Monday, December 7, 2020

Counter-Acting is not the same as Counter-balancing.

Let's look at the three photos I attached here. 

They are all slightly different based on the amount of Counteracting being demonstrated and used. I use these examples to demonstrate the mechanics that change for the amount, the time or point in the arc, and the ranges that are being used, and how all three affect the outcome of the turn. Sometimes one is preferable to the others and sometimes one of these examples isn't as efficient.



This turn in the blue pants, yellow jacket, I have extreme CA, and its limitation is the ability to make or add tipping adjustments. That becomes more difficult with this much counteracting, plus it requires a full commitment to the angle by letting your body drop inisde.


The photo with the red pants is on the verge at least for me of coming too square. (not enough counteracting?)  This is a delicate point, if all the other "Essentials" aren't perfect; referring to inside hand, shoulder and outside arm, CB, and pole preparation, I could easily lose CA and therefore lose the tail of the ski to a skid rather than holding.

However, this position in the turn; if the ability is there it allows me to add more counter if needed, but only if I'm properly balanced over the outside ski. 


Ideally, the turn in the red suit gives me the most versatility, I have enough Counter Acting,  but haven't limited my tipping ability or haven't rotated enough to lose tail pressure. 

Of course, these comments are based on the skier's flexibility and femur in pelvis range of motion. It goes without saying that the skier must have edge holding or carving ability. So I am answering this question based on the highest level of skiing. Everything changes with intermediate or advanced skiers. I say this because their movements aren't as refined so they may use stronger, faster movements too early to CA that actually skid the tail early in the turn. Or they pivot without tipping.


So to identify too much CA and how it is fed into a turn can go from one extreme being hip dumping with straight legs and no lower body tipping, which limits the skier to only using the sidecut of the ski to finish the arc. 


This to me is not functional, in my first photo in the yellow jacket this is close to a full hip countering commitment. If you know how to bend the outside leg after the apex, you can still manage the bottom of the turn with tipping increases to tighten the arc, but this is a really high skill level. 

So as far as using this much CA for a student who gets locked like this to the point of release; I would try to get them to use more tipping before adding more counteracting. 


The other approach or even the opposite approach is to use the example of  (Skiing into CA). This is the opposite of the example I just described. 

In this approach, you hold your counteracting to release until your skis release and tip to the new angles, you wait until the skis have enough angle to point down the falline to line up square to the hips. (basically, you create the top 1/3 of the arc).

 As the skis are tipping and you are at the Apex, you add some hip counter with this method, but just enough to create the muscle tension controlling the hips to defeat hip any rotational forces acting on the body. 

This is very hard to achieve in aggressive skiing because the rotational energy of the skis and legs may defeat the ability to hold the hip in counteracting, resulting in squaring up or almost square. It is my experience if you don't make some kind of muscular effort to create a CA movement ( appropriate to the forces) before or at the Apex, especially if not supported by CB, you will rotate the hips.


My response is to the question then is not black or white.  There are degrees of functionality associated with CA depending on the skier's skill level and body awareness. 

What I call or determine as functional in a skier is the way they use and combine movements. By that I mean are all the "Essentials" balanced. Tipping, (overall balance), CA, CB, flexing and Fore/aft. We are talking about a highly complex combination of elements, forces, and reactions, happening in a highly dynamic and short time frame.


Here is my list of Functional Movements associated with appropriate CA:

-continuous ability to add lower body angles (tipping) through the whole radius, basically never stop tipping. 

-Is the inside ski light enough to move, pull back, flex, and increase tipping to the end of the arc. (That's balance) Also, do you have an appropriate amount of Counterbalance?

-Is there sufficient CA for (leg length) to flex or bend the outside leg to release?


Unfuctional CA is rather obvious.

-stopping or demonstrating no lower body tipping after the release

-Skidding tails

-Locked hip or hip dump

-Squaring up at the point of release

-If you either rotate twist, steer or use too much counteracting to start a turn, you can't tip through the whole arc. 

You can see with Hirscher the best skier we have ever seen, here in the falline or just after the Apex his shoulders are up, the chest is verticle, and his counteracting is obvious but not extreme.

Although this is GS, you can see he brings or adds more counteracting through the turn, his chest is now forward and clearly over the outside ski and his knees have bent quickly to "retract" his skis. He is noted for his ability to add CA and CB at the end of every arc.

Even his pole tap is a perfect example of the no swing approach we use in PMTS at our Ski Camps. Want to ski like Hirscher, Harb Ski Camps teach this exact technique.


kim said...

Great explanation. For me, the timing of essential movements is critical. Even when I demonstrate enough hip and waist flexibility, I can flex too far into the turn. Understanding the nuances of how much and when have increased my ability to CA appropriately. Thanks Harald.

Harald Harb said...

Counteracting is complex and can easily go wrong. once a skier is locked into one form or another it's often difficult to reverse.