I posted this on my website. Marcus Brown wants to discuss this in person. Dave Miller replied. Mike Morgan suggested we use the forum to discuss it so here goes.
THE NEW WATER-SKI MATH, 3 + 3 = 7
Here's how this new math works and it's relationship to skiing. Suppose you believe that 3 + 3 = 7 and all of the rest of your math is equally discombobulated. Then you study, study, study, memorize, memorize, memorize and you practice, practice, practice until all of this math is securely locked inside your head. The day of the big test comes along and you enter the room with all the confidence in the world only to walk out with a zero! How could this happen you ask yourself? Only by the practice of doing things right can you reap the associated rewards. It doesn?t matter how much and/or hard you practice if you are practicing the wrong skills. If you think that by moving to Florida so you can ski year round you'll become a better skier, you're sadly mistaken. I?ve seen this fail countless times. Practice may make you better at the mistakes you're making but it won't take you to your ultimate destination. Only by practicing the right techniques can you get the right results! If you think I wrote this about you, I did!
Now the big question is; what is right and what is wrong? West Coast style skiers and proponents will tell you their way is right yet the men's World Record is held by a more traditional style. BIG DAWG champions Mike Morgan and Ben Favret also ski a more traditional style. I invite Andy Mapple, Jamie Beauchesne, Marcus Brown, Chris Rossi, Wade Williams, Chris Parrish, Will Asher, Matt Rini, Chet Raley, Ben Favret, Mike Morgan, Dave Miller, Scott Tynan and other great coaches/skiers to write in with their views on defining, WHAT IS RIGHT? Hopefully from a compilation of these, we can agree upon and define the skills we should all be teaching and learning.
Schnitz! 4/29/2009 http://schnitzskis.com/newsflash1.html
Dave Miller's response;
Wow, that's a tough one. As you know, I have worked with West Coast style, Andy Mapple's style and even traditional. Then, I have my own style. I believe there are different ways to accomplish the same goal. Unlike math where there is only one answer to the equation. I believe that many different styles can get good results in skiing the course at short line lengths. Some of the keys that every style must utilize to be efficient in running shortline are; the skier must get angle with out to much load. To achieve this it is critical not to rotate the upper body or head too quickly. You can not drop your inside shoulder as you make your turn either. By keeping more level and not over rotating especially right at the finish of the turn, you will load properly with out losing angle.
The West Coast style turn is very effective, however, I feel you need a combination of many styles to be the best. Once you have completed the turn and both hands are on the handle you need to have some rotation of the hips shoulders and head. This is most important on the off side, it is almost impossible to stay open with your hips and shoulders on your offside and get angle (I have tried and get no angle). This transition needs to be smooth and progressive. If a combination of West Coast and traditional are used I believe you will be most efficient. The next part is to create a leveraged position which of course is best created when your turn is completed as described above.
The key to this is of course is doing the first part right. Once you have completed the turn properly without over rotation and load you can now move away from the boat. You cannot move away from the boat with good angle unless you are behind, yet balanced on the ski. You have to be stacked properly in other words you have to lean. I'm sorry but you can't run 39 standing upright, with out lean, or should I say without staying on the back side of the ski. If you watch any great skier, any style at 39 crossing the wakes, they are on the back side of the ski or away from the boat.
They have created leverage, which enables them to create angle, speed and width. Ideally, it is best to keep the arms into your body as much as possible. In some cases due to overloading, you will loose your arms or they will get away from you at the second wake. If this happens, the West Coast style works great for recovery. It is more beneficial to let your arms way out if you have no other choice than lose angle and let your ski come off edge. This happens to me quite often. But because I incorporate new school and traditional, I can recover from a lot of crap.
I feel a combination of all styles is the best when used properly.
Ok here’s my little rant on this subject, and it’s not really an answer.
West coast. New school. Old school. What’s right? You can’t argue with the geometry, and physics that come with skiing in the slalom course.
That being said, the right way is the way that works best for that individual’s skill, fitness, balance and the ability to maintain that balance in the most efficient manner.
Obtaining the optimum course position, maintaining that position and balance for the line length being skied all the way through the course is completely individual. What works for Marcus Brown might not work for you, or for me. Our bodies are different as well as our minds. If we all embraced the concept that the rules are there are no rules. We will all get better.
I do to agree with Schnitz if you practice poor technique you get poor results. David is also on point with his thoughts.
But the big question is, as Schnitz asked in the first post…………
What is right?
I say it depends…………………….
…….. and its always evolving.
Sharing our thoughts and theories like this is the best thing for us all to improve. Lets keep it up!
Here are some general keys to the most efficient style:
1) Minimizing movement
2) Minimizing downcourse speed from the boat
Clearly the most efficient style has to be the simplest. If you are trying to feel six different things when you're skiing, you're more likely to think of none of them. I am guilty of this and I know that I have coached too many things at once on occasion and it never works out the best.
Simplifying your theory into a few concise sentences works the best for consistent skiing in the long run. If you haven't started your ski log yet, start today. The log is a huge guide to your skiing that allows you to quickly simplify what you're trying to accomplish so that you can be more productive each set.
Old school has a lot of things right.
West coast has a lot of things right.
New school is dead for the most part. A compressed core will not allow you to minimize your movement over your ski, and leads to a big change in speed during the course of a run.
The skier with the best style will ski with the highest average speed through the course.
NE Style takes the best of everything and makes it work in the simplest way possible.
Two things; First, what is NE style? Secondly, you state; "The skier with the best style will ski with the highest average speed through the course". At the shortest line lengths, both the highest speed path and the lowest speed path will converge. This being said, why not ski this one ideal line on every pass? If this is the case, is it not the slowest line also?
Maintaining speed thru the pre turn will allow you to be wide at each turn (buoy?) will it not? If you slow down won't you sacrifice cross course speed?
Sure downcourse speed isn't good but the best style wouldn't have much downcourse speed... (slack?)
IF you loose a lot of speed through the turn, you will be pulled excessively by the boat through the finish, adding more downcourse speed.
What I am saying is the slowest line and the fastest line are the same at ultra shortline. You can call it either one and still be saying the same thing.
The time from entrance to exit gate is constant within speed control error.
Speed = distance / time
So the highest average skier speed would equate to the longest path skied from the entrance to exit gates.
The only way to lenghten the path is to be earlier and wider.
The shortest path would be straight line buoy to bouy and would be the slowest average speed.
Assuming you are skiing with the handle and not getting slack, the higher the turn exit speed equals the highest angle - get angle from keeping turning speed higher, not from loading line.
Last edited by miski (Thu, May 7, 2009 3:03 PM)
If you could measure the speed of the skier for the length of the pass, then the one that had the highest "lowest speed" would probably run the most buoys.
I'm not sure how this can also be the slowest line. The skier is moving faster in this example.
Ofcourse, when you ski it, yes, it would feel the slowest - because you are spending more time moving away from the boat and less time getting dragged by it. The boat's moving fast, so if you're being dragged by it, then it feels fast.
Like everything else in skiing it's backwards. Fast feels slow.
Say it out loud, N E Style.
"Feeling" fast in the course is really only a perception.
two scenarios here...
1.) as a skier goes through the course he/she increases and decreases their speed multiple times. Fast cross course and then decreases speed in the turn, then accelerates back to fast behind the boat. Skier feels "rushed" or "fast" or "late"... WHY? Because a change in speed or acceleration is perceived in our brains as fast.
2.) as a skier goes through the course he/she maintains more of their generated speed through the turn and therefore doesn't have to accelerate as much coming out of the turn in order to get across course. The skier might have a higher overall max speed (compared to scenario #1) through the course BUT they feel slow because the change in speed is less.
So to our brains, less change in speed = slow even though in reality you could be going fast!
My 2 cents (which in todays economy are only worth 1 cent anyway)
i think the terms 'speed', 'fast', and 'slow' are being used in two differing ways in this discussion. I believe Schnitz is referring to 'slow' as being that path which results from the LEAST amount of CHANGE of speed .ie. the path that has the least amount of acceleration/decelertion in it - where the CHANGE in MOMENTUM is minimized.
I believe Schnitz is speaking of CONSERVING momentum by maintaining it at as uniform a level as possible to still make the course.
This is very consistent with what Chris/Wade have been telling us. you absolutely need momentum to ski the course but if you achieve too much (as in achieving too much speed for a given angle) you are going to have to lose some of it (decelerate) to make the course. Since F=MA it requires energy to change molmentum. The greater the change in momentum the more energy (from the skiier) required. Efficient is all about conserving energy - which means conserving momentum.