of proper boot fitting and alignment.

Warner's solution to tip his cuff toward his leg, it doesn't work the way he intended. It makes the boot highly over reactive to any terrain, ruts or chatters in a course. It also pre-loads the boot enough that any slight tipping force toward the new edge is over done and right after that the boot and ski drop excessively inside, so much so that the ski can't possible hold an edge. Although this may feel like you get tremendous grip when free skiing, in a racing situation it actually loads the ski early and quickly and makes for a very hard hit when it achieves early hold and is quick to the edge, and these quick re-loads shocks end up in the knee and lower back as the shock travels into the body.
A very dangerous situation.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Skier and Racer Alignment, it's not art, it's science.

Here are some examples of skiers 13 years old, with good alignment. There are 6 different skiers here, how lucky I am to have 6 different skiers with perfect alignment????? 

People think this is normal, they are all naturally talented and perfectly aligned. I have coached this group for 6 years and everyone of them has some adjustments under their boots. Every time they change boots we have to find the new optimal set up. This is done by on snow analysis and indoor measurements. Indoors to keep track of the norms, outdoors to test the skiers movements and ski angles. We sometimes change the alignment after each run, to test what works best. 
Every leg here is lined up perfectly with the forces. There is no undue stress on the knees or joints when alignment is correct. Skiing can be rough on the joints. At this age you would never realize it. One of my goals as a coach is to reduce as close to eliminating any opportunity for injury with every possible technical innovation. Alignment is one of those that is always addressed in our training.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

How the body changes with higher angles.

High Angles
Comparing subtle differences in how refinements can help your skiing. This is high level skiing, intermediate skiers may think this is nit-picking , however all of this applies even at the learning levels. And remember we never stop learning, wherever your level is now.

The most obvious difference to me is the outside arm, which effects the counter-acting, counter-balance slightly, and the angular momentum of the body. In the end, I think it affects the amount of adjustment you have to make at transition. If some don't see it, look at where the bottom of the ski pole is (the pointed end) in the different frames on the outside arm.

                                                                      Free Skiing (below photo)
                                                                   High Angles
The difference between free skiing and high angle skiing is inside leg bending or flexing and relaxation of the mid body to allow the hips to drop inside. Of course you have to feel like your skis are really hooked up to let go, and get down this far.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ski Better, Learn faster, Find Success and know what you are doing, with PMTS tutorials.

Everyone wants to ski better, or eliminate your wedge in all ski situations, or link those turns smoothy. It's now available, not just tips that last for 5 minutes, true complete step by step video tutorials by the pros who are expert teachers, that invented "Direct Parallel",  "Anyone can be an Expert Skier" and the "Essentials of Skiing". Check out this page.
Ski better learn more, find success! Click on this link below:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Get my Blog updates in your E-Mail.

This feature is cool, just enter your e-mail, it will not be used for anything else, no spam, mainly because I don't know how. Just kidding, it's private. The only thing that will happen is you will get a notice of new posts whenever I put them here, immediately. 

PMTS Skier Development: The Transition in Skiing

 The transition is the most important part of the ski connection from turn to turn. It involves the biggest body change and movements in skiing. The transition takes you from one side to the other, a complete reversal of body line up. Once you understand this has to happen you can make it successful.  
In PMTS skiing,  the change happens before you enter the new turn and new falline. This is designed to make sure you are in balance and well organized for every new turn. Traditional ski instruction is different , they tell you to steer your legs and stand up, which forces you to struggle through the whole next turn to survive.

                          (below)  Setting up for the last bit of inside leg flexing(bend or shorten)  and tipping (add more angle).

  Now the arc is complete, I start to bend the stance leg (Shorten the outside leg) and transfer balance (weight) to the upper ski.

  The transfer to the LTE, upper ski, this is the "Super Phantom", it's clear that this is happening in this frame.

    (below) Here you see the balance transfer to the uphill ski.                          
     Hold your countered upper body through transition. If you give it up at this point, you will pivot the skis as they come flat to the snow. Pivoting loses the transition and the High C engagement is lost and the tipping can't continue. This is why a steering approach doesn't work to create high level skiing, it kills the transitions.
Release your stance leg to change edges, let both legs change edges, the new LTE, (new inside ski outside edge) for the new turn leads the way to develop new ski angles , not your upper body.
New inside foot pullback should already be happening, don't panic, by twisting your legs or steering.

 Both skis come flat at the same time. The upper body still has not moved, and it's still in the same relationship as it was at the end of the previous turn. If you square up here, you will not be able to get back over your skis without extending.
                             Hirscher uses exactly the same technique in slalom, as this demonstration.

Transition continued

The second part of a Transition is the engagement phase. Many instructors and coaches will say, "He's sitting back on his skis here."  

I'm just flexed from the previous turn. No panic, this will develop into a high "C" arc and a centered stance on my skis by the time I'm at the falline , where I need tip pressure. 

The Upper body still holds the Counter-acting from the previous arc.
I am still flexed, yet still tipping to the new edges. I'm light on my skis not extending no pushing against the snow to get grip. My outside ski has almost no pressure on it. I'm not driving my big toe edge or steering to get big toe edge grip. I'm letting my Cg cross into the next arc instead.

This is the point in the arc where traditional ski teaching totally screws you up. They want you to steer the ski here. All that does is, it keeps you Cg from crossing into the new angles. Steering keeps you hips over the top of your skis, it delays engagement, and doesn't develop angles.

Now my CG is across my skis and my outside leg is getting longer.  Now pressure is beginning to develop on the outside ski, no snow spray yet. My inside arm starts to move forward and down hill, my upper body begins to turn to face the outside of the arc.
Inside ski tipping increases, my inside foot and leg pull and hold my ski back, (from moving forward) my boot toes are lined up almost even throughout this phase. This allows my hips to move down and into the arc.
Below, obvious inside foot and leg tipping increased, still pulling the free foot back. My outside arm is helping to develop the Counter acting, as it prepares for the no-swing pole tap.

I'm centered and over my skis, completely Counter-acted with my hips and shoulders. All this without extension or up movements. Inside foot management and counter-acting develop efficiency and no need for drama. No push-off or wedge ski relationships, knee drive or steering needed. A completely different picture from traditional skiing.

                                           "Different movements create different outcomes."
There are two "Different" ways to ski, the PMTS way, which is the world cup way, or the ski instructor's way, which is the Demo Team skiing you see in the MA on this Blog, which I posted earlier this month.

Important summary note: As you read my last two Blog posts, and study the images, there is a key point in the "engagement phase", of the transition to note. I prefer to call the "High C" point, the "Engagement phase of a transition", because it's not really a new turn yet. This is a critical time and as I have pointed this out to numerous skiers and in numerous publications and videos, "If you square up at the release, you are doomed to pivot your skis in your "engagement phase". Why? 

If you look closely at the images and study the stability of my upper body, you notice that my legs change angles, under my hips, as do my skis and boots, my upper body doesn't move. 

In fact, if it does anything, it makes counter acting become stronger. The legs can release and you can transition more easily when the upper body stays facing the outside ski. 

If the upper body rotates toward the tips, faces the tips and the outside arm swings toward the tips, you can't release the legs. 

This is evident and demonstrated in the post I put up describing the skiing of the 4 Demo Team skiers from different nations. They all square up. And they all step or wedge out of the bottom of the arc. This is unavoidable, if you square up your shoulders at the end or during your arc, and use leg steering in the arc.
It forces the skier to step or wedge out of the arc, because when you rotate, a flexing release can't happen. 

Once you square up your hips and shoulders, the "force vector" changes from linear, to a rotational angular one, at the end or the arc. The rotational movement of squaring, creates angular momentum and reduces the outside ski's rebound and hold. When this happens a push is needed to get out of the turn. Any push at this point messes up the next turn.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Two "Must Have" Techniques: Refined Powder and Bump skiing.

                                                          Bumps and powder

Look for a complete tutorial on the topic of NO Swing pole plant from our web site EVideo store in the near future. The no-swing pole tap is an advanced skier approach that reinforces counter acting and ski rebound at the end of turns to energize the transition.

If you never want to look like you are working for your turns this is the answer.

The round turn in the bumps approach for speed control is tipping without turning or the Super Phantom Move.  This is explained and demonstrated in the  "Expert Skier" video 2, and in the Essentials of Skiing videos.

Friday, September 19, 2014

This is not your Grandfather's ski lesson.

This is PMTS Skiing, no hard edge sets, no wedge turns or wedge christie, easy on the legs and fluid movements from arc to arc. You can do this until you are 80.

Here I'm already released and in Balance, ready for the new arc, compare this to the skiers in the post below.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

This is not tipping, it is knee driving.

Why many good skiers can still improve. 

This is a good skier, but his technique is compromising him from becoming a great skier. 

He's driving the outside edge with his knee at the end of the arc to get edge hold or grip. This kills rebound from the ski; therefore an extension is necessary to get out of the arc. We do not teach this way of skiing in PMTS; this is a PSIA or instructor based skiing technique.

 This is a huge extension still taught in Traditional ski schools, this is one of the basic roots of dysfunctional skiing at high levels. PMTS does not teach an extension of any kind; we develop a long leg by tipping the feet and relaxing and bending the inside leg to tip the ski, we drop the hip inside the arc with flexing, which creates a long outside leg. With the PMTS approach you develop pressure in the arc by the falline, that can be used to release and send you to the next arc.  In this TT method of teaching, there is no pressure building in the arc,  due to steering, leaning, squaring up the hips, the result is huge knee drive, that is why you see all the hard edge sets at the bottom, with "A" frames and wedge entries to turns. This isn't tipping based technique, used by the PMTS movements, it's a Traditional Technique steering, edging and wedge turn technique.

 This is a wedge christie, we don't teach a Wedge Christie at any point in PMTS Direct Parallel. We teach Parallel from the beginning. Any skier at this level should no longer need this movement, it's due to the points I made earlier, it's due to steering, extension, rotation and leaning. These results are not intended by TT skiing, but they are however consequences of TT.

These guys are highly athletic and that's why they can get away with this type of dysfunctional movement. This takes lots of muscle strength, energy and hard hits on the body. That is why regular ski instructors can never learn to ski like this.
 Notice the hard hit this skier it taking, he's a good skier, but he's so late with his edge hit, to stop the skid he created by steering, he's buckling at the waist to absorb the shock.

 This is a wedge turn, I'm sorry, but if you use TT or PSIA, CSIA movements you will never lose your wedge. If you look closely, you'll see most PSIA examiners, Demo Team and DCLs all have wedge entires to their turns. Why, because they are using an antiquated technique that was never designed for shaped skis. PMTS is derived from World Cup skiing technique. This technique, shown here in these photo clips from this video, in these frames, isn't world cup technique. Anyone can learn world cup technique. We teach in PMTS to intermediates, but they don't stay intermediates for long.

More Wedge turns!

For more information of how to learn PMTS Direct Parallel, look at our web site for more free information and movement instruction at www.Harbski

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Develop 13 year olds with World Cup skiing!

All the elements of World Cup skiing technique are in this 13 year old skiers turn. This technique has been developed through movement training over the past 6 years.
What specifically are we looking for? First this is achieved with the understanding by the skier, of 5 key principles and they are achieved through constant reminding, questioning and self-evaluation and precise use of exercises.

Key ingredients or Essentials:

!. You see a strong upper body to lower body relationship that increases rather than decreases through the arc. This ability is rarely seen in 13 year olds, especially on steeps like this, on hard chattered ruts in GS. This is coached and learned, based on a partnership between athlete and coach that requires time and effort, doesn't happen naturally or by happenstance.

2. The inside ski is light and all the energy from the arc is going through the leg to the outside ski, "skeletally aligned". Some canting of the boot facilitated this, but the skier's dedication to skiing movements and the correct exercises refined it.

3. The inside ski is pulled back and the skier is perfectly balanced Fore/aft. An unusual capability in this age group, again it's a coached and learned; the emphasis on this movement is what attains it.

4. Although the one key element that is not easily seen in a one photo frame, is also present or this skier could never reach this performance. And that is "tipping ability". This skier reaches quality turns like this through tipping movements by increasing his ski angles through the arc; beginning at the initiation and he keeps increasing these angles until the release. There is never a stagnant or parked moment in this skiing. This refers to "lateral" movements in the boots, which is aggressively followed by inside leg flexing, tipping and relaxation.

This is one example of what is happening in other groups we coach and we are very proud of the kids, their dedication, the effort and hard work shows.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Zack at 7 years old and 10, using PMTS coaching.

Imagine your 7 year old skiing like this. 

And at 10 years old evolving to this level!

Monday, September 1, 2014

"PMTS Racer Development Programs". Results speak for themselves and pictures even speak louder.

"PMTS Racer Development"  these kids know exactly what they need to do. We develop their understanding and movement abilities. They know how to make the right movements, where to make the movements and how to create the angles to become skiers with World Cup Movements.

These racers are coached with the same movements, but they have their own way of expressing this movements.
The angles created by these skiers are through relaxing movements, not pushing and forceful ones.

It is important to know how to transition, to get to this level of preparation for the arc.

These boys and girls ski very fast, on any son woe course, this is steep and very hard snow.

Again these racers learned PMTS skiing movements, Each has their own personal way of demonstrating good skiing movements, but their foundation is the same.
Here we see Check Point 1, already built in this racers natural instincts.
Again "Check Point 1" perfectly demonstrated, skiing the outside ski, just before transition.

Above, Zach is 10 years old. All the rest are 13 years old.