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Teaching my 17yr old to pull slalom!!!!!?????


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  • Baller

So it is time my 17 yr old daughter starts pulling me through the course!!! I am looking for any key suggestions or tips you have used in a similar situation and how things have worked out?

She is already doing awesome with driving the boat on and off the trailer and pulling up to and away from the dock.

My thoughts are make it fun and positive for her. Start with driving the course without a skier which we have done a little of. Next maybe have a passenger with her the first few sets she pulls me and keep the line at -22 and the boat at 30 or 32???

Appreciate any input.

Thanks, MC

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  • Baller
Russell Gay gave me a good tip one time with was to have new boat drivers pull you through the course on a trick ski. It's the same boat path, some of the same tug from the skier, same drop at the end, etc., but at around 18 mph a much more manageable speed.
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Started mine in a similar way. Course without skier but mom in passenger seat. She was the driving coach. Added skier, me, and no course at 25mph on a wide body ski cutting back and fourth and practicing pull ups and drops at ends. Then back in course at 25mph me skiing. Advice being given by wife and me just cheering her on at each end with NO input on driving. Point is that you my be better off having someone else (friend of family preferably) that she trusts getting instruction from as in boat driving coach. And you just leaving out input but ramping up praise. Win win for her. Don't rush anything or move it along faster then she is comfortable with. Better it take longer then to have a reluctance to drive do to feeling pressure or having made a mistake along the way where she feels responsible.
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I started having my son pull me for trick and open water (with a good driver in the boat with him) to get him used to driving around a skier in the water. While we were getting him used to that I had him run a lot of simulated passes in the course probably more than 100 including dropping at each end. The first time he pulled a skier in the course it was a friend of mine that runs 32/15 and isn't as strong behind the boat. Then he migrated to pulling me.

 

We started this when he was 15. He wasn't around quite as much last summer so he didn't drive a ton but when he did he was pretty good.

 

@jcamp at trick speed I move the boat around way more than I do at slalom speed. I drive a lot of slippery slalom for Matt and he moves the boat around a lot more as the line gets shorter.

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The biggest problem I have seen is new drivers focus on the next gate until they pass through it instead of the whole course. I have had some success in getting them to drive straighter by looking all the way down the course. Counter steer slightly to the next skier ball. Going slow makes it harder as the boat gets pulled around more.

Lots of passes without skier until they are completely comfortable going between gates.

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My two boys started to drive me around 16-17...safety was first...pull up/pick up skier...then lots of course w/o skier...then w/ skier and spotter (who also advised on course centerline). for the reasons @chef mentioned pulling skiers was always at reasonable slalom speeds (28-32) initially (i.e. no trick ski/speeds)
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Thanks for all the great input everyone. I do not have a trick ski so that is not an option. I like the idea of throwing a bouy out and having her go back to pick up as if it was a skier. If the wind is low tomorrow I will get her driving without a skier.

Thanks,MC

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All this talk of skiers falling and dealing with getting the rope to the skier is interesting to me. If they cannot do that stuff then driving in the course is totally out as is pulling a skier. Practice on general operating stuff first. Just learn and get comfortable driving and maneuvering the boat without anyone behind it.

You have to learn to drive a car before you can learn to tow a trailer. Start with just general driving.

Once they can handle the boat without a skier, put an open water skier in there. Once they can handle that, put a sudo course in there. If they can pull you in open water and do it like your in a course (avoiding power turns, getting the handle back, going slow on the return, ect) then adding in the buoys should be easy.

 

The biggest deal is they have to want to learn. Additionally it is much easier to teach a skier to drive than an non skier. Everyone I have ever had drive or watch drive that is not a skier was much worse in general edict.

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Tube is great practice. I let my 13 year old pull my 9 yr old on the tube, nothing crazy, not trying to throw him off, just pull him around while I sit in the passenger seat and observe. I tell my 9 year old to jump off from time to time so my 13 year old has to get the tube back to him. The more slow maneuvering we do the better imho
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