Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hirscher before the boot changes that are influencing his once perfect technique.

This is the first in a series I will publish, about boots and their influence on world cup skiing and individuals. In the following photos, over the last 4 years of Marcel Hirscher's skiing; they show high angles and great carving around the gate.  In everyone of these photos and many more during his previous boots era, and set ups, his boot and lower leg are lined up perpendicular to his ski. And he is able to create excellent counter balancing with his upper body, in everyone one of these photos.

If you study these photos and compare  them to the last photo in the series; I posted below, you will notice the contrast. The boot and leg and ski are no longer at right angles.

This is a very simple demonstration. I have added more recent turns from this season's races that demonstrate the exact same thing that appears in the last photo,.  I also evolve this discussion on boots, biomechanics and their effect on a world cup skier.

I demonstrate what and how over cuff strong boots, which many are, affect all racers even juniors. Many boots don't have cuff adjustments, and some that do, don't have enough adjustability.

When everything is lined up perfectly skiing looks like this.

This is about as extreme as it gets for angles, yet with this previous set up, which was correct, he didn't have problems with the release or the engagement, everything was naturally aligned and his body had no unusual contortions, it has now.

Again alignment and skeletal alignment making the forces run beautifully through his body.

When Hirscher's boots were right, he had a slight knee angulation that transmitted grip and power to the ski.

It is clear in the photo below from the last race, that the lower leg is not lined up at the same angles as in all the other photos posted above. This affects Hirscher's ability to use his best technique. This isn't happening in one turn, it's an every race and almost every  (right turn, left foot) turn phenomenon. He is losing in some races by very small margins., in spite of all his adaptive gyrations. This boot problem if corrected properly would go a long way to making that issue go away.
Hirscher is all wound up with conflicting body movements, and these are necessary to adapt to the poor boot set up. He is also making many double turns on his left foot, causing huge time losses. He recovers fortunately with his right foot turn. The two are totally different turns, from on side to the other. This is the other clue that it's a boot problem.

On the left foot turns, going right, when the courses are further off set, Hirscher is having to delay the ski angle until he can get his body in the right place to avoid an overly strong edge set and to avoid the ski from railing. This is costing him a few hundies on every turn, that adds up to many tenths in a 60 gate slalom.

Here are some other examples from other runs and races, showing his mis-alignment. He has to make many adjustments and contortions he never used to make 2 to 3 years ago with the other boot models.

When you see this, it is not knocked kneed,  boot bottom alignment, it is a cuff problem. It's a delayed release, caused from an extreme knee drive,  the resistance from the over powered position of the cuff,  causes and creates extreme knee drive and knee angulation, releasing from this situation causes this delay. Never used to see Hirscher having to contend with this before. 

The boot cuff is too strong toward the inside of the leg which causes a late release, and this extreme releasing problem shown in the photo, can result. If you read my Blog,  notice the similarity between his shin angle and that in the posts I put up about Mikaela's boot problems. Both are in Atomic boots.
Here is an example where Hirscher with his feel and genius is feathering the ski out away from his body to delay the angle and pressure. Because the wrong cuff angle,  he can't bring up the angle early, which then causes late hits and harsh edge sets. He often now, on the really round turns can't slice the arc, he double edges on most of those turns.

With his older boots, say 3 years ago, you never saw these situations happening with Hirscher, he was the example of perfect skeletal alignment to the ski edges.


Unknown said...

Excellent! Thanks Harald.

Harald Harb said...

Thank you for the comments! Boot set ups vary even on the world cup, and many get it wrong.

Harald Harb said...

Atomic had both Hirscher and Shiffrin all wrong at the beginning of the season.

Harald Harb said...

Atomic is really fortunate they have 2 athletes that are so good, they can ski through some of these boot problems. Not ideal. This situation did improve through the season.

Unknown said...

so are you suggesting that hircher had his cuffs set too positive to the outside and that by straightening them up [ie . more tilted negative to the inside,] will allow him to stack his alighnment better and reduce the a-frame image?

Harald Harb said...

Chris this isn't a suggestion, it's what is happening. Just review his photos, video, and results.

koyakei said...

This analysis is good for me.
I did not find this alone.
I found why boot alignment is very important.
Thank you.