Jump to content

Testing to optimize Slalom Performance - Experiment Design Help


Recommended Posts

For the Slalom Nerds,


I have been wanting to do this for a while, and thought this season is the season I will run experiments to "accurately" determine what factors affect my buoy count, to optimize performance (for tournaments lol). I will collect and record data on every ski set in order to "accurately" determine what factors affect my buoy count. Has anyone done that before? Any ideas? I previously ran an ANOVA experiment that was more general (not based on just me rather what general factors affect slalom) using 2 blocks, and studied only 3 factors (Sleep Hours/Food Intake/Alcohol Intake). Not really looking to do that again... not that interesting since this is kind of a given, sleep well, don't drink, and eat right before a ski set...


I am looking to use the scientific method this time. I want it to be more specific, and just based on ME (because every person is different and this is for my personal gain), and more to confirm/disprove multiple theories that I have had for a while... That's why I'm having some trouble setting up the design, so any insight from people who've done that before, or any ideas from all the other slalom nerds would be appreciated.

Also, I am not not sure what my control should be since I've never really done this before so I don't have previous measurements, and it's skiing/early season/coming back from an injury/new bindings (too many variable factors), what are your thoughts on using last year's top 10 practice (8 of them are the same lol) scores average as a control for scores? Should I always look at Off the dock result, or more like: Did I run my hardest pass for the time being?


Here are some of the questions I'm trying to answer:

Is performance better after a long or short warm up/ dynamic or more static is more beneficial?

Is the 2nd set of the day better or 1st when you're still fresh?

Is the first set after a rest day better or sets improve when you've skied the day before?

Does the food diet consumed the entire week before affect (no gluten, low carb/high protein...)?

Does biking a lot affect skiing? (I've kind of noticed my legs are quite stiff after biking and although I never thought it would be a factor, I'm kind of thinking it might be... For all the people who've studied sports, am I crazy to even think that?)

Does caffeine the day of affect?

Does time of day affect (Early morning, mid day, afternoon, evening)


Additional Info:

I'm using an Excel file to record data. What I have so far is multiple sheets, each sheet will serve to answer one of these questions. Each sheet will record the following info:

- Date

- Set #

- Passes 1-8, speed/rope and buoy count for each pass

- Factor Setting

- General comments to refer back at the end.

I will only be recording data from sets done at my home Site to reduce variation (3 lakes there, but same water for all lakes, and 3 boats, but all Nautique ski 200, so shouldn't differ too much, only variable is lake depth)

I could set it up in a google sheet if someone is interested in helping set this up.

Goal is to be able to easily run analysis and conclude results on data collected that's why I want it to mainly be numerical... if that makes sense?


Sorry if this is too nerdy, but I can't be the only one out there who's thought of doing this, and ball of spray seems like an appropriate forum for such a discussion.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
My opinion is that so many things can effect your slalom score, that it's going to be hard to determine what's relevant. Are you a buoy down from your baseline because of the driver, different wind characteristics, water temp etc. Or is it because you had an extra taco? I just don't see this as being an exercise with truly quantifiable results. It's not a situation like if you were a 100m sprinter where the variables are few. Maybe I'm off base here, but it seems as if it's a lot of work for something not truly quantifiable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's what I did: watch Nate and Regina vids a couple thousand times. Compare them to vids of yourself and your hardest pass.


Compile a list of form faults you se in yourself. Rank them in degree of theorized importance.


Select the easiest pas you can't run.


Over the period of an entire summer, modify each form fault, take 4 tries at the pass once you believe you've fixed the fault. Record affect of form modification on score. Don't worry that your former best pass becomes unrunable as you hack away at your form.


Compile results in full DOE methodology. Determine red x and pink x form fault, along with interaction effects of form faults.


Attempt to incorporate selected fault fixes. Discover heretofore unidentified form fault not obvious from vid comparison. Modify holy grail fault. It's winter. Hurt knee on last set of year.


Apologize to ski buds for infinite falls at unrunable pass and bizarre sets with off the dock rope length at goal length.


Dream of last set w/ holy grail variable fixed. Agonize over retirement vs surgery.


Sarcasm aside, this approach may have worked. Certainly, the accepted process of running down the line to my best pass over and over with one or two tries at my goal pass was getting me nowhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller

Too many variables...


And the most important one is the inconsistency of most skiers below world class level. When approaching perfection, science is needed to improve.


When a skier is consistently running deep 39 and better, science might help. Before that, coaching and daily BOS are the best approach for good sets and improvement.


Obviously, running a marathon the day before or eating a full cow and wining accordingly will impact performance. A professionally driven diet and exercise routine will have a favourable impact. But IMHO trying to correlate random variables to skiing performance will not yield more buoys.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller_
@paulawannaski: good stuff, expect the data collection and of course any analysis to take quite a bit of time. Do you have any insight on the "noise" level, what is your current buoy count variability? Do you have insight on the seasonal progression you see (how much improvement you get from start of season, when you peak, when you start falling off in performance). Don't forget to add in attire (effect of dry/wet suit combinations, water, air temps, etc). You'll need that baseline data before you start looking at other effects. Would you be willing to share your spreadsheet? Good luck.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Baller
I would recommend testing early in the morning, on glass calm water, to eliminate a lot of variability due to conditions. When I make changes to my fin, I always try to go right back out that day in similar conditions to see if it made the desired effect. I have too many of my own variables!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best advice? Maybe. There are a LOT of variables as mentioned. So to get a baseline, you are going to need a LOT of data... and probably a way to toss out anomolies like hitting a carp/gator/whatever, ski delam., or suddenly discovering your fin block is loose or something benign like that...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...