So after that exhilerating thread on patent law I figured I might as well post my question figuring it can't get worse than that on a ski forum;)
I am trying to work on my new school technique and typically fall into an old trap of going old school on my weak side, especially once I enter the course. I free ski mostly and am feeling relatively confident with my technique for a 15-22 off skier but once I get into the course all the bad habits come back quickly. I know this will come as I spend more time in the course but I have tried and been told by some buddies to swing my arm back on my weekside to help with the counter to help prevent turning in and dipping my shoulder rather than my hips. Not a big swing but just minor momentum. The idea is this will help me get in the habbit and should help when in the course. I have seen guys do it but goes against my thought of trying to stay as quite in the course as I can with my arms ext. Last thing I want is to look like a windmill.
If you want to see messy, dig around thewaterskiforum. for the discussion of the FM handle guard versus the Thomas Wayne Arm Guard.
Try this instead. As you release the handle, while keeping your elbow close to your body, move your free hand back like you were reaching into your jeans pocket or touch the lower part of your ribcage.
As you stated, you don't want to look like a windmill, reaching for change in your pocket as HO410 stated is a great idea. I don't remember where I read this but if you initiate your counter with your hips or center of mass your shoulders will follow and you'll be able to get your weight up on the front of your ski more effectively. You're right about the windmill thing, you want to be as quiet as possible. In regards to that, watch some video of Chris Parrish, he's a statue! Your on the right track! Have FUN!!!
Don't let the buoys trick you into thinking that you're late. It's easier to stay patient and let the ski come around when you don't see a little orange ball taunting you to hook up and go the second you come pass by. Be smooth and try to slow down your brain even though your tempo may need to be a little tighter than when you free ski. More than likely, you already have the tools to run these passes. Don't let the course trick you into becoming a radically different skier.
A very important point to note about countering is that it's relatively easy to do in the preturn approaching the turn, but holding that position through the finish of the turn is tougher. We instinctively think we have to turn to turn - i.e. we let our eyes move across the course, we turn our heads, we turn our shoulders, we reach for the handle, we do all kinds of things we don't have to do to make the ski change directions. Unfortunately, a lot of those "turn inducing" movements cause us to overturn, lose momentum, shift weight on the ski, lose balance in general. The ski will turn if it is 1) on edge, 2) enough edge is in the water, and 3) we have sufficient speed.
I've experimented with several methods to get myself to ride my countered position on the ski through the turn and back to the handle without doing any of these unnecessary rotational movements. I have some success with looking downcourse which a lot of people suggest and a lot of people can do pretty well, but it's a constant battle as my eyes just really want to look across course to the next ball - more so as the rope gets to 35 and shorter. What I've found works for me (and I think you need to really experiment with what works for you) is to let my eyes look across, but in a long-range, downcoursish manner and, this is important, don't let my head point where my eyes are looking. I know that sounds silly and too much of a minute (mynoot, not men nut) thought, but it works great. I feel like I'm looking sideways where my eyes naturally want to go, but my head, shoulders, chest, hips all remain in a countered position that is easy to hold all the way until I'm back on the handle. The point is: ride your counter fully through the turn and you figure out what little personal technique works best for you to accomplish that.
I am coaching already for a long time and I see this happening to a lot of skiers.
They have good technic when free skiing and they fall back into old mistakes when going into a course.
Now try something simple, do not fight the course, simply don't care how many bouys you take, ski relaxed and you will be suprised that you will reach more and that your technic is simply getting better.
Know that it is for a big part in your head, ski as if you ski free, though you go through the course.
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