Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mistakes are from ski coaches, not kids.

 Many observers would like to say that skiers or racers aren't skilled or don't have it when they stop progressing and lose their edge. It's called "Plateauing"! A not so nice word for, "You have stopped getting better and everyone is passing you."

The original color photos were removed, to protect the the individuals. These skiers are in an extra ordinary wide stance, weight on both skis,leaning into the turn and never bending the ski, a sure formula for stagnation and pleateauing.

Leaning on the side cut of a ski isn't bending it. 
The blame for this should not be with the kids, it's with the coaching. Here are some common technical deficiencies that should have been cleared up well before the kids even got to this level, at this age.

 Stance too wide, lost balance on the outside ski, using the inside ski to support the turn. This makes for a grinding turn with half the weight on the inside ski. Cause? Developing a stance that is too wide to keep the skier in balance. This kid's skis are wider than most world cup racers' stances and with about a fraction of the compared hip size.
 Leaning in and trying to push off the outside ski.  This should be an easy technical deficiency to correct at a young age. It comes from a lack of upper body awareness and discipline. The combination of upper body rotation and leaning forces the skier to step off the ski prematurely. This habit will continue and get worst, causing  "Plateauing",  before the skier has reached their potential.
This is typical of coaching; not paying attention to basic balance. This skier is squared up, which means body rotation occurred. The inside ski is forward and weighted, balance is lost, or probably never achieved. 

The examples above are not special, they occur in every race program. the coaches know that something is wrong and they start to give up on these kids. They have little or no remedies for these problems and therefore concentrate more on the kids that are racing faster, not necessarily skiing better. Racing faster at this age, is not a sign of a possible child protégé, it's just a sign of more natural, better instincts. All of the kids in these photos have a much higher potential level then they are demonstrating here or that they will ever achieve, skiing the way they are. The sorry state of affairs in ski racing is, this is far too common and it's a results of poor coach's education..

Friday, December 26, 2014

Something old, something new, but still classy and classic.

Counter Acting with the proper pole use!!
Rarely seen on the slopes, rarely taught or coached correctly.
                                          What PMTS Skier Learn from the get go!!

                                 Get it right and it makes all the difference on terrain and in slalom.
Hold your counter acting, don't give it up!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

World Cup GS comparison.

In my analysis of skiing technique in the US, the weakest area in American coaching and development;  is Upper Body discipline, the Europeans have it, we don't.  Namely: Counter-acting and Counter-balance. It's almost like coaches don't know what it is and don't know how to coach it.

Now that things have evened out on the World Cup to some extent with ski design and construction, after the change over to 35 meter skis in 2012, a skier's technique is starting to show up as the difference between winning and 10th place, that is where the biggest difference exists. And that is the way it should be.

The skis used to be a big factor, Ted had a big advantage the first 2 years after the change over to 35 meter skis. Head GS skis bent better, they held better and were easier to get into the arc. Atomic has improved to the point now where Hirscher doesn't have to throw them side-ways and jump on the ski to get it to arc in GS.

 Shoulder and hips are counter acted in most of Hirscher's arcs. this can be risky as it requires strong outside ski balance, hip counter and shoulder counter balance. Lots of anticipation and trust getting into these highly counter acting angles. For one thing you have to trust that the ski will hold once you get there and that is a serious commitment.
With Ted's technique we see more upper body rotation toward the turn and far less counter balance of the upper body. This maybe acceptable in bigger turns, on perfect snow, but doesn't work so well in shorter, rounder turns. And it definitely doesn't work well on rough courses with bouncing skis.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mikaela Shiffrin battles more than the race course. This is my take.

Mikaela has not been in the results column the way anyone expected. Her finishes of late are surprising to everyone, especially when you compare her results to last season. Many reasons have been give by the "experts" for her drop in results.  The "experts" gave many reasons for her drop, they said, "she wasn't ready for the level of speed, she under rated her competition, she wasn't competition ready, she wasn't charging hard enough, she's nervous, she's holding back and it's all in her head, she is skiing too casually." Actually it's none of these, it's very simple, her boot set up isn't working. 

At first I didn't pay very close attention because I was so busy with my own company and our skiers, we ran 5 camps this fall. I figured Mikaela would come around. Then I watched the Are races more closely and it because obvious. She was working harder then I have ever seen her work on skis, just to stay in the course. She was using all of her skill and ability (which is considerable) just to place and stay in the top 10. Basically she was skiing with adaptive techniques and movements to overcome a poor boot set up. A boot set up that put her totally out of sorts. These are new boots from Atomic and they are just not working like her previous ones.
 It's very clear that her ankle is not rolling over, it's keeping the ski too flat and keeping her from tipping the boot on edge. To compensate she has to extend, lean and stand on her inside ski. This is not Mikaela's skiing.
 Here she is stepping off her left leg, which used to be her better side and better turn finish. This stepping is slow and energy sapping. It was constantly plaguing her, making her later and later in slalom race courses.
Here again she is compensating for the fact that she can't roll her boots on edge with this set up. Leaning away from the stance foot because she has a hard time tipping it over and finding the edge angles she used to get with her old boots.

Simple solution? Go back to the old boots that you were winning races with.