Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Early Pressure in skiing "The Big Fallacy"!

                             "Early Pressure a Misnomer" 

When you watch Universal Sports skiing broadcasts on NBC Sports or the Olympic Channel, Doug Lewis and to some extent Porino,  refer to racers as acheiving or not achieving early pressure.  They use this to constantly repeat this same message to expalin why some are having trouble or are slow. Lewis's redundant messages on this topic about what raacers are doing and how they do it, is inaccurate. I'm not saying Doug is a bad guy, he's just misguided about ski techique. He doesn't totally grasp what is happening with technical skiing. Coaches, parents, USSA and thier racers need to understand what is really happening.

Let's have a look at the favorite message presented on the NBC skiing coverage.

                                                                 "Early Pressure"

What needs to happen early in a turn, isn't pressure, it is body, boot and ski angles. What is happening and what the best skiers in the world are doing in these photos is creating early tipping angles, that is what is needed. Tipping the skis to high angles early, allows pressure to build at the right time. Don't think this is semantics; "early pressure" and "early angles"  are totally different and produce totally differnt results.

In this photo below, there is no pressure on the skis, but look at the fantastic angles from the best skier in the world. This is above the gate, he is in the falline.

Below is Frame 2-A still no pressure on the outside ski.

Frame A, 2

Frame below, A. 3 Now the ski is engaged, but to get this timing you have to know how to transition using your legs.
Frame A. 3

Fame A. 3  This is where pressure comes back into the body from the skis on edge, from the ski holding against gravity, not from forcing or pushing the leg into the snow to achieve early pressure.

Same approach for the left footed arc by Hirscher.

In the next 2 photos Hirscher applies the same tactics and technique shown above to his slalom victory in Levi. Notice how the whole upper part of the arc, the first 1/3; he isn't trying to hold or dig the edges into the snow. He is transitioning and creating angles with his skis, body and legs.

            Below: Another example where Hirscher delays pressure and ski engagement until he needs it, not using it above the gate where engagement and pressure lead to a compromised line.

In the below photo notice Christopherson trying to pressure the ski above the gate. The early spray from the skis shows less precise ski use. This is slower and less effective. These aren't little details, they determine 1st from 2nd on the World Cup. These movemnts determine if your athletes will move up or bog down.

What is demonstrated here by Hirscher are speciific techniques that have to be learned and trained. Regular ski coaching won't get racers to this level.

The commentators on Universal Sports say many things that are misguided. I know these incorrect messages are going out to our young skiers and coaches. The damage will take forever to reverse, if it can be done. Many will think this is just another attempt to attack, the talking heads. It's not about the talking heads, it's about the future of US skiing, the kids and the efforts put into it by parents. We are moving backward, with this kind of commentary.

 Case in point, because USSA isn't doing it's job of properly educating coaches, there is no guidence for the commentary. Coaches need training about the facts and biomechanics of ski racing. What we have here is the media spreading skiing to thousands with the wrong message.    
   This broadcasting might seem like entertainment to many, but it is allowing TV commentary to dictate and perpetute misleading skiing information. US skiing is on the wrong road on many different levels and this observer isn't seeing the corrections to the course that are needed.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi Harald,
This is fantastic advice. I've been watching your videos recently and understanding the biomechanics is allowing me to see where I have been going wrong. I have watched the professional skiers for a long time but not been able to understand how they achieve the separation between lower and upper body movement in practice and no one has been able to explain to me before now. I have listened to much advice about pressure and timing and yet seen the professionals with their skis out of the snow and not been able to understand how this makes sense - it's like suggesting they are putting pressure on thin air! Listening to you explanation it all makes much more sense. I would say the issue you describe is not just in the US bu in Europe too. Thanks from Scotland!! Pharic