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Hips up advice


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Ok I've been getting advice from 4-5 different people from different lakes saying I need to get my hips up. I've heard ski to the handle, bring your hips to the handle, bring the handle down to your hips, and focus on stacking your feet. I understand what it's supposed to look like but somehow cannot seem to make any of that happen without absolutely brute forcing it. If I brute force it, I have the energy to do that about twice and then I need a full week off before I can do it again so that can't be right. If I practice on land, I go into the proper pulling position every time but as soon as I get on a ski, it goes out the window. When I pull out to the left for the gates or pull out to the right to drop, I can get my hips up but coming around the ball, I've got nothing.

 

So is it more of pushing your hips sideways towards the boat, pushing your hips up like you're humping the sky, leaning away from the boat, leaning back, or what? I'm at a total loss here. I've done probably 15-20 sets and not really making any real progress. My guess is I'm doing something in the preturn that is messing up the pull behind the boat but I have no idea what.

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My personal view (expounded upon heavily in my Leverage Position piece: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oDlyJi8MRdF9t8uQcEMCUEGsivhQ2tP7qOO6HfPgCDg/edit ) is that it's almost impossible to "get your hips up." Instead, your hips will *end up* near the handle if you do all of the other elements of the leverage position correctly.

 

To force your hips to the rope is nigh impossible. But if you align your entire mass against the pull of the rope, you're hips have no choice but to be "up." So I consider it to be a desirable side effect, not a technique unto itself.

 

I believe I wasted a decent amount of time trying to force my hips up.

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In my own experience, there is one super critical requirement that must be met before I can get stacked properly - and that's the very first pull out- I absolutely MUST be wide on the boat.

 

This gives me the time to make the turn properly to "fall into" the tightening line in the right posture and get into a stacked position long before the wakes with elbows to the vest.

 

If I don't get wide right off the very start, I will start narrow, which leads to no acceleration time to the wake, which leads to a rushed turn, which leads to inefficient time to let the ski finish the turn, which leads to "pulling" into a tight line, which then leads to my hips 10 cars back.

Total domino effect for me.

I am not an elite skier so I don't have the athletic ability like Regina or Nate to rush a turn and brute force recover my stack before the wake.

 

Just this morning actually I had this happen and I was struggling with getting proper stack.

It wasn't until I took my second set that I got wide - and boom- it all fell into place again.

 

I'm just a 15 off'er myself, so take it for what it's worth, but I'm just passing along

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I've been working on this too (for the last 20 years). I find my butt down on my offside pull and getting pulled over the ski. I have been skiing in the course since I was 15 years old (am now 35yrs) but haven't had minimal coaching. As a result, I have lots of bad habits, lots of bad muscle memory. I used to run 22 off 36mph behind our malibus and mc until we got zero off. Zero off wasn't as friendly as my fathers driving technique. After having a MC with zero off for a couple years, I am now running 22 off 34mph, about 30% of the time, and once ran 28 off 3 days ago. Until a year or so ago, I didn't do much reading to try and fix this either.

 

Over the past year or so I've been reading on BOS and elsewhere regarding slalom theory: where to look, counter rotation, handle control, weight distribution over ski, edge change..... It is all helpful but is relative to having a strong foundation or correct fundamentals (the leverage position). I read Than's "treatise" on the leverage position and found it helpful. The dryland stuff is very helpful to feel what it should feel like behind the boat. Watching tape of myself is incredibly enlightening to compare what my body position "feels" like vs. what is "actually" happening back there. Anyone at this level who hasn't taped themselves, just get out your smartphone and hand it to the spotter before your next set. It will show you everything you need to see to get started on improvement, and is very convenient/simple.

 

Here is what I have come up with and am working on. Hanging against a slalom rope while attached to at tree has shown me where my ski needs to be relative to centre of mass and the handle. To "hang" or lean against the rope in the ideal leverage position, the ski needs to be between the boat and the centre of mass, and angled across the wake perpendicular to the direction of boat travel. To get the most efficient pull, the back should be straight (the straight line from the knees through hips up to shoulders) and it should be the quads/thigh muscles that are resisting the pull of the boat (much stronger than back muscles when one gets bent over and pulled forward).

 

So.....here is my challenge, how do I come out of my offside turn and get my ski between me and the boat without hip bend so that I can lean against the rope with arms straight???? As I try to solve my own problem I notice that I am bent forward at the hips in the preturn, and surprise surprise, I come out of the turn bent forward at the waist, and it gets worse when the load of the rope hits.

 

Any advice/comments on body position in preturn so that I can get into the leverage position after the turn??

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I am of the opinion, in struggling with this myself and studying it very carefully, that you simply cannot "get yourself" in the right position without a proper turn finish and subsequent events leading into the turn. Once that turn ends, that position you end up in is what you have to work with across the wake. A proper turn finish will not occur without good width/speed/direction off of the wake going into your turn. People running short lines have not had to worry about this or feel this (to this degree) for a very, very long time because it's so deeply engrained- we can't just snap ourselves into perfect position out of a turn. Most people struggling with this have never (or rarely) even felt a correct turn exit with carried speed and direction and if you can't feel it in waterskiing, it's hard to understand it. One great example of this is working on your glide stance, turn-in, and gate shot- you'll be amazed at what that does for your 1->2 wake cross position because you're giving your body a fighting chance at getting it right and feeling that balanced and fluid turn exit. So, @Wes, that would be my answer- having a tough time getting out of #1 ball right? I'd work on everything going into #1 ball.
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I agree with most of the theory you expressed and the advice given......keep working on the body position.

 

BUT.........

 

A fully developed slalom acceleration lean is a very powerful, relatively fragile and courageously challenging thing to developed. With all the body position in the world, you can be significantly hindered if the ski/binding system is not tuned properly to allow you to stably and confidently get there. Even worse, you may be fighting inherent instabilities and/or forces which you have no possible chance of overcoming without an equipment adjustment. I'm not saying that is your problem.....yet if you cannot go out there and with full concentration rocket yourself across the wake then something is wrong. It is the key skill to slalom progression. Without it nothing else matters. So keep working on it. It's either your fear, your ski causing/adding to your fear, or your position. If you study the position and are dedicated to get there but can't....then somethings amiss.

 

I have no idea what to tell you to do.....but safely experiment by doing something. Either that or just throw away another 1/2 season with marginal improvement. For when you are able to learn to accelerate, at will, as required to run the next pass, then it won't be too long until you run the next pass.

 

Change something, anything and if necessary, everything. Just be safe.

 

John M

 

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This is very over simplified... Lean Tall. Stand up. Push your legs straighter. Lean like a long plank. Don't let your knees "absorb" the wake, but push your legs straighter and drive the whole body through the wake. It is very difficult to drag your butt when you are thinking about leaning tall. As the turn ends and the lean is beginning, push tall with your legs. (oh... and chest up, leading, proud, too...)

 

The leverage position at the start of the lean must be a long, lever not a short squatty one.

 

So, while gliding waiting to turn/drop into the lean, stay tall while you turn in. Force it. Stay tall. (oh... and stacked...) At the end of the 1-ball turn / before the lean is fully loaded, again push those legs straighter and be a long lever... Repeat 5 more times...

 

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I became a better skier when I figured out that people can explain the exact same concept in multiple ways. A description that works for you might not work for someone else. I also struggled with the "Hips Up Thing" until Trent Finlayson told me to "Stand Tall". If you stand tall with shoulders back your hips will automatically be forward. What Shane said. I never understood get your hips forward until Trent told me to stand tall. My point - whatever works for you.
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This is the kinds of things I was hoping for. Different things to think about in order to accomplish the same goal. If you sit in a boat full of people trying to teach someone to get up on slalom, they will all have a different concept or idea of accomplishing the same goal but I struggled to find people who said anything other than hips up.

 

I will try the chest up and lean tall and see how that goes. Not letting my knees absorb the wake sounds scary but I also hear people say if you're in the right position, you won't feel the wake so maybe that's the ticket.

 

Keep the ideas coming.

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"Standing Tall" is a good way to think about it. In my mind, that means feeling a pull through my spine out the top of my head. Another thing that has worked for me in the past has been to "pinch up the butt cheeks", like you are trying too hold a good ol' Ben Franklin bill in there and not let it go.

 

That has the same effect as pushing your legs tall as @ToddL suggests, at least in my mind, and helps to support that head being pulled up by the cable up your spine, and the proud chest, etc. Those posterior muscles are generally pretty strong.

 

@jfw432, regarding not letting the knees absorb, IMHO that means just not letting them fold or compress significantly. They can be supple, and you can redirect flex and absorption to the ankles. I think I got that from @Than 's article, or somewhere related.

 

Obviously, I am working on the same stuff. Good luck and happy hunting!

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You cannot get leveraged/stacked once you start pulling against the boat.

You cannot get leveraged/stacked if the boat never stops pulling against you.

 

At a professionally coached clinic, you'll want to talk about a lot of things, but the pro will probably talk about gates all day long. I was at the Oklahoma State Championships a few weeks back, and I joked all day long with every skier, "Musta been the gate." It's true to a degree, there are six turns and that one gate shot controls the entire thing. All the way at the beginning of the pass, if you don't get free of the boat long enough to get leveraged, it's going to be very difficult to find the time to get leveraged later down the lake. I'm not sure that's a tip but it is something to chew on.

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A thought I saw resonate recently with a friend of mine was to stay behind the handle. Most people whose hips drop back have their shoulders and head ahead of the handle when behind the boat. Thinking about staying behind the handle seemed to help that problem which resulted in a better stacked position.
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I actually was working on my 32 gates today and the coach kept saying I need to go softer through the gates. I felt like I was going as soft as I could with still getting enough speed to get to the 1 ball. I thought I had my handle down, turns out I did not. If you touch your elbows to your vest, that will give you all the speed you need, and will help you alot. Easiest way to do it.
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I use elbows to the vest too. Stand tall on the ski, slight knee bend and chest up gets them there. Your body is full of hinge points. If you have too many of them bent as you approach the center line of the wakes energy is absorbed not turned into acceleration. Too many hinges also makes for inconsistent skiing.
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One thing that should help is having patience in the turn. Don't rush to grab the handle, let the ski finish the turn and then load the line. I've found that if you let the ski finish you naturally have better, stronger body position. A long time ago someone made the comment, let the rope come over the bindings before you hook up.
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@crashman You're figuring it out! Any time you follow the ball coming at you, your head will come forward and down. Your body will follow your head, so your shoulders follow it. This then leaves you with your hips behind at the apex. Something to help with this is to shift your vision to something out and away from that buoy about 8ft before you get there. It doesn't matter if it's the bow of the boat, the next set of boat guides, the next buoy, etc. By doing this, you'll keep your head from falling in. I don't mean sling your head all the way across. Just shift your vision.
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I once heard, "Never mind bringing your hips up to the handle. Leave your hips where they are and think of getting your shoulders closer to the water." It works for some people, but I like @bogboy's "ribs through the arms" better. It's a nice simple concept. In fact I just wrote it into my journal.
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