My son is now getting up on slalom and I was wondering what to do next. He can cross the wake and balance is coming but not really getting edge changes or making a good turn yet. Do I throw him in the course now and see what happens or let him free ski to figure out some more of the basics. I see these little kids ski the course and am amazed but wonder if they started in the course or if they had lots of ski time out of the course before they started.
We've got an 8yo and a 10yo at our lake. We taught em to get up on a slalom and within a few weeks had them skiing the mini course. Within a year they've gone from the mini course at 15.5mph to the full course at 19mph.
Started our son free skiing at our tournament lake to teach him the basics.Then, skiing the mini course, now 3 years later he's skiing the course at 32mph, 15off.
He also skis the mini course on his wakeboard, all in fun:o)
Anderson, I agree with the other two posters, move him to the mini-course next. If you don't know what that is, drive the boat between the gates and the turn buoys (1, 3, 5) and have him go around the gate, 1, gate, 3, gate, 5, gate. Then either stop or spin and do the same in the other direction. Have him concentrate on body postion behind the boat especially (but everywhere of course). Exciting times!
Having watched the kids at the ski club I'm in, I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to your question. Some kids will enjoy free skiing, whilst others enjoy buoy chasing. The one common factor is they all want to be able to ski like Will Asher.
Has he been in the boat and watched you free ski? Which does he think Dad is better at, free skiing or going around the buoys?
With that in mind and assuming he thinks you're ski the best at going around the buoys, he's probably ready to have a bash at the half course. Though do explain how hard it was for you first time, and even now it's still hard to get around those buoys and that's why you keep coming back week after week.
If he enjoys himself trying to go around buoys he'll let you know, if he doesn't no doubt he'll still let you know. or
The most important thing is to have FUN.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by ColinCanski (Tue, Jun 8, 2010 12:20 PM)
Thanks for the replies. Looks like I will need to pick up the extra balls for the mini course. I think growing up skiing the course will give a big advantage. Free skiing all my youth was fun but lots of bad habits to break once you start the course.
AndersonSkiTeam - see RC's reply. You don't need extra bouys for a mini course. Just drive as best you can estimate down a line half way between the boat guides and 1,3,5. My son spent a lot of time on two skis in the course (mini course then full course) and could run several passes that way when he was like 6 or 7 yrs old. Then went to the slalom and did the same thing. He just turned 11 and he's about to run 15 @ 34. It's a balance between what they want to do to have fun and gently pushing them some, but once they get in the course, they get pretty hooked just like we all do, regardless of age.
Lot's of great advice has been given. My son is now 10 and is making it through the course at 26 mph. He started with free skiing on one and then going through the course on two until he was comfortable with the course. When he decided he wanted to try the course on one, we didn't have a mini-course and drove between 1-3-5 and the boat guides (as mentioned previously). Once my son thought he mastered this, we started using the full course and he would try to spray each turn ball before eventually widening his pass to include the balls. My main advice is to keep it fun for your son so he always enjoys skiing with you. I have to curb my desire to "coach" and only help when he wants. Keep it fun!
My son just turned 11 and I threw him the course as soon as he was comfortable on a slalom. He had a best last year of 4@32 mph. We are just getting back into it this year and he has set a goal for himself of getting a piece of 22 off at 34 mph.
Once my son was running the mini course like jbski talked about at up to 26 mph and 28 off I moved him to the full course. Have him pull out wide and early for 1 and try to get to 2. If he doesn't get to 2 have him stay out wide go around 4 and try to get to 5. At some point he will figure out that he needs to pull hard. My son was 8 when he started the full course and I seem to remember running him around 18 mph. I could never run him that slow now as he weighs about 120 pounds.
I started my son at long line and am going to leave him there until he makes a full pass at 34 mph. When we went to Coble's for the first time I asked April about it and she recommended long line until he reached max speed. One of the benefits to that is that the kids need to learn proper body position because the wakes are big and they need to pull hard.
I am thinking maybe next year he is challenging me unless I improve a lot (5@32 off best).
As long as he is having fun let him do what he wants.