Monday, October 16, 2017

"The Lost Arts of Skiing"

One of the "Lost Arts of Skiing", is changing edges before the falline. Few is any skiers understand, can perform, or teach,  a truly round turn arc or shape.

It's possible that so few knew how, to achieve "Up-Side-Down" to the slope, that it was lost, due to neglect, lack of understanding and misunderstanding of technique. But few, very few, except the top racers have learned and know how to get "Up-Side-Down" to the slope, consistently. In other words, change edges before you change direction. The idea was lost, before it could be learned.  Another "Lost Art of Skiing".

What skiers's don't realize is, if you can make this type of turn or arc, you can ski on any ski, on any snow and conquer any mountain. And still ski with Style and Beauty on groomers. This way of skiing even makes Groomers really, really, fun. 

Next installment: How to make Groomers fun. Another "Lost Art of Skiing!"

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Training , Training and more Training, good! But what is more important is "The Coaching Model!"

If you stop, if you hesitate, if you get lazy, say your relatives are in town or you have to travel to a wedding, don't stop. Or you will pay. Which would you listen to,  a fat out of shape coach who tells you how hard you have to work or an in shape coach, who is a role model and an inspiration? A coach that works as hard as you do and can guide you?

Sure, as a junior racer, it's nice to have a coach who can ski better than you do. He or she is a model and example, but few coaches can do this. If you are older than 50, it's even more important to listen and be guided by a coach or trainer who is in shape and works hard.
                            If you stop moving training or paying attention to your fitness you are lost.

A coach who trains and skis with vigor and commitment can much better relate to his skiers' efforts and trials.

 Your coach should inspire you to do better, go stronger, take care of yourself , eat right, sleep right, a coach should be the complete package.

Your coach should still be able to do your sport at a high level, no matter what his age.

Coaches that stand around in hiking boots or back country gear, are just telling you they are detached from what you are doing and not into the sport. How can a coach like that, possibly know what you are about, what you are doing and trying to accomplish?

For those who are training and working hard,  it's everyday, doing something, even if it's not a hard workout, go for a hike, jog an easy mile, stay motivated, a day without movement is a day lost in your life.
Good Luck, and look around you; are you really getting the best,  which is what you deserve?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How to connect your Mid-body to your skiing!

It is obvious that most ski techniques focus on how to tip or angle the skis, change the angles or edges, turn the skis, and move from one ski to the other. Most of this emphasis is therefore focused on the feet and legs. In some cases the leg emphasis is so over worked that it actually reduces balance and throws the skiers into peril.

In the PMTS Direct Parallel teaching method, in our teaching books; we identify the mid body and upper body with their own DVDs with teaching sessions and the same with chapters on Upper and Mid body in the "Essentials of Skiing" book.

Many skiers never use the mid-body in normal everyday life, and this is still often the case for many skiers who have reached very high levels of proficiency. So, through our teaching, it has become evident to us, as observers,  teachers and coaches that many skiers don't know how to activate the muscles of the mid body to help stabilize it,  create and increase angles engaging the mid-body. Putting the skis on edge or to get them to hold on an angle isn't only a matter of pushing them or tipping them with leg actions. It also involves counter movements, and support from the mid body.

In the case of skiers who want better balance, to learn more quickly or skiers who want that higher level of performance, the mid-body may well be the missing link to that new, next level. Now we have developed, included or added training and awareness for those who want to learn how to move, how to be aware, and how to use the mid-body properly in skiing.

We have put together two new videos, one with dry land or indoor movements and exercises, and one with skiing and indoor examples that demonstrate visually, how to access the muscles and movements to bring the mid body to a highly supportive and functional level in your skiing.  Few skiers know or have mid body movements that should be applied from one turn to the other, it's not automatic in skiing. Here with these two DVDs we have developed the first complete program that will bring mid-body awareness to you; so you can actually go out on snow and realize how the mid-body moves and how to move it.

The indoor eVideos, bring about awareness of muscles that few people use on a daily basis. In fact, most skiers don't even know that the muscles that we are introducing in this series of eVidoes even exist. If this is the case the muscles maybe be weak or under developed. The indoor eVideo starts with very easy simple, at home movement programs. Not heavy resistence training or weight workouts. What we are offering is awareness training, at first. Most of these mid-body awareness exercises you can do at home, on your floor or on an exercise mat. After you become familiar with the initial program, more evolved exercises are introduced  for those who wish to get the strength for high end performance skiing.

The eVideo with the "skiing portion", teaches and relates the indoor movements to actual on snow exercises that introduce the same movements you learned to use from the indoor sessions. The correlation should then be complete between learning how to use and activate mid-body movements. Interspersed with the skiing and on snow actions are references and the examples of how the indoor movements relate to skiing.

This is a unique program that few teachers or coaches have understood, let alone developed or taught as a supportive phase, for the development of a complete skier. We hope you enjoy the progressions and next time you are on the slope, and someone says, "Add more counter balance." you will know exactly what that means and how to increase it. As I put this eVideo notice up, the time is not August 5th. Don't delay if you want to be ready for the snow and early season skiing.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The PMTS, Harb Ski System leaves nothing to chance.


                           Skiers learn how to realize ever part of a turn. What to do to end a turn.

What to do while in the turn. How the upper body contributes to balance and ski angles.
How to begin a new turn. This is where understanding how to set up proper balance before the turn begins is so important. This is the missing link for many skiers. Why would you want to enter a new turn, already out of balance?
Notice here, in the above photo, how early the balance transfer happens. From my left foot to my right foot. I have the whole upper part of the arc to establish how I want to stand on my skis for the turn, before I enter the falline.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Skiing analysis of top world cup slalom skiers.

Here in the video link above: You can see how there are  differences between soft and hard angles. Soft angles look like bigger angles, however, they end up taking longer to create, and making the skis take a longer wider line. Hard angles, as I refer to them,  require less inward angulation, less vertical separation of the feet and have less arc distance from the gate and a shorter radius.  This produces more pressure and rebound from the turn.

Differences between the two skiers is stance width, and fore/aft balance. This has an impact on line and time in the arc. Weaker stance, is wider, and has more scissoring between the feet, in both instances this affects ski performance.

There is a distinct pattern of skiing by David Ryding and others on the same equipment, related to the boot brand and alignment set up as well. This article points out how technique is related to equipment.

Big angles are for show, least angles are for go. Both skiers here are great slalom skiers, Hirscher obviously one of the best in history. I've been writing about his skiing for almost a decade now.

Below are comparison photos in the same turn. One turn that can make a difference.!

Coming in above the gate:
David Ryding setting up the angles, not really engaged yet.
Marcel Hirscher in the identical place above the gate, however, a totally different set of angles, early with skis and body ready to carve.

David Ryding leaning away from his outside ski to far, into the hill.

Marcel Hirscher inside ski and boot pulled back, strongly counter balanced and more centered.

Marcel Hirscher completely balanced and ready for the steep section
David Ryding comparatively, caught between skis, unbalanced, will have to step out of the turn to change edges.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why is Traditional Ski Instruction so convoluted and vague?

      A typical guideline for a traditional ski instruction task.

At first glance, ok, this looks reasonable, until you start trying to use it or produce it.

Here is a direct printout of how Motor Skills are described by a major Traditional Ski Teaching organization.

  1. Motor Skill Development:
    • Choose task for situation;
    • Task is related to skill level of student. 

      And here is what they give you to work with:

      • Use all joints to maintain balance;
      • Lead the turning effort with the lower body;
      • Manage separation for angulation to provide grip;
      • Coordinate movement patterns for efficient turn linking. 

        What is clearly lacking here is the fundamental understanding for teaching human movement. 

         "The emphasis on accuracy, specificity, and economy of movement information is what we strive for, always. Without the understanding of efficient movements in skiing, a coach is basically lost. What I accept as part of this understanding is that movement analysis skills are part of that bigger picture of complete skiing understanding and effective coaching".

        Far more effective would be to describe how to teach and how to convey movements to students. Movements in skiing, like in any other sport are based on a body part and a muscle group. 

        Skilled and effective ski teaching defines the movement, the body part that is to be used and how to move that body part, in a logical sequence. None of the direction or information from traditional teaching systems above doses this. 

        Skinig movements can be broken into a list of basic activities, for example: to start a turn putting the ski on edge produces a ski snow interaction that creates a turn. For this to be effective for a student the instructor must know at what angle on the slope to start, and what the first movement in the sequence of movements is.

        For example: In a logical progression, it requires a simple process of providing information to the student, the instructor must give an attainable first step. 

        For Example: From a very low angle slope, with both skis directly pointed downhill, pick up one ski and transfer all of your balance and stand on the other ski. This is a series of directions to achieve an outcome. This does provide movement information and it is movement teaching. 

        Movement teaching in most cases also includes a detailed description of what body part to focus on. 
      • Example: to transfer balance to your right foot and leg, lift your left knee and bend your left leg enough to clear the snow with the ski. Keep the lifted ski level to the surface. To maintain balance in this simple movement example, the CG or body must also move laterally over or toward the standing foot. 
      • This is the first step in a logical movement progression. Rarely does this simple approach appear in traditional ski lessons or coaching.
      • This type of understanding can be used for every step in a skier's movement development. However you have to understand what movement development entails first.

How to create a successful life!!!

                                                          Other ways to use this idea.

-Creating a business
-Being named to a national ski team
-developing a reputation in coaching

Thursday, April 20, 2017

About Extension: 10 years ago I wrote this on PMTS forum thread.

Here is a link to the 10 year old thread, but I reproduced it here.

The commentators in the US who do the play by play on TV for world cup racing, are constantly telling us, that the racers are late with pressure. "They are not pressuring early in the turn", this is the incorrect understanding about what the racers are actually doing. The comments are  wrong. many of the racers even have their thinking about this wrong. It also sends the wrong message.

In PMTS everything I wrote about reduces or eliminates the need to extend the legs in a way that creates pressure to the snow surface or to the skis. This is an important awareness in one's skiing, but few skiers ever discover it or understand it. Ski instruction obviously doesn't understand the damaging effects of extending and most coaches don't realize what it does to skiers. Sure the leg does get long, but it doesn't get long by pushing on it, it gets long by creating angles properly. Watch the world cup skiers, outside ski, they rarely pound the edge, before the skis are at the apex.

Why are we so adamant about not extending? The answer may not be as obvious as we the insiders of PMTS think. So here is a list of what extending or pushing does to you, for those who are not PMTS aware. At the bottom of this post is a link to a video about extending and how to get the outside leg long, without pushing against the snow.

-Extending disconnects the CG from the skis 
-Extending pushes the CG away from the balancing point 
-Extending eliminates the ability to tip the skis 
-Extending delays the entry to the next turn 
-Extending eliminates the legs from making quick movements 
-Extending or pushing against the snow puts skiers out of balance 
-Extending is tiring 
-Extending interrupts movement to the next turn or downhill 

-Bending makes tipping easier 
-Bending the legs increases tipping range 
-Bending allow for quick edge changes 
-Bending increases terrain absorbing ability 
-Bending keeps you closer to the snow 
-Bending, the inside leg once skis are engaged draws the hip to the snow 
-Bending, the inside leg allows higher tipping and lengthening of the outside leg 
-Bending allows foot pull back 
-Bending allows you to make tighter arcs, shorter turns and therefore gives skiers more control 

When extension is used none of the bending benefits are available. 

So what's the most important Essential, Tipping or Flexing / Bending?.

This video demonstrates tipping and flexing, and shows how extension isn't the answer.

The video below demonstrates a great exercise for increasing you angles with proper building of tipping and transitioning.

PMTS movements with Reilly McGlashan on 28m skis!

Reilly is not only one of the best free skiers in the world, but also a true student of the sport. 
In this series of articles, I'll point out the obvious and the not so obvious movements that make Reilly such an amazing skier to watch.

Early inside foot tipping.

To achieve early inside foot tipping and angles, the proper set up and movements to create early angles, this is dependent on actions achieved just before the previous turn release.  Let's walk through the steps, and point out how this is created, using the "Essentials",  to focus the discussion. Go to heading, "Counter Acting" below.

Different turn, different frame, but identical to the upper photo.

Just prior to the release, notice the hip counter-acted.

Transition, hold the counter-acting so the legs can move under the hips to the new angles without rotation.
A stable counteracted pelvis allows for strong engaging, bending and tipping.

Tipping and flexing into the arc

Counter Acting:

Here you see the results of holding the pelvis stable through transition, with the counter acting from the previous turn changed to the new counter acting for this turn.  
The actual answer to skiing efficiently, it requires movements that occur either at the same time, or in a certain order to produce PMTS quality turns. Flexing, out of the turn, begins and allows the release, which in turn allows for tipping movements that bring the skis flat and also to their new edges. If flexing is the catalyst to releasing, tipping is the action directly following, and creating engagement.