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Counter rotation -do you think about it?


cragginshred
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I have always had trouble not pulling the handle back in at 1/3/5 (RFF) and the 'put the handle out there and ski back to it' or thinking 'Wait' in the turn just does not do it for me.

Second set last night I remembered someone saying 'bury the back shoulder' someone else echoed 'don't let the boat see your back shoulder'. I ran 6/6 passes doing this. I felt like I not only skied back into angle, but my chest and hips were up centered over the ski as well.

 

What works for you?

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@cragginshred what speed and rope lengths do you ski? Counter Rotation is a tricky subject. If you leave the wakes with your hips pointed out this will create a natural "counter". That is the good counter.

 

If you get to the ball line and then twist your shoulders away this is a bit of a band-aid and for most skiers it shifts your weight back - plus create other long term negative effects.

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Countering helps. As the outside shoulder rotates back it allows for the inside hip to shift weight to the inside of the turns. I would think the goal of countering is to get to where the shoulders are about square with the course, or maybe a little bit beyond that. You also need to get the hips standing up over the center of the ski, and countering alone will not do this. Standing up taller and countering as one move at the same time will give the skier the best results.

 

And... forget about being patient. The goal is not to be patient. The goal is to finish the turn in the right position. Stay level and square with the upper body while the lower body aggressively leans in and reconnects to the handle.

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@Horton is right, recently had coaching, I have been coached not to counter rotate, as it was putting me on the back of the ski disturbing the flow in the turn, turns are smoother now, feels odd at the moment, especially when I re connect with the handle, I used to really open up and counter, it was more of a timing thing, but i used to collect spray in my face at the end of the turn, which doesn,t happen now.
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The "counter" I have been thought is really an extension of the proper reach. I have started using the "hide the shoulder" (per Matt Rini) as a way to stay more square and outbound. I was being drawn in by reaching forward and staying inside.

 

The "light counter" I do now, when I do it, keeps my chest up, continues my separation from the handle after the spray, and just generally gets my SH!t out of the way so I can make a delayed or should I say, better timed turn.

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@Lovell as with most aspects of going through the course one thing effects the next.

 

So,..if tall and centered on the ski and what I am working on is as @GaryWilkinson called it hide the back shoulder (from the boat) I end up not grabbing the handle and subsequently the ski apex's better and finally I ski back to the handle into a 'stacked' position. That's how I think about it.

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@cragginshred - thanks for starting this thread - exactly what I have been working on the last couple of weeks, with mostly positive results. I have noticed exactly what @Horton points out - the buoy line is too late to start the counter. Bringing the hips through the wakes is working, now time to add @twhisper guidance about getting taller. My goal is to develop a proper offside turn followed by a killer onside turn. And I'm hoping @Lovell is correct about the stack becoming easier.
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My negativity toward counter is because it is so often misunderstood and misapplied.

 

Many skiers get out to the ball line and then take their outside shoulder back. This shifts weight back and is bad. Any time you can move your inside shoulder forward and move weight to your front foot that has to be good.

 

Personally I over counter especially at off side. As my hands get farther apart the temptation to finish the turn with my upper body increases. When I counter less and hands are closer it is easier for me to make the turn happen with my knees and hips / less with my shoulders.

 

Also any counter that is the result of your hips being pointed out at edge change is likely a good thing.

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You guys do know that there is a "Tech Articles" section in the menu on the BOS Home page, don't you? There are several very good ones specifically related to counter-rotation:

 

Here's one by Trent

 

Here's one by TW

 

And here's another one by some old codger

 

Lots of good info in those.

If it was easy, they would call it Wakeboarding

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When I look at videos of old pros, pre 2000 for example and new pros, I see a noticeable difference in where their shoulders are facing at the apex of the turn and that difference is what I consider the most visible example of counter rotation. At the apex of the turn almost all old style skiers have their shoulders and therefore their chest facing squarely down the ball line.

 

With virtually every one of today's pros, the back or away shoulder is at least slightly behind the reaching shoulder which results in the chest being pointed away from the ball line. In some cases it is very pronounced as with Freddie Winter but I could only find one modern skier where that is not the case. That skier is a fellow Canadian, Stephen Neveu and I don't believe that he has had the success of many of the other pros. Now you can view all of these guys in one excellent video by youtubing "The Water Ski Broadcasting Company". You can pull up each and every one of them seperately and a number of the women as well with an excellent camera angle shot from the boat.

 

I have also watched Horton's videos on his ski reviews and he has what I would consider an excellent "counter" on both sides particularly his off side and he looks like he should run 39's his form is so good. I think Terry explained it ... "the counter allows the inside hip to shift weight to the inside of the turns" (not back) and that is the reason all of the pros employ this move to one degree or the other. So anyone that suggests that the "counter" position at the apex is not beneficial is contadicting the visual evidence of the top professional skiers today.

 

The skier with the most counter on the offside is hands down Freddie. The one with the most counter on the onside is T Mo.

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Here is @twhisper. What "I see" is that he is countered mostly from his hips and not radically countered. In my mind this is ideal.

 

I do not know what @twhisper thinks of this footage - if he disagrees with me listen to him : )

 

 

When I see skiers look at snow ski images like the one @jimbrake posted I think we have a huge misunderstanding.

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If you watch TW from a "reach" only perspective vs counter, you start to see him come forward towards the ball and subsiquently reaches forward and up (maybe up). His back shoulder is simply in line with that reach. The back shoulder does not appear to be moving back from watching it with that mind set. Love that vid.
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What I see is square relative to the course. If you see Hiding the shoulder: that may be happening but at 39 if you hide your shoulder at 28 at the buoy , you will look like Stein (and, sorry, you're practicing something unnecessary). Might not see the outside shoulder when the camera is in the boat and the skier is perpendicular to the boat path.

Analyze technique not perspective.

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I think of the old days with PP or hand throttling, and some of us back then would not counter, but stayed more square over the ski more to the point of almost stopping, and then you would hook up and go. (Think Goode 9100). ZO's incredible reaction time has taught everyone to carry more speed through the turns and not use brute strength from a near stalled position. The proper counter helps carry speed through the turn and set the inside edge without over-loading ZO, which can bite back quickly.

 

I have to think about this, in particular on my offside turn, versus my immediate tendency to "manage/muscle" the turn with chest over ski and driving the tip down.

 

Just some random thoughts..

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I posted the pic of Stein Erikson (RIP) for fun and just because it's a radical example of CR. Not as an example of what we should try to do on the water. And it's definitely not a misunderstanding on my part. CR is about moving mass forward, keeping it moving through the turn, staying square, staying level (although Parrish does an awesome job of countering his inside shoulder ahead and a little down), being efficient, early accel, low load.
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@jimbrake sorry if that came off as snarky. The problem in my mind is that there are skiers that think that they want to have have a radical counter. This is one of those concepts where there is a lot of misunderstanding.

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The video of Asher, the one of Parrish, and the TW vid show various, unique versions of CR. They are all great examples. My biggest takeaway from those skiers (and of @bishop8950) is staying square back to the handle and through initial accel/load into the centerline. Too many are focused on countering into the turn (like I was/have been) and not staying quiet, level, and square back to the handle.
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I like to think of countering as "countering, or counter acting" the natural rotation (that can occur as a result of the pull from the boat, causing us to rotate inward toward the pylon) in an effort to stay more square or aligned on the ski. Jodi Fisher drills alignment, alignment, alignment.....and more alignment through out the whole course, before the gates, into the course, after exiting the gates, in the glide to drop, and even while in the water resting. We've addressed glaring alignment issues in various parts of the course with my skiing. Last week it was during my turn, or pre-turn, especially offside turns. As I am finally getting some width before the ball, I was having a tendency to start turning inward before and during turn. With a little more focus on staying aligned there, and a little image of holding my outside shoulder back a little (although as Jodi, and as horton has pointed out above...keeping focus on moving forward not back on the ski) I was able to make some improvement, and my offside turn just suddenly snapped around the ball, dropping me into a nice cross course angle and great stack and alignment for my offside cross....was then earlier for the following onside balls than I think I'd ever been. Amazing how much better your ski works when you stand properly aligned and balanced on it.
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i think its indisputable that at maximum load the strongest position to be in is one where both arms are as equally loaded as possible. nate smith has said that he tries to be at 80 per cent load right before the first wake and to do that his chest needs to be almost fully facing down course. since we know his ski is *not* pointed down course there must be some form of upper body / lower body separation which is essentially the result of ' counter ' in the turn.

 

for me if i finish the turn from apex to hook up by driving my inside hip forward through the finish i end up getting the smoothest and strongest hook up without taking a hit. now, remembering to do that consistently in the heat of battle is a different thing all together but countering the last half of the turn definitely helps imo.

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I know thinking of countering (moving shoulder back or hiding the shouslder) generally makes me end up skiing on my back leg=bad. If I think of driving my inside hip forward and being tall as I begin to reach (I reach forward and up), usually has good results. I do think that motion results in a somewhat countered position. I think different skiers have to think about it differently to achieve similar results. just depends what works for you.
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@Razorskier1 agreed if that was the issue. A thread this long the often loses point the OP (Me) was trying to communicate. My issue is not coming off too early but rather pulling it back in too soon.

 

I have tried many things to keep me from pulling it back too soon on my off side, however, when I apex it just happens. All I have been doing that seems to help a lot as stated in the OP is bury the back shoulder as the boat takes the handle which:

-Allows a better apex

-Keeps me from grabbing the handle

-Ski back to a stacked position

-Finish the turn with angle, as opposed to grabbing the handle then trying to jerk the ski back to a cross course angle

 

Pretty stoked to have so many things come together with one simple thing to think of

 

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@Dano I ski with a couple of guys who think of it how you described and as you say one way works for skier A and another for a different skier B.

 

The key is as Terry said tall and centered - hips come up and shoulder is back. Really for me its a way to keep me from pulling the handle in and all the other stuff I just listed happens as a bonus!

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@cragginshred -if your problem is only pulling the handle back in too soon you could try doing something that would make that impossible -roll the handle to your extreme fingertips as you reach. we know thats possible because there are bunches of pics of pro skiers doing just that and if the handle is right out at your fingertips you sure as hell wont be yanking it back in with any force. disclaimer: just throwing the idea out there -no idea if it will actually work to solve your issue but it was known to work for the goat, as seen here.
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