Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Coming out of a GS turn Hirscher increases his counter acting.

This is not "counter rotated" or counter rotating, because he never rotated to begin with. He counter acted to set up his body to release the edges and pressure. counter rotated is only needed and results from the wrong movements to begin with, which are rotation.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

After a long day in the office.

You need an attitude adjustment, yellow is the way to go!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

National Demo Team Skiing Comparison.

              Compare the skiing of 3 demo teams below. These are their national teaching system's best. I think that is why they are selected?

You can click on any photo to enlarge it.
Don't know which team this is?

Aussi Team

Australian demo Team in Blue

PMTS Team (Primary Movements Teaching System)

PSIA Demo Team. Trying to pick the best turns for each group.

PMTS 5 years ago
 PSIA demo Team at Interski last week.

PMTS Demo Team

Austrian Demo Team

PMTS Demo Team

               These are all Diana and me skiing together for the first time in video and photos.
                                             No practice, no rehearsal.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hip control, a grey area for many skiers?

Compare the two photos, one of  Mario Matt, he is one of the best slalom skiers of all time. Mario was twice World Champion. And here is a photo of a very good junior racer. The place in the turn isn't exactly identical, but for the purposes of describing this relationship, the photos are excellent.

This is a treatise of movement, technique and boot relationships based on set up and alignment.

At first glance these two skiers are similar. even some of the Check Points, hands, shoulders angle,  are easy to confuse. When you start to do a break down analysis, you start to see some discrepancies between the two. Let's take this one step at a time.

The most obvious is the inside hip position. Matt shows an inside, high hip. Our junior shows a dropped lower inside hip. Matt shows proper counter-acting of the hip and shoulders. Our junior has advanced the outside hip arm and shoulder.
The next most obvious observation is the outside ski. Matt's skis are at the same angle and headed in the same direction. Our junior's skis are at different angles and headed in different directions.

Let's see what is causing this and how is it fixed, so you can come closer to skiing like Matt?

I'll preface this movement analysis by saying our junior racer may not be making this same turn in every gate, this is a one time situation for this particular turn, so this is an exercise in skiing analysis for this turn only.

To find the causes you have to address a number of areas. First is physical preparation and physical maturity. It's not fair to compare Matt who is 35, to a junior, as far as strength and physical maturity. The bend in the waist and folding at the mid body can be due to core strength. These are big angles, speed and forces, so core strength has to be considered.

Going along with core strength idea is the issue of fore/aft balance. Matt is very centered on his skis, his torso is slightly forward, and his hips are forward over and directly above his boots. Letting the hips drop back too early in the arc, requires more edge angle to get the ski to shorten the arc.

When the hips go back or are dropped, the skis don't turn or arc as quickly, so some outside greater turning forces has to be applied. This usually involves the upper body and leg to give the ski a twist or pivot.

To reduce this hip drop situation a lateral movement component that relates to core strength needs to be  addressed, however is rarely done in training or in exercises. This involves the functional use of the muscles that pull the lateral part of your hip, toward the  bottom and side of your rib cage. In this video (below), the lines and graphics are drawn in to show the movements. They show as still frames, in the skiing run after the introduction. The lines and arrows show how the torso is to be moved using the muscles that pull the hip up on one side and the rib cage down on the opposite side.
               The graphics shown in the still frames of this video demonstrate the movements involved.

Muscles Engaged

Joint movements: lumbar lateral flexion
Lumbar lateral flexion is the sideways movement of the thorax toward the pelvis.
Muscles most involved in joint movements: quadratus lumborum, rectus abdominis, external oblique, and erector spinae (on one side) and internal oblique
There are 3 to 4 muscles in  combination that create this movement, most are deep muscles that create the side pull of the torso to the top of the pelvis. 

In the Mario Matt photo, the outside hip is also held back to create counter acting, while the torso is pulled down. I will elaborate about the rotational and torso tilting combination of muscles for achieving these movement in a different post. 

                                                             Serratus Posterior

Training and muscle awareness:
In dryland exercises try to make your skiers aware of these movements and the muscles that active the torso to the hip relationship. Few skiers realize that this is an important part of skiing. In another post I'll present exercises and movements to develop hip, to torso awareness.

Boot set up:

Boot adjustments can also have a huge influence in this case. Common boot situations like out of alignment, in tow areas,  can be a consequence of this slight tail push. We see this in our junior racer photo. For example: too strong a cuff set up toward the inside of the leg or over or too strong sole canting. Over canting makes the ski grip, run forward, but not arc, so the twist is necessary to quicken the arc and radius, but it's a skid. Often the upper body helps this along with some torso rotation.

What to do first? From a skiing persecutive and a boot perspective our approach would be to do a boot measurement series or refinement, and also work on the skier's fore/aft movements. Go to the source, instead of fixing the most obvious movements, which are only a compensations. Use a series of Fore/aft exercises. Fore/aft coaching is well documented in our "Essentials of Skiing" series, which comes in both video and book formats available on our web site.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Harb Teach-Yourself Series: Short Turns with Better Control

A New Series of instruction, modern skiing and instruction on You Tube from Harb Ski Systems! 

Follow the whole series to get your skiing where it should be. 12 new videos. Step by step instruction that works.

Ski Boots "The Harb Way"!!!


                     Considerations When You Buy New Ski Boots

Every year thousands of skiers go to ski shops and buy new boots. Ski magazines and web sites hype the new products and make them sound better than the previous batch. In many cases skiers didn’t have a good relationship with their boots to begin with, so they are ready to toss the old ones that are in the closet. After all, you eked out 4 years in the boots that never really fit and didn’t make you ski any better, so it’s time for a change.

                                             What does boot fitting include?

I can only speak for myself and what we do at Harb Ski Systems. Here is what helps you get a good result..

Just about every season there will be a new line of boots, perhaps a new brand, and small or large modifications to existing boot lines. Regardless of what the advertising says, if we recommend boots we have to know  how they ski. We test numerous boots from different companies before we buy them for our store, and we observe how they fit and work for a variety of our skiing customers. In this  way we already know the strengths and characteristics of the models and brands.

 Knowing what a ski boot does to your skiing is super important before you buy. They are all different and they will perform differently.

Initial selection:

At the very minimum, the boot fitter needs to measure both of your feet for length and width. A discussion of your boot-wearing experience is in order - have you owned or rented boots; aspects you have liked; aspects you have not liked; and so on. We give the customer, our client, the opportunity to tell us what they are looking for in a ski boot. It helps us to know where they ski, how they like to ski, and what is important to them in how their boots fit and ski.

A good foot fitter brings out two, if not three models of boots to test the initial fit and response from a customer. [There are some situations where this won’t be the case. If your feet are extra-narrow, extra-wide, extra-big, extra-small, or extra-anything, even a good shop with a large boot selection may only have one boot that is a valid candidate for you.] 

The fitter removes the liner and has the customer put on the boot shells alone to test pure foot room or space inside the shell. Just going by shoe size and boot markings is not accurate enough. Showing the customer how much room their feet have in the shell reassures the customer that the boot can be made comfortable, even when the initial  try-on seems tight in length. Every good boot fitter has a try-on and foot insertion protocol. This protocol can make all the difference in the world, not only for the initial experience, but also for long term comfort.

The customer then buckles the boots, stands and walks around for at least 5 minutes and then gives the boot fitter a fit evaluation. The boot fitter asks about how tight or loose the boot is in all areas around the foot and ankle. Knee and ankle bending and boot flexing are also tested at this time.

Leg alignment and footbeds:

This is the next big step and it’s more involved than trying on the boots. In our shop we measure over 20 foot, ankle and knee functions before the boot is even on the customer’s foot. From these measurements we can determine if the foot will ski well without extra support or whether a footbed will help with comfort and performance. Comfort, support, and foot and ankle function can all point toward either an off-the-rack footbed or a custom footbed.

Well make custom footbeds, support and flexibility are determined by individual ankle and foot mobility..

If a footbed is in order, then it is made and integrated into the boot prior to any other alignment measurements and to any modifications to the boot to increase comfort.  Next, the “in boot” alignment can be measured,  modified, and optimized. This process may also include balancing on a slant board to dial in cuff alignment.

Every angle and movement function of the body, all the way up to the hips is evaluated before the final product is finalized.

Our company has been assessing indoor and on-snow alignment for over twenty years. Our measurements data, from over 5000 skiers, shows that 95 percent of skiers can benefit their skiing experience with boot alignment, which involves sole angle changes to the boot.

Because we run ski instruction camps all season we have hands-on experience, with skiers and boots. Every week we see the correlation between boots, indoor measurements, and on-snow performance for multiple skiers of all ability levels. We can come very close to optimal alignment right from the shop. When we work with racers, their coaches see immediate improvement  after they return to the race courses from alignment sessions. We often ask our customers for video of their skiing before and after boot fitting, as this gives us more knowledge about how and what to do for the best setup, right out of the shop.

Even with our years of experience in ski coaching and boot work is not an easy process. You must stay current with your coaching and observation of skiers so that you can optimize every aspect of the foot, boot, and ski interface.

Some advice to boot buyers, : be patient. Don’t take the first self proclaimed boot fitter and think you are getting a slam dunk fitting experience. It may not end up they way you expected. Get references from other skiers and do the research -  it will definitely be worthwhile afterward on the slopes.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Skiing new snow is fun and easy. Once you learn the basics of PMTS,

Skiing new snow is easy, right here.

Although this is a black slope, an easy relaxed approach with the right movements are still critical. 

Here I'm skiing with a Camp student, in bumps and new snow.

Notice that there are no extra movements with the upper body and legs. The legs are going from side to side, not up and down. Up and down movements in powder or crud create big mistakes and crashes in powder. Flexing with tipping of the legs engages the skis, so they can perform for you. Extending and twisting, doesn't control speed or turn direction. Engaging the skis, putting them on angle to the surface and riding them in a turns, keeps you in balance gives you control.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Skiing New Powder, untracked with the same PMTS technique and movements as on groomed terrain.

 Harb Ski Systems, uses PMTS Direct Parallel techniques for all purposes. You use one method of movements that serve you well in all skiing situations with PMTS. In this powder run, I am skiing the same movements as on a steep icy carving slope or on bumps. When you have to learn different skiing techniques for every situation it means your fundamentals are inconsistent with functional movements.

With our eVideos and online instruction from our web site, you can practice how to become an efficient skier that needs only one technique,. This will simply your life, make skiing easier to achieve with more fun and control.

Skiing the fresh powder with solid technique.

Skiing Powder with Harb Ski Systems

Comfort with skiing powder on tough terrain with hidden bumps is based on solid technique. Learning movements that create these turns is offered with PMTS technique and Harb Ski Systems.