Saturday, January 16, 2016

A recovery isn't a technique, it's a reaction to an adverse situation.

On a Facebook web page, this turn is lauded as a great move. And USSA coaches are all over this and calling Gut such a great skier. And using this turn as an example for why or for the reason she is winning. 
Here is the contradictory or conflicting point of view. This is a deperation move, and an attempt to correct a really bad line and too much speed. Even with this completely adaptive correction, Gut totally screws up the timing for the next gate. She hammers the gate with her body and loses even more time. And still wins. 
It quite obvious that the level of skiing in the women's field is at a new low, without Anna Fenninger, Maze and others who are out this year, the quality is not there. USSA coaching has also hit a new low, there is nothing coming up in the development ranks. Women's development groups have nothing behind Shiffrin, the men take 10 years racing the WC, to make the top 30 second run cut, and those that do, have had to figure it out on their own. It's a dismal time for US skiing and the leadership at USSA doesn't exist to understand the fixes and requirements.

When slowing down, scrubbing speed, becomes the art form or the standard in ski racing, rather than skiing clean and fast! Skiing is in trouble. This exaggerated long skid didn't work at Flachau however.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Some racers are getting the coaching needed.

With a correct boot set up and great movements, 35 meter world cup GS skis can be skied well and make the skiing look exciting. 

This is an athlete coached by Thomas Vonn, in the Aspen race program. Thomas is an ex-US Ski Team and world cup racer. He has a very good understanding of boot set up and technique. There are a few pockets around the country where the understanding of boot set up and coaching are happening. Thomas's program in Aspen, is one of those that I follow. Here is an athlete that is making it work.

The keys to making a 35 meter skis carve are straight forward, but not easy to achieve. Before you can even think about getting the energy out of the ski, your balance and stance need to be firmly established over the outside ski. This requires early preparation for every turn, of both Counter balancing, Counter acting and lower leg tipping.

As demonstrated in this video, rebound energy from the ski can set up the next turn beautifully. When you achieve enough pressure through early angle development , the battle becomes staying forward enough to bend the front of the ski.

Starting a turn on 35 meter skis with pressure just ahead of the toe piece isn't enough. You have to get pressure up to the thinner part of the ski, which is obviously the tip. This doesn't mean you hang over the tips. Once the tip is engaged, just enough to start it to bend, the ski will follow a curve, you do have to keep increasing the tipping angles through the turn to keep the ski on the course you want.

Many racers achieve a certain angle and right after that begin to push on the ski, or look for pressure to get the ski edge to hold. Wrong idea. You have to keep moving the lower body and dropping into the center of the arc with the hips. If you resist and freeze up or stiffen your leg, the ski stops arcing.
That is the difference in GS technique between Hirscher and Svindal.

Sorry, this video is no longer available the video link has been removed by the original poster.

This skier shows great preparation, for each turn, his hip and torso counter acting is timed perfectly with the new angles for the gate. He creates strong ski bend to use for the release. Getting to the front of the ski after using a retraction transition of his feet and legs, using pull back of his feet, gets his hip moving forward into the next arc. This is how to get the front of the ski, and get it to bent. Early ski angles, and great fore/aft movements, achieve a bent 35m ski, when you need it.