Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mikaela Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger compared in GS. These differences; sometimes make the difference.

Differences? what are they: For GS what makes a champion!

If you watch carefully you can see Shiffrin squaring up early with her upper body rotating,  not so much her hip rotating. She holds that in counter longer than her shoulders and torso. Although it stands to reason the hip will come with the upper body during and before the release. 

In GS, Fenninger and Hirscher don't show the same rotation of the shoulders, they both hold their counter acting to and at the point of release.  however Fenninger keeps her leg and boot tipping going , while Shiffrin stops an starts to push or extend .

 Mikaela Shiffrin High Speed Slow Motion

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Posted by Snowflake. Never the same 
First let's establish what counter acting is. It's the hips, torso and shoulders turning opposite the direction, the skis are arcing. The act of "Countering",  holds and increases ski grip and aligns the body skeletally to the forces developed in the arc. If you give it up you lose some rebound forces and pressure. Rotating is often used to dissipate energy if the athlete isn't capable of holding the forces. It is also a habit, often used by less proficient or lower level athletes to turn the skis, if they aren't able to create angles such as these two elite skiers shown here.

Both skiers, Anna Fenninger and Mikaela Shiffrin use counter acting and do it well obviously. However they are different in a few ways. This can be due to body proportions, techniques taught and flexibility.

 (Above) Anna shows great flexibility, with her hips and torso, her shoulders are parallel to her skis. If you were standing on the side of the slope you could read her bib number.
(above) This is a Super G photo that shows Anna's versatility and power, she is more square to her skis in this photo, however she doesn't rotate. She keeps her inside half strong and still leading.

                           Mikaela Shiffrin below, also shows strong counter acting, yet different. Her hips are dropped inside, twisted and her shoulders are more forward. You could say she is more folded.

As she comes out and below the gate, she rotates her torso, yet keeps her inside hip low and outside hip back, still counteracting. To some degree.
In this last photo she rotates the torso even further and the hips come with the shoulder rotation, even the uphill hand gets behind. This is squaring up and losing power t and from the ski.

Anna below rarely rotates her shoulders or hips coming out of the arc. She holds her counter of the upper body longer, and she keeps it until she flexes and releases her outside ski. 

 Anna also has less extreme hip turn and drop to the inside of the arc. This results in less extreme movement into and out of the angles for each turn.

 Anna after the gate, at the point where she is releasing, upper body still counter acting,  hips counter acted.

In Summary: I never said one method is superior to the other. Sometimes it's technique, sometimes it's body type, a skier has to do what they have to do to go fast. However, Fenninger was still the best GS skier in the world and overall world cup winner. And Hirscher has won 4 World Cup overall titles in a row, plus the GS Globe. No one has done this before. You can see Hirscher's method and commitments to Counteracting in other posts here. I've referenced this topic about him before. You can scroll down to see them. both Fenninger's and Hirscher's  approach has less twisting into counter acting, which I happen to agree with, and less rotation out of this twisted position, which I also happen to agree with.

When I post my photos on technique on my blog; I get accused by some pundits of using one photo to describe technique or someone's skiing. I assume you, I watch hundreds and thousands of minutes of footage before I post a single photo of a skier and before I comment on their skiing. The photos I post are of the same repeated movements by those skiers. This current article on comparisons between Shiffrin and Fenninger in GS, is based on a year's worth of video and competition. 

When it comes to holding counter acting at transition there is no one better than Marcel Hirscher.


Unknown said...

I like how she relaxes her stance leg to transition to the next turn..

Unknown said...

Hands back at the realase before

Harald Harb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harald Harb said...

Mikaela is an incredible talent, she can do many things especially in slalom that others cannot. So yes, she gets her hand back and she often extends more in GS than Fenninger, but Fenninger isn't racing this year. Mikaela will win a GS. There are times when you can rotate your upper body if your feet and ankles can hold the ski in the arc, not everyone can do that.

Harald Harb said...

The uphill or inside hand and arm, shoulder are held forward, and the lower or outside hand stays back. This is part of the hips turning, as the turn progresses, called counter acting. The best racers use this and hold CA at the end of the turn and the beginning of the release.